1. What artists inspired you?
"Inspiration is a tricky thing, like catching a falling star or running water. I am inspired by many artists as well as by the physical and the historical world. For "deep water run" I was inspired by the music of contempory Italian composer Ludivico Einaudi, specifically the album "Una Mattina", "Sonnets to Orpheus", by Austrian poet Rainer Marie Rilke, "A Poet in New York", by Spanish poet Fredrico Garcia Lorca, "Tulsa: From Creek Town to Oil Capital", by the American historian Angie Debo, and finally by Muscogee Creek Indian Chitto Harjo, who was also known as Crazy Snake who led the last resistance to the allotment of tribal lands in Indian Territory. Others who are just plain unforgettable for a variety of reasons are Giorgio de Chirco, Edward Weston, Bob Dylan, Robert Irwin, Danny Lyon, Marcel Duchamp, Walker Evans, ee cummings, Dorthea Lange…at my age one could go on for a very long time."
2. How did you start your career?
"I wish it was a career, I’ve never had a career in any real sense except striving toward an expression of feeling…that started on a small Oklahoma farm where I would sing to myself and make poems out of hay bales. The question would be better posed in another way but I am a poet and artist and a worker. Since I am not formally trained as an artist, which I believe has always given me the freedom to do what ever the hell I want, I shoot photographs from the hip of my car, cast verbs and nouns sky ward to the moon and stars, catch sunlight’s shadow on time’s wall and then wait patiently to see the leaves begin to gently fall. I used to burn things, dollar bills, flags and raw chickens but I am much much less angry now. I was delusional."
3. What’s your favorite subject and why?
"History. It’s like looking into a vast mirror and seeing far far beyond yourself. Every day you look you can find something different that informs you about yourself, the place you live, the world you inhabit and the other species that once roamed the planet."
4. Can you speak a little more about the interactive website that you have planned as a continuation of this project?
"The way that I create anything is in the moment. I like to respond to intuition and chance. There’s obviously some planning that occurs but I prefer to allow room for what ever exists beyond me to speak. The interplay in "deep water run" is between the past and the present, natural versus man made. The idea of memory repositories came to me when I first proposed the piece to Steve in April. The ancients used a practice called the Method of Loci as a mnemonic device to help them remember information. As I traveled along Cheyenne Avenue I found there were nine specific locations that literally spoke louder than others. I wasn’t certain what I was hearing but I wanted to try to translate "it" into language, to give a voice to "it". That’s when I began to realize I needed help…. so I invited other artists to take what I call "soundings" from the nine locations.
“Sounding”, is a term now primarily used in the sciences to describe methods of measurement and exploration, it’s a mechanism of probing the environment by sending out some type of stimulus. It is derived from an ancient nautical practice of determining the depth of water (making a sounding) by feeding out a line with a weight at the end.
Artistically speaking, I wanted the purest interpretation of place from each of the artists’ individual perspectives derived from these nine “lieux de memoire” or places of memory, a phrase I appropriated from Piere Nore, which loosely defined means sites of memory. I believed that combining these expressions would create a much stronger voice of place.
Now back to your question, the same thing is true in the enlistment of interactivity from the viewer who sees the work.
With smart phone, the embedded QR Codes and Maps one can virtually visit the sites, but I would ask for them to participate further by visiting one of the sites and taking their own “sounding” and share to with me via email (email@example.com). All the assembled will be stores in the memory repositories located at www.intersectionstulsa.com.
Just keep in mind the website is at a very early stage of development, but during the month the installation is on exhibit I will be pushing this aspect of the work toward completion…I’ve been a bit busy.”
5. What specific ideas do you have about how the topography of a landscape relates to historical memory?
"Since I am out of time this won’t be as complete as well as I would like but here goes.
If you look at the origin of the word topography, you find that topo = place & graphy = writing, so it is in a sense the writing of place. How one interprets the word and its connotations informs the response, our only limitations are self-imposed. Our’s, the standing species chooses to both violate and inviolate the place we inhabit. I believe that the land has a memory, that what lies below the surface is just as potent as what we see and that the way we alter, trash, bind, parcel, plat, dig, bury and preserve remains in the particles; the fabric of the land, the history.
