Creating this website has been something of a self-exploratory adventure. I tend to be very reactive as an artist. An idea or inspiration arrives and I respond. Thinking about how I am perceived as a whole, Teal the Continuum, is something I seldom consider. In the process of so doing, many questions have arrived in my mind, forming a sort of interview of myself. Some of these questions may be your questions, also, so here is my imagined Q and A. If you have additional Qs, please feel free to leave them in the comments, or click the contact tab and leave a message there!
Here we go:
Q: What's your motivation?
A: I love this question, it's like something out of a documentary about Andy Warhol or something. Such a monumental question should have a monumental answer, right? But like the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, the answer is a bit ambiguous. 42?!? Turns out we didn't know what the question meant in the first place. For me, motivation is just the drive to make something, anything, just to have the pleasure of watching line spill out of a pen, feel the scratch of a pencil on paper, or watch color leap out of a brush. Inspiration on the other hand is a more specific question.
Q: Okay, clever clogs, so what's your inspiration?
A: In my "Fine Art," or personal work, it's largely nature, followed closely by the intersection of the natural world and the human world. I distinguish the two because, although we are products of the natural world, we have grown apart. The natural world is strange to us and us to it. In my landscape pieces I play with electric light in the nighttime landscape, man-made objects where they contact the living world, and also with point of view. Who is doing the looking, anyway? I have had people say it feels a little like they are an animal hiding in the bushes, after which I fist pump and dance a jig. I also love anthropomorphism and create figures in a style I like to call "Inverted Anthropomorphism," which is to say people with creature characteristics, as opposed to creatures with people characteristics.
In my illustration, inspiration comes from the material in a very global way. I focus on the subject, the context, and how it is presented. The author’s word choices are very important. I particularly love illustrating poetry because I think poetry is painting with words. I let those words wash over me and sink in to me and then I close my eyes and let the imagery just fill me up.
Q: What artists inspire you?
A: Favorite illustrators since childhood include Tomie dePaola, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Edward Gorey. Artists I love include Van Gogh in particular and the Impressionists in general. I love Mayan art and also Celtic and early Christian art because of the layers of symbolism and the magic of animism. I also love comic books, from non-fiction like “Fun Home,” by Alison Bechdel, to fantasy series like Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” and Bill Willingham’s “Fables.” The artwork in "Fables" is stunning to look at, and anthropomorphism and it's inverse condition are just so fun. Each of these examples uses the comic book format to tell a story in very different ways, which I love.
Q: Why does your work exhibit such a broad range of style?
A: I’m a bit of a word nerd. I keep an Oxford dictionary next to my bed, one in my studio, and one in the office I share with my husband. When I read, I scribble down the definitions of new and exciting words so I can use them later. I think I’m the same way with art and media. Style is like vocabulary. There are many ways to say approximately the same thing, but each time you rephrase it you communicate something subtly different. Limiting my style would mean closing myself off to the full range of creative possibility and placing fetters on my ability to communicate. I love the saturated brilliance of chalk pastel, the transparent delicacy of watercolor, and the fluid opacity of gouache, so I use them all. I don’t use collage very often, but sometimes I just want those contrasting textures and sharp juxtapositions. I am not a comic book artist, but I love that style so maybe I’ll use it the next time the opportunity presents itself. Why not play with all the toys?
Q: What are you listening to?
A: You mean, other than my kid singing to herself when she's supposed to be sleeping? Again, I just love the Impressionists: Ravel, Debussy, Satie. They make my head space more serene, while stimulating my creativity with splashes of auditory color.