Linda has always been involved in art one way or the other. She enjoyed a 30 year career as a custom Picture Framer and her favorite task was creating shadow boxes for her clients. After retiring from Picture Framing she owned a very fun, irreverent store beloved by Sonoma residents and visitors alike. It was no surprise, therefore, that she turned to another quirky art form – assemblage. She spends hours each day assembling disparate cast-offs, antiques and recycled odd pieces into beautiful works of art infused with her wicked sense of humor. You’ll never see things like this anywhere else; each piece is one of a kind.
We sat down with Linda one afternoon for a chat:
When did you know you would be an artist?
It’s probably in my DNA. My mother is a Landscape and Still Life painter, my father was an electrical engineer, so using both sides of the brain, I think it came to me naturally to explore and make art. I have always had a very strong visual sense. I was fortunate to have art classes in school at all levels, as well as summer school for 3 years. I also did stained glass for 8 years, incorporating odd bits of glass objects and marbles into each piece. About 10 years ago, I transformed a back room of my shop into a small studio where I would go after closing and create some of my first 3-D art assemblages. As completed assemblage artworks emerged I was able to show them as an invited artist at The Arts Guild just down the street. I also started to display them in my shop and at The Arts Guild Repo Show every year. To my delight, I have continued assemblage to this day.
Was anyone particularly helpful in your development?
Yes, definitely I can say that high school art teacher Mr. Wright was instrumental in developing my talent for art. He taught me in many mediums, which was a great way to discern which I enjoyed the most and which I was best at. The most useful information I retained was from a color class. I continually refer to what I learned whenever I’m mixing paint.
What is your daily process?
I try get into the studio early in morning. I love classical music so that’s always playing in the background. I can spend all day there and all evening, sometimes staying until the wee hours if I’m in the Zone and don’t want to stop. I have tons of items in organized bins, and generally have 2 or 3 projects going at the same time. It may look haphazard, but in fact each piece is methodically created. I make a rough drawing of how the finished piece will look as I picture it in my head. I then make a list of the necessary steps to follow from beginning to end. After finding all the right screws, nuts, washers and other fittings that get hidden from view I do a practice run and assemble the whole piece just to make sure it all goes together and nothing gets left out. Then I take it all apart, do any painting needed and reassemble it with various glues, finishing most of them with 2-3 coats of varnish. People often ask me if I do any welding and I respond “Nope, just lots of gluing & screwing”
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Very simple – listen to the little voice in their heads!
Where would someone never find you?
At a gun show.
What do people not know about you?
Well, I had some pretty crazy adventures when I lived in Vegas that nobody knows about! I think I’ll just keep those to myself.
What do you feel is the future of art?
Concerning 3D assemblage and sculpture art, so many artists are recycling materials now, and reusing things has become more mainstream, so assemblage has become a much more popular art form. The market for 2D paintings may have become smaller in the digital age and therefore more rare, but also more treasured.
Thank you Linda!
Linda Semple exhibits her assemblage art throughout the year at the Arts Guild of Sonoma. Her artwork is also available at the Antique Society in Sebastopol Ca. Her artist statement can be viewed here.