December 2018
Artist Interview
O'Delle Abney 

After getting his Masters Degree    
from Carnegie-Mellon University, he was quickly picked up by King Pitcher Gallery in Pittsburgh, who placed his work in prominent collections like Jones and Laughlin Steel, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries and Bidwell Cultural Center.  He then moved to New York where his work was placed in the collection of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

He then started Abney Galleries, an artist collective, in Soho for five years, then moved to Chelsea where he opened World F‌ine Art Gallery for the next 10 years.  The gallery closed it's doors in 2010 and he became an artist agent and continued painting a new series of artworks entitled "CANVAS ON CANVAS" where he expanded on his past work using folded layers of poured color patterns.  He says, "By letting paint do what paint does, I am able to experience the natural flow of nature, be it microscopic, aerial or global, the view is the same."  He continues to live and work in New York.
At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to become an artist? Did the realization emerge slowly?
In grade school there was a girl who had epileptic seizures in class and everyone made fun of her.  However she would doodle on envelopes, sketches of fashion models that fascinated me.  I wanted to draw like that.  It turns out I was good at it and made straight "A's" through high school graduation.  Everyone knew me as "the artist".
How did you evolve your style and favorite mediums? 
My strong suit was figurative drawing.  I taught advanced figure drawing at the Ivy School of Professional Art for about two years.  Figure drawing turned into a "Stretched Skin Series" where I abstracted the figure into organic forms.  That lead to the "Veil and Organ Series" which added the element of poured paint.  The next series was related to color field paintings like Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, etc.  I stopped painting when I found out I could not run a gallery a pursue a painting career.  That lasted 18 years. Since 2010 after closing the gallery, I restarted painting with my current series. 

What are your time management techniques? Do you have regular working hours...or favorite times to work?
My painting is 90% cerebral, coming up with new ideas and ways to solve painting problems.  If I have a show coming up, I do whatever is necessary to meet the deadline of delivering the works.  But most of the time I get my work done in August when my videotaping schedule is free.

Do you work on more than one piece at a time, or primarily just on one?
Usually just one.
What would you say is your biggest influence -- that which keeps you working, regardless of all else, your most steadfast motivation?
Exhibiting is a strong incentive, but mostly I just have the need to create, which is part of my true purpose in life.

Does trying something new and not knowing the rules -- the boundary pushing -- create anxiety or excitement in you?  (Or both?)
Since I work in series, one style is created until it becomes easy or to well known.  After that there is a need to push the boundaries of that series, add another element to it or change mediums

Do you enjoy having the "duality of both chaos and control" or are you happiest with a set plan?
No matter how well planned, there will always be the unexpected.  Working in a series helps eliminate most of the risks of starting new.
Do you have any projects or events forthcoming?
Yes.  The next so far is my annual group show at Noho Gallery in August 2019.
O'Delle Abney