Creating Freedom, a candid conversation with Linda Gleitz
Charismatic and eclectic, Linda Gleitz is an artist through and through. Whether dabbling in oils or moulding armies of clay birds, her art is reflective and exuberant, just like she is; here she answers Michele Tufigno’s questions for Tne NY-Artnews, allowing us a glimpse into her art journey and, candidly, her private life too.
Goddess of Flora, ceramic and paint, 31"x 8"x 9" (part of the "Symbiotic Revolutionary Army" series)
When did you start producing art? What prompted you to turn to it? Which challenges did you encounter? I was born in Boulder Colorado in 1959, way before it was hipster country. What I know is from day one I wanted to be an artist: it was a deep desire, almost an affliction, and, at the very least, a definite passion. My father, who was to be a huge influence with regard to my art, worked for the National Bureau of Standards and Technology; in fact he worked on the Arpanet project which would later become what we all know as the Internet. I still keep a volume that he authored with the very first diagram of the Internet; they were connecting universities and government entities. I tell you all of this only because he was freakin’ computer slap happy, which inevitably led him to believe that I should follow in his footsteps. In his mind, I was going to be a computer scientist no matter what. ‘You cannot study art!’; it was a constant conflict. But, rebel that I am, I did it anyway. With very little support. He was a loving father and in his later years he came around to appreciate what I did. Then I hijacked my passion. I got married and had two children who are awesome adults now! I got divorced and was single mom for ten years: I tried to give myself one hour each day to make art. That hour kept the fire burning, but I never had a cohesive body of work. In walks the pilot. We were married for ten years; I got to travel the world. Our divorce would however allow me to finally become a full time artist; that was about six years ago, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Goddess of Produce, ceramic and paint, 30"x 9"x 9" (part of the "Symbiotic Revolutionary Army" series)
Does your native Colorado play a part in your artistic expression? With regard to Colorado influencing my work, I am most certain it did. It seems like we all sort of absorb our physical surroundings; the place becomes part of us. I lived right at the base of the foothills, we kids ran amok all over the mountains. As for actual specific inspirational moments, all I know is that as a kid I painted those hills quite a bit.
We Choose to Tell You That You Have No Choice, oil on canvas, 36"x 36"
What inspires your work nowadays? I get inspiration almost anywhere. Often it’s the daily news. I make art straight from my heart. I know this is weird but I deliberately try to not look at other people’s work; naturally, I can’t avoid everything but people get so caught up in trends and what’s hot in the art world. I decided to take a step back and just try to make art around what matters to me and make it how I want to. I am deeply affected by any type of social injustice and I think I might be a little overly sensitive, or so my children say! I do truly believe we can change the world through art. Even if it’s a little bit. I try to convey compassion. I would like to leave a small wrinkle in the fabric of culture when I leave this planet.
Social Structure, ceramic and paint installation, 7'x 10'
How would you describe your art? As far as describing my work I would say my paintings are painterly, usually colorful, sometimes with a lot of texture. I like to scratch back into the paint. I love oil pretty much, and I strongly dislike acrylic. It’s like the difference between butter and margarine. I have worked in many different mediums; currently clay and oil paint are what I’m drawn to. I have never taken a clay class with the exception of a six hour workshop. I’ve never thrown on a wheel; I don’t want to make dishes but I totally respect those who do. Myself and clay are just down and dirty; it’s pretty much a mud wrestle!
News Report, Syria, oil on canvas, 36"x 36"
Your art can be perceived as a social and political commentary: how do current affairs and political thought feature in your art? Why? My work is almost always message driven because I can’t help it. Society and politics are a large chunk of what we are. A young friend referred to me as an “SJW” somewhat derisively. I had no f***ing clue what he was talking about; apparently it means ‘Social Justice Warrior’ and isn’t cool among young anarchy types. I told him I could give a sh*t about cool and I would embrace their judgment. I mean really, you can sit around being angry and pointing fingers or you can get off yo’ ass and do something about it
Trump's Insane Border Wall ideas, oil on canvas, 36'x 36"
You have exhibited your work internationally and in the United States: how has that changed your vision or inspiration? Upcoming exhibitions? I has been such an affirmation to be invited to show in places far away: Mantua, Milan, Austria, France. It’s just a pleasure; thank you! Up and coming: I have a piece that will be shown at the Cannes Palace Hotel in a show that will coincide with the Cannes Film Festival once it’s been rescheduled after it had to be moved due to the pandemic. I’m currently working on my ‘Symbiotic Revolutionary Army’, the most peaceful army ever, which explores our symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth; watch this space!