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Austin Art Talk Podcast
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Austin Art Talk Podcast

Author: Scott David Gordon

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The goal of the podcast is to facilitate connections with and to learn from the successes, struggles, life experience, and wisdom of the people featured, most of whom live and create in Austin, Texas. The honest conversational flow of these weekly long form interviews lends itself to some really great insights and information that is available to anyone who wants to listen. Join us to explore the origins, stories, lessons, lives and work of those in our community who are at the forefront of creative expression. The podcast is hosted by photographer, art enthusiast and collector, Scott David Gordon.
“As any conceptual artist you feel like you are a reflection of the people around you. It’s not like you do what people want. It’s more like you try to just feel, what is the concerns or what is the highlights of your society. And how to connect people. And how to connect with people. And that’s what I love making through art.”Rehab El Sadek is a conceptual artist who’s work often has the aesthetic of objects discovered in the course of an archeological dig. And even though the work may have been just created, the mystery of it’s provenance and age allow the viewers imagination to expand and explore all of the rich and intriguing possibilities. Rehab’s work gets inspiration from all of the different places that she travels and from the people that she meets and what she can discover and learn from them. Her work evolves through time as she converses with those who view her exhibitions. There in those dialogues she finds the next steps of growth and reaction. Her newest exhibition, Transient, explores how we can better learn to understand each other and what it is to belong and where you call home. What a delightfully sincere and thoughtful conversation this is. Please enjoy and be sure to check out Rehab’s work online and in person if possible. Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019 Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019 Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019Statement & Bio courtesy of Rehab's websiteStatementI value the opportunities art provides me to connect with people on an emotional and intellectual level. Meditation on interior space, immersion into unique overlooked outdoor places, and examination of alarming social and political trends taking place in the world inform the artistic inquiries of my practice. BioAustin-based/Egyptian-born Rehab El Sadek is a conceptual artist whose career has spanned over 25 years. Meditation on space and immersion into overlooked places inform the artistic inquiries of her practice. She has initiated workshops and creative social practice interventions on issues ranging from women’s rights in Sinai to the challenges facing disadvantaged children in Nairobi. El Sadek has participated in group and solo shows at Lumen Travo Gallery (Amsterdam), Borusan Art Gallery (Istanbul), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut), the L.A. Freewaves Festival at MOCA Geffen Contemporary (Los Angeles), La Photographie Africaine (Bamako), and The Women's Museum (Dallas). In 1999, she was chosen by Jannis Kounellis for his Pavilion at Biennale Dei Giovanni Artisti (Rome). In 2009, she was part of “Rebelle: Art and Feminism 1969 - 2009” at Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Arnhem). Her awards and residences include the UNESCO-supported Artists’ Bursaries at Gasworks Artists Studios (London) and the Thami Mnyele Residency Award (Amsterdam). She is also the recipient of an Installation Prize at the Sharjah Biennale (Emirates).In 2017, El Sadek was named the City of Austin’s first Artist-in-Residence, exploring environmental and social issues embedded in the city’s Watershed Protection Department. Her current, deeply personal work draws inspiration from ancient and classical architecture, modern architectural theory and explores broad themes of immigration, belonging, communication, and language. El Sadek holds a degree in art from the University of Alexandria (Egypt).Current and upcomming City, 2019, Mixed media on paper, 28 x 37inRehab El Sadek: TransientPrizer Arts & Letters2023 E Cesar Chavez St(512) 575-3559Through January 4th, 2020With Transient, artist Rehab El Sadek continues her exploration into issues related to immigration, belonging, communication and language. Utilizing sound installation, photography and the written word, El Sadek meditates on residential spaces and our relationship to them and to each other. at Prizer Arts & LettersSome of the subjects we discuss:Artist statementInspirationPositive changeSupport for the artsFathers influenceArcheologyHuman cultureAged objectsFeedback from viewerLife as a childAlways by the windowArt school/paintingBeautiful time of lifeWorking in fashion1st Cairo exhibitionBook sculpturesTraveling from EgyptLondon-Empty ShapesMoving to the USSelf preservationBeing an immigrantMoving to AustinArtist in residenceWatershed protectionThe Memory PalaceArchitectural projectionsBuilding the pyramidTransient exhibitionDifferent voicesCommunity involvementMaking connectionsPrizer/EASTThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"It’s always scary to stop doing something. But if you don’t stop doing something, you can't do something new. Every time I’ve stopped doing something other opportunities came, or I had time to try something new."Keith Kreeger loves clay. For the past 25 years he has dedicated himself to forming and shaping various types and colors of that material, into beautiful bowls, vases, plates, and many other objects that are intended to be used and enjoyed. After college he set up his first potters studio in Cape Cod, where he grew and honed his artistic and business skills. Then a move to Austin shifted the aesthetic of his work to more simple forms with subtle lines. The look and profile of his business has also evolved over the years as he has strived to stay in tune with his core values and maintain a balance between work, family, what feels right, and what makes sense. His customers are people who care about where the things in their life come from and how they are made. Objects matter. Keith and I talk a lot about his business but also delve into his history in ceramics and his philosophies about his art, his customers, and how he figured out where he is headed. by Chad WadsworthText courtesy of Keith's website.Meet KeithBesides being the proud owner of 32” paella pan, Keith is an artist, designer and maker. Hailing from the East Coast, Keith got to Austin as quickly as possibly with this wife and three children. Previously he had a studio and contemporary craft gallery on Cape Cod for 12 years. Keith’s aesthetic comes from the singular idea that “objects matter,” and his work reflects that simple phrase, exemplifying clean, polished and modern design. A past-president of the board of Big Medium, the arts nonprofit that produces the East Austin Studio Tour, West Austin Studio Tour and the Texas Biennial, Keith currently sits on the board of the Austin Food and Wine Alliance, the advisory board of Austin Bat Cave and is an active supporter and advocate for the Andy Roddick Foundation.When he’s not behind the wheel, he can be found making strong espresso, epic playlists, hosting as many rad events in town as possible and driving his kids to their soccer games.'s Austin showroomNormal hours - Wednesday-Friday, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm916 Springdale Rd Bldg 3-104, Austin, TX 78702EAST AUSTIN STUDIO TOURNovember 16–17 & 23–24, 201912pm-6pmSome of the subjects we discuss:CanopyLabelsMaking the shiftInstagramStanding outWhat drives himBeing a potterTraditional pathTrue fans/new peopleWorking with chefsSelling wholesaleSomething newArt of the potConvention lifeSupportive partnersAnniversarySharing the workSocial mediaFun opportunitiesConnectionsHand of the maker1000 years oldIn the momentCapacitySomething lastingWhat we are makingDefining for yourselfLargest orderRe-evaluatingCollege in NYIn love with ceramicsSuccess/failureToshiko TakaezuWorking with a legendDo it nowCape Cod StudioCollectors/traditionReduction firingChange of aestheticWhat is porcelainMove to AustinGetting establishedCobra stuidos/EASTFunctional objectsDinnerwareMade to orderUsing moldsExpectationsSize of studioMaking decisionsStarting/finishingThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 75: Karen Offutt

Episode 75: Karen Offutt


“My goal has always been to make a painting breathe with realism, but when you get up to it you can really see the brush quality. That is what I’ve always been drawn to when I look at work. That has been my obsession since I was very young.”Karen Offutt is a figurative realist painter and one of the founders of Austin’s own Atelier Dojo, a professional arts academy offering classes, workshops with visiting artists, open studio sessions, and a new intensive study program starting next year. After growing up with a love of drawing and art, it took Karen quite a lot of searching to find the instruction and community she desired. After many years of serious study which eventually led to teaching others painting, she has made a respected name for herself in the realism community and also through the growth and reputation of the school she started with fellow painters, Jennifer Balkan and Denise Fulton. We talk about her practice, about the school, and what she has learned in all of her different roles including motherhood, and how her work continues to evolve. ‐ Oil ‐ Panel ‐ 24 x 20Bio courtesy of Karen's website.Karen Offutt was born and raised in Dallas, Texas by a creative family who encouraged her to explore her artistic talent from an early age. Her father was an artist and her mother is a designer and owner of a needlepoint company. Throughout her formative years, Karen excelled in art classes and participated in several art exhibits. As a young adult she sought a more serious outlet for her talent. Not finding the ultimate education for the type of realism she sought, Karen found art related jobs to keep her motivated. Learning to paint with oils was her goal and found that