By Jennifer Wray, editor at Columbus College of Art & Design
Ed Valentine first set foot on Columbus College of Art & Design’s campus as a Saturday Morning Art Class student in 1966. In 1969, he entered CCAD as a full-time student, graduating with a Fine Arts degree in 1991. Now an art professor at The Ohio State University, Valentine has maintained a thriving personal practice from his home studio in Delaware, most recently contributing work for the CCAD exhibition Land on view in Beeler Gallery through Feb. 26, 2022.
Jennifer: Can you describe your work in Land?
Ed: I’ll have work from a series that I’ve titled Landscapes. Seven of the paintings are seven by seven feet, and an additional two on paper are 38 by 50 inches. The media is chalkboard paint with Conte crayon, acrylic, enamel and spray paint on canvas.
Jennifer: Tell me about your art making process. How long does it take you to go from an initial concept to a finished work?
Ed: With this particular series, I ordered a dozen seven- by seven-foot canvases, along with some large sheets of paper. I’ve made a dozen or so stencils on rigid paper that I use for the birds and use both the positive and negative cutouts. I start by rolling the chalkboard paint on multiple canvases or paper. Once they’re dry, I begin drawing on the pattern with Conte crayon. After that I stare and begin to spray, smudge, drip, spatter, scratch and compose.
I work from written notes that I’ve jotted down about how through our psychology a painting is read. It gets very complex! I also refer to small sketches where I’ve worked out simple patterns and composition. At a point, I let the painting take over and start making the decisions.
My initial concept is always deliberately somewhat vague. I mean, I have enough of an idea but I never want to be a painter who gets an idea, then illustrates it.
I can’t say how long each piece takes. The initial concept may have been bubbling for years. I will say that with each piece I create a puzzle to be solved. One color, one drip, one smear might topple the whole thing and then take days to solve.
Jennifer: In your opinion, what is the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Ed: The Columbus scene owes a lot to (businessmen and philanthropists) Ron Pizzuti and Les Wexner. Without those two, things would be entirely different. Throw in of course CCAD and Beeler Gallery, Ohio State University and Urban Arts Space, along with the Columbus Museum of Art, and you have the ingredients that give this city its bounce.
Jennifer: How has your work evolved since graduating from CCAD?
Ed: I started at CCAD 50-plus years ago. That’s a whole lot of evolving. Back then, I was completely opposed to what I saw as “picture making.” I refused to use a brush and instead used only pallet knives, sticks and squeegees. I expelled any sort of representationalism and played with and tried to balance color texture and marks within a gridded structure.
Come to think of it—except for the birds—that’s pretty much what these paintings are doing.
So thank you, it looks like I haven’t evolved at all!
Jennifer: What’s up next?
Ed: Paint, paint, paint!
Learn more about Ed Valentine at edvalentineart.com, and see his work alongside that of other CCAD Fine Arts alums in Land at Beeler Gallery (60 Cleveland Ave., in CCAD’s Canzani Center) Thursday, Nov. 18–Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Admission and parking are free. More on this and other Beeler exhibitions at beelergallery.org.