Monday, 18 December 2006

Interview with Martha Colburn

Q) So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc…?
A) Martha Anne Colburn. 35 . Born in the Pennsylvania Appalachian mountains. I grew up cutting wood and bailing hay and skinning animals and all that woodsy stuff. I lived in Baltimore 10 years with no heat, made 40 or so films, then moved to Amsterdam for 5 years. Now NY for one year so far.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A) Kindergarten. no joke! I still have my winning bookmark drawing from kindergarten. It’s of animals. No surprise.

Q) How would you describe your art?
A)Animated films made by combining collage and paint on glass technique. Also some hand coloring of frames. I also do murals, paintings, ect..

Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A)In high school it was politics and history and then in my twenties I made tons of music films (many sexually oriented) and now I am back to the politics and history.

Q) What are you working on now?

A)I am finishing two films and starting research for a new film. My last films, here’s a description:
‘Meet Me In Wichita’ fuses Osama Bin Laden into the fairytale Land of Oz. A combination of watercolors, collage and paint on glass animation, this film is a play between fact, fiction, politics , fantasy, terror and morality, and
Destiny Manifesto:
A paint-on-glass and collage animation, 'Destiny Manifesto' fuses paintings of the American western frontier and contemporary images of the conflict in the Middle East into a work that explores the visual and psychological parallels between the representation of these two periods.

Q) How do you approach the creation of a new piece... how does everything come together?
A)I do months of research. That’s my new way of working. I get tons of books on the art surrounding the time periods of what I am working on, look for images and aesthetic feelings. I research my subjects and gather images from the internet and the library. It takes me a while to make all the painted backgrounds and characters. Then it s animating the collage and paint on glass. That takes about one hour per 4 seconds. So 20 seconds filmed in 4 hours is about the rate of speed currently. But my next film will be more detailed and take longer.This next film I will maybe have a score of music recorded before I animate, The last 2 films I had piano and opera performed for the films after they were done.
Q) What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)Film. Animation. As frustrating and tedious as it can be nothing compares to the animated film as a means of expression for me. My ideas get really far out. I combine such impossible things to combine in any other way than animation.

Q) Do you collect anything?

A) Not consciously. No. I’d collect books if I could collect anything. But for now it’s the public library, which I always have my max. 30 items out.

Q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)It’s all hand done. I don’t need any computer tools except for when recently my camera was broke and I had to use the computer to repair and replace frames.

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

A)I exhibit mostly films. Some art. My best experiences have been in places like small towns, refugee camps, teenage centers and remote islands. People are open and not jaded.

Q) What are your artistic influences?

A)This shifts as my ideas grow. I am now discovering the art of the limners, America’s first portrait artists. I just need to keep learning about things and images and history and it keeps me inspired.

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

A)Good,I mean, my favorite audience is definitely teenagers. Their brains seem to work at the pace of mine and they are so open.

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

A) Riding the subway reading books. Going to see music and movies. Going to the library.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)I always feel entangled by my ideas. In that way you’re never truly free. I am committed to completing/ expressing them. That’s just the state of being an artist. Artists get to travel, artists don’t have regular schedules, artists generally get to get by outside of the system. That’s freedom.
Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?
A)My newest work is always the best (thankfully). Always my favorite too. I look back at my films 15 years ago and I am happy I made them. I am happy I have something to show for those years I lived.

Q) What it the coolest thing you have seen recently while wandering the streets?

A) I mean, it’s new york. What I want most of all is dark glasses and I already have loud headphones. In other words, I try to shut out the street. I want to hear Glenn Gould and see nothing.

Q) Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?

A)No. But I do take a lot of notes. Anything visual happens for the film and nothing is much thrown away or changed.

Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A)That I really do not know. I am looking to the past now. To the 16th century/ 15th century.

Q) Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

A)No, I only sell things I don’t want.

Q)Your contacts….E-mail…links


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