opportunity Austin Fine Arts Classes where she learned a more classical approach. From there, she attended workshops from nationally re-nowned artists and from there began to find her own path in her creative journey. From her studio in Austin, Karen approaches her paintings with an atmospheric sensitivity combining shape, tone line, and color. The inspiration of her preferred subject matter comes ultimately from the figure. "I have always loved painting people whether in natural surroundings or in a more staged setting." “As and artist, I am very aware of my environment which invites me to be a constant observer. I see potential in everything and my emotional reaction guides me to the specific inspiration. There are different aspects to my painting, for example technical skill, creative freedom and emotional truth. My goal is to create work that guides all these elements in a direction that moves me." ‐ Oil ‐ Panel ‐ 30 x 20Atelier Dojo ( Springdale RoadBuilding 2, Suite 106BAustin, TX 78702(512) 220-1058info@atelierdojo.comSome of the subjects we discuss:When we metType of paintingLess is moreAbstractionHow you feelMany layersThis moved meThat’s really meModel MeeghanWallflower paintingIt doesn’t endCapturing a momentLiking your old workStriving to improveEvolving the workDrawing growing upThe right brainModern art influenceAustin Fine Art ClassesJennifer BalkanPainting communityIdea for Atelier DojoMotherhoodTaking a breakPersonal aspects/PeoplePainting sons Working with modelsBuilding a compositionIt’s all a blur at firstTeaching paintingEncouraging studentsYou have to want itGuiding studentsFear and pressurePiecing together skillsRealism vs. ModernConnecting to nowHaving the skillRecognitionFavorite thingsSelling workThe business sideAustin/Atelier DojoFoundational skillsDojo AcademyClassic structureHow to get startedExpanded worldEAST eventsThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"The nature of the business is relationship building. With clients, with artists, with framers and installers. The people that make up this whole ecosystem we call the art world. Even people who come and pack the work and ship it, even they need to understand. Building up trust with all of these people I think is important. So in building relationships you have to be true to who you are as a person. I think it is something we re-learn even on a personal level, is just being true to who you are and knowing who you are. And I think you will be more successful if you have a good handle on what that is."Susannah Morgan’s passion for art began with inspiration from her grandparents, and has followed her through college, working at a gallery in NYC, running a gallery in Austin, and art consulting for corporate clients on sometimes very large projects. A year ago with all of that experience and knowledge under her belt, she ventured out on her own to work directly with collectors and artists in a broader and more personal way. I think most any artist who listens to this conversation with get something out it. Susannah really knows her stuff and is not afraid to share. We go into great detail about what she offers as an adviser and some of the tips you can take and run with. I really enjoyed speaking with her and hope that some of you will be inspired by this conversation to seek out her help or someone like her. To get organized, to get a proffesional perspective on your work and the industry, and to hopefully find the success and freedom that most of us desire in our careers as artists. photography by Jonathan Morgan PhotographyText courtesy of Susannah's websiteSKM Art Advising is a vital resource and partner for collectors, designers, and artists. Relationships are central to our mission, and our clients’ vision is our primary focus. We work closely with collectors across the United States to build meaningful art collections, interior designers to put the finishing touch on their gorgeous projects, and artists to understand the business of art. By working with SKMAA, our clients gain access to our positive industry relationships, and benefit from our extensive industry experience. Founder Susannah Morgan has built a career in New York and Austin both in the residential and commercial sectors as an art consultant and gallery director. Susannah founded SKM Art Advising with the goal of connecting collectors and designers with meaningful artwork. She is active in the community, building strong relationships throughout Austin, Texas, and the United States with artists, gallery owners, and collectors. In her free time, Susannah enjoys gardening, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her dog Maddy. She also volunteers her time with the Girls Advocacy League, a division of the Girls Empowerment Network in Austin.SKM Art Advising ( (, TexasCurrent and upcomming2019 Exhibition Series ( Spaces BetweenNew works by Larry GoodeOpening Reception - Tuesday November 5 from 5:30- 8:00Exhibition - October 30- January 6Paris in a Bite3801 N Capital of TX Hwy, Suite D-180Austin, TX 78746SKM Art Advising is proud to be mounting a series of curated exhibitions at The Gallery at Paris in a Bite in the Westlake neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Our intention with this series is to create a space of dialogue and to showcase work that we believe in. Goode - Aiiric 48” x 48” Oil stick, oil on wood panelCoffee Chat: Susannah Morgan (, November 7, 20199:00 AM 10:00 AMBig Medium 916 Springdale Rd, Bldg 2 #101 Austin, TX 78702Join us for our November Coffee Chat with Susannah Morgan, an art consultant and artist advisor. Susannah will share insights into collector behavior and best practices for artists learned through her experience in the field. Jewell - Multicolored Songbirds, Hand-printed and coloured goose, turkey, dove, and pheasant feathers with hand-printed tissue on archival mountboard, 33x35” SKM Art Advising is the exclusive broker for Rebecca Jewell’s work in Texas. We talk about this piece in the interview.Some of the subjects we discuss:SKM art advisingCollectorsArtist advisingThe conduitLove of artBiographiesGrandparentsPublishing Co.College at UTMove to NYCVolunteering at MetInsurance jobRebecca HossackIntentional practiceWorking at the gallery Move back to TXStarting overDavis GallerySkills learnedRelationshipsArt + Artisans Corporate clientsLearning the businessArtists approachOut on her ownBusiness coachWorking w/collectorsQuestions/ResearchPresenting optionsWithin reachRebecca JewelCollection managementGetting organizedPricing workGallery pricesKnowing valueArtist statementsCustomizationContacts/GoalsAccountabilityLike a therapistI need helpWhat is your jobReferrals/ResourcesGirls Advocacy LeagueThe Austin marketArtists she likesParis in a BiteWork at a restaurantCS Coffee chatThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 73: Dave McClinton

Episode 73: Dave McClinton


“The things that I think people don’t understand or misunderstand about me is that sometimes when I’m hanging out with friends or hanging out with piers, I can't help but make a joke or a comment about race. Because it is literally always there. It’s just always there. It’s an odd thing to constantly have that in your face all of the time. It’s heavy. I think it’s why black men die sooner than everyone else. That psychological weight is always there. And sometimes I wish I could explain to my friends what that's like. I wish there was a way to convey to people, and maybe that’s what I am trying to do with the art, what that constant pressure feels like, because it is literally constant”Dave McClinton is an artist and graphic designer who after doing design work for decades decided to funnel his life experiences, ideas, and emotions into often provocative, graphically intricate, and colorfully rendered, digitally collaged portraits and landscapes. The artworks aim to tell stories, start hard conversations, and to help visually define current and historical black identity and inner life. and Behold IVStatement's courtesty of Dave's website.ARTIST STATEMENT | as it pertains to the culturally based imagery.In the African American community, we are slowly rediscovering our history that has not been fully illustrated. It’s my job as visual communicator to review historical information and inform the community by bringing these concepts to life and help visually define our identity. And to distribute these stories about the strengths and trials of the African American community.I want to illustrate the life-cycle of the inner life of a black person. From innocent to informed. From recklessly defiant to determined. How the weight of American history can either crush you or harden you. And, how either result often has to be hidden from view just to get through the day. The anger of the African-American community is often portrayed as a threat. The anger of “traditional’ communities is depicted as righteous. This paradigm feeds stress and despair back into black lives and thus stokes the fires we try to simultaneously hide and harness.Currently, there is a newly intensified wave of empathetic consciousness in all forms of artistic output. I want the community to seize this moment in history to create work that tells a story and compels them to seek out empathy and activism for the sake of others. My hope is the work I’m creating can help do that. I want to spark conversations that have, historically, been hard to start.ARTIST STATEMENT | Concerning the landscapes.I create free standing crumpled paper still lifes, then photograph them and manipulate the images until I’ve created something that straddles reality and fantasy. I want to show you something familiar and then alter your perspective. These shapes and “views” are familiar but I want to you conjure up places you have been and seen. Not simply reproduce a vista for it’s own sake.I combine my love of photography, art and graphic design to create works that speak to the viewer by communicating something specific and obvious but also harboring subtexts that require repeated viewing or discussion. My work as a graphic designer has been to communicate quickly and efficiently through logo and branding work. That economy of message can be applied to art. and upcommingLaura Caffrey and Dave McClinton:CARRY THE REMAINDEROctober 11 - November 17, 2019Atleier 12051205 E Cesar