Seamus Conley is a talented hyperealistic painter who is having an exhibition next year at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, WA. He has given Hi-Fructose a peek inside his downtown San Francisco art studio as well as an in depth look into the process he goes through to create his idyllic oil paintings.
Studio at the foot of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, CA
What is your studio space like?
My studio is downtown San Francisco at the foot of the Bay Bridge, I’ve been there over 3 years. It is in a building with a lot of other artist studios and other companies. It’s a block away from my gallery here, so it’s really convenient for walking paintings over. It’s pretty quiet and everyone is really cool, great place to get work done.
Seamus Conley in his studio
What collections or inspirations do you surround yourself with in your studio?
I don’t like too many distractions while I paint, so I try and keep things pretty minimal. I do have a bookshelf full of art books that I look at sometimes..
Do work in your studio every day?
Yup, paint everyday. I fool around on my computer at home, working on ideas and general procrastination.. I have lunch and then I get into my studio about 2pm. I stay until late night … then I wake up the next day and do it again.
Once in the studio do you have an habits or rituals that get your creativity flowing?
As soon I as I walk in I plug in my lights, turn my radio on, take my computer out from under my couch (so robbers wont see it if they break in) and look at the painting I’m working on and decide what needs to be done that day. Then I get on my phone and check emails, make phone calls and put off painting as long as I can… and I am a bit like “Rainman” when it comes to watching Seinfeld everyday @ 6:30.
Could you share a little about the process of putting together an exhibition?
I get a little nervous at the begining and can’t comprehend how I’m going to get so much work done in so little time… I kind of come up with a bunch of mini deadlines for each painting and that makes it a little easier, but overall painting for a show is a little stressful and takes a bit of a toll on your social life. I’ve been working with the same themes for the past couple years now and just want them to evolve naturally. I am always about 4 or 5 “ideas” ahead of myself.
I primarily use photoshop to build my compositions. I usually keep 4 or 5 files open at one time and fool with them a little everyday until I get something I like. Then I do the actual painting after that. I use many photo based source images for one painting (sometimes up to 10) and layer them on top of one another… usually the figure is a candid snap shot of someone I find on the street..
What are some good tips and habits about working in an art studio that you can share with our readers?
1. I think it’s important to have a space separate from the “real world” so you can give your work your undivided attention.
2. TV’s and internet connections are evil in the studio…
3. Get in your studio once a day
4. Clean your studio at least once a year
5. Dance around and act a fool as often as possible.. the solitude can drive you nuts and make you too serious of a person…
6. Studio mates are flakes
7. Introduce yourself to your neighbors so they don’t thing you’re an a@#hole
8. I’ve found all my studios on craigslist
9. have a couch for naps and a few snacks around
10. paint your ass off