Hello everyone! This is Jackson and welcome to the 19th interview for my blog, 3 Art Questions With Jackson. This time I interviewed Mandy Madsen who is a great person, a great artist, and co-owner of Frameworks Gallery with Sydney Hintz. Frameworks has been nice enough to show my paintings twice. I really liked Mandy's answers and I think you will too. I hope you enjoy the interview! Thank you for reading!
Jackson: You are co-owner of a really great gallery. Has that changed the way you make art?
Mandy: Thank you for thinking our gallery is great; I love co-owning it and having the chance to enjoy art at work. I love the connections it brings and giving artists a chance to display their work brings great joy to my heart (you're a great example!). The gallery has certainly exposed me to different styles and mediums, so I'm sure it has influenced my own creations (although I haven't thought consciously about that until you asked!). I grew up drawing and didn't start painting until my 20's; it was new to me, so I wanted to just feel the paint and enjoy the process without worrying about what it would look like. It resulted in a lot of abstract work. I currently am more into representational painting, especially places or subjects that I love. I think they still show the enjoyment and feeling behind the process, but it is more intentional in what I'm trying to portray. This shift could be in part from what I see through the gallery, and in part from being less fearful to try and create something that is recognizable. I recently started experimenting with watercolor, and that's definitely because of observing two artists whose styles of work I love - Susan Solomon and Andy Evansen. I'm going to be taking a watercolor class from Andy in Hastings this spring and am excited to see where that will take my art.
One other thought about the influence co-owning the gallery has on my art is that I have a limited amount of time on my hands. I not only create pretty quickly, but I think I cherish it even more than I used to. Whether it's stealing some time alone in my art room at midnight after the household is in bed, or asking my two kids to paint with me, I really savor the moments. Oh and painting with my kids... one of the best things in life. They have no inhibitions, which is refreshing.
Jackson: How did you first become interested in art? Did something specific happen?
Mandy: I have always enjoyed working with my hands and creating, whether crafts or fine art. I was the only Kindergartner in my school to have a piece in an art show - a sculpture of a bird. I remember feeling so excited for parents night and the reveal of the work. We lived in England from when I was in first through third grade (side note: I learned to read there and had a British accent, which you'd never guess now!). I remember sitting in my first grade class, looking at a photo of an eagle, drawing it with pencil and all of my classmates making a big deal about how realistic it looked. It really inspired me to keep trying to replicate what I saw through the use of graphite. My folks took that pencil sketch to a custom framer, had it framed and we entered it into an art contest that was going on in that shop. I was the youngest participant, won 4th place and remember feeling such a joy out of the experience. I was a quiet child and found drawing to be a place of peace and comfort. I mostly drew animals and portraits, but as I grew, I used my sketch book as an outlet.
Jackson: If you could meet any artist living or dead, who would it be and why?
Mandy: My family is from Terre Haute, Indiana, and if I could sit down and have a long conversation with one artist, it would be with an artist named D. Omer "Salty" Seamon, a man from that area. I love his story and my grandparents knew him, so I think that makes it extra personal. He grew up sketching, worked some jobs like window trimming for department stores, and in 1929 moved to Minneapolis for a span to paint theater posters for Paramount. He served in the military and after WWII decided to become a full-time freelance artist back in Indiana. He created artwork for local companies, including the Terre Haute Savings Bank where my grandmother was Vice President. I love his style of work and that he just went for it. He has passed now, but I actually did meet him as a child. I grew up singing with my mom and siblings; my mom played guitar and the four of us would sing for people at nursing homes, banquets, shut-ins and for family/friends. Because of the connection to my grandparents, we went out to his studio once and sang to him. As an adult involved in the arts for a career, I would love to have the chance to hear about his experiences and even draw or paint next to him. I try to honor his memory each Christmas by reading a children's book he illustrated about a Christmas tree. My kids love it and seeing the illustrations takes me back to my childhood and the fond memories that surround it.