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Erica Wanenmacher| 50 Questions interview

Artists from various fields choose questions to answer from a list of 50.

 

4. Describe your ideal workspace

I have my ideal workspace. The first thing that I do when I get to my studio is to burn some “Gratitude” incense on my work altar. I was fortunate enough to buy an old 3-bay mechanic’s garage in 2012. I had looked at this place in 1977 to rent. There are not a lot of industrial buildings in Santa Fe, because we never had old heavy industry, so MANY sculptors knew about this building. It’s insanely great. It was built in the early 70’s, and it has a bunch of old- school hand-made features, like the vent-pipe made from old cars’ drive-shafts welded together.

7. What project of yours do you personally consider your most satisfying, and why – regardless of external support or accolades?

I did a show at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008 that was the culmination of 10 years of research and work about human radiation experiments that the U.S. government covertly subjected unknowing citizens to. People like, poor pregnant women, prisoners, children in a state home where disabled and “incorrigible” boys were dumped, and some doctors’ own children. The project started with some cold-war artifacts-glass negatives of tissue samples at 3 to 30 thousand times magnification. The artifacts led me to the story, and compelled me to continue so that I could tell a narrative from a perspective other than the government’s. It was dark and uncomfortable and scary, and I’m still glad that I saw it through.

11. What is you current guiding motivation to work and/or express yourself?

My current guiding motivation to work is the same as it has always been-curiosity. I always want to see if “I can DO it”, and I am always excited about what I am investigating, whether it is the physical aspects and/or techniques of working with a new material, reading about cutting- edge science and seeing where that intersects with old knowledge, learning the deep history of a story, or thinking about future histories.

13. Do you have a relationship with the distant future – in other words, are you making artwork that bears a message or impact for coming generations?

I am currently working on/thinking about Time Travel, in a few different aspects. Certainly, the classic science-fiction (of which I am a life-long fan) actual corporeal transportation of self through time, but also the more common altered states of daydreaming, nostalgia, and aspects of memory. Human’s ability to move forward and backward through time is not always a good or accurate-witness the current wave of nostalgia for how things “used to be” for white men.

15. What surprises you most about what you are doing right now in your practice? If the nine year old you could see you right now, what do you think s/he would think?

Nine is, I think, the perfect age. You have a sense of yourself and your place in the world, and teen hormones haven’t really kicked in. I think my 9-year-old self would be pretty happy. I’m doing exactly what I want, where I want, with the people I want to be doing it with, and….having fun.

28. When does Joy tend to visit you?

Joy visits me regularly in my studio. I love making things. The happy dance ensues.

 

Erika W_50 Qs

 

 

 

Curious about the #FiftyQuestions the artists had to chose from? Here they are!

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

1- What event or factor in your life has been the most pivotal in your decision to become an artist?

2- What artist do you consider most influential to your ongoing development as an artist?

3- What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced that you overcame to continue your art practice?

4- Describe your ideal workspace.

5- What one sentence do you hope describes how your art practice will be recorded in history, and why?

6- In thinking of the lulls and gaps or lost places in your practice over the years, who or what has re-energized you?

7- What project of yours do you personally consider your most satisfying, and why – regardless of external support or accolades?

8- What are habitual internal fears and bogeymen that come up for you around making art – excluding universal concerns of time, space, money, in/adequacy, and recognition?

9- Who of all the artists who have ever lived would you most love to share your work with? And why?

10- If you could travel in time, within what era or milieu would you most like to have an artist residency? And why?

11- What is you current guiding motivation to work and/or express yourself?

12- Who or what would you most like to collaborate with?

13- Do you have a relationship with the distant future – in other words, are you making artwork that bears a message or impact for coming generations?

14- What role does your genetic or cultural background play in your practice?

15- What surprises you most about what you are doing right now in your practice? If the nine year old you could see you right now, what do you think s/he would think?

16- What do you worry you will never be able to express?

17- What emotion as an artist makes you most uncomfortable and why

18- Can you recall your first memory of bliss in self-expression?

19- Who has been your greatest mentor, living or dead, real or imaginary?

20- Do you have a relationship with an animal in your life that influences your art process?

21- What unchangeable fact has been most frustrating to you as an artist?

22- How deeply do you feel your self-expression is impacted by the field in which you work – its morés, standards, culture, legacies – and how so?

23- How would you describe your ideal relationship with other artist colleagues?

24- What do you feel are the greatest or most tenacious barriers to creating art over an entire lifetime?

25- Do your dark nights of the soul tend to be constructive or destructive to your self-expression?

26- Is destruction a positive phenomenon for you?

27- What is your artistic relationship to loss? Either personal loss, or lost works of art, or other kinds of loss?

28- When does Joy tend to visit you?

29- Who or what are you speaking to or with in your current work? Who or what would you like to speak with in your art in future?

30- If you have one goal for change in your artistic field, what would it be?

31- If you could amplify a specific sense, which would it be? If you could minimize s specific sense, which would you choose?

32- How has your years in artmaking affected or influenced your sense of self?

33- What do you suspect is your most powerful artistic blessing? Or blessing in general?

34- Have you ever had a physical illness, event, or impediment that has changed how you make or approach artmaking? And how?

35- If you could create a new public institution for your field, what would it’s mission be?

36- Who or what do you feel is most invisible to others in your practice?

37- How do you feel most often misunderstood or misperceived, either as an artist or in your work itself?

38- How important is it to you that others connect and understand and appreciate your work?

39- What is your relationship to criticism?

40- What is your relationship to praise?

41- Is there a seasonal rhythm to your practice? How so and why?

42- How would you describe the prevailing norms in your field – are you impacted by them? How or how not?

43- What is your relationship to your audience, real or imaginary?

44- What makes you most likely to shut down or go into dormancy as an artist?

45- Do you have a particular skill or knack of which you are most secretly proud? Something you feel you can do that few others can, no matter how small?

46- Which would you prefer: to be a rogue artistic outsider or to fit within a community of similarly-minded creators?

47- Describe the greatest gift someone has given to you that invigorated your artistic expression?

48- Are you more interested in the universal or the individual? How important is it to you whether you express yourself as a unique person, or rather add your voice to a collective conversation?

49- If you could be anything besides an artist in human form, what would you like to be?

50- What would be the most thrilling  moment or situation in timespace to find your art being enjoyed?