Nov 092011
Authors: Alan Perry

This past Friday, I sat down with Alex Runge, a local painter here at CSU who is about to finish his last semester.

Runge is a Fort Collins native, and plays the guitar for his music project Sketches. His paintings have a unique and expressive presence.

What are your plans after graduating?

Probably just work for a while, keep painting. I want to look into some artist residencies, so I need to start researching that.

Yeah, I’ll probably stick around here for a while, making art, making music, just trying to find a job that pays more than a pizza shop.

Do you have any upcoming shows?

I do, I have stuff in Coopersmith’s right now, but it’s coming down soon. And then I’m gonna be in there again, for this class with Patrice. And then I’m gonna enter the BFA show again, hopefully have that one, and that’s about it. Hopefully a few.

What has your experience of the Fort Collins art scene been like so far, as a student?

It’s been great. Like honestly, as long as you seek out places to show, there’s always places to show. Everywhere I’ve shown since I’ve started at CSU has been really cool. Showed at Mugs, showed at Wild Boar.

The GNU Gallery is really cool. I haven’t actually shown any of my pieces there, but I’ve had friends that have done that, and I’m really excited about that because everybody seems really excited about it.

And everybody I show with is doing their own thing, but we’re all kinda collaborating on this certain level, and everyone kinda knows what we’re doing, but also it’s like “oh,” we get really interested about it.

What are you interested in expressing through your work?

Right now I’ve been super into history, like having a painting have a presence, rather than just, “Oh, this person can paint well,” or “This person likes colors,” you know?”

Which is cool, but I feel like I want to express a sort of excitement and layering, so when people see it, they’re like, “Oh, this painting went through a process”, so now it’s got history and more of a kind-of process based, but still traditional, like, this is a painting.

I’m trying to get people to take more time with paintings, or really any art, look at it and realize it has history. I’m letting the under layers show though, letting people know that there were things that were painted over, and they were painted over for a reason.

What do you draw the most inspiration from, and who are your favorite artists?

I’ve always been into the Abstract Expressionists, and I’ve been looking at a lot of de Kooning. Francis Bacon, for one, is awesome. These artists are pursuing something internal, like showing frustration or showing excitement through the way they paint. But also, I like Andrew Wyeth a lot, which is a whole different style.

I went to Pennsylvania a few years ago and saw the Wyeth Museum. It had N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth, this whole generation of, I dunno, they’re almost illustrators, but they’ve gotten a lot of critics giving them a lot of sh*t, calling them the “new kitsch masters” or “sentimental” artists. But really, they’re doing something more than that. A lot of narrative going on in there.

Local art columnist Alan Perry can be reached at

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