Today we’d like to introduce you to Frederika Roeder.
Frederika, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
When I was five years old, my mother took me to art classes at what was the Pacific Asian Museum in Pasadena, California, where I fell in love with the feeling of a studio and limitless crayons! Later she would accompany me to museums in the Southern California region. There were always art books around that I loved to look at, especially Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
I was also lucky because my dad had always dreamt of being an architect. While running a private business his friends in LA included John Lautner, and I got to listen to them talk about concept design and space, while dreaming of building a treehouse! Their conversations sparked my imagination and led me to believe that dreaming, building, painting were all perfectly attainable pursuits!
As a senior, I was influenced by Jackson Pollack throwing paint in the garage on Long Island. I thought, “How fun to have that kind of freedom to express yourself!”
Later I found myself employed at Vogue magazine in New York City, where I had the opportunity to work with many famous fashion photographers including Richard Avedon. While working, I was also attending art classes at classic schools like the School of Visual Arts College and Hunter College Studio with Baldessari. Somewhere during this period my eyes and hands were trained to see large landscapes – either with the verticality of New York City, or the broad horizontals of the ocean here in California – and these perspectives have continued to influence my work.
I am, both in upbringing and soul, a Southern Californian. I spent most of my life in San Clemente and other iconic SoCal’s surfing neighborhoods. Insider surf spots like San Onofre, T-Street, Riviera and all the way up to 40th Street in Newport Beach were my haunts. I surfed for fun and as a competitor – and for many years I felt like I spent more time in the water than on dry land. As an artist, I see a convergence of sports – particularly water sports – and painting.
Carving is a term used both in surfing and skiing – carving on the wave or carving on snow. You have to study those waves; look at the snow just like a painter. We have to know our materials, know how it’s going to look on the canvas. Or maybe not know – and embrace the magic of the unknown as any good athlete has to do. What I am most grateful for is that my two loves – painting and sports – have persisted to this day in my life and I find a similarity between the two.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I am principally a California Light and Space artist. I work both in the studio and outside. My work is primarily abstract yet deeply rooted in a Southern California experience. I am a fourth generation native Californian, so I feel almost indigenous to the area as it is the background, foreground, and middle ground of my work.
I have worked in oil, watercolor and ceramic – but my primary medium is acrylic, including acrylic mediums, gels and glazes. The process, materials including the Ground, and the subject are relevant to me. I like to reference art making by exposing the canvas or linen so that it is part of the work. I often use materials influenced by the surfing or skiing industries: fluorescent sprays, iridescent, epoxy resins, beaded glass gels, and inks. Combined with oils, inks, acrylics, pastes and fluid and matte mediums, these materials achieve the luminosity in my paintings: the glare of the sun on a gritty Los Angeles street, the iridescent grunion in the Pacific waters at low tide; the dangerous grayness of a whiteout in the High Sierras.
I paint as a form of communication. I speak through the visual more than through words. The messages can be simultaneously personal and global. I respond to the cherished and iconic surfing beaches of SoCal, especially as they are becoming endangered – and may become extinct – unless we cherish the greater environment.
At a personal level, I grapple with notions of disconnect to connect – from disconnection to reunion – or loving what we have while we have it! This message seems to be applicable on both a personal and environmental level.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
I believe the most difficult challenges that artists face today are time, money, and community support. I feel the time has literally shrunk for everyone: men, women, children, adolescents, young adults – so that both making and viewing art can easily be subverted to a lesser importance, an in-between space, or an easily forgotten area of life when for centuries it has been of prime importance. The reasons are obvious: job competition, school demands, and a computerized work and personal life that limits the undisturbed continuum and luxuriousness of making and seeing art – a time-intensive activity.
Now, an artist has to carve out the time, literally suspending responsibilities, even relationships. Finances are challenging for nearly all artists and most have day jobs to support their lives and families. There are so many hidden and not so hidden expenses: studios, supplies, marketing, photography, printing, fees involved with exhibiting. There are grants, but that becomes an industry unto itself, so many artists self-fund in today’s world.
The last is cultural support. Feeling supported within the community is necessary to fuel for artists. I believe that the art world in the USA is sequestered from daily life, unlike pop culture by saying a Burger. Whereas in other cultures the acceptance of art-making and viewing is as acceptable as our pop culture is to the USA. I feel we need to look at that, especially when we realize how we value, say, the Mona Lisa. It is a reminder that artists and art making are important to the culture.
- Address: 267 Annandale Road, Pasadena, CA 91105
- Website: frederikabroeder.com; laaa.org
- Phone: 626-844-6467
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/frederikabroeder
- Facebook: facebook.com/frederika.roeder
- Twitter: @frederikabroeder
- Other: artslant.com