For the series 100 Paintings/100 Days, the figurative painter created a new painting every day for 100 days. Profitt recently talked about the project and the importance of the grants.
Why did you become an artist?
I’ve always loved painting and have painted, essentially, all of my life. It just became the logical choice to go into art.
Why did you come to Illinois State University?
They have very diverse faculty and they support their grad students financially and give them a lot of opportunities to teach and really give them a lot of time and space to work.
Tell me a little bit about the project for which you got the Friends of the Arts grant, and what was
the forum for that project?
I had proposed the grant to do 100 paintings, so one painting a day for the entire summer. The project was meant, essentially, to give me a lot of work but also put me through some kind of boot camp to figure out how I was painting, what I was painting, and how that could affect the actual image that was being produced. So by the end of the summer, I had 100 completely different paintings, some pretty OK, some flops. I ended up showing it at cometogetherspace in Bloomington and again at the open studios through the Grad House—the M.F.A. students had an open studio.
Is there a common thread through those paintings?
Other than me doing them, no. I started working specifically from memory. And as I progressed throughout the summer and figured I went through all of my memories, I started pulling from people’s Facebook photos or watching movies and working from that. And then eventually, regained a little bit of clarity about what I was doing and then worked back into working from experience, and so there was a little bit of a voyage from working from a particular thought.
How does it feel to go through and finish this project?
It almost felt like it didn’t end. It was daunting because you were working every day, and to have to do a painting every day is almost torture. But then when it was done, I was still working on other paintings for M.F.A., in my own studio, so it didn’t feel like it ever ended. But there was a little bit of a relief when I didn’t have to work at that size anymore or at that speed.
How would you describe your work?
Kind of funny, chunky figurative paintings that have some kind of beautiful element to them. But most of them are kind of clunky and funny.
Why do you think these Friends of the Arts grants are important?
Because they give students and artists an opportunity to do something they would not be able to do if they had not gotten the support of the Friends of the Arts. Financially, a lot of these projects are expensive and a huge undertaking for somebody who’s in their 20s or 30s to take on while they are in school. And so it gave me and other the people who had got the grants an opportunity to do something they would have never been able to do.
What projects are you working on now?
Essentially just working on some larger-scale paintings based off of experience but utilizing some of the things that I learned from the 100 project to use as the starting off point for these.
What are your future plans?
Hopefully, to paint and teach.