Saturday, September 1, 2012

Famous Artists Interviews: The David Gluck Show with Sadie Valeri

Posted by: Dave


Sadie is a young lady who with two friends committed robbery and murder. After her trial she is not executed or taken to prison, but to a school for special operatives. She is told that Sadie no longer exists and she will be trained to pay back society for what she has done, as a spy/assassin/artist. She is trained for over two years and with no warning is handed a gun in a restaurant and told to kill the man at the next table as her handler leaves.

Tell us a little about your atelier?   Has it been an overall positive experience?  It’s ok to be honest, I’m sure your students don’t read the blog.

Honestly, the logistical problems of setting up a large, brand new studio have been pretty overwhelming at times, and the whole thing has been a much bigger project than we probably realized when my husband Nowell and I decided to expand. But it’s also been much more exciting and satisfying than we ever could have predicted. The realist community in the San Francisco Bay Area has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic about the new space, and working with such amazing teachers and students has made building out and managing a large teaching studio more than worth it. Also, it’s a true pleasure to work with my artist friends Justin Hess and Felicia Forte, who are now teaching at my studio.

When instructing a student, do you ever tell them to look extremely closely at their painting, only to shove the back of their head into the canvas and yell “shablam”?  That was an integral part of my teaching pedagogy.

Well, I hate to admit it but my students sometimes bang their OWN heads on their easels just to stop hearing me say “soften that edge” and “check your midpoints” over and over. But in general, I do try to avoid inflicting physical pain when teaching.

Do you believe that without artists, antibiotics, space travel, plastics, or things that actually aid mankind wouldn’t exist?  Wait, sorry, I am thinking of scientists.  Anyway, how is your dog Ripley? Please tell me you got the name from Aliens.

Oh good, enough about art, I can talk about my dog all day. Yes, she is named after Sigourney Weaver’s character in Aliens, mainly because my husband did not want a dog to begin with, and I figured if I named her after his favorite action hero of all time it would make him love her. Luckily, it worked. I hear we have now started a trend of naming one’s dog after a character in Aliens. We are planning a spring road trip north to get Ripley and Bishop together for a death match.

I have noticed a trend among chick artists in the contemporary art scene, including my old lady, claiming they are receiving different treatment than men.  They call it sexism or something.  Would you agree with what these broads are saying or do you think they are just on their periods?

Definitely just on their periods. The vast majority of art students are women, but only like, 12, actually show in galleries. The only explanation must be that women just can’t paint very well. Kate, stop complaining and go finish Dave’s laundry.

What is your opinion of the way woman are often portrayed in contemporary works of art?  Is it really true women have other outfits that aren’t made of sheer fabric? That just seems so crazy to me.

It’s ok, I’m all about equality. My next series is Famous Male Artists in Nightgowns and Kimonos. Dave you are scheduled for April, I’m thinking outdoors in early spring. I hear that time of year is very picturesque in Canada, I bet we can find an icy snowmelt stream for you to wade in. Kassan has agreed to pose in Central Park, peeking seductively through the trees.

What animal would best describe you?  Keep in mind that Dragon, Unicorn, and Duckbill platypus are not viable options as they are all imaginary.  

Oh, mermaid, definitely, as painted by Waterhouse. Longtime childhood dream. (I realize you said no imaginary animals, but I don’t think you know what that word means.)

What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in your artistic career?

I’d have to say getting over my own personal self doubt was my most serious challenge. I did not paint at all from about age 24 to 32, because I believed that working realistically was not sophisticated enough. It took me a tragically long time to realize that I want to paint how I want to paint, more than I care what someone else thinks. Of course like most artists I still struggle with self-doubt.... but I just don’t let it stop me from painting.

Could you tell us a little about your involvement with the Representational Art Conference in 2012?  Will they be serving snacks there?

I think TRAC presenters are getting lunch. I’m really excited about the lunch, but also about being a panelist. I’m also doing a demonstration of Indirect Flemish painting. Which will be challenging, because it requires painting very slowly with very thin layers, and what I get done in 3 hours is almost invisible to the naked eye. It’s is not exactly a theatrical process. Maybe Alexey will pose for me to spice it up.

To find out more about Sadie Valeri and her Atelier, visit


  1. "Kassan peeking seductively between the trees" muwahahaha!

  2. You mentioned during the interview "check your midpoints" ... what is meant by this?
    I'm a student artist and have never heard this question. Thhank you!

  3. I KNEW Sadie was undercover!! Tony Pro would make a seductive Odilisque IMO...

  4. I am wondering about "check your midpoints" too - can you enlighten us??

  5. "Hi! It's just making sure the halfway point on your drawing matches the halfway point on your subject. It's the only thing I ever "measure", the rest is all just checking angles :) Hope that helps!" Sadie

  6. personally I'd like to see Lipking in that sheer nightgown thingy that i hope he dry cleans

  7. That was great! I can always come here for great art and a good laugh!!

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