Saturday, June 9, 2007

Interview with Nancy Baker

(Interview mp3 here)

I must have heard about Nancy Baker (AKA Rebel Belle) the first time at the Anonymous Female Artist, when she wrote a very compelling post called Ya Wanna Know Why I’m 50 and My Career is just Starting?

She covered a lot of things in this post but the main gist focused on what being an artist and a mother was like. I found myself spellbound, however, not by just the mother issue - but also the fact that many female artists take this longer, more complicated route to having an art career, if they get one – at least in my generation. Can we blame all of that on the 80s? I don’t know, but I know I took a long route too, even though I purposely avoided the mommy track.

(I had my tubes tied. It still shuts down a conversation. Well, more later.)

After reading her initial post, I kept track of Nancy. I looked at her considerable output of art work, her paintings and then also, her stories about the life of an artist.

She declared (at least in the past) that she, being a visual artist, wasn’t great with words. Her writings at Anonymous Female Artist and her own blog, Tire Shop, refute that. Nancy Baker has a great way with words, connecting life events with art moves.

By the time I talk to her this Wednesday, I will have read her whole blog. It’s easy because her candor alone is so compelling. Via her storytelling and fact checking, she brings up so many issues - I highly recommend checking it out.

Because she is so brave at spilling her guts, she’s inspired me to consider spilling mine more. (I used to do it a lot on my old diary, but have felt more restrained since I arrived at Blogspot.)

I love Baker’s recounts of the hellish experience that your own opening can be. I personally hang on for dear life (nah, nobody knows and I act all professional) and I’m not even in New York. I think the only time I really enjoyed my own opening was when I didn’t even have a pricelist, maybe in the early 80s in San Francisco. A very long time ago.

Her saga with writing the Artist Statement rang very true with me and as the following comments revealed, I was not alone. It sounds pathetically stupid, but that old adage "Art Saves Lives" is true for some of us. The reasons behind our work are not all intellectual; maybe you can’t even call them all emotional. How about survival? Like Nancy, I wanted to leave behind creepy home situations (which follow me to this day) for an interior, self-made world.

Nancy Baker is giving me a lot to think about this weekend. It’s probably going to take more than one post here. I still need to give you some images of hers.

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