By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? Within a decade of graduating from art school, I had worked for illustration agents in New York and Chicago. And I had exhibited my fine art in 16 galleries. By the end of 2001, I had determined I needed to make some stylistic changes to my work to achieve my future goals. I began a three-year journey of study and experimentation. By 2005 I was ready to present a new series of work, only to be sidelined by health and financial issues. The painting was originally titled SUCCESS OR FAILURE, and it was an expression of doubt about my ability to re-enter the art world with the financial pressures of being a father of three young children. The self-portrait displayed on the computer monitor is of a painting I did during my explorations. At the desk, I sit in the present, weighed down by increasing struggles. On the French easel in the foreground, a new self portrait looks out to the future with uncertainty. A calendar on the wall expresses the passing of years.
Do you come from an artistic background? My dad’s sister was a painter. My father’s an engineer, so I have some of that mechanical drawing influence in my background.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, OH.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? People. I like telling stories.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Right before I took two years off, I had the pleasure of painting at the Northwest Rendezvous with artists who are at the top of their game. They were also very pragmatic about the life of an artist. I kept saying things like, “Someday it will all get easier.” They would say, “No, you need to get over that.” All of us professional artists are painting because we love it. It’s a tough life, but most of us can’t imagine living without it.
Future goals? What every artist wants: To make a living with my art. I don’t want to be rich and famous but just provide for my family. To that end I am currently seeking more gallery representation.
Representation: Quent Cordair Fine Art, Napa, CA; www.sanders-studios.com.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010