Friday
Oct052012

Sunnyside Music Fest

Kathryn Petroff is watching the complete reinvention of her handiwork.

The Bailey artist is responsible for the initial designs on several of the nine reclaimed doors that spell out SUNNYSIDE and make up the most conspicuous portion of Denver Collaborative’s interactive art display. At the moment, Kathryn’s letters, musical notations, and other embellishments are rapidly disappearing under the enthusiastic brushstrokes of Sunnyside festivalgoers. Only the bright yellow flower sprouting from the “U” has so far escaped modification. The whole purpose of this activity, of course, was to inspire collaboration and community, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Kathryn’s usual style is photorealistic; she paints murals and portraits directly from photographs. Her content is not always strictly representational. One of the portraits she’s brought along today, “Just Passin’ Through,” features a girl in sepia tones standing knee-deep in a swamp clutching a suitcase, her boot slung over one shoulder. Each of the trinkets hanging from the boot symbolizes something different: the thimble, for instance, belongs to a friend of Kathryn’s who returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and found nothing recognizable in the ruins of her house but her grandmother’s thimble.

Under the blazing afternoon sun, Charissa Afshar is moderating the bedlam at the paint station. Paint-spattered and grinning beneath a wide-brimmed straw hat, she dispenses paintbrushes loaded with syrupy latex paint to a clamoring parade of children. A faux finisher by day, Charissa creates recycled art under the auspices of her sister Liz’s venture Green Goat Artworks. Her hanging collage, made of selectively arranged paint can lids, provides shade and a privacy “wall” to the communal tent. She points out the Green Sheen sign behind us, crediting the recycled paint company for donating gallons of repurposed paint. 

The air is heady with latex as parents and kids alike get in on the action. The door sporting the second “S” in “Sunnyside” is getting a unique enhancement from budding artist Dylan, 5. He splatters the back side of the door by flicking his paintbrush at it zealously, declaring, “I’m doing a Pollock!”

“Look out, people might not want Pollock on their shirt,” cautions Charissa. Anchored by vigilant organizer John Maikowski, Dylan clambers eagerly up a ladder to paint more gingerly around some of Kathryn’s musical notes.

A few doors away, Zocia, also 5, is adding blue and gold patches to the lower half of a door on which her mother Kasia, an immigrant from Poland, is painting a fuzzy pink unicorn. Zocia’s gauzy white princess dress has gotten generously streaked with blue latex paint, but mom doesn’t seem to mind. Instead, she tells me how impressed she is by the hands-on, kid-oriented art activities at our booth. “I’ve been to so many fairs, but this really offers something different for the kids. It’s great!”

In the shade of one of the tents, one of our “live” artists Sarah Sams is applying dabs of dark green acrylic to a Gogh-like still life with carrots and golden beets. She takes a moment to show me some of her earlier work, which is starkly different from this large-brushstroke postimpressionism. Crisp dark lines divide uniform colors in a kind of clean, stylized folk art she calls “Mexi-Czech” (a nod to her South Texan and Czech roots). Sarah painted these with her right, dominant hand, but a bad skiing accident compounded an injury to her right shoulder suffered in childhood. Already missing an AC joint, confronted with serious nerve damage to her right arm, Sarah was forced to retrain her eye to coordinate with her left hand. “I was not going to stop painting!” Today both styles of Sarah’s work can be found on etsy.com.

Nearby, Tennyson Street gallery owner Lori Owicz is setting out her found-object metallic sculptures, whimsical representations of animals made from recycled junk and old toy parts. She holds up a surprised-looking bird made out of a radio knob tuner, contemplating whether to hang it on a metal easel. Beneath the easel a large pot-bellied pig made out of a red metal weed-killer tank rests complacently. Lori used to have a huge flashlight collection, and started to take them apart out of curiosity. “I wanted to see if I could make something fun out of them.” (For Denver Collaborative’s previous interview with Lori, click here.) 

Amanda Willshire arrives with Captain America, who is made entirely out of red, white, and blue beer bottle caps layered on plywood. The Captain is her fourth superhero; she’s also done a Wonder Woman, a Batman, and an Incredible Hulk. All of them have detachable (magnetized) parts: Captain America has a shield constructed from a bike wheel that attaches via magnets. Today she’s setting up a table to create her own mosaic of the Sunnyside logo. Amanda started out doing much larger mosaics, inspired by L.A. artist Tony Berlant’s work with Christmas tins, but bottle caps seemed like a more workable medium because “you get more real estate.” Besides which, Amanda admits, “I like to drink beer!” 

