INTERVIEW//STUDIO VISIT: CHRISTIAN MAYCHACK

CHRISTIAN MAYCHACK ARTIST STUDIO

We recently got a chance to get a look into artist Christian Maychack’s workspace and ask him a few questions about his art.

You’ve predominantly used wood, epoxy clay, and pigment for your creations. Can you tell us about your process and how you create your swirling compositions?

Most of my work begins with a lot of drawings of wooden structures that I want to build, or different problems I want to set up for myself.  Sometimes I have an inkling of how I will react to the structure in advance, but even so, they tend to go their own way once they are constructed.  At this point I spend a lot of time entertaining ideas on how to work with and against this wooden form, sometimes simultaneously.  When I have picked a direction for the piece, I then construct a mold around the wood to later push the pigmented epoxy clay against.
What’s next is the choosing and mixing of color, which tends to take the longest time and the most consideration.  I like being able to use color to alternately overpower the wood or to let it come forward, almost as an image of itself.  The actual mixing of the color tends to take awhile and be quite physical.  I have to knead the pigment into the epoxy clay until it is completely saturated.  Once my palette is chosen I lay down the epoxy into the form.
After the material cures I sand into the epoxy and wood, then polish it to create a completely smooth surface.  If at this point the piece isn’t working I will carve or route into the material so that I can inlay more epoxy to incorporate into the surface.  In the end, no material sits on top of any other.  The wood is never meant to be at the service of, or solely the support for the color.  This lack of material hierarchy has been an important part of this work.
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Describe a day in the life of Christian Maychack. Do you work on a schedule or prefer to work when inspired? Do you ever encounter artist’s block and if so, what do you do to deal with it?
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I prefer to work all the time, but that’s just not practical.  I end up juggling studio time with freelance carpentry work, so I never really have a schedule to speak of.  I do try and be there almost everyday.
I think inspiration usually comes from working through a problem in the studio and the out-of-the-blue flash of inspiration  is rare and precious.  So, for that reason, working through a block seems to be the most helpful.  If I’m stuck with the work I have, starting a completely new piece is pretty effective.  Although, procrastination works too.
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Do you anticipate you’ll use other mediums in the future?
I’m sure that I will, and I suppose I would be a fool to think otherwise.  Although, for the time being I am working to expand my language with the three materials I have been using.  Ever since I started focussing more on color, my range of possibilities has opened up.  I feel like I have a lot of room left to explore in this body of work and that’s an unusual feeling for me. I am much more accustomed to having the urge to completely reinvent my practice after every show.
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Can you list a few visual artists you adore?
Charline von Heyl, Jessica Stockholder, Martin Puryear, Susan Bricker, Vincent Fecteau, Richard Diebenkorn, Ron Nagle, Keltie Ferris, Eva Hesse, Thomas Nozkowski, Jessica Dickinson, and Ralph Humphrey.
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What are some things you’d like people to take away from your art?
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I guess I want people to walk away inspired.
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-Interview by Natacha Pavlov
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