Gregory Euclide is an artist and teacher living in the Minnesota River Valley. His work has been featured in shows at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MASS MoCA, Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, and was presented as a solo exhibition Nature Out There, at the Nevada Museum of Art. Euclide’s work is featured on the Grammy Award winning album covers of the musical group Bon Iver and on the cover of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #43. He received his MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Hi Gregory. Nature is the common thread through your work, is this your starting point and source inspiration?
My experience in the land, our definition of nature and how we use nature are all starting points for me. There is this thing that means so many different things to different people. Often we place ourselves outside of it, as if it is always over there… somewhere else. I try to make a visual for what I am thinking about as I walk in the land.
In your landscapes organic matter is juxtaposed with man-made materials, how did this practice develop?
That is simply what I see in the land when I walk through it. That is how I know it. I’m trying to be truthful.
You have described your work as “contemporary landscape painting”, could you elaborate on this?
I mean that it reflects on what we know about how land functions in our mind, in our economy or how it has functioned in history.
“Writing has “influenced” me the most, but music is my companion. It is the thing that I feel the most.”
There is a lot of variety in your work, from 2D to 3D and a wide range of materials. Do you experiment a lot within your practice and how important is it to keep trying new things as an artist?
Everything I do is an experiment. I do have works that I finish and frame, but I think of the entire practice as one experiment after another. There is very little pressure for me to “finish” a work. It is an attempt to explain something and each time I attempt I learn something.
You have worked a lot with musicians, particularly on their artwork, are you inspired and influenced by music at all?
It is far and away the most important part of my life. Writing has “influenced” me the most, but music is my companion. It is the thing that I feel the most.
Some of your work plays with decay and destruction. Do you feel we are too precious about art pieces?
A little decay is good. I still use PVA glue on all my handmade parts and spray them with varnish and so on, but there needs to be balance. In work that is addressing growth and decay and materials, it isn’t honest to omit the idea of decay. I frame the works. I use archival materials. BUT I like there to be a feeling of entropy as well. It is healthy and should be expected. It does not mean that the work is broken. It means that the work is full. More real.
You are also a high school teacher, does this job affect your art practice?
I wake up very early every day and teach 5 classes on totally different subject matters. Graphic Design, Painting, Drawing, Introduction, Sculpture. It takes a lot of patients and some days I just don’t have it in me. I am constantly dealing with individuals who do not have a developmental milestone that I expect of most of my interactions. They lack the developed prefrontal cortex and it makes a big deal. I love being a part of their understanding of the world through the ideas of art. There really is no better way to explore history and ideas.
“Everything I do is an experiment. I do have works that I finish and frame, but I think of the entire practice as one experiment after another.”