Chavez St.,Austin, TX 78702Gallery hours: 11am-6pm, Thursdays and Fridays, by appointment on other days and eveningsMeet the artists during the first weekend of East Austin Studio Tour: 11am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday, November 16-17 Texas Book Festival WeekendSaturday, October 26th 10:00AM – 5:00PMSunday, October 27th 11:00AM – 5:00PMSaturday - 2:30 PM - 3:15 PMMeet 2019 Texas Book Festival Poster Artist Dave McClintonThe Contemporary Austin-Jones Center (700 Congress Avenue)Meet the official 2019 Texas Book Festival Poster artist, Dave McClinton, as he shares his work, including the dramatic image for this year’s poster, Burgeoning, a mixed-media digital collage made from crumpled paper, photographed and rendered as a mountain landscape. The idea for McClinton’s crumpled paper series was sparked when he noticed the discarded gift wrapping on his kitchen table looked like a miniature mountain sculpture.Some of the subjects we discuss:Questions/reactionsExperiences/stereotypesNew conversationsThe missionCultural workCode switchingTextures/bodiesFacial elements/featuresEye contact/defiantGenerational traumaConflicting messagesAddiction/geneticsUsing historical textsReplacing the nounsThe word “likely”Graphic designRewriting textsThe LandscapesCrumpled paperScars on the landVietnam MemorialPeople as resourcesOther Art FairCrowd reactionsTough conversationsBulletproof explanationsDefending the workWho gets the workWoman at WESTSuit and nooseTalking point pieceStudying art in schoolInfluential teachersPrinting fascinationAll the namesStarting to make artUsing the skill setStory importanceEvolution of workShowing emotionsSense of injusticeDealing with lifeUsing humorPride/embarrassmentMe too/All menRighteousnessThomas Jefferson3/5ths of a personThe 1619 ProjectTexas Book FestivalDJ Stout/PentagramAtelier 1205 LandscapesGet out there/friendsDavis Gallery showNew plexi workBranding/logo workCreative freedomThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"At this point what makes me the most excited about the business, is trying to figure out how to build something that can be a sustainable platform for a number of different artists. It’s so hard to make a living in Austin as an artist or musician. Being able to bring people in and have us all working together on this thing has felt incredibly satisfying. To be able to stand back and watch these items being made by these people who I care so much about. I’m so proud of them and am excited to see where it will go because I am so inspired by them and all of their hard work."Kathie Sever founded her company Fort Lonesome almost 20 years ago, which creates custom chain stitch embroidered western wear for local Austinites as well as musicians and celebrities flaunting their elaborate wears all over the world. In the interview we talk about her artistic origins and upbringing, her time living on a ranch in Montana, how she ended up finding and learning chain stitch embroidery and what that is, the many challenges she’s faced both professionally and personally growing the business, her awesome team of employees, and how she never really gets to meet the celebrities they work with and she’s OK with that. I love how candid Kathie is about the struggles she has had growing her business and how inspired she is by the people she works with everyday. and I at the Fort Lonesome shop in East Austin.Text courtesy of the Fort Lonesome website.AboutFort Lonesome is a design-forward custom western wear and chain-stitch embroidery studio based in Austin, TX. We work collaboratively with our clients to create works that capture the stories of their wearers, in an effort to create pieces that slowly and carefully consider the symbiosis of art, narrative, and technician-ship. Our process is led by considerations of necessity and sustainability, and our designs are inspired by the natural world and its visible and invisible energies.StoryCompany founder Kathie Sever began working in western wear in 2000. She found herself spending a fair amount of time returning to her attempts to rebuild and make functional a hundred-year-old chainstitch embroidery machine she’d purchased. These machines have a legacy of connectedness with much of western wear’s most famous tailors. At that time, information about or mentors in the use of these machines was near to nil, so the learning curve was long and slow. But after many years of tinkering and communicating with some far-away fellow comrades, the gifts these machines, and their ability to confer the energy and individualism of their operators, resulted in the birth of Fort Lonesome in the fall of 2012.In the coming months and years the team at Fort Lonesome grew to include first Dana Falconberry, then soon after, Christina Hurt Smith and Amrit Khalsa, each of whom brought to the table strong backgrounds in diverse art and design, and whose collaborative approach to working together grew into a shared aesthetic and style.Since then the company has continued to evolve and grow, but slowly and always with the intention of pushing the boundaries of this long lost art form.Some of the subjects we discuss:IntroHaving a platformThe spotlight/feedbackHaving employeesSacrifices/skillsYou have to go through itFinding your wayStaying connectedBuilding a businessMultiple voicesUnseen aspectsEgo/being a leaderWho am I without thisSelf growth/helpGrowing up in CaliParents and the outdoorsDad’s photography careerMom’s sewing influenceStudying art in schoolPainting/teaching?Montana experienceWestern wear Being in to clothesAustin/marriage/children Starting to sewChildrens clothing lineBusiness got too bigLearning chain stitchRe-brand/Ryan RhodesCSE vintage machinesHow chain stitch worksEveryone on the teamHelp with the businessGrowth vs’ reactingNext phase/Saying NoValuing the workFeeling deservingSustainabilityDealing with celebritiesPutting creativity to workLove of the teamGetting back to makingThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 71: Deborah Roberts

Episode 71: Deborah Roberts


"I’m going to continue to push my work forward. The work has always come first. It has to be the work, because it’s no good if it’s not. That’s my philosophy. I don’t push that on anyone else. That’s just always been my thing. That the work has to do what it needs to do."In this highly anticipated followup to my first interview with Deborah from March of 2018, we sit down to talk about all of the wonderful and sometimes challenging aspects of her amazing career over the last year and a half since we last spoke. From grants to residencies to gallery representation in Los Angeles and London, it has been a will ride. But don’t think she is an overnight success. Her work ethic and passion have carried her though over four decades of pursing art to where she is now. As they say, luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Deborah shares how her work has been evolving and where it is headed, her studio practice, as well as giving us a peek into some ideas for her upcoming one women show at The Contemporary Austin a year from now. I think Deborah proves that hard work, integrity, and persistence can change your life and the lives of others in a positive way. She is even planning to start a foundation to help other artists get the help that she so dearly needed to grow her career early on. If you haven heard our first conversation that covers the history of her life and career before last year, have a listen to Episode 19.Artist statment and Bio courtesy of Deborah's website.ARTIST STATEMENTWhether I was aware of it or not, otherness has been at the center of my consciousness since the beginning of my artistic career. My early ideals of race and beauty were shaped by and linked through paintings of renaissance artists and photographs in fashion magazines. Those images were mythical, heroic, beautiful, and powerful and embodied a particular status that was not afforded equally to anyone I knew. Those images influenced the way I viewed myself and other African Americans, which led me to investigate the way our identities have been imagined and shaped by societal interpretations of beauty. Having one’s identity dismantled, marginalized and regulated to non-human status demands action. This led me to critically engage image-making in art history and pop-culture, and ultimately grapple with whatever power and authority these images have over the female figure.My art practice takes on social commentary, critiquing perceptions of ideal beauty. Stereotypes and myths are challenged in my work; I create a dialogue between the ideas of inclusion, dignity, consumption, and subjectivity by addressing beauty in the form of the ideal woman, the Venus. By challenging Venus, my work challenges the notion of universal beauty—making room for women of color who are not included in this definition.Wading through my work, you must look through multiple layers, double meanings and symbols. My process combines found and manipulated images with hand drawn and painted details to create hybrid figures. These figures often take the form of young girls. I’m interested in the way young girls symbolize vulnerability but also a naïve strength. The girls who populate my work, while subject to societal pressures and projected images, are still unfixed in their identity. Each girl has character and agency to find their own way amidst the complicated narratives of American, African American and art history. BIODeborah Roberts (American, b. 1962) is a mixed media artist whose work challenges the notion of ideal beauty. Her work has been exhibited internationally across the USA and Europe. Her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; The Block Museum of Art, Evanston, Illinois; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey; and The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York. Roberts is the recipient of the Anonymous Was a Woman Grant (2018), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2016) and a Ginsberg-Klaus Award Fellowship (2014). She received her MFA from Syracuse University, New York. She lives and works in Austin, Texas. Roberts is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Some of the subjects we discuss:The first interviewNew studioSince the last interview Painting vs CollageRomantic/AmericanaFlat and