Another Sunnyside logo mosaic is taking shape a few yards away. Of the two cement-it-yourself mosaics offered by Denver Collaborative, the Sunnyside mosaic has the benefit of being presided over by a “corrective committee” consisting of Tina and her daughter Jaime, transplants from Plano, Texas, who are making sure the logo pattern is being at least loosely followed by passing tile-placers.

Our other “live” artist, Dodge Gaskill, is painting a pipe-smoking Kermit the Frog on a long, suspended canvas with what looks almost like a tie-dyed background. A recent transplant to Denver, Dodge started out as a photographer, but learned from a friend in Florida how to build frames and stretch canvases on the cheap. Working with mostly donated paint and materials, Dodge begins by laying his canvases flat, thinning out his paint to create washes, layering colors on top of one another and pouring off the excess. The results are psychedelic “happy accidents” like this background. His popular Kermit motif sprang from the unconscious mind of his very first collector, who dreamt of the famous frog pulling stars out of the sky and smoking them in a pipe.

Oh, so it’s stars he’s smoking? “Let’s just say that it’s organic tobacco.”

Under the workshop tents, Charissa’s sister and Green Goat Artworks founder Liz Afshar and her partner Mark Quam are helping kids create recycled art. The “Bottle Cap Bling” booth seems to be a huge hit with girls between the ages of 5 and 8. Using a flower-shaped punch, glitter, colored paper, magazines, and glue they can design their own flower art on the inside of a bottle cap, cover it with an adhesive resin disc, and put a string on the finished product to wear as a necklace.

The “Crash” booth, originally intended for ages 12 and up, is also attracting something of a younger crowd. Liz lends her hawk-eyed supervision and assistance to Athena, 5, who is piecing together a dazzling violet creation with purple paint, glitter, glass gems, and automotive “crash glass” glued to a square of plywood. Grout applied with popsicle sticks to the crevices turns these humble squares into what look like designer tiles. A pair of 12-year-old boys show up, and become so enthralled by the process they camp out at the booth for hours. 

Back at the doors, a grownup collaborative artist, Angelo, who hails from Golden, has completely transformed one of the latter doors with his cloud-like white shapes and outlines. A metal sculptor who went to art school, Angelo has come back several times over the course of the day to build up layers of color – first green, then blue, now white – because “(art) is a process.” As he isolates the outlines, he explains, the painting starts to take shape and “becomes a something.” And it is beginning to look like a something. Like a work of art.

By five p.m., Kathryn’s flower has been completely covered over. Dylan’s Pollock spatters have been joined and partially obscured by little purple handprints and a giant pink peace sign, which has in turn been punctuated with a big black “OMG.” Before the day is done, Angelo’s opus will have been graffitied with a black four-way arrow. A few of the other doors have random white or black X’s on them, as if someone had begun and then abandoned a freestyle game of tic-tac-toe. Charissa wonders aloud if she should have halted some of the work earlier, when it looked “done.” Then again, this exercise was more about having fun together than achieving perfection.

The most ticklish development of the day by far is the unfortunate Breckenridge Brewery mosaic. Instead of following the pattern of the sponsoring brewpub’s logo, our itinerant artists have built something of a miniature Stonehenge in earth-toned tiles. “It was the funnest thing to watch,” giggles Jaime, as rogue festivalgoers assembled this bizarre landscape the Denver Collaborative organizers are now calling “Mordor.” In the very center, a precarious tower is topped by a small red stone, looking like nothing so much as the cherry on a sundae.

It’s a fitting garnish to a day full of entertainingly unpredictable, collaborative artmaking and the occasional happy accident. 

 

Carolyn Barndt is a daydreamer, square peg, and underemployed freelance writer living in Denver who has been mistaken for a deadbeat just looking for handouts. She has written a yoga column for Examiner.com and is currently attending Matador University in the wild hope of becoming a travel writer. You can reach Carolyn at quixotegrrl@yahoo.com

Tuesday
Mar272012

Kai Mazurczyk

A good friend introduced us to Kai with the words, "She's who I wish I was at that age." Strong words of affirmation considering our friend is an accomplished artistic influencer. Before sitting down over coffee a couple of months ago, we made a trip to Ice Cube Gallery in the RiNo cultural district to check out one of Kai's latest pieces that was then part of their winter Icebreaker show. Needless to say, we loved what we saw and couldn't wait to meet her! After doing so, we've become huge fans of this up-and-coming artist, and we think you will be too.

