Artist You Need To Know: Alan Neider
Alan Neider is serious about his art. With over five decades of art industry experience, Alan has established himself as a true multidimensional painter. His style has combined painting, collage and sculpture. Neider’s work has a theme of combining challenging surfaces, multiple textures and colorful materials in order to create 3 dimensional masterpieces.
“My work has always been about painting. I built out from the surface of my first paintings because the forms needed to come out into space. Some early paintings were free standing 3-dimensional forms. Some of the forms I have built and painted include: chairs, lamps, curtains, dresses as well as dimensional abstract paintings that hang on the wall. I create/build difficult and challenging surfaces to paint. I believe these surfaces in conjunction with the inherent textures of wood, fabric and ceramics lead to a richer, complex experience.”
Alan’s works have been the subject of multiple gallery shows as well as numerous public commissions, including a freestanding sculpture titled “Lake Dance” which was installed atop Chicago’s Navy Pier.
We recently spoke with the talented Neider about his start in the art world, his favorite NYC gallery opening and advice he'd give to new artists.
When did you start making art?I have been making art my entire life. I can remember doing number paintings at my grandparents house when I was quite young and just loving it... loving the smell of the oil, mixing the paint, staying in the blue lines. So there was never any doubt that I was going to pursue art as a career, never any doubt that I was going to study art in college.
What was the first piece you sold?
I have a BA in Ceramics from Long Beach State, CA. I started selling the pottery I was making in school which really helped support me. This was around 1965 onwards.
How has your style evolved throughout your career?
I have always been most interested in Painting. This stems from having spent my childhood with my grandparents. My grandfather painted the outside of the house in the summer, the inside in winter. I have fond memories of seeing, smelling and touching the paint and brushes. My work has evolved as I have been exposed to artists that impact and impress me. Ashley Bickerton has informed my paintings in showing me how an accomplished artist can be so loose, crazy-nuts and still have so much to say. Ibrahim Mahama is inspiring and impacting my work currently. I would not be incorporating used coffee bean bags that I stain with tar and rip and tear if I had not discovered him. I believe my style has actually remained fairly consistent throughout my career. When I look at paintings from the mid-60's I still like them and see direct similarities to my work now.
What pieces are you most proud of?
I am proud of my body of work as a total group. Work that I don't feel good about disappears. Of course, I am most interested, invested and maybe proud of the work I am currently making.
How has the art world changed since you started?
The art world has clearly become bigger, more complex. While there are more opportunities for artists there is much more competition. The internet has served to expand and engage the art world and artist.
How do you know when a work is finished?
I have been told by a dealer "Alan don't you know when to stop?" In fact the paintings do speak-to me. They let me know when they are finished. Mostly I work on ten paintings at once. I start all of them at the same time, go through each step and finish them at the same time.
What is the best gallery show you have attended?
I see a great deal of art, mostly in NYC, The first time I saw Ashley Bickerton’s work at Lehmann Maupin on the lower east side is one of my favorites.
What advice do you have for young artists?
Make work you believe in. If you don't know what that is I suggest stopping and go see a lot of art.
Do you collect art? What do you have in your collection?
I have traded work with others artists. I don't actually collect. My wife often buys art that we have hanging.
What is something you would like people to know about you?I am extremely serious about art and my art. I am totally confident that I have something to "say" with my paintings.