CARA THAYER & LOUIE VAN PATTEN / INTERVIEW
16 May 2012


Cara Thayer & Louie Van Patten are collaborative artists that work out of Bend, Oregon.  A great deal of their work uses the human form as architectural, fleshy armatures for paint. These edifices of flesh and physicality are as much about the pseudobiographical qualities of the paint as they are about the representative effects of the paint. We see canvas as an analogue for skin and paint as viscera and we experiment with the conventional hierarchy of these materials, by allowing the painted flesh to resemble the painted canvas.


Describe yourself with 10 words.

Collaborative artists with similar dispositions and a love for paint.

Describe your work with 10 words

Oil paintings of visceral human forms, often with lurid palettes.

Who´s the first artist/photographer that comes to your mind first?

Francis Bacon - love that guy.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, where do you come from and where is your journey going to?

Cara grew up in Bend, Oregon and Louie grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. We met in Chicago, while Cara was attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Our collaborative process began with resin and spray paint works, but quickly diverged into oil painting. We enjoy painting more than just about anything else and we enjoy working together even more than that. We intend to proceed with those ideas in mind.

How would you describe your style?

We are not sure our work has a distinct style at this point, beyond the idea of two people working on one canvas. We have been working to develop our collaborative dialogue and a foundation from which to build from in our work. We do see a certain gender ambiguity in the formal qualities of our paintings and the imagery itself and we like the challenge of using human forms to attempt to evoke something beyond the banality of body parts.

Your house is on fire, what do you save?

It would have been the dog, but alas the dog is dead, so now we are left with the modern phenomenon of computer and external hard drive rescuing.

Something you want the world to know about you?

We hope to eventually make paintings worth knowing, but nothing about us is terribly important.

Tell us a song that has haunted you.

There have surely been many songs that have rattled around in ours heads, with or without our permission. Unfortunately, no one song has haunted us in the poetic (or histrionic) way. For the sake of having an answer, lets go with "Women's Studies Victims" by of Montreal.

What keeps you motivated and inspires you go to on every day?

We motivate and inspire each other, which is a nice way of saying that when one of us is being a useless turd, the other drags them along until they straighten up. It could also be argued that being fortunate enough to have the ability and the means to make art everyday is motivation enough. Beyond that, we love music, film, comedy, and craft beer.

What did you want to be with 13?

Cara wanted to be a scientist, Louie doesn't remember what he wanted to be. It might has been as obvious as "artist."

How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

This is where being collaborative is very useful. We are able to divide up the responsibilities and it works out quite while. As far as making a living as artists, that seems to be a continuing struggle, necessitating the creation other bodies of work to sell on the internet.

What can we accept from you in 2012, any concrete plans?

We are just trying to produce as many paintings as we can this year - trying to push in new directions and refine existing ideas. Our art is currently up at The Virginia Inn art bar in Seattle - sadly, we have no exhibition plans beyond that for 2012.

italian or chinese?

Bad chinese food is better than bad italian food, unless we are including pizza, then italian may very well win. Apparently, there is a restaurant in Des Moines that serves a crab rangoon pizza, so there's that. You do mean food, right?













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