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Peter Shear Paints with Humility

Love the size of your work.

 

I’m invested in gesture, but when it gets really big it sort of has this portentous quality, or pretentious quality. It doesn’t feel like the right time to be making that.

 

I really appreciate that. There’s something about the scale that makes people come to them, with a relationship to the scale. When you’re standing in front of a 200-inch you can be put off. I feel like I haven’t found a way to make that my own.

 

How did you connect with Fortnight? Your first solo show in NY is exciting.

 

Instagram. Yeah, I sort of use social media.

 

It’s really the new thing for artists, it’s insane.

 

It’s really kind of democratised in a good way.

 

I’ve been talking with a lot of the artists these days and it’s definitely a mix of resentment and those able to get past that and see it as democratising. It can be really beneficial.

 

Democracy in art is great, I didn’t get a degree, but you can figure out a lot in books and online.

 

Art school is bullshit, I can tell you.

 

There were times I thought I would go but it would’ve been bad. You could go to a hot program that turns out not to be anymore, or your professor’s an alcoholic, or you’re an alcoholic, or people are mean to you... or you sleep with the wrong person.

 

That sounds like the perfect poem about art school.

 

I’m a huge believer in dicking around for five or ten years to get that out of your system. First you make bad work, then you make good work, and then someone tells you that’s not your work. That’s Donald Judd or something. So then you figure it out.

 

Did you have those five years of dicking around?

 

About 15.

 

What else do you do in Indiana?

 

I’m a custodian.

 

Do you have a jumpsuit?

 

No! I always thought that I would get a jumpsuit. I have a polo shirt which is blue collar but I don’t have a badge. I didn’t mean to become a custodian.

 

Where are you a custodian?

 

In an elementary school. So I work from 3:30 to midnight. I do life, paint and then go in. I like the solitude I work with. It doesn’t suck my soul.

 

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you as a custodian?

 

My second week I got a call that someone had thrown up in the computer lab. I sort of identified it and cleaned it up and five hours later someone found of vomit marinating every keyboard.

 

I guess it’s elementary school, definitely less crazy than if it was a high school.

 

I found a part of a joint once in the trash… But it was probably another custodian.

 

Yeah or a teacher. You should paint on the chalkboards at night, very Good Will Hunting.

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