An UnsafeArt interview with Raoul Middleman is in the process of being edited
This interview was conducting a few years ago and was lost on a mini disk, has just been found and nearly ready for listening.
Meanwhile, you are welcomed to read or hear the Interview, May 2008, with photographer Todd Powell, sculptor Maria Morley, painter Leona Sophecles Brownson, glass artist John Hudnut, and sculptor Chaz dellaPorta:
In August 2008, the work of these artists can be seen at the Breckenridge Theatre Gallery. Opening reception will take place on Aug. 16, from 4 - 6 p.m.
Talty: What is the purpose of art today, in the 21st Century?
Todd: My art, itÕs successful, when it makes a connection, when people say that the picture means something to them, whether thatÕs what it meant to me or not. In this way, it has transcended me. What I like about having the gallery is that I actually get to talk to people, and hear the reason they like a picture.
Chaz: It stuns me the depth and intimacy of what complete strangers say to me from having touched or seen an inanimate object I have fashioned. And it give me hope, to stay on my path. IÕve chosen the path to make sculpture in a very traditional, sculptural sense. IÕve had all this training, and have lots of knowledge of past objects. So I can improve on that and learn from what people have already achieved but thatÕs a very external thing. So, if I let go of my mind, my beliefs my perceptions, then what do I have. I have my passion and the door to my subconscious; IÕm walking blindly following my senses, but IÕm choosing to do that. I might stumble across a shape that has meaning or emanates a quality that is beyond me. Just as, if you make a picture that 5,000 people have a connection to, and uncannily it is a similar connection, now youÕre touching on humanity that links those 5,000 people not a personal experience of one.
Leona: Mary (Maria) walked in with me and said, ÔLook out there,Õ and what she was pointing at was a beautiful grove of aspen trees and she said, ÔI immediately thought of you, but I donÕt need that big window because I have one of your paintings at home.Õ ThatÕs what I do. IÕm not concerned with being a realist, but IÕm providing windows for peopleÕs homes.
Todd: I think I am too, but I always question if it is art or is it decoration. Is it fine art or is it decorative art?
Maria: Van Gogh called all of his work decorations, in all of his writing to his brother.
Leona: Decorative is back in.
Maria: I believe that what IÕm attempting to do, and sometimes I might hit the nail on the head, is to document the myth of my day. Joseph Campbell said the myth (of our day) is a public dream. ItÕs required that it comes from me to reach a broader audience. The myth of our day, I think IÕm trying to document that, whether itÕs a feeling or a thought. I also think of my self as a sculptor of ideas. For many years I made product (ceramics) to sell, but only to work up to this point in my life where I can express my self, which is what I think my duty has always been.
John: Art is when all of a sudden, something is making you happy; the lights get brighter.
Talty: YouÕve spent a lot of time learning how to blow glass, and for what purpose?
John: I use the studio as a platform to, kind of, uplift the spirit and put it to work, so that all of a sudden you are inspired in unexpected ways. I feel like I put a machine in motion.
Leona: You sound like you are raising a child?
Talty: Do you think making art is like that?
Leona: Nurturing. I donÕt feel much different when IÕm painting than when IÕm nurturing my plants. ThereÕs a common thing going on there.
Chaz: More than the question of what it is to be an artist, I ask whatÕs the role of a human being. To earn an income is not very close to being a human being. The task of a human being is to shine our brightest -- weÕre all different so itÕs going to be manifest differently -- but literally to be a star shining, emanating that essence and quality of energy by doing our chosen craft. ItÕs not a question of being artists but the question for every human being. Be your identify that you had when you birthed into the world.
Talty: If this is just about self-expression, as W.H. Auden said, shouldnÕt you just keep it to yourself?
John: I think your mother said that, too.
Chaz: The waterÕs been muddied by this concept of self-expression, over the past fifty year. It only works to conjure up or lower tendencies.
Mary: IÕm saying it has to matter, in order to put it out there in the world. It comes from me, so I have to believe in myself to think itÕs mattering to the world, that itÕs relevant in this time and space.
Chaz: It comes from yourself, but not your ego. Whatever you do, whether youÕre an artist or a lawyer or a shopkeeper, thatÕs the task of being a human being.
Todd: Mary said, ÒI used to make things to sell, IÕve moved beyond making products.Ó I feel like all the commercial work I did for 20 years prepared me and gave me the tools and experience to do what I need to do next. And I have ideas about what IÕm going to do next, but at the same time I need to pay the bills.
Talty: Is there something that matters in how you use a camera?
Todd: Sure. Vision matters. IÕm editing through stuff for Copper Mountain, today, and all I want to show them is stuff nobody has ever seen before. IÕm out there screwing with my brain trying to make this different than any ski picture that somebody else could take. ItÕs commercial; itÕs a product. Or is it art? I donÕt know.
Maria: About time making art -- being the maker -- my idea of total contentment is when the day flies by and itÕs always morning. IÕm more emotionless, when IÕm doing that work.
Chaz: As soon as I live outside myself, and the American Culture is very good at enabling that, then thereÕs no one at home. Then, IÕm making ÔproductÕ that is soulless.
John: ItÕs about visual memory. We really do see it. People have to do a lot to make their livings, but we have taken the time to SEE. We are some kind of people, like the cave painters, who can do things and see. And what we make, itÕs for joy, for communication.
Talty: Twenty years from now what do you hope will be the effect of the work youÕve making now, here in Summit County?
Leona: I hope somebody needed what I made in their own lives. We can talk about beauty because thatÕs what I like to paint, but it doesnÕt mean that everyone else needs that.
John: Yes, they do.
Todd: Everyone needs beauty.
John: Hiking, mountain biking, skiing, the specter of death that brings you right there to the edge, brings an edge to my work. We are experiencing nature.
Leona: I need to be outside, communing with nature.
Chaz: I accept IÕm affected by my environment, externally, but our internal (self) may not necessarily be affected.
Talty: From an art historical perspective, is there any point of being an artist if youÕre not in New York City?
Todd: I wouldnÕt be making art if I lived in New York; IÕd be making commerce. My art all comes from this experience of living here, being here, and living outside. All I want to do is be outside, and all I did today was sit inside with the blinds down looking at pictures on the computer. I wanted to be outside on this beautiful day, even if it was just walking down Main Street looking at light. IÕm inspired by the natural world. I was thrilled to push my limits to create ski photography, all I wanted to show them was stuff theyÕd never seen before.
Talty: When are you pushing yourself?
Leona: When IÕm trying to get it right.
Maria: If I was in NYC, IÕd be in urban survival mode, and IÕd much rather survive in the mountains. IÕm not so into the death-defying skiing as I used to be, but I find a history that is mine, here. Maybe I think art in New York City is commodity, about having a name or money. IÕm thinking I have a responsibility, something to say that is mine, and because I can get out in the woods and find some peace of mind, I can go back to work. I lived in a big city in Mexico. In this shrinking world maybe a place to call home is really important.
Talty: Your work called Migration was installed in San Miguel Allende and also this winter in Denver. How was it different in Colorado?
Maria: I brought in the birds; they were new. I always thought of birds as an important part of migration because thatÕs where the beauty is. ArenÕt we all trying to fly here --whether itÕs with our art, music, or skiing? ItÕs something about transcending this physical reality.