This past weekend AM visited the Fecal Face Dot Gallery for the opening of “White Hole”, the debut show for SF artist Henry Gunderson. For those of you unfamiliar, Henry has shown at some of San Francisco’s most prestigious contemporary galleries, and has been recently featured on a number of excellent design websites such as Booooooom, Change the Thought, Design\Milk and The World’s Best Ever. Not bad for any artist, let alone one who’s only 19. We caught up with Henry at the gallery – full interview and recap after the jump.

AM:  First off Henry, would you mind telling our readers a little bit about yourself, who you are, where you came from and what you’re doing?

HG: Henry David Gunderson, born august 30th 1990, I forget the rest. I came from Larkspur CA, that place over there next to the big mountain. I’m getting ready for my first ever solo show “White Hole” at Fecal Face Dot Gallery.

AM: You just finished up your first year at the San Francisco Art Institute, how did that go?  Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot?  Has a higher education influenced your newest body of work, or possibly dampened it?

HG: It went well. I think I have a greater knowledge of art now. I think knowledge is a good thing. I think my work has progressed but I can’t really say.

AM:  Can you tell us about your upcoming show at Fecal Face?  Technically speaking, a white hole is the antithesis of a black hole, ejecting matter from it’s event horizon…  You’ve once described your paintings as “light machines,” care to elaborate?

HG: White holes and light machines are two very different things. White holes only exist theoretically. To me, the name has something to do with existence or mystery or the mystery of creation and creative process. The name white hole seamed fitting. All the work in this show is simply matter that I have ejected from my event horizon. Also, white holes are black not white.

A man named Bruce Mcgaw taught me that paintings are light machines. Not machines that create light but rather machines that use light and transmit it to your retina.

AM:  A lot of the buzz surrounding you as an artist has been regarding your age, when did you start making art?  Do you feel like you’ve found your voice yet?

HG: I’ve been drawing for a long time since I was little I guess. I think I actually took more interest in art somewhere in the middle of high school. I’d say I’ve been painting for maybe 3 or 4 years. I don’t think Ive found my voice. I don’t know if I ever want to feel like I’ve found my voice.

AM:  During your Fecal Face Interview last year you said: “I haven’t quite figured out yet how to describe all my work correctly,” which is by no means unusual. It’s often quite difficult for an artist to be able to objectively describe their work. Any luck yet?

HG: I paint things. What more is there to say.

AM:  Your Flickr page has some great photographs from 2007 on it. Are you still experimenting with photography?  Are there any other mediums that you work with?

HG: I still take pictures, but mostly just for photographic evidence. I don’t like to think of myself as just a painter although that is mostly what I do. I’ve been playing with mouse traps and microwave motors. I almost got electrocuted. Remember to unplug an extension cord before you cut into it with wire cutters.

AM:  You’ve received praise from many bloggers as well as artists.  One of my personal favorite artists, Josh Keyes has said nice things about your work.  Are there any artists out there that you admire, or influence you?

HG: Wow. Yeah, I’m a fan of Josh Keyes. I like Warren King, Jamie Williams, Monica Gunderson, Mi Ju, Dana Husted and others.

AM:  To date, you’ve shown your work at several of the Bay Area’s top galleries, White Walls, 111 Minna and Fecal Face to name a few… There are many artists twice your age who’d love to be involved with these institutions, any words of advice for aspiring artists?

HG: The first show I was in, which was at 111 Minna, I got into kind of on accident. I emailed Minna about doing some sort of internship and attached a couple images of my work. I was told I wasn’t old enough to do an internship, but they liked my work. Then, I sent Fecal Face some stuff and they were kind enough to give me a mini-interview. I would say just make a lot of art. Just do that. Just do something.

AM:  My buddy Christopher Cox from Change the Thought recently wrote: “Really phenomenal work at a far greater maturity-level-comprehension of space, color and composition than his age would bely. I can only imagine what his mind will bear in the future.”  What does lie in the future for you?  Any plans or projects coming up?

HG: Well in the near future I’ll be having a little show at Atlas Skateshop in San Mateo with the release of a board graphic. I’ll be in a group show at Show and Tell Gallery in Toronto around December and about a year from now, I’m doing a two person show at Subtext Gallery in San Diego. But as for the farther future, who knows? Expansion and growth and progression. No big plans.

AM:  Thanks for the interview Henry and good luck with the show!

Henry Gunderson’s “White Hole” runs till August 29th at Fecal Face Dot Gallery.

Henry Gunderson and Fecal Face's John Trippe

Words/Pictures by AM/SF: Ken Harman