fixedWork about boysGeorge StinneyWhere the work goesTamir Rice shootingEvolving the workBoys with pink shirtsUsing fist imageryDo you see the subtletySculpture work/BooksLot’s of work to be doneThe first year/Car analogyTaking control/Staying truePeople working with herKeeping up the levelMissing womenVolta/Being preparedHaving inventoryWho gets the workMeeting new peoplePaying the billsTime to grow the workThe work was fracturingFear of changingGrants for artistsA little bit of helpNot an overnight successIt’s not easy/StressHours a weekRauschenberg ResidencyStudio managerContemporary installationWhy not be preachyGetting back to peopleNew book releaseBig GoalsTalk at BlantonUpcoming EventsOctober 4, 2019 6pm-8pmBook Release/Signing of "Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi" ( Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center1165 Angelina St, Austin, Texas 78702October 8th, 2019 6:30pmArtist Talk: Deborah Roberts and Robert A. Pruitt ( event is free to the public but pre-registration is recommended.Blanton Museum of ArtThe University of Texas at Austin200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Austin, TX 78712Banner image - Deborah RobertsLET THEM BE CHILDREN 120" x 45"Mixed Media Collage on Canvas 2018This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"There are all these pressures and talks about how do you make your career. How do you make a living? How do you make it sustainable? How do you be an entrepreneur as an artist. And they are all great sounding, very trendy. But at the same time I want to come back and say, why did you want to be an artist? And what makes you want to wake up in the morning and run to the studio and make that thing. At the very beginning it was never for money, it was never for fame. It was something that’s driving you, that’s eating you inside. You have to get it out.How do we hold ourselves accountable? How do we know we are doing something that’s meaningful to ourselves first? And therefore it is meaningful for our viewers. If I am spending hours and weeks and months to make this thing, why am I making it. And what does it mean to people when they are seeing it. It has to be beyond, wow this is beautiful, or this is really cool. It has to mean something. To me and to them."Beili Liu is an installation artist who for most of her practice has focused on the use of space to create transformative experiences for herself and the viewer. She experiments with and puts a lot of emphasis on the exploration of materials, process, and time. Drawing from her life and cultural memory the works often explore issues that she relates to on a personal level and often highlight the importance of feminine strength through the use of meaningful repetition, mending, healing and resilience. And as a teacher who is a working artist she is also able to guide and inspire her students with the wisdom she has gained doing installations and exhibiting her work all over the world. installing AMASS at University Gallery, Texas State University, San Marcos in 2013 Photo by Scott David Gordon (, Chinese Culture Foundation, San Francisco, photo by Frank Jang ( courtesy of Beili's websiteBeili Liu is a visual artist who creates material and process-driven, site‑responsive installations. Oftentimes embodying transience, fragility, and the passage of time, Liu’s immersive installations are engaged with multifaceted dichotomies: lightness contrasted with heft, fierceness countered by resilience, and chaos balanced by quiet order. Working with commonplace materials and elements such as thread, scissors, paper, stone, fire, and water, Liu manipulates their intrinsic qualities to extrapolate complex cultural narratives.Liu’s work has been exhibited in Asia, Europe and across the United States. She has held solo exhibitions at venues such as the Hå Gamle Prestegard, Norwegian National Art and Culture Center (2016, 2011), Hua Gallery, London, UK (2012), Galerie An Der Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2011), Elisabeth de Brabant Art Center, Shanghai (2009), and the Chinese Culture Foundation, San Francisco (2015, 2008). Liu’s work has been showcased in group exhibitions at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2012), Hamburg Art Week, Germany (2012), the Kaunas Biennale, Lithuania (2011), and the 23rd and 25th Miniartextil International Contemporary Fiber Art exhibitions in Como, Italy (2015, 2013), among many others. Beili Liu is a 2016 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant recipient. Liu has been designated the 2018 Texas State Artist in 3D medium by the Texas State Legislature and the Texas Commission on The Arts.Born in Jilin, China, Beili Liu now lives and works in Austin, Texas. Liu received her MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is a Professor of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. Little House Stands on the Prairie, Permanent Installation, Adobe bricks, wood, straw, newspaper, glass, hardware, 7'x14.5'x10.5' ( Art Farm, Nebraska ( Mending Project / 补缮工程, 2011, Iron scissors, Fabric, thread, needle, mixed-media, at Women & their Work. Photo by Blue ( of the subjects we discuss:IntroMaterial/TimePlay/Studio practiceRed ThreadEach and EveryMigrant children Growing up in ChinaSewing and workingLost generationSeparation from parentsMove to ShenzhenMade in ChinaMigrant workersWhat we shareArt growing upLove of writingEnglish-ChineseCulture shock Resilience Taking for grantedBeing a teacherAdvice to studentsGraduate programEncouragement Just do itDi-Da installationParents supportLittle house/Art FarmHouse in ChinaBuilding the houseHistory/meaningTimeframesPerfection/enoughSanctum/FathomMigrant deathsFeather meaningTar and featherRelated installationsWomen & Their WorkThe Mending ProjectScissorsFeminine strengthJoan Mitchell CenterBanner photo by Scott David Gordon. Part of the Panorama365 project.This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"I think artists are extremely inspirational people. You need a lot of mental discipline to continue to affirm the role of creativity and your voice in the conversation. That’s why I think artists are so important because it's just a really important point of view and perception in this cacophony that we hear. Especially now it's really good to bend your ear towards maybe more nuanced, more complicated, more complex murmurings and conversations about issues that artists are giving us."Chris Cowden is the executive director of Women & Their Work, which for over 40 years has pioneered elevating and exhibiting the work of women artists from all over Texas. They have presented over 1900 artists in all disciplines (dance, theater, music, film and visual art) since they started, and have produced over 130 color catalogs with commissioned essays about the artists they have shown. They have programs to educate the public and especially children about art, through various commissioned performances and many other exhibitions and events. They also provide fiscal sponsorship and technical support to artists in creating their work. Chris has to be one of the biggest champions of artists I have spoken with. She is really passionate about her job and getting people to experience, understand, and collect art. I love this conversation. I had been so curious to learn more about Women & Their Work and about Chris and her job and this interview does not disappoint.Text courtesy of the Women & Their Work website.Women & Their Work is a visual and performing arts organization located in Central Austin that serves as a catalyst for contemporary art created by women living and working in Texas and beyond. For 40 years, Women & Their Work has brought groundbreaking art to Austin, with exhibitions, performances, and educational workshops.Known for its pioneering spirit, embrace of artistic innovation, and commitment to Texas audiences and artists, Women & Their Work’s goal is to enrich the cultural experience for Texans by: Emphasizing the value and excellence of art by women Educating audiences of all ages about contemporary art Equipping artists with financial and technical support Engaging the community through diverse exhibitions, performances and other programsAdmission to the gallery is free. Donations are appreciated.Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm Saturday Noon to 6pm. 1710 Lavaca StreetAustin, TX 78701512-477-1064General ( Dot Art Spree 2019Opening - Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:00pm – 10:00pmVIP Pre-Spree6:00pm – 7:00pmLooking for tickets to the party on opening night? Click here. ( - Fri Sep 13, 2019 - Sun Sep 22, 2019 For art lovers in Austin, Women & Their Work’s Red Dot Art Spree means red-hot buys on original works of art at $750 or less and a paint-the-town-red night. Join us on Thursday, September 12th from 7- 10 pm. This year’s event will feature over 150 works by some of the best contemporary artists in Texas. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, prints and mixed media works will be priced $750 and below, and all shopping that night will be tax-free. A silent auction will offer items and services ranging from art-inspired travel getaways to gift certificates from some of Austin’s most sought-after establishments. There will be fabulous fare and cocktails making this the perfect occasion for artists, collectors, and creatives to come together for a night of artistic celebration!Some of the subjects we discuss:Chris’s jobArt in the USExperiencing artW&TW beginningsThe name/evolutionWomen in the artsInclusivity/being seenDifferent facetsVisual art exhibitionsPerformance commissionsEducation ProgramKids at the galleryFiscal sponsoringDifferent eventsAustin museumsBeing an art centerArt collectorsHigh profile grantsThirst on town lakeSources of fundsSale-ability of artRichard SerraLiving with the artExposure to artHow it speaks to youWhat it means/rulesShana Hoehn’s workBallet in NYCKeeps you curiousImposter syndromeWorking with artistsBanking/other careersNew show every 6 weeksSocial media immediacy Looking forwardHow to supportThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
