A continuation of my interview series with bloggers. Patrice is an artist who I deeply admire and wanted to give her what exposure I could.

1. Patrice, how long have you been blogging? How has your own blog changed your life and how have other blogs changed your life?

I arrived in blogland via a side door about four years ago. I’d been trying out online dating (I don’t recommend it) on a site called Matchdoctor, which is actually a pretty neat place – it’s free – no really, it is, and one of the features there was a blog option. Timidly at first – and then with accelerating zeal – I began to write. After a while it became apparent to me that making connections through my blog posts was much more gratifying than exchanging inane emails and dodging instant message types. A man that I fell for introduced me to Blogger, even setting up my first blog. To this day emails notify him of my new posts via his old email addy. They are always returned as undeliverable… Undeliverable – just like he turned out to be – just like the promise of finding a good man online.

Has it changed my life? Absolutely. Living alone in the Deep South with its mostly narrow and negative view of differences and resistance to change or alternate points of view can be stifling and intellectually lonely. Yes, I’ve friends, but my circle is small and my politics and religious beliefs are radical compared to those I know. Add to that my precipitous financial state, and it’s a recipe for isolation. But online I find peers, kindred spirits, fellow artists and creative people of all ilks. Though I can’t afford trips to Atlanta to the galleries and museums, I can see incredible artwork every day and interchange ideas, ideals and methods with those who “get” me. I’ve even sold a few pieces online! But it’s the connections that have meant the most to me and which continue to challenge and inspire.

2. In the beginning, things happened, the world was created and all that. And then artists were created to communicate the things that happened. How did you become an artist? Did you always see things others couldn’t/wouldn’t? Is art innate? (This is the Powerhouse Question.)

And in the beginning, (before photography), civilization depended upon artists to accurately portray events from history, legend and fiction. Art for arts’ sake is a relatively new phenomenon, where the creative and unique aspects of art are more important than absolute realism.

Oh me! Such a tiny, timid little girl, frightened of other children, and so, so shy. The only thing I could do better than anyone else was art. Even at age seven, I could paint a realistic Meadowlark – and the praise and attention for that first masterpiece (heh) gave me a new confidence. I had found my niche. And, yes, I did see things that others couldn’t. I was a solitary child who reveled in nature and insect life and spent hours and hours observing. Most people think art is about drawing. But being an artist is about SEEING. It’s about looking at things with fresh eyes – as if seeing a thing for the first time. You look and look and analyze and only then do you begin to draw. Drawing – and the ability to draw – is more of a technical skill. Learning to see means overcoming the symbolic language that is the first language. You have to trick your brain out of its old patterns. That’s why you often see an artist turn a painting upside down to check composition or value or accuracy of design.


And then, when you learn to see and can draw, paint or sculpt accurately, then it is time to think more about being creative than rote copying. I mean, if you want a perfect copy of something, take a photograph. Don’t get me wrong, one needs the techniques, but they are less important than verve. Technique alone does not make for dazzling art with its own point of view. To me, this is what separates an artist from a tradesman. I can teach anyone to draw better, but I cannot teach them how to be uniquely creative. That is the true challenge of being an artist.

3. In a cage fight between Popeye and Ms. Piggy, who would win and why?

This one is easy. Ms. Piggy would win hands and hooves down. Why? Because we women have the ability to talk and talk and talk. We pummel men with words and reasons and knock them silly with our command of language until they’ve no stomach for battle. Hey, we’ve all seen their eyes glaze over right before they head for the exit.

4. What are your feelings about using “Goddamn”?

As a non-believer, I’m neutral. I can’t condemn it anyway because cussing is important. One needs outlets for rage and pain and cussing is perfect as it harms no one whilst allowing venting. I may avoid the cruder forms of expletive outbursts (such as “you cunt” or “he’s a fucking shit-faced prick”) in mixed company, so as not to offend those who feel differently, but hey – it’s only words. My personal favorite cuss phrases (the ones I utilize when I slam my arm in the gate or stub my toe or whatever) are “Jesus Fucking Christ” or “God Fucking Damn.” As reading this blog is an elective activity, (and it’s not my blog after all), I’ll let you worry about the offenses herein…

In addition. I love italics. You probably noticed I answered all your questions in italics. Italics make me feel like I am having a dialogue. It’s thinking visually expressed. I’m quite sure authors like Proust thought in italics. Total stream of consciousness dialoging with the subconscious.The only problem with italics is that one can’t re-italicize for emphasis. Someone should invent a font for re-italicization.

5. As you know, I’m a fan of bleeding trees (Note: I’m buying one of Patrice’s paintings), what are you working on now?

And now and now and now…

My (now your) “When Trees Bleed” (http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com/2009/05/had-to-get-this-one-out-of-my-system.html) is probably the highpoint of a series of paintings about the earth and its glories and phenomena. It’s definitely my favorite painting done this past year. (And by the way, thank you for recognizing my serious work! It’s an honor for me as an artist to feel that there are those who honor what I do.)

As you’ve surmised by how long it took me to send you my answers, I’ve been keyed toward survival. That means I’ve taken a bit of a break from what I consider my serious work (such as the bleeding trees) to do some commissions and some more readily saleable smaller pieces. It’s paid off in that I’ve survived the past two months, but it’s frustrating to feel that my best work is not what the public necessarily purchases. I’m not saying the smaller works are just fluff; they’re important to me. It’s just that I like to work larger. I’m working toward a January show where I will be one of the featured artists and the broad theme is one of “branching out.” Thus I’m gearing some imagery toward literal branches and trees – but also allowing for a more expansive definition such as going in new directions, following the light, seeking ones own space to fill, etc.

So you see, I am not just a person of many images, but a person who likes to expound with verbiage.

Check out Patrice’s blog at http://http://patricelynneyoung.blogspot.com.

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