Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SUSAN MAUCK





What is your name?

Susan Mauck


Where are you from?

I grew up in the small Southern Indiana           town of Odon.  Odon was a bit like the TV   show, Mayberry.  I remember that I couldn't wait to  move to a big city.  But, in retrospect, it was a wonderful place to grow up. It was the late 1950's and early 1960's and life was simpler. 



Where do you live?    

Most of my adult life I lived on Indianapolis's Northside.  Nine years ago I moved to the Carmel/Westfield area.
   



When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

From childhood...I just always knew. 
I didn't have many toys and was an only child.  I remember spending hours drawing and designing my own "paper doll" clothes.  I was that student the teachers always asked to "make a poster" or create something for the bulletin board. Later, it was class play backdrops and "prom" decorations.  I was always the "creative" one. 


    

Who influenced you as an artist?

As a child, one of my biggest fans was the "preacher's wife".  We went to church "a lot" and during the Sunday night services Mrs. Webb would slip me paper to draw the people in the congregation.  They were tiny portraits.  People were fascinated and always wanted to see who I had drawn that night.  Looking back, I believe that is where my love of "portraiture" truly began. 
                          
As an adult I studied portrait painting  with Wm. G. Ashby who used to say "Susan, if you were a little 'hungrier', you would be a 'damn good artist'."  
Later, I understood what he meant.And , of course, there were the Impressionists. 
My favorites being Degas and Cassatt.  How I would have loved to have live in Paris when the impressionists were changing the art world.
                           
                        



What is your favorite medium?

Oil  in my favorite.  However, I do like experimenting with new mediums.  Love working in charcoal on bristol paper especially when drawing the figure. 



     
Do you have a studio? Where is it?

Yes.  Recently I opened French Bleu Gallery in the Carmel Arts & Design District and have  studio space there.  For 11 years I rented  a studio  in the Historic Stutz Building in downtown Indy.  I also have turned my 'seldom used" dining area  into my at home studio space. 





When did you become a mother?

On June 24, 1975, my daughter and only child  Nikko was born.  I am also fortunate to have two wonderful grandsons in my life. 



What were your challenges as a new mother artist?

Motherhood does change everything.  Time is undoubtedly the biggest challenge.  I remember as a young new mother just wanting to have time for a shower. 


   






What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist?

To be honest, I am not sure I have ever had that "balance".  Being a mother always came first and still does, even though my daughter is all grown up.    It was all the other "life issues" that seemed to be the problem. 





When do you spend time making art?

In the early years whenever I could find the time.  I always found it very difficult to work at home.  Over the years, I made sure I was always taking  some type of art class or workshop.  It was my way of keeping connected to the art world.  I knew that being enrolled in a weekly class would insure that I was creating something.   And , now, I make sure that I paint every week.  It is how I make my living.  I am fortunate to have my own gallery/studio. 
 



How many children do you have? 

One daughter.  One of my biggest regrets was not having another child.  







Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother?

No, because I felt I could do both.    Laundry and cooking?  I give that up all the time!!! 



Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art?

More so now than in the early years. Many of my friends are artists, so they get it, and understand the passion of making art.    One of the best things a mother artist can do is to surround herself with a network of creative people.   Just "talking art" keeps you motivated and inspired.    



Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist?

When I had my daughter it was the mid 1970's, the Women's Rights movement was strong and Helen Reddy was singing "I Am Woman" . We all thought we could "do it all".  We soon realized that might have been asking a bit too much.



Has becoming a mother influenced your art?

Most definitely.  Over the years my daughter and grandsons have  actually been the inspiration for many on my paintings.  One of the reoccurring themes in my art is the "mother and child" .  Capturing that moment in time that is so endearing.  Recently I painted a series of "Saturday Mornings" capturing that close connection of mothers and children in bed.  It has become one of my most popular  themes that clients commission me to paint.



Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?

I don't think it is a mother issue.  History tells us women artists have not been taken as seriously as men artists. I do believe that now that may be changing.  I know several very successful women artists.  



   
What do you say when someone asks “what does your husband do for a living?” and are you offended by such a question?
                         
Since I am now divorced that is not an issue.  But, yes, I would be offended. 




What is your story?

Where  should  I begin?  1967?  That was the year I graduated high school.   I went from "county fair queen" to "hippy flower child" . With my long hair, love beads, and bell bottoms  I enrolled in Indiana University Bloomington to study art.   And I loved it.  All of it.  Drawing, painting,
photography,printmaking, silversmithing, and,art history….  I was becoming an artist….a real artist.
       
