CARTWHEEL Interview: Scott Michael Ackerman
Throughout his growing career, Scott Michael Ackerman has consistently painted captivating textured artworks that reflect his outsider sensibility. He resides in upstate New York where he lives the life of a work-by-day, paint-by-night artist. His work rarely makes it to California, but a certain painting on a found old door caught the attention of CARTWHEEL founder Cindy Schwarzstein at Fountain NY 2012, which resulted in Scott’s first show in L.A. last spring and now, this month’s return. Scott’s back in L.A. with a number of smaller works — some significantly smaller than doors, others mid-size canvases — at the CARTWHEEL Street & Outsider Art Pop-Up Show Mar. 21. Since his small-town Lovebird Studio gets patchy cellphone reception (he lives in leafy Rosendale, near Woodstock and the Catskills) we sent him some questions to answer from his computer.
Are there any new themes in your new works?
I think my work is always changing, whether it be the medium or what I’m painting on. I like to keep it real open, and never really get into “series” or specific themes. If anything, I’ve been taking a bit more time with some pieces and re-working them — but then again I can have a real great night and paint a few pieces I’m real happy with in a few hours. It’s all very new to me every time I start.
Aside from showing in L.A. with CARTWHEEL this month, what else is coming up for you?
I had a few last-minute pieces at the Fountain Art Fair last weekend in my friend’s Greyegg Presents booth. When I come home from California I’m doing a show at the Clock Bar in the Bronx, then hopefully off to Hamburg in the spring (just have to work out some of the details), which I’m real excited about.
How is nighttime a productive and creative time for you?
I usually do always paint at night. I work during the week laying blue stone, so when I’m home I’m real motivated to paint. And during the day I can get sidetracked. Painting at night is just real relaxing and I wake up all happy and ready to be outside all day. It’s been easier to paint during the day in winter, but when it’s nice out, I like to be outside enjoying it.
You’re known for painting on found objects. How does that inspire your work? What’s your process like?
When i start a painting I usually have no preconceived idea of what it may look like. I usually end up painting over different parts until I think it looks like its going in the direction I think I might want it to go. Sometimes I’ll try to limit myself to only a few colors, for fun, and just to keep it uniform — like in Boat Ghosts, which I found in the garbage. I really just used the colors that where on the original painting, which I painted over. Some of my paintings usually go through many different emotions, so it’s hard to say what their inspiration is. I really just paint until I’m happy with it.
Where does Lovebird Studio get its name?
When we started Lovebird, my ex-girlfriend and I were two little lovebirds who just moved into a little town called Rosendale, and it just sounded nice — and it stuck.
What is the art scene like where you live? What do you love about it?
I think the art scene is good. A lot of the surrounding areas have monthly art walks. Woodstock is full of “artists” and “musicians,” which can be a little hectic, but its a beautiful area and it keeps me going.
Can you tell us more about your studio?
My studio started as a gallery where we did monthly shows for about two years. Now that I’m here just about full time, it’s completely loaded up with my paintings. I got tired of doing the monthly shows, and having so much work here it made it real difficult to give enough space to the different artists I wanted to feature. And now I love it! I’ve got a few different little painting areas, an amazing cat, and lots and lots to look at and make me always remember how much I love what I’m doing. In the warmer months the doors will be open and I’ll be having a few group shows in the studio.
CARTWHEEL Street & Outsider Art Pop-Up Show
March 21-24, 2013
Opening Reception Thurs., March 21
1553 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Top image courtesy of the artist