 

DC: How long have you been a visual artist and what got you started?

KM: I have always been making artwork, but only recently did I accept it as a vocation when I went to college at Wheaton. I have a big heart for global issues and international cultures, so I entered with an International Relations degree. I wanted to save the world! But I very quickly became disillusioned with politics as a viable answer for the issues at stake. At the same time, I was taking classes in art and art criticism. People were talking about art in the context of society and culture, so I began to see art as something more than decorative or beautiful, but something as really meaningful to community-building and something that had viability for social change. So that got me hooked. I have been making art ever since. 
 
DC: What part of the art creation process do you enjoy the most and why?
 
KM: That’s kind of a loaded question for me because there is a prevalent idea that art and art making should be fun…that this is something people do because they enjoy it. That makes it sound like a hobby. But art for many people is a vocation, and with any vocation, you should be enjoying it, it should give you pleasure. Otherwise it’s just a job, and art, if it is not giving you pleasure, is a very poor paying job at that. 
 
For me, art is not something I do for fun. The reason I make art is because I fall in love with an idea. And like any romance, when I go from being delighted with something to tormented by it, I know that it is important and I have to do something about it It is a difficult, frustrating process, but the great reward is seeing viewers really get it. When they have that moment of epiphany, they have gone through that process of discovery with me and see what is within the piece. 
 

DC:
What visual artists have had the most impact on what you create?
 
KM: It’s really a smattering. I learn a lot from the language of other conceptual artists and often refer to Sol LeWitt’s Sentences on Conceptual Art, for example. He was one of the movement’s great founders. I also read a lot of Suzi Gablik and really resonate with one of our local Denver artists, Viviane Le Courtois.  She is doing process-based work that has a lot of depth and insight that I really admire and connect with. Other process-oriented artists working with science influence me as well, such as photographer Kim Pimmel. His videos on bubbles are phenomenal. 
 
DC: Do other art disciplines influence your work and if so which?
 
KM: Yes, but I’m even more influenced by religion, philosophy, and science. In ancient times, before the Modern Era, those three together were known as a field called Natural Philosophy. They weren’t separate or even considered incompatible as we see them today. Together they dealt with discovering the truth. My art is about truth, and I remain very committed to telling the truth, so I go to those disciplines for my ideas.
 

DC:
What do you hope people experience when they encounter your art?
 
KM: I hope they go through the process of discovery with me. I leave a lot of ambiguity in my work because I don’t think truth is straightforward. At times it’s contradictory, paradoxical, or very grey, so I leave a lot of room for the audience to participate and share in what I did for my process of creation. I would like them to be able to encounter something bigger than themselves—a deeper reality. We are so ingrained in a culture of instant gratification and a reality that we can understand, that fits inside of our heads and we can therefore control. My work tries to challenge that, to get the viewers to experience something bigger than themselves. 
 
DC: What’s next for you, where do you want to take your art next?
 
KM: I would like to master the language that I am learning in order to more accurately express these larger ideas. Right now, a lot of that is looking at the work of other artists and working with the audience to see what sticks. Lately I have been working on some larger textile installations. I have been doing a lot of work in paper with subject matters like plant microbiology, and it’s really lending itself to other materials and larger scales. I am looking forward to see how that turns out.
 

DC:
So when you say that something “sticks” are you talking about something that sticks with you, or something that is marketable or something else? What do you mean by that?
 
KM: Not marketable. More like…whether people are recognizing the idea or concept that I’m trying to convey to them. Or even getting something else meaningful that maybe I couldn’t even have conceived. The tricky line with what I am doing is that I don’t want to spell the truth out for everybody because that is not being faithful to the truth, because truth is not so black and white. But on the other hand, I don’t want to leave so much ambiguity that people actually get the wrong impression, an idea that is not truthful, or get nothing out of it and the piece is just meaningless or nonsensical. There’s a place in the middle that I try to aim for. 

 

Wednesday
Mar212012

Bethany DeVries

 

When we sat down with Bethany last week, she was just about to leave on her first trip ever to San Fransisco. The West Coast forecast called for cold and rainy, but that didn't bother her a bit. She was excited to get to go and was already picturing the experience. The story or stories she would tell were already forming in her mind. Story is huge for Bethany. You can see it in her art and hear it in her passions. Here's just a bit of her story.

 

DC: How long have you been a visual artist and what got you started?
 