Right now, what we see, speaking specifically of Tulsa, is what is left for us after just over a hundred years of concentrated human activity. But that activity, pulling so much from the interior has left it’s mark psychically on the earth we inhabit. The problem is most of the time we don’t want to give credence to concepts that go against the grain of progress or our way of life. The real irony is that this was a place that was no man’s land, it was “given” to the Creek Nation and then taken back just in time to reap the oil boom.
We like our power. We like to push and conquer, enslave and assimilate. There’s blood that’s been left here in the wake of our passing. The scent of the kill is so recent its palpable.
Stones survive and trees remember. They don’t speak our language, but they speak none-the-less.”
DEEP WATER RUN: Deep Water Run (soundings from cheyenne avenue) is about remembering; a remembering that (re)awakens a sense of place. I call these expressions of remembering ‘soundings’, borrowing the term from the ancient nautical practice of sending out a line with a weight at the end in order to determine the depth of the water and also to bring up samples from the bottom. These (soundings from Cheyenne Avenue) are navigational experiments, recording the depth and sampling the undercurrent that flows through and beneath the city of Tulsa, along Cheyenne.
What began as a poem written two years ago, ‘deep water run’ led to a series of photographs shot along Cheyenne Avenue from 21st South to 65th Pl North during late winter through spring of 2013. I later asked other Tulsa artists to lend their creative articulations to the piece. Contributing artists include: Edward Boen, Ralph Bendel Jr., Chuck Tomlins, Cynthia Brown and dancers from Portico Dans, Living Water, TuMM and Soluna dance troupes. Through nine specific sites, (lieux de memoire) or places of memory on Cheyenne, I hope to create a place where collective memory can at least momentarily, be held.
1. What artists inspired you?
2. How did you start your career?
"I’ve worked on these for years, long before I ever thought of getting them out of the studio. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to show them to an artist in New York who encouraged me to start putting the work out there."
3. What’s your favorite subject and why?
"The intersection of philosophy, mythology and history, is what really generates a lot of my ideas. There are times when the work delves into subjects more overtly political or biographical, but I tend to be drawn to themes that offer more freedom in their re-interpretation."
4. Can you explain the name dirty fabulous?
"Yes, it came to me quite quickly one day. All I knew was I wanted the name to be one that entailed contradiction, or at the very least a contrast. I use these divergent words joined together as one. Now, one has to hold these opposing traits together in the same thought/word. I think the works embody this principle visually."
5. Would you talk about the importance of color within your images?
"Color is important. I pay close attention to color combinations. In some works, it can be quite difficult to achieve a harmony or balance with the color — and sometimes I don’t want harmony or balance at all."
THEDIRTYFABULOUS: Born in the Year of the Dragon. Thedirtyfabulous produces relics of the modern American psyche in large-‐scale mixed media paintings and drawings. Referencing diverse historical, literary and pop subjects; the compositions are littered with symbolic imagery that is part satire, personal musing and broken alchemy. This body of work began in 1993 with various pieces being shown in Europe, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New York City.
1. What is your relationship to Tulsa?
"We moved here 30 years ago for employment. We loved the city and did our best to stay."
2. How did you get involved in Oh, Tulsa?
"Quite by accident—I saw a need when I dropped off my painting two years ago and stepped in to help cheek-in work. I was invited to the "post-mortem" meeting and become a co-chair."
3. What is the point of the show?
"The show has two points—one is to show current view of our city and the other is to exhibit current art trends."
4. What will people see?
"People will see a variety of art media—everything from jewelry to large scale installations. Additionally, people will see that the various ares of Tulsa get along respectfully even when there is disagreement. Even the work that is critical of Tulsa is presented in a forthright manner."
5. Anything you are especially excited about in this show?
"I am excited that this show will present a greater challenge for local artists to create their very best work for the next biennial. They have advance notice to think and create. I am also excited by the vat spectrum of artists—we have wrk ranging from the 18 year old seeking career in art to accomplished art professors."
