The eXTra finGer

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Location: Italy

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Interview with Maria Forde

q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

a)Maria Ann Forde. 32. I'm from Iowa. I grew up on a farm then I lived in a little town called Missouri Valley. I graduated high school with 57 people.

q)How did you get started making art?

a)I think I made art like any kid would. nothing unusual.My dad took me to a few painting lessons. He drew with me a bit. There was only one art teacher that taught all the grades in Mo. Valley and she was really mean and boring. She would ignore you if you raised your hand and if you walked up to her desk she would give you a detention. I remember doing those linoleum prints and cutting the hell out of my thumb. That's about it. I didn't take any art in high school. And without really thinking much I took a drawing class at college. And then I thought ...Okay I guess I'll take another art class. And then just kept going.

q)How would you describe your art?

a)Um... shit...I suppose I'd like to think it's my way of trying to communicate with other people. I try very hard to only speak for myself. and be very thoughtful and studied in what I try to make art about. And it's me basically just trying to get things in my head to come out of my hand. I like my work to look like I am trying to do something well. Like I am not just doing something I think I am good at. I should emphasize the word "trying". I think people can tell when someone is expressing a true sorta earnestness and when they are just being sloppy.

q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

a)Movies and books and music and comic books are all important to me. It's what I get all excited about. Like when a book by someone I like comes out. Or when I read an interview with an actor or go see people play awesome music.Also I deeply admire the people I have in my life. Their ideas. their sense of humor.

q)What are you working on now?

a)I got several collaborations with people going on. It's weird… It wasn't a conscious effort on my part but I realized I have about five projects I am doing with another person. Making a book… Making pillows... Making stickers… Making drawings together… etc.I think it gets you thinking on a different level. And sorta motivates you in a weird way. Like you want to make this person feel like this is something special. That what you are doing with them you can't do alone or with anyone else. And I just can't believe how many cool friends I have. I know that sounds all dorky. But it's true.

q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?

a)I'm trying to fix this... But I am unfortunately very neurotic about alot of things in my life. I'm a nerd. My mind will start spinning and bending in weird ways because I'm trying to be really thorough and careful. And then I can get deluded and start to doubt how I feel about something. and then it can get hard for me to feel like I can stop studying. But so I usually find myself doing alot of reading. Taking alot of scribbly silly notes. And making esoteric or dull lists.And then comes the actual art making.

q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

a)Damn… This is a tough question.I am such a curious person I can get way interested in just about anything. I love working with my hands though.But I have a pretty good knowledge of alot of computer programs & I feel really grateful that I spent the time to learn them for practical reasons. But I worked in final cut and imovie for awhile when I was in graduate school and I almost lost my mind. It's so weird being hunched over a screen. And I don't think I ever felt so horrible than when the computer would do something stupid and I'd lose something large and important and have to start over. It sucked. Like a slap in the face. And my eyes would get all dried out. And it just seemed so unnatural and weird.But I love woodworking. Framemaking. and the chemistry of painting. there's something really cool about just a piece of paper and something drawn on it.

q)Do you collect anything?

a)No. I have a problem with stuff. I feel like I am weighed down when I think I have too much crap. I don't like alot of stuff on the walls. It interfers with my brain. I like buying clothes and music and comics but I sell them if I get bored with them and just get something different. I like thrifting. I do that with my mom alot. I'm big on libraries.Cuz you get stuff but you can just give it back when you are done. And it's freeee.

q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

a)As much as I possibly can I like to do everything myself. I think my work would be retarded if you couldn't see that a person sat down and drew something. It would look like what most everything looks like. An ad or something. I guess I'm just a big fan of anything homemade. And I avoid anything or anyone that appears too slick. It just seems phony and superficial to me. But I need to make clear that I am only speaking of what I am trying to do with my art. I don't want to sound like I am on soap box or something. I just want people to be honest with what they are trying to do. And computer stuff can get me feeling all suspicious like the artist is a robot or something.I like to understand how everything works. i took a photo class. Just so I could understand the process. I like to make my own slides. make my own website.The computer is important for me after I make my art. To be able to organize and archive my work and allow other people see it. If they want… I guess.