BD: Well, I have been drawing since I was a really little girl. My mother told me the preschool teacher came to her and said, “She can draw!” So it was very early on, but I've kind of fought it my whole life. I would do some and then I would stop and then do some again and then stop. I went through about seven years of not doing art at all. Then in 2007, I kind of just felt this nudge from God that said, “I have given you this gift, I want you to use it.” So I thought... ”Ok, I will do something with it, just give me a door and I will walk through it.”
 
I had a heart for Africa and had heard about the Invisible Children. In October 2007 I went to a concert and there was a woman there who was helping orphanages through an NGO called Come Let’s Dance. She was planning a fundraising art show in Steamboat and I said, “I will do paintings for you.” She said, “Oh, that’s great.” Then I never heard from her.
 
I was praying about it on New Year’s Day of 2007. I closed my journal and went to my computer and there was this email from her asking if I was still interested in making the portraits. So I did 4 portraits of her kids from the orphanage in Uganda for the fundraiser in March. It was crazy! They raised something like $10,000 with those 4 paintings. And I felt confirmation that I can do this and this can be good. So I started Doxa Art at that time, developed a small business and began showing in coffee shops trying to make it work.
 

DC: What part of the art creation process do you enjoy the most and why?
 
BD: I really enjoy the whole creative process. But I think my favorite part is when I am doing a portrait and I’ve put maybe just the right shadow in the right place, and suddenly the face is there. And then it’s, “There you are! It is good to see you.” The person has emerged out of the awkward adolescence of my painting. I think I really enjoy that the most.
 
DC: What visual artists have had the most impact on what you create?
 
BD: One of the visual artists that I relate to and am just drawn to is Vermeer. I love his play of light and shadow. There is so much depth and yet they are tiny paintings. I love that.  Also John Singer Sargent, he’s got such a painterly touch yet his works are so lifelike at the same time. His nuances are great.  And then illustrators – I love children’s books! Love them. I will still go to the library and read them – like Trina Schart Hyman, for example. She did a lot of fairy tales and that kind of thing. I remember as a really small child seeing her artwork on the cover of a Cricket Magazine. And I was like, “I want to do that. I want to be like her.” Don Wood is another one. Don and Audrey Wood do these great children’s books. So there is the juvenile coming out in me…still love that. 
 
DC: Have you ever illustrated a book?
 
BD: That is something that I want to do. I have written a story and am working on the illustrations…right now actually.
 
 
DC: Do other art disciplines influence your work and if so which?
 
BD: I really enjoy experimenting with a lot of different disciplines. I played the flute growing up. I really enjoy it still along with other kinds of music. I will sew, or create mosaics. So there are these more tactile creations that really influence my art and how things piece together. Also literature, I listen to audio books or sermons while I am painting. I love storytelling. I think that comes out in my paintings too.
 
DC: What do you hope people experience when they encounter your art?
 
BD: I would like to be able to communicate a story to people. A lot of times I will do commission work. There was a particular painting I did that was for a girl who had just lost her brother to cancer. It was a long battle. She was the primary caretaker, and it was a really hard loss for her. So another friend had commissioned this painting.
 
In the painting, there was a bleak landscape, a dead tree and then a line of dark trees behind. I had carved into the trees these different scriptures that talk about the resurrection and what God has to say about death and life. The sky was really stormy but there was this light coming through. Out of the dead trunk of the tree, a flower was growing. So even though there is death, there is new life. The storm has passed and there’s peace now – there is new life happening.  I wanted to communicate hope.
 
But a lot of times I also want to communicate the love of God and his beauty in creation. [Pointing toward a painting on the wall] I took that picture on the Nile River, and there were these beautiful clouds. It was just glorious, and I want to communicate that to people too. I think it does happen. I am always kind of shocked because people don’t even have to believe in God but can be kind of drawn to something. I wonder if he uses that to communicate to people in spite of me.
 
 
DC: What’s next for you, where do you want to take your art next?
 
BD: I believe the next step for my art would be with the illustration of that children’s book. I really want to get that done. It’s like this lifelong childhood dream. So I would love to do that. I would also like the business to survive and actually flourish. I don’t know if fame and fortune are the thing, but I guess I would like it to be lucrative for me at the same time. But the illustrating of the children’s book is my big dream at the moment.
 
DC: Do you have a sense of the time frame for that? Where are you in the completion right now – at the beginning?
 
BD: No I feel like I am in a good spot. I have just finished editing and revising the story, broken it down into the pages and figured out how it’s all going to lay out. Now I’m doing the illustrations. I have to make a mock-up book and then maybe see about getting an agent or someone to represent me because I know it is hard to break into this field. We’ll see what happens.
  