To appease my very strict  parents, who referred to IU as "sin city", I agreed to get my degree in art education. I can still hear their concerned voices telling me I needed "something to fall back on".  In retrospect, they had a very good point!
 
After graduation, I married Tom Mauck and we moved to Indianapolis.That "art education" degree was put to use when I was hired to teach art in the Indianapolis Public Schools.  I taught in two schools, one K thru 8th grade and the other an inner city school for special needs children.It was a very rewarding experience and I am still in contact with several of my students from those early years.I taught for 4 years, then had my daughter Nikko. 

And now we  enter the Mommy years.  I loved having my little girl.  She was my "buddy" and I wouldn't trade those special years for the world.  I was fortunate enough that I could be a "stay at home mom".  We did everything together.  All my art instructors loved Nikko and she often went with me to class.  We would set her up to paint, and on many occasions would have her "model" for the class.

OK…..let's fast forward….Nikko is getting her BFA in Painting from IU.Ironically, we both studied with two of the same professors, Robert Barnes and Barry Gealt.  Ah, the circle of life!

Now, it is my time to "get serious".   During this time I taught drawing and painting at the Indianapolis Art Center and offered private art classes at Park Tudor School.  With the money I was making I rented a studio in the Historic Stutz Building.  It was here that I was surrounded by other artists and "creative" people.  It was during this time that I studied with some nationally known artists through workshops and seminars.   I was creating a "new life" for myself.  My Stutz studio was also  a refuge from a very dysfunctional marriage.  That is another very long story………so,at age 56, following a " heart attack" caused by stress,  I left my 34 year marriage, moved to Carmel, and  a few years later opened FRENCH BLEU Gallery in the heart of the Art's & Design District.Everyone thought I was crazy for opening a business in the midst of a very unstable economy, but it was MY DREAM and I was going for it!!!  No more waiting for "someday I'm gonna…………"!

And now, at age 65, I am happy to say FRENCH BLEU is doing well , My portrait commissions have become my main source of income, and I am very proud of what  I have accomplished.  I continue to teach occasionally because I truly "love it" and I believe artists have a "special talent" that should be shared. 
       
                     
                     
What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions?

That it is not easy, but definitely worth all the  hard work and dedication. I often quote Maria Shriver who said "You can have it all, just not at the same time"  .
 



What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions regardless of their situation?

You have this one life and the gift of creativity…   You are artists, so create the life you envision.   Never give up on your dreams.  Surround yourself with other artists and continue to grow through workshops and classes. You may think you don't have the time, and sometimes that is true, but even looking through art books counts.  Read the book "The Artists' Way"  by Julia Cameron.


What do you want to be remembered for as
an artist?

That I "gave back". I love painting, but what truly fills me with joy, is when I can mentor other artists.  Sharing what I have learned throughout my "artist journey" make me happy.  It is so gratifying knowing that i helped a another artist find their artistic voice. 




To learn more about Susan Mauck please visit: 

Monday, June 16, 2014

LILY MAE MARTIN



What is your name?

Lily Mae Martin




Where are you from?  

I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I have lived in Europe and feel like my time in those places have influenced me greatly.


Where do you live?

Just on the brink of a big shift out to the country.




When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

It’s not something I really thought about until I was older - I’ve always drawn and painted, I was pretty good at it but when I was younger I wanted to be a writer or a vet. However the drawing and painting was the most consistent throughout my life and people always asked me what I was doing working in a call centre ( or whatever job I was doing at the time ) that I should be studying art. When I got a job at the National Gallery of Victoria when I was 20 years old and started working with artists was when I really realized how much I would like to be an artist - be like the people I was working with. So that’s when I enrolled into the Victorian College of the Arts and in 2009 is when I really started working hard at it.



Who influenced you as an artist?

My Grandmother, my mum, my husband and my kid - they all contribute to my ideas in many different ways. These family members were very encouraging and later on it was my high school teacher at Swinburne Senior Secondary College. One of my favourite memories is having an argument about my work with him.  He wanted me to pursue printmaking and I resisted - I still regret not taking on his advice.
In terms of artists I am drawn to people like Jenny Saville, Dagmar Cyrulla ( I was recently in an exhibition with her! ), Käthe Kollwitz, Margaret Preston, Lucian Freud, Sylvia Plath. I could go on and on really!



What is your favorite medium?

Drawing in ink - pen or ink and nib. But I love to watercolour and oil paint too. They all offer something unique and I go to each of them for their different qualities. But the one I am in my element with is drawing. I just know it.





Do you have a studio? Where is it?

