We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Rogers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barbara, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
My entire career as a visual artist is one big opportunity for the taking of risks by painting whatever I want and not worrying about what will sell or appeal to museum curators To feel comfortable in using this approach to making my paintings I had to admit that I knew next to nothing about wise investing, the stock market or when to buy bonds. . I never know what my income will be in any given year so I had better be very careful with any money I earn in order to take big risks in what I choose to paint. . I take all my risks in my art making! I don’t buy lottery tickets, visit casinos, ride on motorcycles, drive too fast or even ride a bicycle. All those things are way too risky for me! I always have taught art on the university level and I got my masters degree in order to qualify as a university level educator. I doubt that I would have remained solvent had I, 25 years ago, not hired a wonderful financial planner with fiduciary responsibilities to me to manage my money. I do not want to worry about money! With the exception of corporate commissions, I don’t worry about creating paintings that I think people will like enough to buy. I paint whatever I like and luckily for me, there are enough people who like my work to want to represent me in their galleries and collectors who want to own a few of my paintings.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am most proud of my friendship with my son. In spite of all the teaching jobs, crazy deadlines and alone time in the studio; this bright and loving son of mine is a very happy man who loves his wife, sons and calls me often for a long talk. More time to travel and create this magical garden I have here in Tucson provides constant exciting ideas for more paintings. Every painting I begin makes its own demands. The wonder of this dialogue with paint, color, form and space is what keeps me excited about working. My memories hold all that I have seen, heard and touched in this world. All the colors, shapes, and forms I have experienced are stored and ready to be drawn upon when I am working. When I paint, I am an explorer in the terrain of my own psyche discovering what will emerge as the work develops.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If they are visiting me then they are probably lovers of art, nature and food. Certainly they are “foodies”! Definitely all three of the wonderful art museums in Tucson, The Desert Museum, and The Center for Creative Photography. I would not want them to miss the Tucson Botanical Garden and Tohono Chul Park! For great food and atmosphere, it is definitely Vivace and Kingfisher Bar and Grill. The owner of Kingfisher loves art, artists and musicians. Often live music competes for your attention from the fabulous art collection. The art is not for sale. The owner/chef,Jim Murphy, collects really good art! Vivace is THE restaurant where friends often say that each entree is worthy of that famous scene in When Harry met Sally! Unique and unusual clothes lovers have to be taken to Limited Additions in Saint Phillips Plaza!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The list of people, art schools, university administrators, art critics, galleries and museum curators who have helped me maintain a career in this tough field of the Visuals Arts is too long to mention. I would like to start the response to your excellent question with a sincere thank you to the Gebert Family and the Director of their Scottsdale Gallery , The Director of Gebert Contemporary Gallery is Bill Lykins. He and the Geberts invited me to join their gallery in 2003. It has been a wonderful 17 year relationship! Being invited to exhibit my work in solo museum exhibitions at just the right time in my life were “game -changers” for me! I will be forever grateful to Suzanne Foley, former senior curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gina Cavallo Collins, curator, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Julie Sasse, senior curator, Tucson Museum. of Art. Being invited to have work exhibited in important group exhibitions also helped shape my career. That aspect started with having my work in the Chicago Art Institute Biennial, The San Francisco Art Institute Annual and then coming to Arizona and meeting the amazing Marilyn Zeitlin, former Director of the Arizona State Museum of Art. By exhibiting my work in her “Another Arizona” exhibition she also became my friend and without her wisdom and experience; my book, Barbara Rogers The Imperative of Beauty would not exist. Last but certainly not least is the opportunity I had to be a Full Professor at the University of Arizona, School of Art. A big thank you to Moira Geoffrion who hired me. The painter, my friend, Robert Colescott, encouraged me to take the job, to leave San Francisco, and to come to the fabulous state of Arizona. Thanks Bob!