Friday, July 9, 2010
Lori: Independent Female Artist
I sat down for an interview with my first "Woman Artist Educator" on Thursday, July 8, 2010. Lori is extremely shy and very soft spoken. So much so, that she became uncomfortably nervous when I asked to video record some of our interview. Of course, I didn't pressure her and we had a wonderfully relaxed conversation about her life, work, and art.
Lori knew that she was an artist at age 4, and was always "the girl who could draw." She told me that she can even pinpoint the drawing of Charlie Brown that confirmed at an early age that art was for her. She went to Kutztown for undergrad and specialized in printmaking, then to Tyler for her MFA. This artist did not have any intention of being an art educator. She was an artist with a fear of public speaking. After having her run at being a starving artist, she decided to go back to school and get a teaching certificate.
Currently Lori is working as an educator, working even harder as a single female artist, and maintaining her independence.
I loved that Lori considers herself an artist first. Being an educator is sort of her day job. She teaches at the high school level, but sees herself as teaching the students about what it's like to be a working artist in today's society. She stressed that art needs to come from the self. You make art for you, not for anyone else, and it must be significant. Art should tell a story.
I asked Lori what makes her unique. Her response was that everyone is unique. Life experiences, how you use those experiences, and how you treat people defines the self. Lori confessed that she feels boxed in by the title of art educator. Her perspective is that when people hear the "art teacher" title, they interpret that as someone having limited creativity as opposed to being thought of as an "artist."
In my personal opinion, Lori is great in many ways. However, she doesn't see herself as great... yet. She teaches great things to her students and enjoys guiding and encouraging students with a true love for art. Again, she doesn't view herself as a great artist, but is great at expressing things visually. Art is an outlet for expression. "I don't do art for other people." Lori shared with me that she thinks of her mother as a great woman, but she has yet to achieve greatness herself. She is proud of her independence, her honesty, and intuition. "I'm not afraid to do what I want to do."
Lori is a single female artist who is inspirational to artists of any background or gender. She is an artist educator with an unique perspective on working as an educator. There are "things that you have to do to be able to to the things you want to do." Lori just wants to make art.
The image is a manipulated photo taken in Lori's home. She has a "thing" for shoes, and as an independent female, she can collect all the shoes she wants without answering to anyone. The image includes some of Lori's fantastic footwear and one of her self portraits can be seen in the background.
Great first interview. I'm looking forward to learning more about the lives and work of women artist educators.