Once a month, the Carolina Mixed Media Artists Guild blog does an interview with one of their members. I like the questions they ask and thought they might serve as a good model for one of my posts.
1. What inspires you to create? I have spent many years analyzing my creative process by writing morning pages. While strong emotion often triggers the birth of a work, the fallow period that precedes the birth is a time when I gather images by going to museums, looking at art books, and observing nature. Reading, conversations, and memories often provide the germ of an idea as well.
2. When did you decide to pursue art or did art pursue you? My first artistic devotion was to the theatre, but I have always loved art museums, and enjoyed drawing and making things. As my sewing skills improved in college, I took up decorative embroidery and eventually quilting. Thanks to Judy Chicago's monumentally important work, The Dinner Party, I realized that the needlearts could indeed be used to create art.
3. If you weren't an artist, what would you be? My "Clark Kent" identity is teacher librarian at a middle school.
4. What other jobs have you had which have aided you on your artistic path? At my 25th college reunion, the class historian said I'd had the most jobs of anyone in my class. Here is a partial list--box office worker, assistant in the bursar's office at Boston University, internal office team at the Kelly Services offices in Columbus, Ohio, Boston, Massachusetts, and New York, NY, typist at the Countryside Commission in London, actress, choreographer, preschool teacher, teacher substitute, behavior education counselor at Nutri-Systems, library assistant, teacher librarian. All these different jobs helped me to become flexible, a fast learner, a good listener, a careful observer of people, and a collaborator (team player always sounds a little rah-rah to me!). When one is an artist, but must do "civilian" jobs to make ends meet, one either becomes bitter about this need or finds a way to bring the creative life to the "civilian" job. I think I've gotten very good at this.
5. At the art supply store, which section do you gravitate to first? Usually, it's the colors--pencils, paints, paper. I also love marking instruments of all kinds--pens, pencils, markers.
6. What new technique or art form would you like to learn? do you have plans to do so? I've always wanted to learn to throw pottery. My good friend, Penelope recently got a potter's wheel and it looks like wonderful fun from her pictures and descriptions. No plans in the near future, but some day...
7. If you could do anything, and knew you could not fail, what would you choose to do? That's easy. I'd star in a new Stephen Sondheim musical on Broadway--oh, better yet--in the West End!
Playing Arkadina in The Notebook of Trigorin at Wabash College. Photo by Dr. John Zimmerman.