Let’s play Pretend. Don’t worry—even if it’s been years or decades since you’ve played, it’ll come back to you. It’s fun. Let’s pretend I’m interviewing, well, myself. I will play the part of Me. I will also play the role of the artist being interviewed. You’ll catch on.
Me: Sarah—may I call you Sarah?—it’s such a pleasure to be the first person in the world to talk with you about your recent art creation.
Sarah: Yes, call me Sarah, of course. Although I answer to almost any name starting with an “S.” Thanks for inviting me to talk about the art I created yesterday.
Me: Can you tell us about the piece? What is it called? Why and when did you decide to create it?
Sarah: Well, its working title is Yard Art: Flamingo. You see, it’s a painting of a flamingo, and it’s in my front yard. I think all front yards need art. Wouldn’t that be fun? Like an outdoor art exhibit? As for the why and when, I dreamed it up yesterday, started it yesterday, finished it yesterday, and took photos yesterday. But I’m only human, so I also needed to sleep yesterday, which is why this interview is today.
Me: Wow, is it typical or unusual for you to dream up, start and complete a piece of art all in one day?
Sarah: Hmmmm. I work both ways. But it’s satisfying to start and complete something in one day. What I liked about this piece was that the idea came to me, and instead of planning and plotting and preparing and thinking and waiting and analyzing, I just dove in. I started sketching with a Sharpie (I adore Sharpies), and within minutes was painting. It was pure fun. It didn’t involve some of the baggage I used to bring to making art. At times I have worried that something wasn’t perfect, that it didn’t look realistic enough. Sometimes that pressure took a lot of the happiness away from making art. So doing it this way—just diving in and doing it—was freeing. It didn’t need to look photorealistic. I didn’t have to wonder whether someone would want to buy it, because it was for me. I could put things in that I like. I love flamingos. That’s when art is amazing—when it is created not with an audience’s preferences in mind, but just because. Same for music or dance or whatever else you create.
Me: Tell me about the asymmetrical shape of this piece. Do you usually paint on rectangles?
Sarah: Oh, that’s one of my favorite aspects of this! I love that it’s not the same shape from left to right. Can I tell you the back story? I knew you’d want to know. I bought two wooden panels many years ago—maybe eight or nine years ago—and screwed them together. I photocopied and enlarged a map of a neighborhood where I used to live fifteen years ago, and I glued the map to the panels. But then that art idea just sat, undeveloped, for years. I recently found the panels and decided the map idea wasn’t what I wanted to do with them, so I ripped the paper off. It left some wiggly lines of glue, which I kept because I liked that the panels had a past life, and I didn’t need or want a perfectly smooth surface. I painted right over them. I knew I wanted to put some art onto the front of the house because the plant I used to have there was sad and thirsty and I just needed a change. The spot stood naked for a couple of months until yesterday, when inspiration struck, and I got the panels out, ripped the paper off, painted, and hung the art piece. The front looks SO much better, having something fun and colorful and personal out there. My two plastic lawn flamingos are in front of it, because the only thing better than one flamingo is more flamingos!
Me: If other people want to try this at home, what is your advice for them? Do they have to have art training?
Sarah: Heck, no! All you need is an idea. If you’re nervous about whether you can paint something and have it look like you want it to look, try not to pressure yourself. Just enjoy making something. Look online or around you for inspiration and just try it. I think you’ll find it gives a lot of satisfaction. Trust me. Your home wants to wear art.