6. How does Oh, Tulsa! relate to Living Arts’ mission of bringing contemporary art to Tulsa?
"We often forget about contemporary art relating to Tulsa. Tulsa has a vibrant arts community, and this gives them an opportunity to exhibit what is current in our community. What we see in museums is generally past history. Presenting living work by living artists is documenting and preserving what is happening now. This is how history made."
Opening - Aug 2, Friday at 6:00pm at Living Arts of Tulsa (307 E Brady)
continues until Aug 23, Friday at 6:00pm.
4. What made you get so into welding? Is there one moment you remember that you knew this is what you wanted to do?
"I have always been fascinated by metal structures, railroads, bridges, and metal in general. I never had the opportunity to work physically with metal until I was in graduate school. In college I tried to take sculpture classes but was very confined to the rigors of an architecture degree. When I got to graduate school in fine arts my director really pushed me towards metal sculpture.
From the moment I stepped into that load, hot, dust filled welding classroom I was hooked. Everyday since that moment has been a constant challenge and learning process; for metal is a complex entity. “
5. Metal has a sense of masculinity because of its hardness and heaviness. On the contrary, the female figure has a softness and vulnerability. Is there an intentional contrast between metal and female figure?
"Yes there is a something very alluring about taking something so “socially” perceived as masculine and creating something that resonates soft and feminine. I also believe metal is miss perceived as masculine. Metal has a great vulnerability, softness, allure, complexity and seduction like a woman."
1. What artists inspire you?
"It constantly grows and fluctuates with the work, time and my continual gathering of information. Do I feel that certain artist have funneled my concepts in certain fashions, yes. Everyone is inspired by others and you use that as your spring board to find yourself. If I had to choose at this moment well, it would go like this-"
Installation / Outdoor sculpture- Richard Serra or Beverly Pepper
Sculpture- David Smith or Manuel Neri
Painting - Sean Scully or Cecily Brown
Architecture - Carlos Scarpa or Daniel Lineskind
Drawing - Reginald Marsh
Photography - The Instagramers of today
2. Why has a female body become an object of your art? New York magazine says, “Nude women seem to be in their natural state, for some reason men merely look undressed.” Do you agree?
"I will never forget asking my grandfather when i was a little girl why he had so many paintings of naked woman hanging on his walls. He laughed that boisterous laugh and said no no those are nudes of the female figure. At that moment he elevated my thoughts about figurative art to a different level. Since the history of art has very much brought the female nude to the forefront of art I think it subconsciously has molded people to feel more comfortable with it.
I would also say that being a woman myself I understand the female figure better than the male. However I am still allured by the mystery of the female figure.”
3. How did a college education help you develop your artistic career?
"Vital. It pushed me to discover so many avenues of my creative process. I love exploring new concepts, being pushed to think outside the box, and engaging in the process of thought. "
Virginia T. Coleman - Virginia formerly lived in Tulsa, OK and currently resides in Denver, Co her formal education includes, environmental design, architecture , fine arts -figurative painting and welding. About her work Virginia state, “My artwork is an amalgamation of my multi faceted background. I adumbrate drawings like an architect, dapple color with a painter’s eye, capture compositions with the photographer’s quick lens, and weld forms together with a sculptor’s touch. I have traveled and moved across the country and world formally studying architecture, fine arts and welding. I have been searching for my identity, my voice. What I have discovered along my journey is that all these trajectories have become the bases for my unique vision. Art to me is about the journey of discover, having faith in your ideas and the unwavering passion to follow your heart. This journey is still just in its beginning.”
4. It seems like you are so fascinated with memory. What’s the oldest memory in your life?
"I think I am more fascinated with how memory can shape and form us and our thoughts, and how we all can look at the same scene, the same image, the same conversation, and walk away from it and later recall something very different than the other person. I feel we remember what is important or has meaning us, depending on our own life experiences. The earliest memory I have was just before being born, or I suppose close to it. I assume it was just prior because I remember hearing voices, noise; excitement. I had the sensation of floating; it was very calm, like being out in the universe, floating in a dark space, eyes closed, obviously, and just waiting, and ready. "
