I was admiring art one day in a boutique. It was unique, vibrant and made on a glass canvas. After chatting with the luminous and lovely artist, we discovered we have mutual friends. I set up a blog interview with her and learned so many interesting things about the life and inspirations of a visual artist. We initially thought we only had friends in common but it turned out we have many other energetic connections. We met at the Gypsy Coffee House and the artist first told me she might have to doodle while we talked. She always has to have a pen in her hand to concentrate. Made sense to me! Her title is artist and art educator.
We first discussed her art education classes which are held at the Rusty Crane restaurant on Tuesday nites. She describes the class as “wild, crazy, and funky”. ($35 a class for 2-3 hours and you do a new painting each week.) She is also working on other projects as a visiting art teacher for 7th graders in a program called Art Full Circle.
When did you know you were an artist?
“I was born with a marker in my hand”. I have memories–the earliest memory of seeing a pattern on a floor from my high chair—the old Borden’s Cafeteria pattern, according to my mom. I remember patterns, colors and being in awe of it. As soon as I could hold a marker around 3, or 4, my favorite thing was to sit for hours with a giant ream of copy paper with scented markers and sit and sketch…. usually, cute girls in dresses. I’m also an art supply hoarder– I have piles of notebooks and colored pencils.
We get inspiration from creative messes…. Is it better for creative people rather than having everything sterile?
I’m intrigued with your art that is in Posh Style. What do you call that form of art?
Retro pin-up art. I studied Fashion Illustration and Design at Stephen’s College in Columbia, Mo. which is a small liberal arts college and the second oldest woman’s school in the country. I’m a retro pin-up artist and a feminist. My whimsical, girly sketches are inspired by pin- ups but I wanted to turn it around. Pin- ups have mostly been a male perspective on the female body. I wanted to paint them from a woman’s point of view as a woman. Some of them are more fashiony but they’re all about women. I try on personas from these women I know. The Bulldog Girl painting in the boutique is really of me–I had a bulldog.
You’ve done a portrait of a friend of mine. I ran into her today! (We talked about mutual friends and connections. Ironically, I ran into the mutual friend at a restaurant which holds special meaning to Rosemary. In fact, she sketched a print of the restaurant and gave it to me at the start of our meeting as a gift. Today of all days, I ended up running into our mutual friend at this very restaurant!) I realized later that this Route 66 restaurant will also have irony with this interview as more details and connections were discovered.
How long does it take to make one of the glass portraits?
Around 2 weeks; not because of the painting itself but because it’s a process–working in the studio and letting layers dry. It’s laborious. I start with all the details and have to plan it out.
When you’re in the zone as an artist, can you tell you’re in the zone?
Yes! It’s the best place to be in the world….my happy place. When I’m in the zone planning a show, I’m in it 24/7.
I feel like that when I’m in the zone —I don’t want to take breaks. It’s a problem!
That’s what happens when your’e inspired.
Who are your favorite artists and inspirations? Who were your muses and inspirations?
I love Frida Kahlo—her art came from her pain.
Frida Kahlo–she was the original selfie artist. Pop art portraits of their soul is a project I’m doing with third graders.
MUSED is a group I did a poetry reading for….I wish I was a poet! It’s the art form I respect the most. MUSED is an organization and they were doing a fundraiser. The reverse selfie project in Mused is about the theory that we are raising a society of narcissists who don’t know how to slow down and read poetry. (see link below)
This is another connection we have! Ironically, muse is a symbolic word to me. Poetry is a first love of mine. It breaks my heart that nowdays, kids don’t know poetry. In my psychometry career, when I evaluate children, many children don’t know what a poem or poet is.
What poem did you choose for the poetry reading event?
I was looking for a Christina Rossetti poem and ended up finding a poem written by a young college teacher. This line comes up in a Google search “In the dark, we crushed crabapples for the sound of it.” It sounded lush ..then the ending was “don’t be afraid of Gertrude Stein; be brave.” There is a lot of lush imagery of a record player, constellations and book shelves holding up the moon. The ending was surprising and feminist. The ending of the poem was like “Bam!’ It was about finding a man strong enough to be with her. The element of the female psyche….
(poem: In the dark we crush by Julia Cohen)
What are your art goals?
My studio, doing classes and planning my next show at the Circle Cinema. I feel like I’m coming back from a long sleep (due to some intense life experiences). My next show is going to be another spin of women. Icons, like Jackie O–but taking Jackie and turning her into a hotel maid. I also love Liz Taylor. I absolutely idolize her. I like putting them in ordinary situations. I want to do a picture of Liz behind a perfume counter selling her own perfume.
I have framed prints of both of those women! What a survivor Liz was. Talk about someone who worked through her pain.
She wasn’t destroyed by that business.
What happens at an art show?
There’s a deadline, you throw together a show….it’s an organic process with a starting point. You usually have a couple of months or up to a year.
How many pieces do you have in your show?
Usually a dozen. Social media helps me get a crowd…and good press helps. The art shows have a party atmosphere…I make sure there are always cupcakes. (It’s not a question and answer format.) There’s a mix of customer styles. There are print sales available ($20-$40) and the glass portraits which range from $1,000-$5,000. One of my huge skyline portraits is in a bank. It’s serendipitous how the customers find me….to be out and about, or they’ll come to a show …..it can be a friend.
How did the public school (job) find you?
What are your other art goals?
I want to expand beyond my art and art classes….there’s a little gallery in Paris that is interested in my art. I met them in person when I was in Paris. They have performers; it’s a co-op and they require the artist to be there. I have to be in the gallery there for two weeks. (This all happened before her accident so the process was interrupted.)
This Paris connection was another detail we share in common. I told her about my Greek great-uncles who were Parisian shoemakers. They lived on the street, “Rue de Frederique”. I used to address airmail envelopes to them, intrigued by this street name. I have a goal to go to Paris and find this street. Ironically, years after I addressed these envelopes, when I started dating my husband, my grandpa always called him by a nickname, “Frederiko.” My grandpa did not even know that my husband’s paternal grandfather was named “Frederick.” (Frederique).
Things like that happen to me all the time. Signs, names, etc…
In summarizing her goal to have her art show in Paris, Rosemary made an interesting analysis. The connectivity of global awareness was particularly appealing to me:
Parisians have an interest in Oklahoma, specifically with Route 66, which has always been a big inspiration to me. The nostalgia for the mother road is part of that inspiration.
“It’s a goal of mine to bring Tulsa to Paris and Paris to Tulsa.”