A: I am on my third, and probably last, studio. I say ‘probably’ because I love my space and have no desire to move. Plus, it would be a tremendous amount of work to relocate, considering that I have been in my West 29th Street studio since 1997.
My very first studio, in the late 1980s, was the spare bedroom of my house in Alexandria, Virginia. I set up a studio there while I was on active duty in the Navy. When I resigned my commission, I was required to give the President an entire year’s advance notice. Towards the end of that year I remember calling in sick so I could stay home and make art.
In the early 1990s I rented a studio on the third floor of the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. For a while I enjoyed working there, but the constant interruptions – in an art center that is open to the public – became tiresome.
In 1997 I had the opportunity to move to New York. I desperately craved solitary hours to work in peace, without interruption, so at first I didn’t have a telephone. I still don’t have WiFi there because my studio is reserved strictly for creative work.
Moving from Virginia to New York in 1997 was relatively easy. My aunt, who planned to be in California to continue her Buddhist studies, offered me her rent-controlled sixth-floor walkup on West 13th Street. I looked at just one other studio before signing a sublease for my space at 208 West 29th Street. I had heard about the vacancy through a college friend of my husband, Bryan. Karen, the lease-holder, was relocating to northern California to work on “Star Wars” with George Lucas. After several years, she decided not to return to New York and I have been the lease-holder ever since.
Comments are welcome!
A: There are two: “Myth Meets Dream” and “No Cure for Insomnia.” Both are part of my “Domestic Threats” series and were breakthroughs at the time I made them. They are relatively early works – the first from 1993, the latter from 1999 – and were important in my artistic development.
“Myth Meets Dream” is the earliest pastel painting in which I depict Mexican figures. It includes two brightly painted, carved wooden animals from Oaxaca sent to me in 1992 by my sister-in-law. I have spoken about them before. These figures were the beginning of my ongoing fascination with Mexico.
“No Cure for Insomnia” includes a rare self-portrait and is set in my late aunt’s sixth-floor walkup on West 13th Street, where I lived when I moved to New York in 1997. My four years there were very productive.
Comments are welcome!