Tuesday
Feb282012

Lori Owicz

We first met Lori Owicz a couple of months ago after cold calling or rather cold emailing her gallery, NOW ArtSpace, looking for a place to hold our then still conceptual exhibition, Via Crucis. We set up an appointment to look at the gallery and discuss the show. We shared the vision with her right up front so we wouldn't waste her time if she thought the concept was too "out there" and wouldn't be a good fit for the gallery. Her response gave us great insight into this unique artist as she said simply, "We've done some really weird shows in this space, and it doesn't sound like this one would be any weirder." Since then we've enjoyed getting to know Lori and watch her work on her latest projects. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know her as well.

 

DC: How long have you been a visual artist and what got you started?

LO: I have been painting forever! As a kid, I loved to just draw and paint with the Crayolas, loved to make sculpture with play dough.  My mom would make it out of flour & water, and I would create little pieces of… I don’t know what. So I’ve always loved art and have been painting regularly for 27 years now – so quite a while. Yeah 27 years…time flies.

DC
: What was the catalyst for starting painting?

LO: I went to art school, to graphic design school and had some life drawing classes, and one of the instructors just said, “You should really investigate painting. You have some really nice brush strokes.”  I had never really thought of doing a lot of painting because I was into graphic design, but it just ended up being this passion. I could express myself and just feel better about me as a whole. I'm not the best verbal communicator, but if I paint it gets emotion and stuff out for me. So it’s therapy. I think a lot of artists might say that.

 

DC: What part of the art creation process do you enjoy the most and why?

LO: Well, I definitely enjoy being alone – because I am really good at being alone, just hanging out and looking at color. I’m not really good with people telling me what to do, so this works out really well. I can paint all I want and no one is going to say that’s wrong, that’s right, that’s you know… whatever. It’s mine so I can just do my thing.

I like every part of it really from the beginning when the canvas has nothing on it, to layering, to finally saying, “Yes I am done!” And then coming back two minutes later… “No I am not.” You know that process. But when I’m finally done, I am really done with it and am just excited to show it and have people communicate their thoughts on it. 

DC
: So is there any where in there that you find yourself consistently coming up against a creative block or does the process usually flow really smoothly for you?

LO: Yeah, I have so much stuff in my head that I feel like I always have to create – even if it is with my sculpture. I mean I will walk my dogs down an alley instead of to the pretty park that I live by, and I’ll find a piece of metal and will say, “Oh man, this is going to be the coolest nose or whatever.” Or I will be looking at tile, and I’ll see something that reminds me of something I would paint. So pretty much wherever I am it’s always just kind of happening and there’s not enough time in the day for all of the ideas that I have. But… you know everyday I just keep doing it.


DC
: What visual artists have had the most impact on what you create?

LO: Ralph Steadman for sure. I mean his stuff is crazy, fast, furious, mad and I love it! It is a little darker in some ways because it can be borderline obscene. Like he has no problem drawing a dog’s butt crapping. I really don’t think I’d like to do that, but his stuff is just brilliant the way he can express himself. And then Chagall was an amazing painter. I love the softness of it and the characters he would bring into the paintings. So those are my two main guys. Yea, I love them – very different but really great…extremes.

DC
: Do you find yourself kind of moving on a continuum between those extremes? 

LO: Definitely at different parts of my life. Like on the back wall over here where I have those older pieces, I think I was really inside myself. I wasn’t letting myself be free. And now I am doing crazier stuff and being more like Ralph Steadman and that was more like Chagall. 
 
DC: What do you hope people experience when they encounter your art?

LO: I have kind of given up on what I hope people experience because we’re all so different. One particular show that I had there were really sad, dark pieces that I had done – just really heart wrenching figures. I remember a gentleman said to his wife, “Wow this person needs therapy!” I wanted to go and say, “Well I am in therapy and this is part of my therapy!” But really I just want to hear what people think of my work, good, bad, they don’t get it, you name it. That’s part of being an artist. You just have to be open to feedback. But I don’t know if that actually changes my work, because I am going to paint what I paint.  No matter what, that’s the way it is. 
 
DC: But you like the feedback?

LO: I love it. Granted, I like the positive more so than the negative, but it’s good to hear both, definitely…especially from other artists.
 
DC: What’s next for you, where do you want to take your art next?

