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, Iâ€™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 Coopersmithâ€™s right now, but itâ€™s coming down soon. And then Iâ€™m gonna be in there again, for this class with Patrice. And then Iâ€™m gonna enter the BFA show again, hopefully have that one, and thatâ€™s about it. Hopefully a few.
What has your experience of the Fort Collins art scene been like so far, as a student?
Itâ€™s been great. Like honestly, as long as you seek out places to show, thereâ€™s always places to show. Everywhere Iâ€™ve shown since Iâ€™ve started at CSU has been really cool. Showed at Mugs, showed at Wild Boar.
The GNU Gallery is really cool. I havenâ€™t actually shown any of my pieces there, but Iâ€™ve had friends that have done that, and Iâ€™m really excited about that because everybody seems really excited about it.
And everybody I show with is doing their own thing, but weâ€™re all kinda collaborating on this certain level, and everyone kinda knows what weâ€™re doing, but also itâ€™s like â€œoh,â€ we get really interested about it.
What are you interested in expressing through your work?
Right now Iâ€™ve been super into history, like having a painting have a presence, rather than just, â€œOh, this person can paint well,â€ or â€œThis person likes colors,â€ you know?â€
Which is cool, but I feel like I want to express a sort of excitement and layering, so when people see it, theyâ€™re like, â€œOh, this painting went through a processâ€, so now itâ€™s got history and more of a kind-of process based, but still traditional, like, this is a painting.
Iâ€™m trying to get people to take more time with paintings, or really any art, look at it and realize it has history. Iâ€™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?
Iâ€™ve always been into the Abstract Expressionists, and Iâ€™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, theyâ€™re almost illustrators, but theyâ€™ve gotten a lot of critics giving them a lot of sh*t, calling them the â€œnew kitsch mastersâ€ or â€œsentimentalâ€ artists. But really, theyâ€™re doing something more than that. A lot of narrative going on in there.
Local art columnist Alan Perry can be reached at email@example.com.