Latest Interview about me and my art

Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in blog | 0 comments

Latest Interview about me and my art

What media do you work in?
Usually anything within reach. You do the best you can with what you’ve got.
When I was touring with the show Stomp (in the crew not a performer) we always stayed in the best hotel rooms. Often for a week or more at a time. We had to travel light so I brought a bag of art supplies, spot remover and a screw gun. One of the first things I would do in the hotel room was to flip over the hotel art and paint my own picture, (some frames were screwed to the wall). Of course I would return them to their normal state when leaving. In fact you could say I have my art hanging in many of the best hotels in the world…they just don’t know it.
The most unusual medium I have used was probably an incense stick and nail polish. It tuned out to be one of the most striking pieces I’ve done.

What is it about those media/that medium that you enjoy?
I enjoy variety and discovering new ways to do things. That is why I shied away from a formal education. I didn’t want to be too influenced in my direction and growth. I wanted to find my own way. I think it sometimes makes people uneasy the range of work I do. In the case of Lake County Wine Studio the Director Susans first words to me were “I love the variety in your work!” That is the first time a Gallery has praised me for this.
Lately though I find myself more drawn to oils. I find something about Oils on Board or Canvas very fulfilling.

How long have you been creating art?
Since I can remember. My father was the local Barber in the small town of Lockport, NY I grew up in. He had a studio behind the barbershop where he would paint. I always remember him doodling cartoons. I probably started to mimic him. In my teens I began doing portraits. I found peoples eyes fascinating and would do the portraits just to be able to draw the depth in someones eyes. I began doing commissions at the age of twelve. My Mother worked with the sister of the Shah of Iran. This was in the 80”s and his family had been excommunicated and fled to places all over the world. I remember her being very sweet and wanting a picture of her Mother and Father together so she gave me two photos and explained it was forbidden for them to be in the same photo. She was so please she commissioned three more for her family overseas.

Did you study art?
Not formally. I joined a class on Life Drawing for the use of models. When I lived in NYC I joined an abstract painting and sculpting class at the Art Students League of NY. I never met the teacher…there wasn’t a “class” it seemed you just show up and use the studio which was brilliant and inspiring all by itself.

In her press release, Susan Feiler wrote that you spent a lot of time on the road in the music world. How did that influence your art?
Yes, I was in the music industry most of my life. Traveling with bands on tour and many hours spent in the recording studio. I was so blessed to be surrounded with such amazingly talented musicians and performers in my life. I’m not sure I can do justice in describing the effect music has had on my art and life. I’m certain I wouldn’t be alive today without music. However in my life it wasn’t just the transportive power of a Miles Davis song that influenced me. Music has brought me all around the world meeting people and cultures I would never have known existed. It has had such a profound and humbling effect on me that I am forever grateful.

Susan also mentioned that you were diagnosed with MS, yet you continue to create art.
When I was first diagnosed with MS I had completely lost all function in both hands and my left leg. I wasn’t sure I would ever regain the use of my arms. It was scary. Yet there was never a moment when I thought oh no I can’t make art now. I’d find a way. My thinking was if I had to throw myself like a fish on the canvas I would and would never stop making art.

How does your diagnoses affect your work?
It has been a great challenge. Especially since we had to move from the heat of the desert to the Northwest and have been living in a small camper in many diverse places. Its not so easy to just go to my studio when I have an urge to paint. I have to work with the conditions and environment of where we are. I usually start the day exhausted so finding the strength to get a space to work created, gathering materials, creating the work and cleaning up sometimes feel impossible. Some people say take it a day at a time. I take it a minute at a time…with many breaks and ice packs.

What inspires your artwork?
Life. Being alive. All that that encompasses. sometimes fear, sometimes joy. Sorrow or strength maybe that’s why my work is so diverse. All I know is I need to express it. For many many years I would throw my work away. I believed it was the process of expression that was important not the end result. I was afraid the critiques of the end painting would influence my creativity so I would throw it away as not to be dissected. I was in Brighton England in a Pub and an actor Steve Spears, who had been typecast as an big oaf/bouncer astounded me with his intellect quoting Blake and in no hesitancy told me “shame on you!” He said you were given this amazing talent to express yourself how dare you keep that to yourself and not share it with the world? It is not yours to keep, even the ugly stuff could help some poor sod out”. These words have stuck with me and I stopped throwing my work away.
I want to be clear though. Life is what inspires me to sit down and create. Once I am there, in that place I lose myself and the work creates itself. Call it God or Muses or whatever you feel comfortable with…but I know I’m just a small part of the creation. Especially when it’s good.

I know many artists have a message in mind when they make a piece. Does your work have any kind of a message?
I didn’t set out to, anyway, but recently I sold a piece to the well known photographer Lenny Foster. He bought it as a birthday present for his young son. He wrote me telling me how he had hung it in his room at night so he would wake to it. He described the boy being so excited and lit up, throwing his arms around him. He described how he will grow up being influenced by the piece as he ages…first seeing the colorful images then the depth of colors then the geometry…I couldn’t imagine a more rewarding compliment than to be entrusted with such an honor as inspiring someone’s child. After I read his email I realized that is it. To lift or inspire someone else with my work. Personally it’s an expression of me. Others resonating with makes me feel I am not as alone as I sometimes feel.

What’s the process behind your work? How long does it take you to make a piece?
Sometimes years, Sometimes moments.
The process is like something Bob Dylan said. Its like going out on a pier and casting out the line. Thats really all you can do.
There have been people who have sat with me when I paint that commented I made 9 paintings since I sat down at the one canvas and they had wished they had switched out a blank canvas each time.
In short I”m not sure I know.

How did you choose what to display at the Lake County Wine Studio this month?

My husband, myself and our two dogs Monkey and Monster have been volunteering these last few months at Hendy Woods a Redwood State Park. It’s off the grid and majestic. I have been working on these pieces in a small tent under these enormous ancient trees. Being in this environment has helped me to create the variety the art you see at The Lake County Wine Studio.

Is there anything else you want anyone to know about your artwork?

I don’t get enough opportunity to acknowledge the strength and inspiration I get from my remarkably talented husband Keith Basham. Not only does he help me when I need to find my balance physically or metaphorically, he is always there for me. He is a great writer, visionary, scientist and comedian…he has been an incredible source of strength and support for me and my work. If you want to see some undiscovered brilliant Science Fiction go to Amazon and get Keith Basham’s Attenuation series and you’ll see what I mean.