5. How did studying arts in college affect your artistic career?
"Greatly. I was surrounded by outstanding art professors at The Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington, DC; many of them working artists showing in galleries and still creating work today. Painter William Willis known for his muted color abstractions of the natural word, Kendall Buster, whose cloud like form sculpture hangs in our BOK Arena, William Newman who is well known for his large-scale public murals, Doug Lang, poet and professor of writing who recently retired this past May after 37 years of teaching at The Corcoran, Andrew Hudson, an artist and professor of writing and history and Tom Green, the acclaimed painter of color and inventive abstract paintings who passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease September 3, 2012. Without these teachers, and others, I would not be the artist I am today. The Corcoran is one of the few art schools that is affiliated with a museum. In my years there we were in the same building as the museum, and it was always accessible to us, to walk through and enjoy the works as well as all the great museums in the area such as The Hirshorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Philips Collection, Renwick Gallery, Freer Gallery, Guggenheim, National Gallery of Art, to name a handful. My graduating class, there were maybe no more than 60 students in total. It was a small class, and a lot of time to create and work and critique. A lot of crits, which were really helpful. "
6. Could you explain a little bit more about “the fate of thoughts” ?
"I believe our thoughts define us, and therefore play a role in shaping our fate, our destiny. I feel we get into habits with our thoughts with our tendency to come up with certain thoughts or take certain actions in a certain set of circumstances. I feel the starting point to shaping our own fate is to shape our thoughts. How we react in certain events, and how we consider things, the decisions we make at certain turning points in our lives, choosing to take responsibility for our own actions or not, all of this leads to where our thoughts go and how they affect us and often, those around us. The fate of our thoughts then, is really up to us, how we choose to learn the lessons in our lives, breaking free from repeating mistakes, and having the freedom of choice to shape our own destiny. Metaphorically, I envision my mind has having a field of thoughts, some taking flight, others taking root. I would like the fate of thoughts which take flight and take root in me to be free of ill will, full of love, well traveled, and well learned."
1. What artists inspire you?
"Many artists, from past to present. As a child, living in Paris, between the ages of 7 – 9 years old, it was Monet, Van Gogh, Pissarro and many others. We went to the museums often, and my mother painted, influenced by French Impressionism. It was seeing Monet’s water lilies in the Musee de l’Orangerie which inspired me to want to be an artist. I recall sitting on the bench in the concave room, Monet’s water lily paintings surrounding, and myself watching people go up to the paintings, examine them, then step back, and repeat again. I never knew until then that art could be appreciated in such I way. And I wanted to reach people that way. Have them look at my work like that, and discover something new. I thought to myself, “I want to be an artist, and have people look at my work the way they look at Monet’s.” In art school days while at The Corcoran College of Art & Design, I loved Franz Kline, Hans Hofmann, Lucy Lippard, Morris Louis, Richard Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, just to name a few. Today, I am especially enjoying the work of artists May Lin, El Anatsui, Sandy Skoglund, and Paula Scher to name a few."
2. Why do you choose/prefer abstract expression?
"I started as a realist painter, and changed over from realism to abstraction between my second and third year in my BFA program. I found abstraction to be more challenging for me, with having to balance color, line and space, without a specific visual subject to anchor into. Also, I definitely painted from my emotions, and expressing feeling through abstraction allowed me to be broader with my strokes and experiment more on the canvas. Emotion was my anchor, my expression. Many of my art professors were also full time artists, and grew up in the 60’s, so they had an influence on me as well. "
