We brake for art! Our next stop on the light-rail line brought us to Gregory Gove's "Connected," a mural at the Yale light-rail station. Gove found his inspiration for the piece while watching the ebb and flow of people in their daily lives. He imagined what they were thinking, and conjured up a colorful image to reflect the daydreams of commuters. We recently connected with Gove to talk about the creation of "Connected":
Westword: Where are you from? Where do you reside now?
Gregory Gove: I grew up in Florissant, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. I live in Chicagoland now.
How did your collaboration with RTD come about?
I responded to an RFQ (request for quotation) that I saw on a public art opportunities listing site, if I remember correctly, I was one of three artists selected from the many who submitted for the Yale station phase. They asked each of us to propose an idea and present on the same day. The RTD informed me I was chosen for the station the day after presenting my idea.
It was my first attempt at submitting for a public art project, so I had no idea what I was getting into. I was used to doing mostly private and corporate commissions, which were always fairly straightforward. In the case of public art, there are so many additional variables -- mainly public-safety issues -- and you need to have your design and installation method checked out by a structural engineer. Also, I was dealing with a new substrate that I was having my work printed on, which is produced in Italy. It was a big learning experience, and the RTD, especially Brenda Tierney, were great to work with and patient throughout the process.
How did you come up with the idea for this piece?
I was thinking about all of the people coming and going throughout the day, carried to and from in these train cars; I was thinking about their stories, their journeys -- external and internal -- and everything that may be going on in each individual's mind, the flow of thoughts accompanying them to and from the places that they're being transported to and from. I thought about daydreaming, ideas and inspirations that drift in and out of my mind as I travel by train, watching the landscape pass by.
What or who inspired this piece? And how?
I draw inspiration from everywhere. It's a mysterious process, unfortunately; time and other constraints limit what can be achieved in a given project. I started without a blueprint, but with an intention for the piece to be dreamlike and unfold organically, and to have an inspiring, uplifting feel as well.
When people are on their daily journey and walk past your work, what do you hope they are thinking and feeling?
I hope that people attach their own meanings to the imagery, rather than ponder what my intentions were. It was a very stream of consciousness process working on the piece, and I'd like to think looking at it should be as well. That's the way I feel about art in general -- I think people concern themselves too often with attempting to decipher an artist's motives or intentions, when art-making is usually very personal even in the public realm.
How do you feel about public transportation?
I love it -- it's very necessary. I wish I didn't have to rely on my car as much as I do!
What is your favorite piece of public art?
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I Love Jaume Plensa's work, a Barcelona artist...hard to choose a favorite. I'm also a fan of "Cloudgate" here in Chicago or, as the locals like to call it, "The Bean." To view more of Gregory Gove's work visit his website.