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Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Interview with Carol Quint

Q)So can you tell me a little about yourself?

A)My name is Carol Quint and I am 66 years old. I was born in Brooklyn, spent my childhood in Long Island,received my BFA fromPratt Institute, spent my adulthood in Los Angeles (where I raised my family), some dreamlike years in a tavern in Washington State; and now have come full circle back to my roots in Brooklyn. My loft in DUMBO overlooks a power plant were the East River sits between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. I call it an apocalyptic view of New York City.

Q) How did you get started making art?

A)During a feverish day in my childhood bed, at age three, I drew on a pillowcase and never stopped. I still have it.

Q) How would you describe your art?

A)The content and function of my work reflects both a sense of time past and time present, qualities that are in the nature of a relic. I am fascinated by memento mori and symbols that elicitrecognition on an unconscious level. The subject matter is alwaysdepicted in a realistic manner.

Q) Where do you get inspiration for your art?

A)I am an art hallucinator. Something or some experience triggers a finished piece in my minds eye. I am responding to life visually.

Q) What are you working on now?

A)At this time I am working on a series of portraits with bone headdress, including one of me. I feel like looking at myself again in my dotage. A mother and daughter, who have modeled for me previously make up the rest of the images. The finished pieces will be photographs printed on silver emulsion paper that I hand coat.

Q) How do you approach the creation of new work?
A)I take notes on my “hallucinations” in order to remember them. The ones that excite me get made. The vision dictates which media will be the best solution for the work. Usually, the vision is complete with the materials.

Q) What is your favorite medium to work with and why?

A)Chicken bones seem to have caught my attention for the past few years. They are free, and my dearest and most supportive friend purposely eats the size chickens that I reqire, and continues to be my supplier. I like them because they mimic human bones. They are nice to touch, and they lend themselves very well for the black and white art that I favor. Alternately, I like to work in the darkroom and make my own photosensitive paper out of BFK Rives and luminos liquid Emulsion. The magic when my picture appears never ceases to please me.


Q) Do you collect anything?

A)I am always browsing in thrift and junk shops for objects that speak of a history, or are just weird in a way that appeals to me.I have used many of them in my work.
Q) Is your work hand done? Or do you use computer tools to help out?
A)I prefer the long and painfully arduous process of hand made work. It is almost like a Zen practice. The pleasure is in the process.

Q) What, in your opinion, are the worst and best places to exhibit artwork?

A)I do not like cafes and art fairs for my work at all. I do think the best places are museums, galleries, college art galleries and alternative spaces.


Q) What are your artistic influences?

A)I have been most influenced by self examination. Freud, Jung and Menninger come to mind as the most powerful. Next would be CharlesDarwin and Margaret Meade, and last but not least Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick.

Q) How are the reactions to your work in general?

A)The reactions are very positive in a negative way. There are also questions like “why don’t you paint or draw flowers?” since I have that ability. I don’t have any interest in feedback. I simply don’t care about anyone's opinion but my own about my work. I find it destructive even if it's positive. I need to steer my own ship.

Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)I am feeling guilty about not doing it. But I need my personal relationships with my family and friends, and now my grandchildren, as much as I need to create. I simply can't spend all my time thinking about death.

Q) What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)Life is not fair and talent is not necessarily recognized nor rewarded. Do the work for the work itself. If you are able to become part of the system, that rule still applies.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)This is the one place in my life where I can do exactly as I please. There are no rules or rulers. I can make something out of nothing.

Q) Are there any particular works that stand out as your favorites?
A)I am still most impressed by my “Hostage,” series, that I made in response to the first hostage crisis in 1980. It resonates even stronger today.

Q) What is the coolest thing you've have seen recently while wandering the streets?

A)I can step out the door in NYC, and open my eyes and it's right in front of me. I can describe a subway experience which tend to be the coolest ones. I was transfixed watching what I believed to be a Madonna and child. The Madonna was nursing her child and leaning against her man's shoulder. It was the perfect compositional triangle and a lovely natural practice to reflect on. The child finished nursing. Then the surprise event followed. The Madonna gave her child a Coca-Cola chaser.

Q) Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?
A)I don't do either one and I never do preliminary sketches. When I have a vision it can sometimes be satisfying enough and I can lose the impetus to complete the piece. Drawing would be counter productive for me.

Q) Who are your favorite artists and favorite galleries?

A)I like Fra Angelico, Ingres, all the German Expressionists, all the Surrealists, Frida Kalo, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Betye and Alison Saar and Lucas Samaras. I am happiest in intimate places where I can have a more personal experience: Galarie St. Etienne,Neue Galerie and the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center.

Q) What do you think makes good art good? Originality, or style and why?

A)All or none of it, or some of it. The standard for good art is the test of time. It must continue to have a universal appeal to the collective unconscious.

Q)...Contacts, e-mail and links:

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