Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Horn.
Zach, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I have always been an artist.
My mother is a Jeweler and my grandmother was a painter, so I was raised on Cezanne and Delacroix. My family gave me the triple luxuries of work space, abundant materials, and permission to make a mess.
I was raised outside of Philadelphia and I studied at the University of Pennsylvania for my BA, and at Boston University for my MFA. I appreciate the breadth of my education, having studied a little International Relations and Classical Mythology along with Painting Techniques. Artists now are responsible as much for their conceptual concerns and communication strategies as much as the fluidity of their brushstrokes.
In between school…I traveled: South and Central America, India, New Zealand, Europe. And I fell in love; I have been with my wife since I was 19. Now, we have three rambunctious sons.
After BU, I started teaching. I taught at the College of Charleston in South Carolina for a year. Then we moved to Dorchester. I have been teaching at UMass Boston since 2012 and at BU on occasion.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My artwork is personal. I paint my family, my neighbors, and my day-to-day experiences. I have kids. Parenting is funny, chaotic, and meaningful; I make paintings that reﬂect my life. I paint what I know.
As a contemporary artist, I live in a fascinatingly disorganized time. All visual languages from Observational Representation to Conceptual Abstraction are simultaneously valid. This synchrony has never been true before. As an artist I can scroll through all of art history like it’s an Instagram feed. The visual impulses in my work reﬂect this post-structuralist attitude, pulling from Goya, Frans Hals, Chinese Ink Landscapes, Ben Shahn, and Vija Celmins. It’s all available.
Recently, I have been working on a drawing project in support of labor unions, titled United We Bargain, Divided We Beg. I exhibited the drawings at the Commonwealth Museum in Boston this past spring. The show contained large Asphaltum on Tyvek group portraits of the IBEW Local 2222, the BTU, the SEIU BJ32, and the Ironworkers Local 7. I started United We Bargain,… because my next door neighbor, a Verizon worker, was locked out for seven weeks. I wanted to give faces to the people that the company treated as numbers. The show is inherently optimistic. I believe that paintings can make people think, feel, and behave better. I will bring a second version of this exhibition to the American Labor Museum in September, 2019.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenge facing artists today is the growth in online commerce. Who buys things in stores anymore? I can order paper towels and have them delivered same day.
Art sales are following this trend. Some sales are already happening virtually. Many more occur at ubiquitous art fairs. Both sales options come at the expense of gallery shows. There is less and less justification for the maintenance of the physical space. Many galleries that promote emerging artists have closed in the past few years. It happened to me too. The art business may last, but there will be fewer exhibitions.
The analogous situation in the music business is that we listen to individual songs now and don’t listen to albums. It’s ok, but something is lost.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My work is currently on exhibit at the University of Maine Museum of Art in a solo show, titled Big Rock Candy Mountain. The show will be open through May 4th. My art is available in a few places…Asterisk Projects projects in NYC and Appleton Art and Design in Westport, CT. Locally, My drawings can be seen in the Boston Drawing Project at Carroll & Sons Gallery and in the flat files at LaMontagne Gallery, Boston.
IBEW Local 2222
Aspahltum on Tyvek
87″x79″ and 87″x79″
Asphaltum on Tyvek
Ironworkers Local 7
Asphaltum on Tyvek
SEIU 32 BJ
Asphaltum on Tyvek