“…most importantly, a lot of the art that I have made this year has been about cowgirls.”
I think every artist dreams of the day when their work can be recognized as theirs without having to TELL anyone it’s their work, aka having a signature style.
Anti-Standard interviewee number THREE is an artist whose work has her name written all over it. Meet Gaby Schaab, artist, student, eclectic extraordinaire, and Elvis Presley super-fan.
Q. In three adjectives, how would you describe your art?:
I would describe my art as playful, personal, and domestic. I started out drawing and I plan on going into a career in textile and surface design because it combines that with fashion and interior design, which I am also interested in. Color is a really important part of what makes my drawings my own and it has followed me into other art practices that I’m just starting to get into now. Installation art has become really important to me in my second semester at art school and I have been making setups that are kind of like little rooms around MassArt. The idea of what a house is, what a home is, and whether there is a difference between those two, etc. are becoming a very important part of my art. That has also allowed me to insert personal detail into these pieces. Everything that I make is layered with self-referential material, which I think can be said of most artists. If art is storytelling, it makes sense for pieces of our histories to slip into the work. I am also deeply inspired by the alternative music scene and want to one day become the owner of a music venue that is also a boarding house. It will be interesting to see the combination of a house’s privatism and the communal aspect of live music. The house will hopefully be a living, breathing art project.
“I think that the fabric we use in our lives should be colorful and fun.”
Q. Who and what inspires you the most?
A. As far as drawing goes, I am really inspired by textile prints from the 1960s and 70s. I think that the fabric we use in our lives should be colorful and fun. And in terms of the boarding house idea, I am fascinated by the relationship between art and music. I am inspired by artists like Alice Baxley, who is a photographer that works with a lot of the bands I interview, and Taylor Bonin, who works with The Growlers and The Garden. I would love to see more of a connection between these two mediums.
I feel like, after my first year at art school, I am also more aware of materials. I love Astroturf, although I have usually been using other materials, like yarn, to mimic it, cellophane, and found materials. I make mixed media work a lot and I like being able to find new uses for objects that would otherwise be thrown away. I am a pack rat but for good reason; these objects can be up-cycled into art pieces. They each have a story to tell and it creates less waste in our landfills. And finally, but perhaps most importantly, a lot of the art that I have made this year has been about cowgirls. I use it to parallel my first year living on my own and exploring the new frontier of being a young person living in Boston. I had my first solo show this year called Cross Cowgirl Pollination and all of the art was about cowgirls. I would like to have the show every year at MassArt if possible, but it would be open call and I would curate and install it. Cowgirls are fun and I think it would be fun to open the project up to other people.
Q. What is your favorite medium to work with?:
A. Most of my work is mixed media, I love drawing and collage. I like to work quickly, which mixed media allows me to do. I use Sharpies often and I combine my drawings with wrappers, magazine papers and images of varied textures. I have also enjoyed trying out new mediums at school that I did not have the opportunity to do before and hope to continue with those. For one of my classes, I made videos with all appropriated imagery, which was a really cool experience. The idea of what is truly new and what is not in the age of the Internet seems to be a huge conversation that is being had right now in the art world. It was also very rewarding to directly insert music into my work. I was also able to try 3D for the first time this year and made a lot of work with plaster and cellophane. I’m really excited to try and see where that takes me over the summer. And not to sound like a broken record, but I absolutely fell in love with installation this year and I think that it is a medium that really allows me to think in a way that works best for me.
Q. Tell us about your zine, Gush Girl:
A. Gush Girl is a solo project; there is one volume so far and it comes entirely from my sketchbook. Sketchbooking is really important to me and was a huge part of my day-to-day life before coming to Mass Art. Senior year was hard for me in a lot of ways and having a sketchbook gave me a place to clear my head.
Since coming to school I haven’t had as much time for it but I also don’t feel that I really depend on it in the same way because I have been so happy. Now that I have the time, I do want to try to get back into sketch-booking over the summer, so maybe there will be another volume coming out soon. My friend Naomi and I want to try and get a zine out together this summer. I’m very excited about that because zines are such a culture. Especially in this day and age, where the Internet is so absorbing, I think we could use some more print medium. I also like the idea of the locality of zines and the fact that it helps to build community.
Q. If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
Although I am so interested in the pop culture in the later half of ALL of the last century, I would chose to stay where I am. I am a firm believer in fate and in the universe and the idea that there is a higher power that has a good plan for everyone. I also think that although there are so many problems in the world right now, the world is a good place and that humans can be inherently good because it is a choice. We have a long way to go, but I think that we are capable of change so I would stay here. Plus being alive now I can enjoy different aspects of every decade/era. I can dress like a mod but listen to Duran Duran. 🙂
Q. If you made a playlist inspired by your art, what would be your most listened to song?
“Making Breakfast” by Twin Peaks. It’s a very fun, kind of silly song. And Twin Peaks are my favorite band active right now.
Shots from Gaby’s solo show “Cross Cowgirl Pollination”
Don’t you just want to hire Gaby to decorate your whole life?!
Huge thank you to Gaby for sharing her work on Thrifts and Prints, as well as being an inspirational and supportive peer!
Keep up with Gaby!:
The Anti-Standard doors are always open! Want to be the next Anti-Standard artist featured on Thrifts and Prints? Then tag your art on Instagram with #thriftsandprints. Don’t have an Instagram for your art? Then send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a letter for all I care! You can figure out my address for yourself 😉