Tony Gregg (born 1976 in Angola, Indiana) is a Rhode Island-based abstract painter. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and has been actively painting since 1998. Tony’s work is primarily an introspective expression, a product of his environment and the events that happen within it, past and present. Upon this framework, he attempts to build an emotional connection between himself, the painting, and the observer.Tell us your story, why did you become an artist?
I need an outlet, without it, I feel very claustrophobic and suffocated. Art is meditative for me, it’s a release of tension and stress. I can loosen myself from the confines of reality, and just create. Art has always been a significant part of who I am, and without it I feel somewhat rudderless. It doesn’t define “who I am” but without it I lack definition…. Does that clear it up? (Laughing). I paint because I have to, I didn’t think that to always be true, but the more I paint,
the more I realize that it’s a need and not frivolous thing for me.
When you create a new work, how do you go about it? What comes first?
I do I lot of “mind-work” first, asking myself a lot of questions, like: what do I think was successful in past work? What failed? Why did it fail? Is it worth another attempt? What am I feeling right now, and what does that look like? The answers to those questions provide me with a rough idea of the general color direction, and I suppose a level of risk I feel comfortable taking. From there, my well thought out plan usually falls to pieces with the first few strokes of paint I put down, after that, it’s a battle of plan vs. intuition and vibe.What can you tell us about your studio, what makes it special to you and how does it influence the way you work?
My studio is an unfinished, multi-use space within my home, which, currently for me, is perfect. I always dreamt of having a separate building I could go to when I paint, but there is certainly something to be said for having a dedicated space within steps that’s readily available at any time. Thinking about it, there’s not much I would say makes it “special” to me, other than it allows me the area needed to be creative without being too careful of the environment, and in that way, it influences my work as I go. I’m not worried about a drip or a spill, I can just go for it and let whatever happens on the canvas happen. In addition to that, I have a separate space where I build the stretchers for my canvases, as well as the floating frames I make for most of my finished pieces.Is there a work of art in your life that has especially impressed you?
I have an eclectic list of favorite artists, whose work when I’ve been lucky enough to view in person just leaves me feeling completely inept, humbled, and wanting to push my own abilities further. Dali, Wyeth, Pollock, and Sargent, to more contemporary artists like Matthew Ritchie, Chuck Close, James Jean, and Shepard Fairey all heavily push me on.
Reach to the stars: where will you be in 5 years?
Truthfully, this is a difficult question for me to answer. Not because I don’t know where I want to be in five years’ time, but because things as they are now are great. I’m able to create at a pace I’m comfortable with, with only the pressures I put on myself to drive me. What’s better than that? With that said, in five years’ time, I hope to have broader recognition, placement in additional galleries, and more consistency in the creative work I’m producing.Learn more about the artist: