Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lindsey Meyers Interview

MD: For the record, state your name, age and occupation:

LM: Lindsey Meyers, 33, Photographer & Mixed Media artist

MD: Tell us about your work.

LM: I make photographs because it’s the only thing that I have that is really my own-it makes me feel grounded. I never intended to become a photographer and I basically shoot whatever I feel like shooting, despite having been told that I am better off shooting only one thing….
I like to move people with images and push the envelope… any way that is- that makes me feel satisfied- really and truly. I shoot only 35 mm pictures on my Canon that I have had since I was like 14- no post-digital/Photoshop stuff- just old school shooting.
My mixed media work is a result of a random trip to the art supply store and years and years of writing in journals, on the backs of parking tickets, gas receipts, leftover strips of canvas, etc. The pieces are large format photographs on layered canvas with gels, glitter and acrylic paints and whatever else my mood allows for… seems people either gravitate towards the photos OR the mixed media, and most seem to have strong emotions about both which is, again, just how I like it.

MD: What is your background? How did you get involved with art?

LM: I was born in the Northeast suburbs of Chicago and I don’t really have any artists in my family that passed on any traits, but being creative was always just a part of me and of life. And I come from a family of really funny people.
I studied theatre at Steppenwolf in Chicago and Choate in Connecticut, and then graduated from The Chicago Academy for the Arts with a Major in Theater and a minor in Music. We were immersed in creativity at the Academy- in every honest aspect of art really, from set making to costume design to writing to performing, so having that experience throughout high school really changed my life and affirmed my relationship with the Arts.
I also danced at Joel Hall in Chicago for a long time and studied at Columbia College in Chicago for a few years. I graduated from USC with a degree in Psychology- combining both art and Psych made perfect sense. And, thankfully, Los Angeles was the catalyst for my photography and mixed media just coming out and into the world. It took me by surprise actually- it was a time in my life where art really did save me.

MD: Do you have any upcoming (or past) exhibitions/ shows you'd like to discuss?

LM: I have shown work at the Agora Gallery in SoHo and out in Los Angeles which has been very cool. And I participated in a group show in Swainsboro, Georgia which was also great… the small town community there is trying exceedingly hard to expose its young people and residents to art and is doing an amazing job. It’s a true grass roots art movement down there and I am honored to have been a part of it.
One of my favorite shows has also been down South at The University of Mobile in Alabama, where I was given the "Southern Humor Award" for my mixed media piece called "America's Sweetheart." That, in itself, was funny and flattering.
I recently participated in the Ravenswood Art Walk in Chicago, and have a rather steady gig going with the Flat Iron Association’s "First Friday" and "smART Show" series at the Flat Iron Arts building in Wicker Park. I am hoping to get going on some shows in Logan Square this coming year- my neighborhood has a lot of street energy and art is being made everywhere… so it would be fantastic to get involved in the movement over here in 2010.

MD: Is any of your work political?

LM: Much of my work seems to have a political edge to it whether intentional or unintentional. That is not always welcomed in the art world. I like to explore gentrification, socio-economic issues, race and gender issues, etc., and I love the different dynamics, in landscape and in content, both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line… it’s my little fascination.
I do try to focus on our being human and together and similar and not on what keeps on separated. I have found that the ideologies present in the city of Chicago are not such a far cry from those that people like to believe are only ways of thinking and being in the American South. People here hate to admit that.
I derive so much of my inspiration from the underground music scene and graffiti movement that I was immersed in throughout my teenage years and in my early twenties. Street art is and has always been political, and I have much respect and admiration for all of the street artists who have paved the way for artists like me and for work like mine. It’s empowering to say it, whether on a brick wall in an alley or through a lens and a moment in time.

MD: Have you held any jobs/ careers that you'd like to discuss?

LM: I have done everything you can think of: dishwasher, waitress, coat check girl, nanny, school teacher, paralegal… the list goes on. I am a terrible, terrible waitress by the way. I always knew that I should stick with everything that made me relatively happy and usually paid the bills in order to get home and to create art on the dining room floor in the middle of the night.

Other than washing enormous pots of bean soup, I have liked most of these jobs- by far, teaching was the best. I taught middle school in California and preschool here in Chicago, and both of those experiences dramatically changed my life as well. All in all though, being a stay-at-home mom to my girls and continuing to make art has been the best combination to date….

MD: Any amusing anecdotes regarding your work?

LM: I usually get strange looks while shooting, and have had a range of shooting experience- from extremely scary to deeply and emotionally moving… usually I am asked if I am a cop or with a newspaper. It always makes me laugh to get asked if I am with the police though.
When I got told to “Fuck off” and was spat at on Milwaukee Avenue, I felt like I had gotten what I needed that day. But my best experience was talking to a Pastor named Andrew in Vicksburg, Mississippi- he was also pumping gas from the truck to the station. We discussed the light. I still carry his card in my wallet almost seven years later.

What are you currently reading? Matzo ball Gumbo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, French Quarter Fiction, Coastal Living Magazine (it keeps me dreaming).

Favorite movies? Harold & Maude, Paris, The Wedding Singer, Away We Go, Ma Vie En Rose, Revolutionary Road

Music you like: Twilight Singers, Ed Harcourt, Kings of Leon, Explosions in the Sky, Nina Simone, Ray Lamontagne, and Patti Griffin.

MD: What are some of your interests?

LM: Traveling, baking, making music, hanging out with my girls, throwing parties and surrounding myself with good friends & family… nothing beats good eats and good drink and lingering well into the night.
And although it appears cliché, I enjoy being charitable. I always try to give to the Tipitina's Foundation in New Orleans, which raises money for NOLA schools and provides opportunities for musicians to succeed in the creative world. Giving back rocks- you can always spare a little something.

Favorite visual artists? Banksy, Sally Mann, Mackenzie Thorpe and Mary Ellen Mark

MD: If someone were to come to your town/ city (Chicago) to visit, what places/ bars/ parks/ events etc should they be sure to check out?

LM: 3rd Coast Café in the Gold Coast, the Lakefront and Lake Shore Drive, Logan Square, Blues Fest, Country Music Festival, Rosa's Blues Bar in Logan Square and Café Spiaggia for the best peach Asti and gnocchi on the planet.

Your website(s):