Wednesday, May 23, 2012

♥ interview with vivienne strauss.

if you scroll through this blog even a little but, you will gather quickly that
i am quite the cat person. and so when i chanced upon the enchanting work of
self-taught artist, vivienne strauss, on the kitty artist blog we say meow,
i knew i had to contact her and learn more about lady behind such
thoughtful/colorful/wonderful works.

vivienne was lovely enough to answer a few questions for us below.
i hope you will enjoy reading her answers as much as i did.

kittens lost at sea.

i would love to know about your start as an artist. i read your bio and it says your have a philosophy degree. would you say that this plays a role in your artwork?  it definitely does, i spend entirely too much time in my head musing about certain things but don't put enough thought into real life things.   for example, one morning this past winter i was cleaning the kitchen while thinking about the painting i was working on.  i literally threw garbage in the kitchen sink and the dishes in the trash before i realized it.

tough crowd.
which medium do you prefer- painting /ink collage or embroidery? it all depends on the idea i'm trying to express as to  which medium i choose to work in.  painting is about adding to whereas collage for me is cutting away.  embroidery i like to use as a way to be more meditative, there is something soothing about pushing needle and thread through fabric that isn't found elsewhere.

what do you prefer to draw- people or animals?   that too depends on my mood, animals are easier since they won't be so critical of their portraits :)

dog days.

my favorite of your work are the kitty pieces. do you have kitties?  we have 5 cats so they always provide a lot of inspiration, some are just made up cats.  painting cats especially is a real mood lightener for me.

i have a favorite book, jenny & the cat club, that your works remind me of. have you ever heard of it?  i just looked it up, no, i hadn't heard of it until now but would love to have a copy, it looks delightful!  i'm a huge edward gorey fan so that is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. i love his dark, dry humor!

are all of the painting scenarios spun from real life or something you imagined from a book/movie?  my paintings are really all of those things, sometimes a combination of several elements of inspiration.    an example of this is the portrait i did titled "Unexpected".  i started from a 1940's found photo of a couple with a baby.  i made them look more 1960s and gave them a cat baby.  as I was working, the couple started looking too much like my husband and myself so i changed it up some more.  unbeknownst to me, the end result was a portrait that looked amazingly like the folk singers, rebecca hall and ken anderson of hungrytown. someone actually emailed asking if it was a portrait of them right afterwards.  since then i have met them via facebook and they shared some photos where in fact it did look just like them!  this is also the image that ended up being used by a real estate company in japan and can be seen on posters in public transit there. that is definitely an exciting place for my work to end up for me!  


what is the most surprising place your art work has turned up?
a few years ago, the international center of photography in NY bought several of my collages for their gift shop to coincide with a photography exhibit they had, one of those pieces was then purchased by photographer tim walker who used it for his website.  the day i received an email from tim walker asking for permission to use it was definitely a highlight!

camera man.
do you have any plans for your work coming up that I could share?   i don't have any upcoming shows at the moment but writer rebecca cox has been writing some really great short stories to pair up with a few of my paintings. you can read the first one here.

thank you, vivienne! 

1 ♥ love notes.:

  1. Great interview! I wasn't familiar with her work before but I love them! Thanks for introducing me to great art!!!



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