“I’m always trying to be tranquil. I’ve experienced a lot of sadness and crisis and trauma in the last 10 years. I think there is a part of me that could have gone that direction and you would have been able to see it in my work. I have done some small pieces where they do look angry. But as far as the larger pieces, I would always feel like if I was working on something that gave that message that it didn’t really calm me. It didn’t really work for me as art therapy which is at the time what I wanted it to do. I wanted it to be able to take me to a quiet place. A thoughtful place. I wanted it to be about love and community, not anger or separation.”Watercolor artist and teacher Jan Heaton is this weeks guest. We met seven years ago when I was working on a photo project capturing artists in their spaces. That experience enhanced my desire to spend more time with creative people and explore their lives and work. Our conversation covers her creative childhood and her art and teaching career through until present day, which is typical of my interviews. But the main impetus for this episode is to share her late daughter Kristin’s story and the upcoming Davis Gallery group exhibition and fundraiser that celebrates her life. - 60" x 40" - Watercolor on paperBig Pink Blanket of LoveWork by Jan Heaton & FriendsOpening reception: Saturday, September 14th | 7-9 pmSeptember 14 – October 12Davis Gallery & Framing837 W. 12th StreetAustin, TX78701Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm | Sat 10am-4pm512-477-4929In partnership with the Peabody Fund and Dell Children’s Medical Center, Davis Gallery is honored to announce a unique group show in support of Davis’ own Jan Heaton, one of Austin’s premier watercolorists. In February of 2019 Jan’s daughter, Kristin Peabody, was taken by an aggressive cancer she had battled for ten years. In place of the solo exhibition that was scheduled for Jan, Davis Gallery and Austin’s artistic community are banding together in solidarity to fight cancer and find strength. Over sixty artists have contributed 4x4 inch squares of their own original artwork in an overall pink palette that will be hand-stitched together to create a pink quilt, symbolizing the community’s compassion, strength, and friendship. The idea for the pink quilt is derived directly from Kristin's feeling that the love she had been shown over the course of her treatments felt like a "big, warm, pink blanket of love". In addition to this collaborative quilt, an extended group show focused on love, gratitude, and family will feature original artwork by Jan Heaton and over twenty other artists.Ten percent of the proceeds raised during this four weeklong exhibit will be donated to the Peabody Fund, a project set up in direct response to Kristin Peabody’s ambition to help develop innovative work in cancer research through the San Diego Center for Personalized Immunotherapy. The “big pink blanket of love” collaborative quilt will be donated to the Dell Children’s Medical Center’s fundraiser, “The Art of Giving”, an annual fundraiser dedicated to providing art and music therapy for thousands of young cancer patients. of Jan from 2013 when we met.Artist statment courtesy of Jan's websiteMy paintings are personal observations of color, movement, relationships and forms in nature. I prefer the watercolor medium, as I love paper, and the tactile manner in which the pigment integrates with the paper. Painting on cold pressed 100% cotton paper I patiently build translucent, veiled layers of color, allowing the forms and values to evolve in a detailed and orchestrated manner. I normally work in a series, which permits the wet color to dry thoroughly between layers. The images are not restricted by the paper’s edges. Every random mark is there because it needs to be there. The reputed “happy mistakes” (that watercolor legend reports often occur in this medium) are planned and controlled.The circular orbs in my current work are simple, bold, direct, sensual, playful and often mysterious. The sphere recalls harmony, rhythm, movement, patterns, and boundless symbolic metaphors. In my work the circle exists independently and in groups, referencing water patterns on a shore, or a rising moon, rounded fruits, or the shape of a flower. The circle reminds me of family and friends, who are very important to my creative process. The times spent in a circle, talking, eating, dancing, playing, telling stories and solving the problems of everyday life. The memories of this connection to the circle are important to me.My intention is not to impose a specific message to the viewer. I often hesitate to title my paintings, for fear that they will be translated only according to my vision and close a door to the viewer’s interpretations. I hope my paintings will allow the viewer to observe a familiar object in a new way. with Jan at Boggy creek farmstand in 2014.Some of the subjects we discuss:How we metPanorama projectFarmers market seriesIdeas & editing inspirationMary Oliver poetryDetroit childhoodJan’s parentsArtistic familyCalligraphyThank you notesVarious jobsDeadlinesPainting/websiteLosing job/new pathApproaching galleriesJace Graf portfolioWally WorkmanGallery representationHiatus Spa/calming workMorning walk/lookingBoundaries/introversionValidation/feedbackDiscipline/scheduleThe Art of GivingElizabeth HendleyArt TherapyBeing a teacherWhat is watercolor?Opportunities/learningAdvertising experienceBusiness of artKristin’s storyThe Peabody FundDavis Gallery exhibitionPersonalized cancer vaccineThis interview2nd/3rd opinionsMedical advocacySupportive friends & familyWhat’s differentGratitudeThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 67: Sydney Yeager

Episode 67: Sydney Yeager


"My most recent work there seems to be more of an embrace going on between parts as opposed to these diverse parts fitting together, maintaining their diversity. They seem now to be more a part of each other. That’s a mystery to me."Sydney Yeager is an artist who describes her current painting style as gestural abstraction. She also teaches drawing and painting at Austin Community College. Teaching has been a part of her life from early on, but it wasn’t until after she had kids and decided to go back to school that she committed to studying art in a serious way. We talk about her history and what motivated her early work and how that has evolved over the years. We also touch on materials, teaching, being a huge art history fan, the Austin art scene and more.Statement courtesy of Sydney's websiteI keep returning to a beautiful quotation which has become something of a touchstone for me. The quotation is from Italo Calvino’s book, Mr. Palomar, and is a description of a flock of blackbirds flying over Rome. The narrator describes the flock as a “…moving body composed of hundreds and hundreds of bodies, detached, but together forming a single object…something…that even in fluidity achieves a formal solidity of its own.”This idea of independent parts coalescing into a whole, only to collapse again into singular units, is one that has interested me for many years. Inherent in this idea is a sense of continuity, but a continuity constantly threatened with disintegration. It also suggests a state of suspension, where hierarchy yields to endless associations and connections.In addition to these conceptual interests are more concrete references. Some are from the world around me: geologic formations (specifically the unstable limestone walls so common in Central Texas), pixels, and atoms. Some are artistic references, including Italian mosaic, pointillism, process painting, and pattern and decoration.These diverse influences hold in common the theme of fragmentation. The question is whether these fragments are nostalgic reminders of a past presence, or conversely, the beginnings of a new form. The answer is never clear, which is why I remain interested in the question. | oil on linen | 60x72 | 2019 #2 | oil on linen | 72x60 | 2019Some of the subjects we discuss:IntroductionGalleriesPhoto usePainter?Early historyBack to schoolGrowing upGang mentalityNarrative workLimited art worldInformal classElisabet NeySupportive friendsImposter syndromeArt schoolTransgressive workFeminism/angerChanging directionLife & death workInterior view/mortalityTowards abstractArabesqueDisintegrationPeople seeing workBeing openMaterials Figure groundThe blank canvasJumping inFlow stateStoppingLove of paintStyle evolutionTeachingArt historyWomen & Their WorkTeaching in overseasStudio in ElginWhat’s nextAustin art sceneGenerational gapBeing an artistThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"I just think that we have a greater strength en masse. The more we can come together and support each other the greater our potential. Don’t build walls. Don’t tell people they cant do it. Show up for the people you think that you can, and you have the strength to."GD Wright ( is a sculptor, fabricator, and design consultant working most often with metal, cast concrete, and blown glass. He also consults with other artists to help them realize their own visions and has collaborated on and managed many monumental scale artworks and constructions. After growing up and attending college in the midwest he then made a career and a name for himself in Oakland, CA. Recently he relocated to Austin to start his career anew and be closer to his young son. His personal work is often a reflection of himself and his desire to confront what might be holding him back and to dismantle the cages we all create for ourselves.