Artist Studio | Jonathan Saiz

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

What is RedLine? RedLine is a non-profit organization built around three things: community, education, and artists. I came to RedLine a year ago when it opened, and I have a three-year residency. There are 17 other artists here. The whole idea is to build a community and do outreach through art. Some people spend time with students, others work on murals in the community. We have exciting lectures here because they bring in speakers like museum curators. RedLine [founded by Denver artist Laura Merage] is all about networking and connecting artists to the larger community.

Describe your studio at RedLine. It’s important for it to be messy because that sparks unplanned connections, like a wrench sitting on top of a piano.

How would you describe your work? The work I am doing now is really all about the contrast between paintings and sculpture. I’m putting a painting into a sculptural context—contrasting the rough and smooth, the old and new, the beautiful and worn.

What inspires your art? I travel a lot, and in one of my first experiences studying in Paris, I fell in love with huge romantic, classical paintings. Recently, I have been mixing woodworking and romance with a playful Lego concept—making wood forms and stacking them on top of each other. When certain things build on each other, it sparks something else. If I have a gorgeous painting and set a piece of metal next to it, a dialogue happens that I can explore.

Are there any reoccurring themes in your work? I always use a patina and surface treatment—weathered, scraped, and oxidized. It gives each piece its own personal history instead of being brand new.

What is the piano project? I found this piano and thought it was a beautiful shape, and I gave myself permission to cover it with the most sentimental, silly, and decadent paintings. It was part of my own personal education to see how paintings are made and to challenge myself to paint them. The images are all plucked from art history books. I wanted to give myself permission to create something beautiful. Plus Gallery loved it and put it in a show last year. I have plans to do the same thing with a wheelbarrow.

What’s your biggest fear? That I try really hard and believe in what I do but for some twist of fate I never get the opportunity to thrive.

What is your pet peeve? When artists are more interested in being considered an artist than actually getting dirty and making art.

What impresses you about other artists? There’s an artist here who is so methodical about what he does. Things may be slow coming out of his studio and take six months, but he is totally focused and worried only about quality, not quantity.

Where will people find you when you are not painting?
Sometimes the best break for me is a stupid teen movie.

Where do you like to take people when they come to visit? Denver has an amazing culinary perspective, with organic restaurants and locally grown food. I like to take people to Root Down, Twelve Restaurant, and dollar tacos night at Lime, where the whole city comes together to eat tacos.


Plus Gallery, Denver, CO.

Upcoming Show
Solo show, Plus Gallery, through October 31.

Featured in October 2009