q) What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

a)I think it comes down to finding a place where people feel welcome.I think about this alot. It's like the first day of kindergarten and scoping out the playground and trying to figure out who you'd maybe want to have as a friend or something. figuring out who would want to be your friend.I think my work is pretty intimate. Hopefully you can see it from far away and be like..." hmmm that looks interesting…" and then get up really close and say.."wow… I'm really glad I walked up to this because I feel like I am connecting to what this person is doing." At least that's how I think of it now.I think it's sort of an extension of me though... and I think you can really not notice me. I'm kinda...awkward and bashful at times. And so you have to sorta get up in my face and talk with me for a bitto "get" me.

q) What are your artistic influences?

a)Isn't this like the question about being "inspired" up above?...Well… I'll say people who have created comics well have made me feel very humbled. If you picked up an average history of american comics you'd get an idea of what i'm talking about. I've made comics and they are extremely important to me. But I don't think I am smart enough or skilled enough to make them. And yeah... I know… I need to just keep plugging away but... It's intense. You have to know how to draw anything from any position. You have to know how to letter and ink and color and you have to know how to tell a story and know how to edit and know how to bind a book and know about what type of paper to choose. You have to know all about illustration and printmaking, like offset lithography. And you have to be able to be hunched over at a table for hours on end. And the way comic books have been treated in the world of art is dispicable to me. And I have fought many years of pretentious art school fighting my way and trying to educate people about the importance and respect that comics deserve. I feel like I am just ranting about stuff that i've heard someone like Chris Ware or Dan Clowes be all bitter about. It's nothing new.Just to cap this up… I wouldn't be making art if it wasn't for all the amazing stuff I have learned and appreciated from comic book creators.

q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

a)yikes… I dunno really. I don't think my work is really aggressive or anything. I think either people will think… "that's nice" or .. "um.. I'm bored."Same with me and my personality. I always like it when people like my work. I remember one of my friends looked at something I had made once and he said something like it "makes me feel like it's this moving breathing movie or something." I thought that was super cool. Like it suspended his thought for a moment. Like it resonated for him. It reminds me of when you move from panel to panel in a comic book. Your imagination is allowed to be used. What he said meant alot to me.

q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?

a)I work as a on-call preparator at a couple museums. I'd like to get some work at a frameshop. This guy in sf has a great shop and does everything from scratch. Moldings and gilding. I bother him every once in awhile to see if he needs temp work.I like to go to yoga or on a long bike ride or walk. I love movies and seeing people play music.Going to the library. I'd love to travel if I had money.

q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

a)Money dude. that's all that's standing in my way. I owe an insane amount of school loans.And most of my money goes to rent. It's very difficult. There's nothing romantic about it.This guy a couple nights ago got really angry with me.I was at an art opening of a friend and I barely knew this guy and he was really drunk but he obviously just needed someone to yell at about how pissed off he was to have to work 40 hours a week to survive. He freaked me out. I remember him saying.. "I'll work 20 hours but I WON'T WORK 40!" geez..

q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

a)This is a silly question and I'm getting tired.I don't think I'll answer this one. I dunno…I'm sorry I'm a jerk.

q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

a)No…But I'd like to think my work is hopefully getting better just because I keep practicing at it.

q) What it the coolest thing you have seen recently while wandering the streets?

a)I was riding to see a band one night and I rode past the civic center and there were all these people sitting in this park area. And it sounded like an opera. It was but they were all looking at a big tvscreen of an opera. I dunno if that's cool. It was definitely weird.

q) Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?

a)I don't draw in public. I'm too self conscious. And I think it's kinda rude to draw someone if they are aware of it. It's like taking a photo of someone and not asking. I have notebooks but I usually keep them at home except for a tiny oneI carry around. I lost one once it really … really bummed me out. So I try to be careful.

q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

a)I'm just gunna say I think Metallica's "kill 'em all" is fucking awesome.

q) Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?


q)Your contacts..E-mail.links



Blogger Shayna said...

i love maria's work. she's a great person and a fantastic artist. one of my beacons of hope in the sf art scene. thanks for a great interview!

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've been so tired of the big-black-square-with-the-red-squiggle-on-it -meaning-something-deep-and-obscure....Maria paints and draws all those weird little thoughts that you never really tell anyone, she captures real moments, you may see yourself in many of her pieces and think 'is she stalking me?' and then you realize that you have your electric chainsaw handy, just in case, you never know...


3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maria has a way of showing you beauty out of the corner of your eye... Things and ways of seeing things that are real, unique and honest in their place in this world - though you may not have focused on them before. Her work makes your thoughtfullness part of the sharing. She has a strong vision, determined approach, and a shy beauty that makes her shine.

6:42 PM  

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