Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turtle Revisited

"Art... makes life possible." ~Joseph Beuys

In January I chanced upon the work of a young Twin Ports artist who goes by the name of Turtle. I shared some of her paintings with readers of this blog at that time.

A couple weeks ago I was told about the exciting work on display this month at The Venue, where I'd had my opening in July. Early last week I slid over during lunch hour and was happily surprised, again. There's just so much creativity in the world! And the first artist featured at the top of the stairs is Turtle, who's new work is as exciting as the first set of paintings I saw at The Red Mug last winter.

Ennyman: When did you first discover you had an aptitude for art?
Turtle: I strongly believe artists are always artist from the beginning. What matters most in an artists life are those who encourage and provide proper direction. However, nothing will prevent an artist to be him or herself eventually. For me, it began pretty early. As a small person, perhaps around ten or so, I was given a paint-by-numbers with a mother bear and her cub walking through the woods. I spent every night lying on the floor painting until it was perfect. I remember the way it felt to disappear into the painting. I also remember making changes to the colors they numbered if I didn't feel it was appropriate for the image. It's pretty hilarious to think how much that experience illuminated my true personality. I still, to this day, host an "against-the-grain" perspective on life.

E: Was there a person in your life who recognized this talent/skill and encouraged it? (mother, teacher, grandmother, etc.) In what way did they influence your art / life direction?
T: Honestly, I have an entire list of people who are responsible for where I am as an artist today, whether they were a negative or positive influence didn't much matter. My Mother and Father both supported my creativity, as they too are artists. When I was twelve my mother bought me acrylic paint (which I still use) and aloud me to paint on the walls inside my closet. When it can time to move, she decided to give me canvas so I would never have to paint over my work again.

My father was a nonconventional artist who primarily worked with furniture. He taught me how to create something beautiful using only aerosol paints and plastic containers. When I turned thirteen he gave me an airbrush and an amazing watercolor set that I continue to use in some of my best work today.

In second grade I had an art teacher that said I had no talent and should put my energy into something else. I was not okay with her opinion and made it my mission to prove her wrong.
I must say, the greatest influence, perhaps the most significant anyway, was my older brother Dan. He is six years older and very, very cool. He was, and still is, the greatest artist I have ever known. As a little girl, and even now, I admired everything he did and wanted with all my heart, to be just like him.

I could continue for paragraphs about all the people such as, art teachers, friends, and even strangers that have both inspired and encouraged me to stick it out. Being an artist isn't easy but everyone and everything in life nurtures this unexplained but inherent need to live life visually.

E: What is it that makes your work unique?
T: Regionally speaking, the uniqueness is all in the subject matter and how I use color. I rarely depict things as they "really" are, but rather, how they feel. I am not too sure that I would consider my work unique from a more global perspective, as there are an entire host of artists with similar styles and motivations. Perhaps the only real difference is that my images are accumulative, based on combinations of experiences original only to me.

E: What is your current situation with regard to life/work/school? Are you working at a job and doing art at night, or are you still in school?
T: Currently, I am a full-time student with three jobs a wonder dog named Charlie. Miraculously I find time between my major commitments to create art. To help manage my creativity I donated my TV which has opened up an unexpected amount of time for painting, sculpting and what ever else I feel like doing.

E: If you weren't making art, what would you be doing?
T: As in, if I weren't an artist? I couldn't even begin to imagine. I suppose I would be doing what other people do, whatever that might be.

E: Much of your art seems to evoke connections on an emotional level. To what extent do you consider the viewer of your work when ini the creative mode?
T: I never do. I tried to once, the painting didn't work out so I won't do it again. I feel it's best to let yourself do what ever you need to without considering much. I have faith in my sub-conscience. My life is like many other lives and what ever I feel I need to express is relatable to someone. "When in the creative mode" is an interesting phrase, I am in full honesty, always in creative mode.

E: Thank you for your work and for sharing here today.

Click on images to enlarge. The show at the Venue will be on display through the end of November.

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