This is the first of a three-part Artist of the Week series sponsored by Seattle Art Museum. We’ll be showcasing the work of the recent winner of the Betty Bowen Award, along with two artists who received special recognition. If you know a local artist that you would like to see featured in our Artist of the Week series, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Art is subjective – for the most part. But when a committee of art-lovers and experts awards you a cash prize of $15,000 and the chance to show your work at Seattle Art Museum, it’s safe to say you’re an established artist.
Such is the case for Wendy Red Star, the winner of the 2016 Betty Bowen Award. The Betty Bowen Award honors a Northwest Artist for their original, exceptional and compelling work, and Wendy’s art is definitely all of those things. Take a look through the gallery and read about her inspiration below.
How long have you been creating prints? Do you work with other mediums?
I received a BFA from Montana State University Bozeman and a MFA from UCLA in sculpture. Depending on my concept I will choose a medium that best articulates my points. I work in textile, photography, video, sculpture, printmaking, and found objects.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I consider my practice research based. I often start with a specific question about an observation surrounding an event, image, or historical narrative. Usually this question develops into visual research (artworks) and connects me to different experts who are familiar with the topics I am studying. I find this part of my practice to be incredibly enriching. I usually end up experiencing or learning new information that I would have never encountered had I not explored my quest for knowledge. The joy of my process is sharing my visual research with the public.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from?
I find inspiration within history, specifically Apsáalooke (Crow) historical events, historical and contemporary images pertaining to Native people or culture. I also look to other artists like Fred Wilson, David Hammons, Kara Walker, and many more!
Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
I am always looking to see what is happening within contemporary art mostly following arts focused sites on Instagram. I follow Artslant, Cultured Magazine, Printed Matter, Inc., Artspace, among others.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
Not really. I find that one piece leads or opens the door to develop the next piece. In that regard I find each work valuable and a means to the next. Once I complete a work I like to work on something completely different.
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I would say becoming a mother has really changed my practice in the most positive way.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Up next is a five-month residence with the Denver Art Museum (DAM). I am looking forward to spending time between Portland and Denver and exploring the Plains Indian Collection at DAM as well as collaborating with my nine year old daughter Beatrice.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee?
With half & half.