What’s your ritual to get prepared, or in the zone, to create?
I try keep my arsenal stocked so I don’t waste time looking for materials during the creative process. Then I put on some funky tunes and fumble around in my sketchbook until something catches my interest.
Which artist, historic or contemporary, from any discipline, couldn’t you live without?
I’ve been fond of Yayoi Kusama’s work recently. I’m mostly intrigued by how she creates every single day as a means of surviving or remaining sane, even though her work is quite playful. I try to keep that same mentality, “creating to survive.” The Jasper Johns quote, “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it,” has also been impactful on my life because I know whenever I’m uninspired this method can help me create again.
Have you had any interesting collaborations with fellow artists at Watkins?
I collaborate often with my friends. Recently, my friend Shelby and I traded plaster casts and painted them for fun. I’ve definitely try to look at it as keeping a casual dialogue between me and other artists. Little things like starting a drawing and letting my friend finish it.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you want to do professionally?
A chef or astrophysicist. Whatever gives me the most freedom to be curious. When I was little, I used to pretend to be a professional chef and put on cooking performances in my living room.
Name the one place in Nashville you go for inspiration or rejuvenation.
I love the simplicity of going outside. I feel like it should be mandatory for everyone to go outside from time to time and silently look at the water or read a book underneath a tree. Get away from screens.
As an artist, what keeps you up at night?
Ideas for projects. Most of them are unrealistic, out of my skill set, or too expensive. But then I think about how I could possibly execute them! There’s no limit of what we can create and it’s anxiety-inducing sometimes. Maybe it’s why most artists have insomnia.
What does success look like to you?
Being aware of the world around me, creating compelling work that makes me happy, and as a result making others happy.
What advice do you most often give yourself or other artists?
Patience. Slow and steady wins the race. If you stop the moment you fail at something you’ll never learn from it.
When do you know a piece is finished?
I think I just reach a point where I force myself to stop—when it has met my standards, and I know if I continue to add to it I won’t like it anymore.
Why does art matter?
It creates a dialogue around topics that wouldn’t necessarily be spoken about without art.
Biggest myth about being an artist?
We do nothing but doodle all day and it doesn’t require research.
Which one quality do you think the world most needs from artists?