Artist Announcement: Greta Van Campen

We're very excited to announce that Greta Van Campen is one of our confirmed 2015 artists. 

Greta Van Campen is a painter from Thomaston, Maine known for her contemporary hard-edged style. She comes from a family of artists and grew up painting beside her mother and father. Greta continued her studies in visual art at Bowdoin College. In 2011 she kickstarted her career with several cross country trips during which she painted all 50 states. She now lives and works in Portland, Maine.

"In my hard edge paintings, I strive to inhabit the space between representation and abstraction while also preserving an authentic experience of every place I paint. Each piece begins as a puzzle. Using tape and acrylic paint, I build up layers of color, shape, and line until I have found a harmonious solution." -Greta 

Here is an interview with Greta that we conducted: 

 

What is your name and where are you from?

 Greta Van Campen
I grew up in Thomaston and now live in Portland.  

 What did you want to be growing up?

 An artist and a doctor!

Describe your work/practice in the format of an elevator speech? 

I go to the studio and use tape and acrylics to make hard-edge paintings from photographs of places I've been and things I've seen. My work has abstract qualities but is also recognizable as where/what it really is.

 Can you identify 3 or 4 artists or art movements from art history that you feel have paved the way for your work today?

 My parents, Susan and Tim Van Campen, definitely both influenced me a great deal. I grew up hanging out in their studios and learning the ups and downs of life as an artist.  My mom does watercolors and oils and my dad does abstract geometric paintings and computer art/design.  My style is pretty original, but it's definitely a combination of their sensitivities.   Other artists whose work has really moved me through the years are Calder, Matisse, Vermeer, and Morandi (and many others).

What is inspiring you right now?

 Thinking about spring and summer!

What kind of envoirnment do you like to create in? If you listen to music when you work, what’s been in rotation recently? 

I like peace and quiet.  In my old studio, I worked from home and our house was on the Kennebec River.  I loved listening to the sounds outside - birds in the summer, and ice cracking in the winter.  At my Portland studio, I mostly hear cars going by.  Once in a while I'll put some music on or listen to a podcast. 

Have there been any murals that have had a profound impact on you?

 I studied abroad in Italy and was completely awestruck by the murals, scale, and masonry every time I visited a cathedral. 

How long have you lived in Maine?

My whole life - apart from some time in Italy and the Netherlands and a couple years when I lived in Chicago.  

What do you like about the art scene here?

 I like that Maine has always attracted artists of all ages and that it's not pretentious like the New York art scene.  I like that there isn't really a "scene" here.  There are just a bunch of artists working and living in a beautiful place. 

What would you like to see happening in Portland’s art scene in the future?

 I'd like to see another contemporary gallery or art center pushing boundaries. I'd like to see more connection between southern Maine and the mid-coast and even farther north.  I think CMCA (Center for Maine Contemporary Art) should do a pop up show somewhere in Portland.

 What’s next for you? Any upcoming shows or projects that you would like to mention?

I'll be spending the entire month of May at Brush Creek Arts, a residency in Wyoming.  Between now and then I'll be getting some new work to Dowling Walsh in Rockland that will be on display this summer. 

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to check out more of Greta's work, check out her website here