“GD Wright: Impossible Until It’s Done”Through Aug. 18Dimension Gallery www.dimensiongallery.org979 Springdale RdAustin, TX, 78702512-479-9941open Thursday through Saturday from 12pm to 6pm Statement​ for Dimension Gallery FellowshipMy sculptural work is driven by the goal to arouse a deep visceral response in the viewer. I work to achieve this by creating a heightened tension in the interaction of two systems, defined as rigid and fluid. Steel structures, once assembled into a specific form, are fixed and unchanging. The fluid systems they contain introduce a temporal element in which there is no longer a definite object, but a shifting one. The use of a steel mold elicits the feeling of an unchanging model, yet the bulbous forms interact with this foundation in abstract, organic, and often unexpected ways. I draw inspiration from larger systems found in nature and society, which represent the push and pull of containment and expansion, strength and fragility, and change and inertia. This interplay creates a push and pull that is dynamic, as perception of the work becomes reliant on the individuals own deep emotive response as they perceive it.I began this body of work by capturing air, water, and soft pliable materials within my rigid structures to really focus in on the change and enertia that couldn’t be stopped in their interaction. This created a movement in the work I really loved. As sculptures would melt from within, deflate, or slowly wither away, I found the audience would interact with them in interesting and dynamic ways. The work was never static. During the next phase of this work’s evolution I transitioned into glass as my mode of movement in the hopes that the pieces would represent a more fixed object and potentially increase their ability to be collected. During this next phase within my studies I aim to employ my more developed skill set and experience with creating high end craft to realize them in a new and even more dynamic way. I plan to use materials such as castable resins, fiberglass, and maybe even concrete, to increase the scale of these works as I work my way to the monumental. I have done the experiments, now I need the funding to make them big. I would like to produce three to five, 6’-12’ works this year, as well as an installation built from the culmination of several smaller pieces that could wrap and move around the gallery space.Some of the subjects we discuss:IntroductionBubble cage guyComplex craftFitting into shapesCages/mirrorsUpbringingCollege/art classesPunishment/repairsObject vs CraftDeadlinesWorking with waterBeginnings in OaklandWorking with glassDesire to teachAnything is possiblePeople around youProjects/business partner Bus conversionGreater impactFacebookMove to AustinGhost ship fireAustin so farCI grant/HS studentsArt collectorsCultural arts divisionDiversifying incomeHelping artistsBeing a dadBurning manThe temple and lossSacrificing for othersDimension galleryMessage to artistsThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 65: Brinston

Episode 65: Brinston


“I’m not solely an artist, that’s not my identity. I’m not just an artist, I’m a vessel. You are not defined by your occupation. You are not defined by the person that you spend your life with. You’re a creation that’s meant for more than just being an accountant, or a photographer, or a painter, or a carpenter. You’re meant for much more than just that. You are meant to use that as a place to help people.”Dallas based artist Matthew Brinston ( categorizes his very distinctive painting style as something like descriptive realism that leans toward the abstract. The characters in his works come confidently right out of his imagination with each decisive brush stroke and seem especially unique and attractive in an odd way. Over the last 6 years since he was involved in an almost fatal motorcycle accident that changed his life, he has been painting in earnest and feels that his purpose is to create art to make the world a better place and to help others, primarily directed by his faith in God. Be sure to check out the work and also his very distinctive self branding, social media approach, and marketing style that as he states in the interview is aimed at getting people to take a pause.About text courtesty of ( death leads to life, art is inevitable. And art, as creation, is a reflection of its creator. Brinston and his work consistently grapple with the revolution of death and life and death again. The cacophonous symphony of color and shape, rhythm and structure that compose his work is all at once chaotic and calm. Just as the artist himself is an amalgam of mania and peace. The composition of art and artist is indistinguishable… just as his art is an extension of himself, the artist has become an extension of his art. For the artist, art is valuable in its making life worth living. Art has given him purpose and meaning, the people he loves, the places he’s been, literal survival, a future. Art is everything. And now with everything, the artist seeks to share this existential gift through collaboration and demonstration. Impact the world through connection. Inform himself and those around him through interaction. Art is the universal teacher. And the artist’s goal is to help people find little bits of themselves through personal synergy with the art. The artist’s path from life to death and back to life again has not been without pain. But the vision of Christ plus the inevitable clarity of death have afforded him balance amidst chaos and a wealth of generosity through selfless invention. The artist creates not for glory, fame or control… but because he is an artist. And an artist creates. courtesy of Photographer unknown.Some of the subjects we discuss:IntroductionArt growing upEarly music careerMotorcycle accidentMiracle survivalMeeting ChristRecovery/paintingFinishing schoolFirst worksSelf inspirationStudio art/marketingEmotions in the workGetting to know the selfFrance residencyDaily routineStudio practiceThe blank canvasConfidenceDaily prayersVulnerability/wisdomMomentumIdentity/purposeDaily clarity/adventureGratitudeMarriage/growing loveThe world you createPreacher paintingsBrinston brandPause/perceptionArt vending machineLeaving art in cityCreating urgencyDallas communitySense of careerSuccess & moneyNurturing relationships Protecting yourselfMentorshipChrist’s presenceCheat codeListening to your pathThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"All of us as artists have inspiration that comes from a myriad of places. I felt just through a couple situations that had occurred, where I had not intended to do something, that the art had taken a life of its own separate from me. And I had seen the positive aspects associated with it, so it encouraged and motivated me to work hard to stay out of the way and to allow the inspiration to take place. And then once I acted on it the next piece was available to me. I think that’s one of the reasons I have been so prolific is because I was open and receptive to the inspiration and I didn’t question it and I acted on it."Werrick Armstong ( is somewhat of an outsider artist who spent most of his life in business, but then retired and shifted his focus to art for the last 20 years. With his wife of 50 years he splits his time between Spicewood just northwest of Austin, and Marfa (, an unassuming art and architecture mecca in far west Texas visited by people from all over the world. Werrick creates large and often physically and emotionally elaborate 2d and 3d works that deal with a variety of subjects that he is passionate about. Ultimately he feels he’s really just a tool to create the art, guided by his faith and a higher power. in his Spicewood stuido with a piece about mass shootings. of the Jews and your host, Scott David Gordon!Some of the subjects we discuss:Meeting in MarfaDad & VietnamLeaving business worldStarting to paintFear and riskYou need to just see itStaying out of the wayAn attitude of faithPiece of ChristIntent of the pieceHaving faithThere’s more insideChallengesArtistic skillsSuccessMarfa/galleryWorldly visitorsArchitectureA real oddityHolocaust pieceRelationshipsUsing your wordsHumility and pridePastors coin storyThe art worldStewardshipGuided practiceMarriage/giving upSpirituality/soulHow to contactThanks gallery in Marfa, Texas100 East San AntonioMarfa, TX 79843512-563-9403Werrick.armstrong@gmail.comContemporary art by Werrick Armstrong.Hours are variable–look for the “open” sign or by appointmentThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"I think more and more now people are interested in this conversation of the intersection of art and culture with social movements. Art & culture have always been a part of social movements, but being strategic with artists inside of campaigns and things that we are trying to move forward, there’s a really rich conversation that’s happening now. It’s just really exciting to be in a place where I can be both-and. Because it has felt separate. There is something about being in tune with your imagination and creativity that allows for some creative thinking that can support what it is that we all want to move forward which is a more equitable world for us all."This Ain't A Eulogy: A Ritual for Re-Membering from Taja Lindley on Vimeo.Bio courtesy of Taja's websiteAn 80’s baby born in New York and raised in the South, Taja Lindley currently lives in Brooklyn, New York working as the Managing Member of Colored Girls Hustle. In 2007 she received her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she designed her own major, concentrating in public policy and knowledge production with a focus on health and women of color.Lindley is a memory worker, healer and an activist. Through iterative and interdisciplinary practices, she creates socially engaged artwork that reflects and transforms audiences, shifts culture and moves people to action. She uses movement, text, installation, ritual, burlesque, and multi-media to create immersive works that are concerned with freedom, healing and pleasure. She is currently developing a body of work recycling and repurposing discarded materials.Her artwork has been featured at Spring/Break Art Show, Brooklyn Museum, Hammer Museum, Philbrook Museum, New York Live Arts, the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), the Gallatin Arts Festival at New York University, WOW Café Theater, La Mama Theater, in living rooms, classrooms, conferences and public spaces. She has received coverage in the New York Times, VICE, ELLE, Blouin Art Info, Art Zealous and Artnet News, and ARTSY. In 2014 she was a Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project and selected to participate in EMERGENYC - an artist activist program of New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. In 2015 she was a Fall space grantee at BAX. Her 2017 residency at Dixon Place Theater culminated in the world premiere of her one-woman show "The Bag Lady Manifesta" in September 2017. This work is currently on a nationwide tour in the United States.In addition to being an artist, Lindley is actively engaged in social movements as a writer, consultant, and facilitator. For over a decade she has worked with non-profits, research institutes and government on policies and programming that impact women and girls, communities of