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Gavin's Underground

August Gallery Un-Stroll: Josh Winegar & Nick Pedersen

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2011-08-21 -
For this month's Gallery Stroll, we're going to be doing things a little differently, and before we jump into interviews, I believe a little recap is in order. August is generally the hardest month to book on this blog for Stroll. For some reason every year, it has the least number of galleries doing displays, and most of those artists have chatted with us already. The first gallery I called never called back, the second one said "absolutely no" and hung up, the third one the artist said no after the gallery said yes, and the fourth attempt the artist took too long to reply before we could set up the show.
With that in mind (and for reasons that would take too long to go into), the Gallery Stroll organization frowns upon the press using its name when reviewing galleries and artists not on the bill. Since we couldn't book anything official (and it was too late to make a special request), this month will be artists on the "Gallery Un-Stroll." So, we pay a visit to two galleries and two very different artists, starting with Josh Winegar who was displaying his latest photography work at Kayo Gallery (along with Dan Christofferson); and Nick Pedersen, a SLC native now in Brooklyn, N.Y., for college, who was showing off his works and a new book at Copper Palate Press. You can check out photos in this gallery here, which also include Travis Bone showing off his prints at Stolen & Escaped, and several works from various comic-book illustrators at Nobrow Coffee & Tea.

Josh Winegar

Gavin: Hey, Josh! First thing, tell us a bit about yourself.

Josh: My name is Josh Winegar and I’m an artist.

Gavin: Fair enough. What first got you interested in drawing and photography, and what were some of your early inspirations?

Josh: My grandma first got me interested in art. She was an artist and someone that I really looked up to.  She was very supportive and I could always expect art supplies for my birthdays and Christmas. I became really interested in photography as an undergrad in college.
Gavin: You got your BFA at Weber State. What made you choose WSU, and what was its program like for you?

Josh: I actually went to Weber to take some of my generals before transferring to an expensive art school.  While there, I decided to take a photography class for sanity reasons and had an amazing experience. The instructor, Sue Barratt, was incredible and totally changed the way I thought about art and really gave me a new outlook on things.  In addition to that, the student work that was being done up there was quite good. I decided it made more sense to stay at WSU and take advantage of all it had going for it and save the expensive art-school option for grad school.

Gavin: You then went to Columbia College Chicago to earn your MFA. Why change to Chicago, and how was its program compared to WSU?

Josh: I decided to go to Columbia because it felt like the best fit for me. I was really impressed with the program, and the way they treated me when I went out to visit. I also really love Chicago and loved living there. It’s a little difficult to compare Weber to Columbia side-by-side because I was at one for undergrad and the other for grad school and those are really different experiences, but I feel like they are both really good programs.
Gavin: What made you decide to return to Utah, and how was it for you breaking back into the art scene?

Josh: I returned to Utah because I got a full teaching job here. To be honest, I never really expected to be back here, but I’m really happy I am. I’m an assistant professor of art at Weber and it’s really great and I have fallen back in love with the Beehive State.

Gavin: On the drawing side, what was the major influence behind drawing animals and nature?

Josh: The drawings came to be because of the idea. I didn’t set out to make drawings. I was working with some ideas and felt the best way to articulate those ideas visually was to paint and draw on appropriated hunting photographs. The paint, pencil work, and photographs are all pretty important to the conceptual themes of the work-- it couldn’t have been just one.
Gavin: Do you usually have an idea of what you'd like your pieces to look like, or do you tend to play around with them before they're complete?

Josh: There is always extensive experimenting and trying things before they are complete. I might have a vague idea of how to represent my idea visually but that’s just the starting point. The work always progresses throughout the process of making it.

Gavin: On the photography side, what made you choose to photograph nature and continue the theme from your drawings?

Josh: There are some carryover themes from the mixed-media works but there are some big differences, too.  Those differences are why they are photographs. Photography was the best way to get at what I was interested in.
Gavin: Tell us about the new works you have on display for this Stroll.

Josh: It’s works from two bodies of work, some from my “Rapture” series, and a new body of work titled “Folds” that is brand-new for this show. I’m interested to see how the two talk to each other.

Gavin: What are your thoughts about being displayed at Kayo along with Dan Christofferson?

Josh: Dan’s awesome and a great artist so I’m really excited about it. It’s been a lot of fun. We go way back but have never done a show together. It’s great and I hope we do it again sometime.
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Josh: I think Utah has a lot of things going for it right now. There are a lot of talented artists and some really good things happening. I think it’s a lot better than when I left it years ago.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Josh: There is a lot that could be done, and there is a lot that is being done, but Utah is a difficult market. I think people need to support, foster, and encourage the forward-thinking work that is happening in the state.  Artists need to keep making work and getting it out in the world as much as they can.
Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how it's doing today?

Josh: I think the Salt Lake strolls are great. I might not care for all the work but that’s no different than any city. Anytime there are lots of people out looking at and supporting art, that is a good thing in my opinion.

Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Josh: I’m planning on being in the studio a lot. I had a really busy, productive summer and I’m trying to keep that momentum going. I’m also working on curating a show with another artist, Krista Wortendyke, but that doesn’t go up until early 2012.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Josh: The show at Kayo. Come to Kayo August 19th to September 15th.