I’ve had many studios over the years but right now I have my drawing space in my lounge room - which is great because we live on a hill and get so much incredible natural light. I also love to work while my family are around me doing their own things. I thrive off of it! I also have my painting studio in a shed out the back, which is at the mercy of the elements and can be hard to work in. However I can get messy in there and work with hazardous materials and feel OK about it because it is under lock and key so my daughter is safe from it.



When did you become a mother?

My daughter was born in July 2010, in Cardiff, Wales.




What are your challenges as a mother artist?

Oh! Many. So many! I mean, not just because of being a mother artist - we have had to do a lot of moving and travel because of my husbands work. Instability becomes all the more scary with a small child. However I’ve drawn a lot of positives from these experiences, as tough and as isolating as they were at the times - I feel that it’s definitely made clear to me what I do want out of my life and how to prioritize things.
But I think in general, the isolation has been a hard one. Because as an artist anyway, the nature of it is isolating. So I think I became very unsure and very detached from people and the world. I also think I have lost a lot of relationships because of the misunderstandings and change of circumstances. Work is very important for mums and it is a priority over things such as social obligations and people can’t help but feel hurt, or something.




What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist?

I love creating, I love making new works and I haven’t made so much work since I became a mother. I think there are many things driving it - determination, escapism, love of the process of making, surprising myself.




When do you spend time making art?

All the time. It’s always on my mind and just a part of my everyday. I am thinking about art more than anything else. It’s also the way I document things - I’m a sentimental sort and I like to collect photos and bits and pieces of my life so I think about how I can capture things to record them. Especially my daughter at this age - nearly four - her use of language and developing imagination is just so amazing to be privy too. So I try to document as much of it as possible.



How many children do you have?

I have the one.






Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother?

Nope. Just like my husband wouldn’t give up all the things he is to be a father. But we do, and have, sacrificed for her, that’s part of it. But I think that comes with all major relationships in life - compromise, sacrifice, all of that sort of thing. But like, having a kid is way different.



Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art?

I have loads of support from my husband. He has always been incredibly supportive and that really is the main thing. My daughter now sits and draws with me or watches me work. That’s a recent development and one that I enjoy so very much.



Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist?

Yes and no. I still think that when I was first starting out that I should just have my name as L.M.Martin to take the focus off of my gender. I still get referred to as a Woman Artist. Which doesn’t make me happy at all. You never hear anyone say Man Artist.
In regard to Mother/ Artist - I am not sure everyone knows that I am a mum. I have been conscious to keep things separate - I just let people know as much as they need to know.




Has becoming a mother influenced your art?

Yes. As I said, I’ve made more work since I have been a mother than any other time of my life. I’m very inspired, it’s a place for the positive and the negative and all the in between.

That nice stuff all being said - the process of pregnancy and birth was intense for me, I appreciate that it is very different for everyone. I’m lucky that I came out alive as well as with a living baby. And then as a mum you hit the ground running - even if you can’t walk, like I couldn’t - and it leaves you questioning your identity and what it means to be a woman. It’s the most destabilizing process but the most affirming.




Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?

I don’t think parents are taken seriously - in that everyone challenges them and judges them. And mostly - women are not taken seriously. We are still a minority voice in society, as well as the arts.


What do you say when someone asks “what does your husband do for a living?”
are you offended by such a question?

It’s all about context.


What is your story?

I have many stories!

But the one I will tell here is that I have always been the type of person who has taken a while to process thoughts and feelings about the world and situations - this is why I find art so comforting and an invaluable tool to communicate. I would say it has saved me a number of times and I am very grateful for it.

Career wise I think things took a while for me to start off because of life stuff. I came to university a little bit late, I came to travel even later but I did get there and a lot has happened in a short space of time. Such as developing my work and style and finding the things I want to pursue in my work. Which is important for someone like me - someone who likes to do lots of different things all the time!




What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions?

I’ve learnt to put my little family and my needs first - that friendships are weak and to move on and find others that get who you are now - camaraderie! Parenthood does change everything and it’s exhausting trying to prove to everyone otherwise. I’ve learnt to accept a lot of the chaos and the 8PM bedtimes and that I have to prioritize a good nights sleep over ‘nights off’.
I am on call 24 hours, seven days a week, something something days a year - and that’s just that.



What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions
regardless of their situation?

Tricky because it is different for everyone.
Try and be open that it is different for everyone, try not to push what is working for you on to someone else. Put yourself first over everyone else - they probably wouldn’t extend themselves for you.




What do you want to be remembered for as an artist?

That I was really fucking good at drawing. Like, really fucking good.


For more information about Lily Mae Martin please visit:


* All images were submitted by Lily.