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Shapeshifting through the interdimensional with Rachael Senchoway

InterviewsErika Belavy

Venture into another dimension with New York-based Rachael Senchoway. Her work takes on a questioning aspect, combining painting with mixed media to create thought-provoking pieces that explore her inner fears. She completed her BFA in 2011 and has participated in several shows throughout the city since then. 

What made you decide to become an artist?

I've been extremely prolific since I was a kid, I needed to draw and paint on everything.  After destroying my bedroom, my mom let me turn the basement into my "studio" when I was about 13, i felt so happy and certain that I was doing what I was meant to do.  Even back then I was collaging with polyurethane, using enamels and oils, I was in heaven.  Not until I was much older did I find out that I had a crazy uncle who had passed away a while ago, who also spent the majority of his life in his basement painting too.  

What inspires you?

Paint, other painters.

What do you want to accomplish with your work? How are you doing this?

Sometimes, I'll run into a perfect painting. It does something to me that I can't explain, my eyes water up (no I don't start crying), but it's overwhelming.  It's impossible to explain why it's so magical and perfect, but when you see it, you know.  I absolutely need to make one of these!  

I feel like I'm always getting closer, work inspires more work, always trying to simplify, examine, smooth out the kinks.  My goal is to make a million hours of work look effortless.  And to inspire others.

What is your artistic process?

I always have a couple images in my head that I want to make, but haven't decided the best way to execute them.  I tend to work with a lot of different themes and materials (I get bored so quickly) so it takes me a while to narrow down exactly what and why I want to create it.  I draw up elaborate plans, sweep the internet for weeks collecting hundreds of images from film stills, nature shows, wacky shit on tumblr, psychedelia, 70s interiors, occult symbolism, historical art references, music, cartoons, and vague impressions from my dreams. I have all this in front of me, then decide what I should paint with oil, what should be painted with airbrush, etc. Then I begin, and most of the plans go out the window, and the layering process guides me until it starts to make sense.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To heal people, like doctor beverly crusher from Star Trek.