LO: I’d like to get into some more galleries. I’d like to show more out of state. The festivals are one way I am going to try and promote myself more. I will finally have my website up any day now. And then the sculpture…I am really into doing that – painting and creating the creatures. I just want to keep going with that. 
 


DC
: So do you have a unique name for the creatures?

LO: You know…I just call them creatures. “Obots” is something that I really want to call them. 

DC
: Tell us briefly about your gallery – NOW ArtSpace.

LO: We consistently have really different shows because we are open to artists that are just starting out all the way to established artists that have been painting their whole lives. We are often more about emerging artists, helping them get a feel for discussing their work, showing their work and taking their first step in getting into other places…as well as just feeling more comfortable talking about what they do. Because as an artist myself, I know it’s really easy to be in your little creative hole, but it’s healthy to get out there and talk about what you do. Jennifer and I have tried to provide a place for that to happen for over six years now.

 

Thursday
Feb232012

Sarah Sams


We sat down with Sarah Sams, one of the artists in our April 2012 exhibition Via Crucis, ealier this week and spent a few moments talking about her life and her art. Sarah currently works out of a studio she created in her home on the eastern edge of Golden near Green Mountain. Her easel is strategically positioned next to a window through which you can see Cherry Creek Resevoir to the south, DIA to the north with downtown Denver framed perfectly in between. It's a stunning and inspirational viewpoint from which to create. 

 

DC: How long have you been a visual artist and what got you started?

SS: I have been a visual artist my entire life. I recently found a letter from my mom to my grandmother where she wrote, "If I give her a crayon or a pencil, she'll write on anything she can and draw all over it." So I've always responded in a visual way...responded to life in a visual way. The visual arts started with training when I was in middle school when I got to take art lessons at the McNayArt Museum in San Antonio. That's where I started painting and went from there. But then later I tried to leave it and got a degree in fashion design and was a designer. I got an MBA from SMU and went on my way to be a marketing communications specialist. But visual art was always calling. And so in 1995 there was a big shift in my life and I said, "I can't not do this anymore."


DC:
What part of the art creation process do 
you enjoy the most & why? 

SS: Although I spend a lot of time planning for most of my pieces, what I enjoy the most is the actual doing of the work - the physical doing. And although it's taxing at times, just that process of creating is what I enjoy and for me, for the most part, that is painting. Although I'm an extrovert, there's just something about spending that time alone creating. I think up until 1995 when I had created, I created just because I needed to create. But in 1995 the process changed, and it became more about my voice and using my voice. So back to the process of creating and why I like the painting...that time for me is a time of prayer and a time of discussion with my creator. That really goes back to how I want to use my voice and what is that going to look like. So that time is very precious because it's about the conversation but at the same time I'm creating.


DC:
 Sounds like it's restorative for you.

SS: Yes! It's life-giving.  

DC: What visual artists have had the most impact on what you create?

SS: A group and a person come to mind. The group would be specifically women who created quilts - like for years. Just looking back in history, sometimes they created them because they had to have something for warmth, but they were always creating something of beauty. They always wanted to put their own stamptheir own voice into that quilt even with their limited resources. So there's that part of quilting and then there's the part of women creating together and working in community toward a common goal. So that had a huge, huge impact on my painting in terms of the style I call my Mexi-Czech style. It's that style that brought me back to painting and using my voice.

The other artist that comes to mind that has had an impact on me is Peter Max. Seeing his work was a part of my childhood, and I recognized that there was something vibrant in it - something alive. He was speaking into the culture. His message was not necessarily what I want to give, but there's no reason I can't follow in that tradition. So he would the person.


DC:
Do other art disciplines influence your work? If so which?


SS: Definitely. Writing, first and foremost, has had the biggest impact. That would be the short answer. I would also say that when I have creative blocks doing something related to fiber arts or sculpture helps me get past them. But writing day in and day out is the thing that effects my work the most.


DC:
What do you hope people experience when they encounter your art?

SS: I want them to ask, "What fuels her work?" and just go deeper. I want them to see beauty - experience beauty - but I really want them to question life. I want my work to be life-giving and that can be really broad. Life-giving might be beauty or it might be hitting someplace in their story in a different way. So just to go deeper and ask, "Why is this having an effect on me?"


DC:
What's next for you...where do you want to take your art next?


SS: Well, over the last few years I've been painting with my non-dominant hand because of an injury. And I'm now working to build my ability to do my other style with my non-dominant hand. I'd like to get back to that so I can work consistently. As well, my thought has always been to license my work. And I don't know what that might look like, whether it's in print or whatever, but that's been my thought - to license it.