Interview: Marjorie Wood Hamlin
Luca Curci talks with Marjorie Wood Hamlin during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Marjorie has studied fine art since she was 12 years old. She has a BA with a major in Applied Art and Art History from Willamette University. She also studied at San Francisco State University, Academy of Art San Francisco and with Stanford University in Venice, Italy. After years of study, she now creates her own style, pushing the envelope of innovation to make new sensations for the eye of the beholder. Creating different series keeps her imagination renewed. Her paintings have been in exhibits throughout the western United States, New York and Florence, Italy where she won the recognition of the international jury at the Florence International Contemporary Biennale. The United Nations was a vehicle for her work in 2015 when her video of environmental paintings was part of just 36 artists shown there for International Women’s Day . The same video was also in a traveling show in Granada and Almeria Spain. She was director of a highly successful after school art program for migrant farm laborer’s children in Tracy, California. She now teaches workshops and gives private lessons. Her work is in private collections and in corporate offices with shows at Syntex and Synopsis in California. Collectors come back repeatedly for new work or to commission special pieces.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Marjorie Wood Hamlin – It is my life. Creating, whether with paint of with my mind, is not only my passion, it comes naturally to me like breathing. Having others enjoy the fruits of what is created brings happiness into their lives and brings joy to me. It is also the common ground between cultures, even those that are at odds with each other. Presented in the right way, it becomes what binds together the people of the world.
LC – What is your background? What is the experience that has influences your work the most?
MWH – I was interested in the composition of shapes and colors at a very early age. I remember as a child seeing a magazine article that explained how those different elements, shape and color, interacted with one another in space. By the time I was at university, I was totally absorbed and took every class the art department had to offer in applied art ant art history. Probably what has influenced me the most in recent years is the earth; how my message can convey environmental issues.
LC – What is your creative process? Did your style change over the years? In what way?
MWH – My creative process in mostly spontaneous. I do not make advanced studies or drawings. Ideas pop into my head. My work evolves as I go along. What I think a painting will be when I begin is frequently quite different in the end I would say my style has changed somewhat in that I work more in the abstract. Even when I make fictitious landscapes, for example, I am thinking a lot of the simple shapes that farm crops make in a field. Realistic interpretation bores me.
LC – Which themes do you pursue? What is you preferred subject, if there is any?
MWH – I have not consciously chosen to pursue a preferred subject, although the influence of nature has at times been a basis for some of my work. I have done a series of abstracts that interpreted environmental issues. It was made into a video that ITSLIQUID took to Grenada and Almeria Spain in a traveling show. It was also shown at the United Nations in New York by the Women’s Caucus for Art as part of a presentation of women and how they influence the environment.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
MWH – The concept of the Borders Festival sparked my interest because the coming together of artists from different countries merges the differences in cultures. The Festival presented a way to create fluid creative thought between cultures even though many borders are closed to international travel at this time. Physical borders are broken down for common understanding; a much needed thing in this era of Covid 19. Although I could not travel due to my status as a person of medical high risk I wanted to participate in this important theme.
LC – We were attracted to you last artistic production. Has the artwork presented been created for the festival, or as a part of preexisting works?
MWH – The piece I entered, “Borders of my Mind” was part of a series I created while learning the technique of mono printing. I had not exhibited it yet. It was just sitting in a portfolio. It was on my mind that I should name and frame it. Just then I got the announcement of the Borders Festival. “Yes!” I said. ”That’s it!”. I ran to the collection and pulled out the yellow, blue and black mono print. It represents the borders of my mind, the minds of others and the borders of countries. The shapes and colors are separated in, but are also in a cohesive pattern that hangs together, meaning they like being with each other and have a common way to communicate like the various cultures do in this festival. I have long been a disciple of the
way the arts have become a dialog among nations. To quote Kofi Annan, “Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred and a representative of human conscience. Art opens new doors for learning, understanding, and peace among people and nations”. This exhibition has given my selected work a voice.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists? What do you think of our services?
MWH – The themes are intellectually thoughtful, themes inspire creativity. The festival is a very important opportunity for artists to enter the international exhibition arena. So often artists who are painters create in their studio in a solitary setting. Although they frequently may have exhibitions in their own country, seeing the world through other cultures’ eyes is a broadening experience, not to mention a great thing to add to their list of exhibitions. It gives them great status upon returning home. This is my second time participating in one of your events. The services are excellent ITSLIQUID is enjoyable to work with as a company. The representatives were pleasant and reply rapidly to emails. They were a great help in getting my carton through customs. I will certainly participate again and recommend it to other artists.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us?
MWH – I would like to see ITSLIQUID also have a permanent gallery that would actively sell the work of the some of the participating artists with a portion of the sales going to fund to help artists that have a financial crisis not of their own making. It would also give the company a 24/7 exposure and keep the name in front of the public. In another life I was in the advertising and marketing business; so I always thinking of what makes good exposure.