color, low/no/fixed-income families, queer people, youth and immigrants. Most recently, she served as a Sexual and Reproductive Justice Consultant at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, facilitating a community driven process that created The NYC Standards for Respectful Care at Birth. She continues her work at the NYC Health Department as the current Public Artist in Residence, a program of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.Her writing has appeared in Rewire, YES! Magazine, Feministe, Salon and EBONY. She is a member of Harriet's Apothecary and Echoing Ida. is the Responsibility of the Living: An Installation by Taja LindleyCloses Saturday July 27th, 2019George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center1165 Angelina StreetAustin, TX 78702Open Hours:Monday-Wednesday 10am -6pm; Thursday 10am-9pmFriday-10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-4pmSunday-Closed.The Carver Museum & Cultural Center will present the work of New York-based, multi-disciplinary visual and performing artist Taja Lindley. Her mixed media installation, "Re-Membering is the Responsibility of the Living," will be on view from March 7, 2019, to July 31, 2019. Moved by the non-indictments of the police officers responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Lindley draws parallels between discarded refuse and the violent treatment of Black people in the United States. The artist uses re-purposed trash bags to re-member, honor and value the Black lives that have been lost due to state-sanctioned violence. In this post-Ferguson moment, Lindley is imagining how to recycle the energy of protest, rage, and grief into creating a world where, indeed, Black Lives Matter.Image and text courtesy of The Carver MuseumThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
Episode 62: Sev Coursen

Episode 62: Sev Coursen


"It’s about looking, and continually trying to hone that and develop an eye."Sev Coursen ( is an artist working in multiple media including photography, sculpture, film and video. His work has been presented in exhibitions and screenings in the United States and Europe.ONE PLUS ELEVEN OBJECT SHOW Curated by Lauren JabenAPRIL 2019 Opening Reception Saturday 27 April, from 4-7pmAGAVE PRINT ( E Cesar ChavezAustin, TX. 78702Open 8:30 am - 5 pmMonday through Friday.By appointment.Exhibition Artist StatementMy lifelong fascination with architecture and the history of developing landscapes form the core components of my sculptures, photographs, films and videos.The signage, border markers and fragmented shapes of buildings and background structures in transitional zones within the built environments of rural, exurban, industrial and urban landscapes have inspired many of the forms and surface textures in my objects.Objects and artifacts observed in natural history museums have also been a lifelong source of visual inspiration. These items are often taken out of their context in their original environments and placed in formal display settings. This fascination has resulted in creation of objects that could be interpreted as functional devices, ritual objects, architectural models or as decorative items.There is an additional series I refer to as portable objects -– self-contained, collapsible pieces designed for easy transport and setup. Some of the portables are fairly simple hinged devices and others are more complex. Pink Portable has hand-milled articulated hinges that allow the piece to be collapsed or extended in multiple configurations.Recently I showed the newly completed Pink Portable to Lauren Jaben. She immediately suggested we display it in the window at Agave Print. The title of the current show “One Plus Eleven” refers to this initial selection and the eleven additional pieces she selected, including several objects that have not been previously shown.I have long wanted to present a sculpture show with a variety of work and I am grateful to Lauren Jabens and Peter Williams for the opportunity to show my objects in their beautiful space at Agave Print.Some of the subjects we discuss:IntroductionThree chaptersChildhood in MinnesotaObserving the landscapeEarly art creationRobert IrwinThe Man from U.N.C.L.E.SubliminalMystery/layersEpiphany momentsDioramasTransitionsMove to BostonExperimental musicCreative collaborationMadison HotelDrawings/documentation Move to AustinMedia developmentSculpture/object originsCraftsmanshipColor/visualsArtistic practicestoplightanalyticsCuero Hotel storyThe last three yearsTurning pointsReactions to workWhy make art?Agave exhibitionThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"If I close it off then it’s not right. If you look at it and there’s only one answer, then it’s not right. So when I was talking about my older work, maybe it’s not technically good, but it brings up a question that everybody would give a different answer to. And not just other people. Quite often I’ll go back and see something I haven’t seen in a while and it will set off a whole new chain of thoughts." Warhol's Lunch 2016 gouache & collage, 41 x 29 inchesUpcoming ExhibitionsJulie Speed: East of the Sun and West of the MoonTaubman Museum of Art - Roanoke, VASaturday, August 31, 2019 - Sunday, March 15, 2020Touring from the El Paso Museum of Art, Julie Speed: East of the Sun and West of the Moon explores the rich artistic production of Marfa, Texas, artist Julie Speed from the past five years, including many recent works previously unseen. Speed’s last museum show before East of the Sun and West of the Moon occurred in 2014 and was limited to works on paper. Featuring twenty-nine works, the Taubman Museum of Art's presentation of Julie Speed: East of the Sun and West of the Moon consists of diverse works in the artist’s favorite media of oil, gouache, collage, and combinations thereof. Resident in Texas since 1978 and in Marfa since 2006, the artist forged her own path early on by ending her studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and devoting herself to imaginative figuration coupled with consummate technique. Sometimes described as neo-surrealist, Speed’s art holds affinity with the figurative Surrealism of René Magritte, yet her work offers scenarios that are simultaneously more personal and more complex than Magritte’s visual puns. Her art melds a technical mastery rivaling the Old Masters with motifs created from diverse sources ranging from Renaissance engravings to Japanese woodblock prints. As critic and curator Elizabeth Ferrer has written, “The contemporaneity of her art is rooted in its emphatically open-ended nature.” Some of the themes examined in the exhibition and the accompanying catalog are Speed’s mixing of structured and spontaneous processes, her unique bridging of painting and collage, her playful dialogue with artistic tradition, and the intention and power of her art to spark myriad imaginings and narratives. The exhibition includes a “Close-Up Room” consisting of a three-channel video-and-sound installation designed by the artist and highlighting the processes and details of her art. Julie Speed: East of the Sun and West of the Moon was organized by the El Paso Museum of Art and will be on view August 31, 2019 - March 15, 2020 in the Bank of America/Dominion Resources Gallery.Text courtesty of Taubman Museum of Art websiteSome of the subjects we discuss:When we metMarfa/sin faucetsMaking thingsPleasing arrangements Moments of clarityCracking herself up/angerAtoms/amazonsBehind the veilFocus on paintingPutting in the hoursOlder paintingsHigh standardsNot perfectTime/gardeningBuilding a lifeSpacial proportionsNo compartmentsAfterlife/questionsWhere socks go?Specific & openHow to look at artPainting the DuckForming imagesAssumptionsMeanings changingEating Warhol’s lunchRules for collagesColor/symbolsFairy tales/magic fishNo words of wisdomCloseup roomEl Paso exhibitionThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"I feel that my capacity to create, in so many different forms of media, to step into my work as an activist, to speak in a very vulnerable way in the types of spaces I’ve been invited into, really began with writing about and sharing my deepest shame. And once I had finally illuminated that, and I had brought everything into the light, the things I was the most ashamed of, the things that caused me the greatest pain in my life, I was then able to speak and to explore my creativity in ways that I never had before because I didn’t feel there was anything I had to hide anymore. I think a lot of the fears that artists have, and many of the artists I have mentored over time, they tend to fixate on fears about the work, what work to create and how it’s going to be received. But I think really all those fears are a manifestation of shame. Because we don’t trust ourselves, and we don’t trust that we are enough, and that our truth is worth sharing. I think the remedy for that is healing relationships. Being in communities and in relationships with people that can finally reflect back to us, all of you is welcome here. And that if there is a truth you need to tell it will be heard, because you deserve to be heard."Bio courtesy of Brooke's websiteBrooke Axtell ( is the Founder and Director of She is Rising, a healing community for women and girls overcoming rape, abuse and sex-trafficking. Through her mentorship programs, retreats and workshops, Brooke helps survivors become leaders. She is passionate about inspiring young women to reclaim their worth and express their power to create a more compassionate world.Her work as a human rights activist led her to speak at The 2015 Grammy Awards, The United Nations and the U.S. Institute for Peace. She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau for Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (R.A.I.N.N.), the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the U.S., and an Advisor for Freedom United, global initiative to end human trafficking.Her work as a writer, speaker, performing artist and activist has been featured in many media outlets, including the New York Times, LA Times, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal and CNN. Brooke has published several award-winning poetry books and released three CDs of original music to critical acclaim. AmazonBeautiful Justice: Reclaiming My Worth After Human Trafficking