"When you're looking (or listening), notice the scale of different elements in an artwork."
Artist Gryphon Rue on drawing exquisite corpses as a child, children's choirs, and a chance encounter with Richard Serra.
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Great artists make artists. And to prove that point, over 70 of today's greatest have contributed their work in support of Children's Museum of the Arts' Emergency Arts Education Fund, establishing utterly ambitious art programs in New York City schools that need them most.
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Below, meet auction artist Gryphon Rue.
Gryphon as a young artist
Do you have a favorite memory of making art as a child?
I loved to draw exquisite corpses with my dad as a child. It comforted me. After my parents separated, I was having a very rough time, and we would draw exquisite corpses in different places, after meals at home or at restaurants. It was probably consoling for both of us, and a nice thing we could enjoy together. We made a lot of them.
What advice would you give to young artists who wish to pursue an art practice?
Make sure you see art in person. The internet is useful for learning about art but it's important to see the real thing. Find out what "scale" means. When you're looking (or listening), notice the scale of different elements in an artwork.
How does working with children inspire you?
I'm inspired by how children sing. I assembled a makeshift children's choir to sing the lyrics of a song I wrote called “Google Portrait.” The sounds of their perfectly out-of-tune voices was the most beautiful thing on the album.
When did you first know you were going to be an artist?
Strangely, I decided I would be an artist several years ago – but I already was an artist.
Can you describe a formative experience visiting a museum or gallery?
I was obsessed with magic as a young person. My father and I were sitting in a back room of a gallery. I wasn't sure why we were sitting there, but a famous artist named Richard Serra showed up and sat down. I had a deck of cards, and Richard Serra asked me to show him a trick. I showed him how gamblers cheat at poker, dealing the bottom card instead of the top card to give themselves a favorable hand. I dealt the cards and after demonstrating this, Richard said, "It would be really impressive if now you had the four aces." I turned over my hand and showed him a royal flush. His face turned bright red and he bolted up out of his seat and said "I'm outta here" and he left the room and walked out of the gallery.
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