Nick Pedersen

Gavin: Hey, Nick. First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

Nick: I am an artist from Salt Lake City, and I have been living and working in Brooklyn, New York, for the past three years.
Gavin: What first got you interested in art and what were some of your early inspirations?

Nick: Growing up I was always artistic, and as a kid I spent a lot of time drawing dinosaurs and animals. Later on, I got really into photography and I liked to experiment with different mediums such as spray-painting stencils, screenprinting, and other forms of printmaking.

Gavin: You got your BFA at the U in printmaking and photography. What made you choose the U, and what was their program like for you?

Nick: I had a great experience at the U, and I feel like that is where I really developed my aesthetic style and conceptual motivations. Definitely the best thing for me was working in the print shop in Justin Diggle’s courses. He runs a great program.
Gavin: You recently got your MFA in digital arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Why did you choose Pratt, and how would you compare its program to the U's?

Nick: Pratt is a really awesome school because it is right in the heart of Brooklyn. That is the best part of it and the main reason I wanted to go there. I think the program was similar to the U but on a larger scale, and being in New York, there are so many more opportunities to make connections and be involved in such a vibrant art scene.

Gavin: What influenced you to do your intricate style of illustration, and why are the majority of your works in black and white?

Nick: I am really into older forms of printmaking like the incredibly detailed etchings of Gustav Dore and I like to incorporate that sort of style with more modern themes. I like to work in black and white because I think it simplifies the concept and makes it more direct and striking.
Gavin: What’s the process like for you when creating a new piece, from the initial concept to final product?

Nick: I read a lot and I usually start with researching a concept, taking notes, and sketching out ideas. Then I gather all the photographic images and other materials I need. After that, I spend a lot of time combining these things together and test printing for the final piece.

Gavin: Considering how detailed your work is, how much of each piece do you tend to play with and add material to, and how much of it is the original design you came up with?

Nick: I like to sketch out a basic composition for each image, but it definitely always changes quite a bit when I am actually putting it together. I usually start by creating the background and then filling in the mid-ground to foreground elements to create a completed landscape. After that, I figure out how to inhabit these images with various characters, animals, and other things.
Gavin: You're one of the few artists from Utah who have left the state and continue to come back and showcase your work to a local audience. What made you decide to do that, and how is it for you commuting back and forth between SLC and Brooklyn?

Nick: It was pretty difficult, and I actually went on an epic roadtrip with my girlfriend to drive this work out here for the show. But I definitely feel the need to bring my work back home to Salt Lake to share what I have done with my family, friends, and the local art community because this is where I came from and where I have received so much of my inspiration.

Gavin: You recently published a book of several new works based in a story. What made you decide to do the book, and what's the story based around?

Nick: The book is entitled Sumeru and it was the main product of my thesis work at Pratt Institute. It is conceptually inspired by my experience with Eastern philosophy, and specifically references what I have learned from the study of Zen folklore and Buddhist mythology. In Zen literature, the word “land” is commonly used as a symbol for the “mind,” and through a series of photographic montage images I have envisioned an exploration into the depths of this metaphorical "mind-world." The narrative follows a spiritual quest as the storyline symbolically wanders through various states of consciousness and perceptions.
Gavin: Tell us about the new works you have on display for this Stroll.

Nick: All of the work I do is inspired by my experience with nature. The book deals with this in a very spiritual/philosophical sense, and the other work on display is motivated more by environmentalist/political ideas. I am showing a variety of different printed works that are all based around my concern for the future, creating juxtapositions between the natural and man-made worlds.

Gavin: What are your thoughts about being displayed at Copper Palate Press this month?

Nick: I am friends with Cameron Bentley and the other guys at CCP, and I was really happy they invited me to show there. I think it is an awesome venue and I really admire what they are doing there in terms of running a DIY print shop and art gallery.
Gavin: Going local for a bit, what are your thoughts on our art scene, both good and bad?

Nick: I think the art scene in Salt Lake is really unique and I am glad to be from here. There are so many good local artists like Trent Call, Sri Whipple, Leia Bell, etc. Some awesome galleries like Copper Palate and Kayo. It is great to see what is happening on 2nd/3rd South and it would be cool to see more venues like that and maybe more types of pop-up shops, collectives, and neighborhood art festivals like I have seen in Brooklyn.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Nick: Salt Lake has a great local art scene, but I think that can be a problem if it becomes too local. I think a lot of galleries should definitely try to bring in more national/international artists.
Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll as a whole and how it's doing today?

Nick: From what I saw, it looks like it is doing great. I would just like to see more of it. Hopefully Salt Lake can sprout up some more artistic neighborhoods around the city.

Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?

Nick: I am working on a lot of new artwork for a solo show I am having next spring at the Slingluff Gallery in Philadelphia. Also, I am planning to collaborate on a film project with my brother, Joey Pedersen, who is a local musician.
Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?

Nick: Check out my Website, where I have copies of my book and other artworks for sale, and also to see upcoming projects.


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