ArtiSpectrum Magazine 2011
What is your birthplace/nationality?
I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have no connection to the place and have not returned since I was an infant. We were in Edmonton for my father’s medical studies. My parents are both European – my father emigrated from Berlin, my mother from Paris. I am a Canadian. I spent the first eight years in Newfoundland and the rest of my childhood in the Eastern States with extensive visits to France.
What is your birthdate? March 14, 1969
Please provide a paragraph, of not more than 50 words, that best describes the concept of your work;
Creating without much restraint or inhibition the work is seeded, cultivated and planted within the first burst of inspiration. I find the image within the lines of charcoal or the texture of the paper. Remaining open to possibility I reach into the core, look around and expose what comes out.
What are your most profound memories of growing up?
As children, we were exposed to intensely varied landscapes, existences and art. We would leave the rugged shores of Newfoundland every summer where music was played on tables while the wind blew violently along the weather beaten houses, fishermen worked through frigid water and artists painted from their darkened and intense souls to live in Paris, in the heart of the historical city where the art was rich and colorful and the monuments lit up at night. We would visit L’Élysée where my Great Uncle was President of the country and frequent museums and concerts. It was our other life – my siblings and I would transform and adapt to the surroundings and were deeply enriched by the intensity of both worlds. We were also exposed to exciting and avant-garde art and theatre by our German Grandparents who lived in New York. They influenced my creativity by always encouraging the obscure and unique, pushing the edge of creativity – and reaching for the poetry of life.
What family stories/personal experiences affected you most profoundly?
As teenagers our parents asked us to pack only one box each and prepare for a life with less to carry. The wind of change would take us to the next adventure and we would comply. Our very spacious, New England, Victorian home was sold and we left everything behind. We moved for the next few years into eleven different homes in four States. It was an experience of lightness as we could always leave or change without much weighing us down. Our roots were with us in our family of six and each home held its own unique story. Simultaneously, I am equally influenced by my deep and unmoving sense of place in the home of my maternal ancestors. The home in which my grandfather was raised and my mother was born, and we grew up and our children play today. In the valley of the Alps in France where cousins travel from great distances to reunite in the five family homes built in stone. They still stand today as a foundation through time, birth and death generation after generation. I have been deeply influenced by this sense of place and our impact, as residents on earth, on places we frequent. And the varied effects of our blowing through like the wind or setting roots that reach into the heart of time. Each carries a story and experience worth keeping and expressing through colors and textures.
How has your culture of origin influenced your artwork?
The impression of my European roots is significant in my work. My parent’s language, tradition, culture, mannerisms and memories were connected to another place. This connection to my parent’s past and family’s present is very strong. I spent a great deal of time, as a child, in this part of the world and it enters my visual vocabulary. It is not intentional but totally natural. Through color, story, style and expression – my European influence shines through.
Have there been any dramatic events in your life that have changed/shaped your art?
In 2006 my mother passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly followed, a few months later, by my maternal grandmother. These were the two most important women of my life. The grief was overwhelming and I was not able to work for a year. It was the first time that I had ever lost so much energy. I was, however, not lacking in inspiration and when I did work again, I felt the deepening of the resource from where I created. I had changed, my foundation and world had shifted and I was approaching my work from a depth I had not known before.
What was the hardest point in your artistic journey?
With the financial pressures of life piling up; the combination of children about to enter the world of higher education and not having steady sales has weighed heavily on my creativity.
I recently considered walking away from my life as an artist taking the rejections closer to heart than ever before. This was frightening and difficult to experience since I have always had great faith in my purpose as a painter. I had never questioned that I should ever exist without my art as my objective in life. The hardship in my process comes from the outside and seemingly has the power to halt the journey completely and it almost did.
What was the most gratifying experience for you as an artist?
In 2009 I had a solo exhibit in a space that was all my own. I included a collection of works that were from the most recent to several years old. It was very exciting to see a body of work of old and new hanging in one room. It was gratifying that the response to the art was equally appreciated from all stages and resulted in sales from each. It meant that even though the new style was popular, it did not extinguish the potency of my previous work.
What would you like your art to accomplish?
I would feel accomplished and satisfied if my art could reach farther than I ever could. In other words; travel farther, landing places I will never see, treasured by those I will never meet. I would like my art to move the souls of those who see it. I would like that my art could transport someone and connect them to a place in the way that only good art can do.
What do you believe makes your art stand out in the art world?
I understand that my art does not fit in with the contemporary art world. It is possible that this stems from the approach of detaching the cerebral and preconceived vision to allow for the image to dictate itself from lines or textures. This results in my art speaking its own language that is not in a popular tone. My art stands out when it is looked at for a long time and the subtleties are unearthed. It doesn’t happen easily or right away and therefore in this age of instant gratification it is surely not part of the club.