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Design Milk

F5: Glen Baldridge Loves Gummi Bears, Printmaking + More

By Kelly Beall

September 8, 2023

“Garbage Pail Kids cards blew my mind,” said accomplished painter, printmaker, and draftsman Glen Baldridge. “My mom would drive me to every gas station in Great Falls, Montana to look for them. I remember the excitement of finding and ripping open those little packages. The play with language combined with the gross out drawings was just the best. That was the first art I collected, and [it] definitely made me want to draw and make art as well as live with it.”

Glen’s recent works have embedded sardonic phrases from youth sub-culture into ultra-complex painted patterns. Often working with traditional craft processes like paper marbling, he obscures the words’ readability. Fissures in the otherwise smooth paint on the surface merge darkness with youth and beauty. Recurring phrases like “No Way” and “Wait, What” invoke a detached attitude juxtaposed by a colorful palette, speaking to attempts to navigate the unpredictable conditions of the current time in history.

light-skinned man with a dar mustache wearing an orange hat and a khaki colored jacket while standing in a painting studio

Glen Baldridge

But the creative knows that even though it’s his hand painting, he’s not the only one responsible for success. “My dealers, Ryan Wallace (Halsey McKay Gallery), Sam Wilson, Ingrid Bromberg Kennedy, and Rob Hult (Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery) gave me my first shows,” he shared. “They’ve been so supportive of my work through all its weird stages. I have always had a number of other freelance jobs within the art world, and the gallery exhibitions have kept me focused on making my own work and allowed me to flesh out and develop ideas. I love getting weird in the studio the most, and my dealers help facilitate that pursuit and have given me many opportunities to present the work formally.”

Glen’s work doesn’t happen too far from the majority of the rest of his life these days. “My studio is now attached to my home, so it can be difficult to create a separation. I used to ride the subway or road-rage my way to the studio in New York, but now I don’t even have to put on shoes,” he quipped. “Picking up my son from school is a pretty clear switch back to personal life from work. However, I try to keep the creativity flowing and often work on making drawings, paintings, and collages with him. I have a 44-inch roll of sticker paper for my large format inkjet printer. We’ll do a Google image search for “cool cars,” “deep sea animals,” etc. and make sticker collages together. It’s not work, but [it] still gives me ideas that may pop up in the studio.”

Today, Glen Baldridge is joining us with a few of his favorite things for Friday Five!

interior of a print shop with lots of machinery

1. Printmaking

I have met some of my best friends through making prints. I studied printmaking in college and love hanging around in print shops. I ran Forth Estate Editions (a print publishing company) with Luther Davis for 10 years. Together, we produced over 60 editions with emerging artists and worked with so many great people. I’ve worked as the artist, printer, consultant, and publisher on numerous other editions for other artists and galleries. I love the collective creative problem solving required to compose even the simplest of prints in multiples. Printmaking continues to be an important part of my artistic practice and greatly influences my approach to making paintings as well. Last year, I made print editions with Flying Horse Editions (Orlando, Florida), Du-Good Press (Brooklyn, New York), and Phil Sanders Studio (Asheville, North Carolina). All of those projects have allowed me to travel and brainstorm with master printers about technique and concept, and get me out of my head and my studio. These working relationships continue to grow over many years and multiple projects as well.

green landscape of a forest and hazy sun

2. The Woods

I grew up in Montana backpacking every summer, and continued to make annual trips there into my adult life. Getting into the solitude of the forest provided some kind of mental reset for me. When trail cameras became widely available I continued to explore the forest remotely from New York City and made artworks with those images triggered by both unseen forces and wildlife. Sorting through thousands of images from the trail cams scratched that itch for a while. Now, my studio window looks into the forest in rural Maine. I find just staring out the window into the trees continues to spark my imagination and curiosity.

looking down into a hole in the ground with a closed sarcophagus at the bottom

3. “let people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus” Petition

The internet is a dark place, but sometimes it delivers moments of hilarity and joy. In 2018, a sarcophagus containing several skeletons and a soupy liquid was unearthed in Egypt. The internet naturally thought it was cursed and a petition was created to ‘let the people drink’ its bony broth. Almost 40k broth lovers signed the petition and left incredible commentary. This also spawned countless hilarious text threads with my friends and continues to be funny five years later. Let them drink!

a wall of scratch off lottery tickets

4. Scratch Lottery Tickets

Scratch lotto tickets have such a gripping aura of hope and loss and the best/worst design. I love the overload of color, pattern, symbols, and language. I’m not really into gambling, but I do love the design aesthetics. I grew up with video keno and poker machines in every restaurant. For years I picked up the losing scratchers I’d find on the floors and sidewalks of gas stations and bodegas and kept them around for color/pattern inspiration. I’ve even made print editions using the “scratch” coating – where the surface had to be scratched off to reveal the image.

a bag of Haribo gummy bears

5. Gummi Bears

Gummi bears are my favorite candy. It used to be Nerds, but I’m an adult now. I’ll go way out of my way to find a “share size” bag of Haribo bears with limited edition party hats included. It’s sort of a problem. When my wife was in labor she was not allowed to eat any food, but her doula and I would feed her gummi bears when the doctor’s backs were turned. We started this new chapter of our lives pretty revved up on gummi bears, so they’ve also become a symbol of strength for my family.