and Sexual Abuse Paperback ( – April 2, 2019A story of healing and a guide to seeking justice after sexual abuse from Brooke Axtell, one of the foremost survivor experts on sexual assault, domestic violence, and human traffickingWhen Brooke Axtell was seven years old, her nanny subjected her to sex trafficking. Today, she is a champion and advocate for women around the world who have experienced sexual violence and trauma.Beautiful Justice shares Brooke's own gripping story, both the trauma of sex trafficking and also her pathway through healing, moving on, and reclaiming power. Along the way, she imparts warm wisdom for others who have experienced similar violence, providing lessons from her own life and from the thousands of women, advocates, and lawmakers she's spoken with. Relying on her own experiences and a keen awareness of public policy, she provides a clear-eyed awareness of the ways that our culture and government work against women experiencing violence around the world.Inspiring and powerfully redemptive, Brooke encourages readers to take part in a creative resistance as a path to justice.This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"I was aware of the culture I grew up in, but I was unaware of the cost for other people, and also unaware of the cost for me. I think when you are raised in a culture like that you have definitions for yourself that feel very comfortable and safe and you’re not even really aware of that. And so you start thinking, why am I telling myself these things? Why is that true? Why does that have to be true? It started seeming like an impoverished narrative. Or like a small narrative that I wanted to step outside of. I feel like every time I step outside of a story I’m telling about myself I see another story. It just feels like that right now, and I’m trying to keep honoring that. So this show is really about that girl, me, and the woman I am, and trying to step into that and keep stepping into it."Elizabeth's artist statement about "Deconstructing Nostalgia"This work began with my exploring the reluctance among women in the deep South to perceive patriarchal and racial structures. I remember myself as a little girl in Mississippi covered head to toe in lace, anticipating being fussed over, wanting to be the object. It sets up an early feeling of being doll-like and not owning one's body. And it sets up a very pleasurable, safe existence that rewards not questioning the system. I am interested in the way I have maintained my investment in this system—partly out of the privilege of not having to be aware of it and partly out of a conflictual relationship to beauty--beauty as emotional safety. I started thinking about lace as a metaphor for this experience, the obfuscation of ugliness--a representation of the gentility and graciousness of the South made possible largely by a history of graceless and dark systems. This obfuscation is highly effective in maintaining the status quo of both the oppressed and the idealized. This work is also about the portrait and my identification as a figurative painter from the South, an identity I find both rewarding and problematic. The Southern portrait is often a signifier, a status symbol, a decorative object, or a kind of pre-Instagram posting. I am using neon (unraveling and lit) and plexiglass (crystallized and glowing) as "lace"--neither bonnet nor halo, but playing with both. I made large ruffled "pillow" paintings and stuffed figures--fringed or in altar-like configurations with mirrored plexiglass and glitter clouds, re-interpreting the "trophy" room, woman as trophy, a type of padded cell of Southern culture, church altar. I am attempting to have a conversation with this girl I was and am, partly a confession, partly a blessing. I am also trying to expand the portrait beyond the confines of ego and decorative object, challenging the culture of gentility and nostalgia which is rooted in and particular to the South, but whose questions of privilege and beauty as both safety and entrapment are universal. Explosionsacrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches, 2018Current/recent exhibitionsElizabeth Chapin: Deconstructing NostalgiaMarch 2-31, 2019Wally Workman Gallery1202 West 6th StreetAustin, Texas 78703512.472.7428Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Sunday 12pm to 4pm.Chapin’s large scale works reference her Southern upbringing and the conflicted nostalgia surrounding the gentility and graciousness of the South. Chapin views much of this culture as made possible largely by graceless and dark systems. This obfuscation of ugliness and the worship of appearance is the theme that runs throughout her new body of work. Using the idea of lace as a metaphor for this experience and referencing historical religious painting, she explores beauty as safety for both the oppressed and the worshiped and idealized. Halos of fabric, acrylic and neon surround Chapin’s paintings. Some of the pieces are stuffed like giant decorative pillows, epitomizing the comfort of beauty as well as referencing the trophy room. With these works, Chapin has exposed Southern portraiture as a pre-Instagram status symbol and examines the pleasure and willful ignorance derived within it. Some of the subjects we discuss:Podcast originDana SchutzWhat to sayLace/the south Adoration/cageRacism/systemsPortraits Living into it hardEmotional journalistUse of colorRestricted palletWatercolorCollegeBeing awakeSelf definitionsCreating the new workUltralight beamBoys/HenryKanye/worshipUnderstanding menWomen/consent Other works in showBonnets/young womenPortrait of HenryAlabel/modeling Tablecloth & cakeSam is everythingPrivilege/permission Daily struggleFocus/disciplineTaking yourself seriouslyOur one opportunity What’s nextThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
"When I was eleven I said I was going to be an artist, it’s just part of the process. You have to make bad work sometimes, it’s part of the deal. If you are not willing to make bad art then you are not willing to take chances. You have to make bad art to get to the good stuff. It’s just part of it."Text courtesy of Stella's websiteStella Alesi ( has resided in Austin, Texas for the last 25 years. Her work has been exhibited in commercial and university galleries throughout Texas, as well as being purchased for many private collections. Her most recent exhibit took place in November as part of the "Femme Abstract" exhibit in Austin. Currently a full time painter, Stella taught photography at the Austin Community College and ran a successful photography business for over 15 years.In 2005 she was awarded a Brown Foundation Full Fellowship to attend a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. She and her husband, Leon, founded the in-house gallery BLACKBOX in January of 2012 , and have curated and produced 12 exhibitions of emerging Austin artists. In addition they exhibit and promote their own work during Austin's open studio tours.Born on Long Island, New York in 1963, she was raised in New Jersey. She began her undergraduate work at Parsons School of Design in New York City, with stints in Paris and Los Angeles, and finished at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Her graduate work was completed at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. 270 from the Journeying series, 48x48 inches, oil, cold wax & bookbinding tape on oil paper mounted to panel, 2019 Prizer Arts & Letters2023 East Cesar Chavez St., Austin TX 78702 | (512) 575-3559OPENING RECEPTION: Journeying, featuring new work by stella lj alesi. FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 7pm to 10pmVisit the gallery on Saturday, March 23rd from 2-5pm for an afternoon respite. The artist will be present. We can sit and be with the paintings, exchange ideas and talk of art. Coffee will be served.Exhibition Dates: March 15th - April 13thGallery hours: Saturdays, 12-5pm or by info@prizerartsandletters.orgPrizer Arts & Letters is pleased to present: Journeying, new works by stella lj alesi. The exhibition will showcase hard edge, minimal abstract paintings that express the need for, and a path towards, balance and interconnectedness. Progressing from Alesi’s earlier highly detailed, long hand abstraction, Journeying moves in the direction of simplicity. Simple, monumental, stacked shapes speak quietly of the lived experienced and the constant micro adjustments made continuously as a need for balance and a recognition of interconnectedness is achieved. Within the lineage of hard edged painting from the late 50’s into the early 70’s, Alesi’s paintings bring a new narrative for a new time. These paintings are in direct opposition to the fast paced and visually overloaded times they were created in. The simple shapes and limited palette require the viewer to bring their own dialogue and experiences to the viewing. Stella writes, “I find that when living with these paintings that they quietly support; bring joy. They whispers answers to questions. They listen as well as speak. These paintings seep in, and serve as a quiet companion.” Stella Alesi grew up in New York and New Jersey and attended Parsons School of Design, the University of New Hampshire, as well as the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for her MFA. She has lived and exhibited her work continuously for the last 25 years in Austin, Texas.Some of the subjects we discuss:The podcastHow we metIntroductionGrowing up/collegeMoving aroundStarting photographySo many jobs Grad schoolGender rolesBeing consistentErotica workBerry paintingsShooting weddingsGoal to quitMandalas/yogaGetting into birdsMeditative dotsWorking with colorMoving to AustinOld & today’s AustinUndergrad workNo fear/mistakesPaying attentionSketches/studiesWhat do you see/hear?ChannelingAll about the visualBalancing actA happy placeDigging for emptinessUsing oil paper/tapeNarrowing scopeMake bad artSeeing work clearlyWilling to showEditing/sharingBlackbox galleryInfluencesJourneyingStaying calm/respiteCurrent goalsRothko quoteWho am I reallyFull time artistFeeling blessedLearning about yourselfCeramicsNew ideal jobThe prime spotPrizer exhibitionThe process Putting love firstBeing a womanThis interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian ( this podcast. (
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