3. Do you think is there a deep connection between your traveled childhood and art pieces that you create now?
"Yes. I think the connection would be in my interest in memory and thoughts. Since we moved every few years since my birth, I have always been able to easily associate my memory of places and people with the environment I was in. For instance, I remember being two years old and living in Bucharest, the apartment we lived in, the kitten I found near the iron gate in front of our building and named Purman, because he was purring when I found him. I think at the time my parents may have thought I was trying to say Herman, and I was a bit frustrated with that. I recall the overcast days there in Romania; it always seemed grey to me there. I have many memories from that time. In the Philippines I had a lot of time to myself, and enjoyed being outside; sunny, hot and humid. I was between the ages of 4 – 6 years old when we lived in The Philippines. I could run my hand through the dewy grass and pick up handfuls of tiny frogs. I once filled up a Maxwell House coffee can with them, then opened the lid and watched them all pop and fly out. I was very good at entertaining myself. I also enjoyed building things from nature, with sticks and leaves and flower petals I collected. I would make these little nature totems and leave them out in the elements, curious as to how long they would last. I was in my head a lot, thinking about the meaning of life, the expansion of the universe, and was always asking my Dad questions. I was also very concerned at the time about growing up, becoming and adult, and getting caught up in all the busy of life, as well as forgetting how it was and felt to be a child. So I was always trying to remember the little moments, and remind myself to never forget them, to forget the child inside. I wanted to be able to communicate this all to my adult self, so there were times I would sit in my bedroom and repeat to myself, “don’t forget this moment” over and over again. I know, odd. But I haven’t forgotten. I always held onto those moments, over the years. And that is the best gift I could have given myself, to be able to go back in my mind, reach in, and find my five year old self. I was around 11 years old when I realized other kids my age did not really do such things when they were younger. "
Michelle Firment Reid (American, b. 1968) spent a traveled childhood living in the Philippines, Bucharest, and Paris while very much influenced by the art and culture around her. Her later years were spent in a suburb of Washington D.C. where she received a BFA (1991) from The Corcoran College of Art and Design, her summers working in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Graphic & Disguise Department. Upon graduation she worked with Washington, D.C. sculptor Joan Danziger while navigating her way through her own paintings and writing. Residing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Reid enjoys a studio in the Blue Dome District, creating full time. Her work is represented by M.A. Doran Gallery, Tulsa and collected nationwide.
An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.
Why Tulsa Streets?
"I’m a perceptual painter - I paint and draw the things I see. And —- I might also say why not. Tulsa streets are the streets I experience - I think they are unique and universal at the same time. I don’t feel like I could be a destination artist - travel somewhere and set up for a few days - it has be part of my daily experience. ”
So if you work outside is that for a draft or do you create the collage on the site?
"I create the collages onsite not from a sketch or a photograph. I want to discover the place while I’m working. If I stand there and look at it for months I will get to know the place and become a part of it."
Who inspires you?
"There are a lot of artist that inspire me - at any given time I’m usually looking at someone. Lately I’ve been looking at Matisse and thinking about Guston as well. There is always Cezanne, Titian, Giacometti, Soutine and a lot more."
You see utility lines that most people block out of their eye’s view. Can you explain your perspective?
"I love the geometry in the urban landscape. The high lines or utility lines give me something else to work with. I love the sense of scale in the Oklahoma landscape - the sky to the land. I see the utility lines as a compositional or visual opportunity."
You 3D piece is quite a departure, what is the story behind it?
"I don’t really think of the 3D piece as a departure. It seems to be tied very closely to the Street Fiction paintings and to the collages too. The idea was to create an intersection. This probably started with the idea of painting an intersection from four different views and hanging them in a way that might be like and intersection. Four paintings hanging on a fabricated wall."
Does this work impact aspects on how you instruct your TU students?
"Just the other day a student said that I don’t talk much about my own work. In a way that might be true. But —I’m always showing students art and artists that interest me and by doing that I’m talking precisely about my work and the ideas that I’m interested in."
we have created impressive makeshifts
and named them for one another
we have made collages of all the truth we can deal with from each other
and we call it love
we have poured every ounce of courage
not reserved for regret into this
and hope it is love
we balance our checkbooks
and think, combatively, “this better be love.”
and when it turns out not to be love,
we blame each other
and when it turns out not to be love,
we blame ourselves
and when it turns out not to be love,
we change religions
learn the Portuguese language
pray for meaning
the roughest translation of “will you marry me”
into the universal language
would you do me the honor
of cataloguing my best excuses for me
so I won’t forget them? can we take turns
with the dishes? can we take turns with
sex denial and shame? someone needs to keep
record of the tiny moments in which
I am not failing. I need proper
documentation, a ledger
a spouse. someone who will
and make dinner
when what i give turns out
not to be love.