Q: Your work is based on re-contextualizing found and personal images. What is your process for finding images?
A: I have always been a collector. Throughout my life I have gathered photographs, magazine articles, tchotchkes, stickers… so many things. My childhood bedroom walls were covered with Starburst wrappers and ransom-note-style poetry. Mentors and friends have given me stacks of magazines—old and new, and my mom is a great resource, sending me thrift store and yard sale oddities that are sweet, funny or disturbing, as well as scrapbooks, postcards, and family heirlooms recovered from the depths of former home basements and garages. Continue reading “Artist Interview: Serena Stevens”
Q: Walk me through the typical creative process for one of your poems.
A: You asked for my typical creative process, and that varies a lot, but there are some things that are consistent. When I’m getting started, it’s not enough for me to have an idea I’m excited about; my real starting point comes when I write a first line. The meter and rhyme in a poem have to be clear from the very beginning, so that first line has to establish not only a captivating hook but also a tone that will match it and a rhythm that will propel it.
Once I’ve got that first line, I’ll play around a bit. I have some experience with improv, and this feels similar. I freestyle for a while, basically just toying with possible directions until I’ve convinced myself that there’s enough depth in this idea for me to spend time with it. I’m still not ready to commit to writing the full poem at this point, though. The last thing I need is an ending — a punchline, twist, or conclusion that makes it feel like this story was worth telling in the first place. When I’ve got my beginning and know what I’m working towards, then I start seriously writing. Continue reading “Artist Interview: Jesse Gottschalk”
Q: What does ‘being an artist’ mean to you?
A: Tough question! For me, and as a songwriter specifically, being an artist means having the courage to make the personal public and to put growth and discovery at the forefront of everything. Question yourself, wrangle with those difficult emotions, never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because communication is crucial. Lately I’ve been think of art as a way of seeing and communicating about the world — I think perhaps a more intuitive and challenging way than most. It’s about reaching out to others and saying, “Hey, here’s what I see and feel— what about you? Please join me.” I guess being an artist is really about being vulnerable, and never quitting. Continue reading “Artist Interview: Elizabeth Williams”