Brenda Stumpf Interview - The Hopper Prize

Brenda Stumpf

Brenda Stumpf on maintaining a rigorous studio practice, developing a vocabulary of materials, and finding inspiration in the landscape.

How did you get into making art?

I knew at around 6 years old that art and creating was my path. It was a feeling. I felt and still feel the most focused and alive when I’m working on my art.

I’m a self-taught artist (left art school after 2 years) and began exhibiting and selling my work in the mid-1990s and is recognized for my intricate use of unorthodox materials.

What are you currently working on?

Recently I’ve been using an ink transfer process, with my photographs as a base, for large mixed media paintings. The imagery is both man-made structures and monolithic rock formations. The surfaces reference the decay of time and being left to the elements. There’s an other worldly quality to them – sort of dark and enchanted, especially paired with her found object sculptures that are coated in a thin layer of concrete and reactive rust paint and have a feel of memorial urns or ritual objects.

I felt and still feel the most focused and alive when I’m working on my art.

Brenda Stumpf

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I returned to Colorado after living in the eastern United States for some years and quickly began exploring more closely the western lanscapes and photographing the monolithic rocks that felt akin to my sculpture forms.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I tend to create a focused body of work which can take me two to three years to complete. My pieces are sometimes very large and I enjoy developing several of them at the same time so a vocabulary of materials and context is born and connected through the work from beginning to end.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I’m a morning person and LOVE getting to work earlier than later. The first thing that usually happens at the studio is me surveying what I had done the last time I was working. I have a rather structured approach to getting stuff done so there’s lists of items to buy or a specific process to attempt to get done and timelines to stay on top of. I do my best to remember to eat and then there’s always the afternoon espresso reboot and rounding out the last few hours before 5:00 by finishing up what can be done and planning the start of the next day’s agenda.

Who are your favorite artists?

Some of my favorite artists are Anselm Kiefer, Cy Twombly, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Petah Coyne, Mark Bradford, Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Michaël Borremans

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I discover new artists sometimes at museum or gallery exhibitions and many times through conversations with my fellow artist friends.

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