Artist Tom Knechtel talks freely about the dangers of becoming overly-committed to one medium, the ups and downs of working slowly, and why he considers sunny Los Angeles the “production center” of art in the United States.
“One of the only things that the art world can really give you is your peers. When you start becoming an artist you’re not promised you’re going to have a dealer, you’re not promised you’re going to have sales, you’re not promised the world is going to pay any attention to you. But the one thing you can do is, you can build a network of peers. And I’ve been bemused when I find artists who are so jealous of their peers that they can’t be close with them, that they can’t be friends with them. And I think those kind of friendships are very key, they’re very important, and you have to nurture them.”
Tom Knechtel was born in Palo Alto, California in 1952. He graduated with a BFA and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, after which he taught at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. He also worked at the LA Weekly newspaper for twenty-five years, primarily in advertising design. Currently, he teaches at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Knechtel’s 2002 twenty-five year retrospective, On Wanting to Grow Horns, traveled from the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, North Carolina, to the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design; The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu; and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle. His work sits in a number of prestigious collections, including that of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Berardo Collection, Lisbon, Portugal; and the Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Sintra, Portugal. Knechtel lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Marc Selwyn Fine Art.