Carol Heft [carolheft]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I work in two and three dimensional visual art. I also teach drawing, painting, design, and art history. Being an artist is an essential aspect of my identity.
What is your message?
Life is fascinating
Your biography in four lines.
Born 1954 to Leeba Melmed and Charles Heft
Studied painting with Robert Brackman starting at age 12.
Studied at Rhode Island School of Design in the 1970's.
Moved to New York City 1977 and have been working and living here ever since.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
I have more work posted on facebook than anywhere else. This is my home made web address: http://carolheft.home.mindspring.com/artistheft.html
I think if you Google me you will find other sites.
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
It usually comes from working, looking at work by other artists, both contemporary and from the past. Inspiration, to me, is an inside job, as long as I am open to it, it is all around me.
What is art?
Art is everywhere. An aesthetic experience is accessible to anyone. It is appreciating life through the senses, emotiions, cognitions, and spiritual experience.
When do you get your best ideas?
While I am working.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
If I keep working on it it's worhtwhile. If I abandon it, it isn't.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
I would love to have designed buildings and decorated large interior spaces. I also enjoy working on large scale paintings and hope I can do more of that. I love the idea of combining two and three dimensional elements for both illusionistic and storytelling purposes. I also have always been intrigued by the idea of designing an entire living and working environment that integrates furniture and decoration. There is a book called "Calder at Home" that shows how he and his wife were able to do this in a very whimsical and beautiful way.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
When I realized I could draw. I must have been about 7 or 8 years old.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Same reason people in other professions have them. Fear and insecurity usually fuel volatile behavior.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
How should a work of art be evaluated?
It shouldn't be evaluated, only appreciated on its own terms. If you take the time to look at it you must find it interesting.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
If they feel like it.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Paul Klee, Antonio Gaudi, Isaiah Zagar, Jean Dubuffet, and of course, Phidias, Iktinos, Bernini, Leonoardo, David, Artemisia Gentileschi, Caravaggio, Rosa Bonheur. Then there is Miro, Arp, Klimt, Schwitters, Nikki de St. Phalle, Picasso, Braque, Chagall....
They have influenced my work by inspiring me and giving me an inkling of what is possible in the realm of human creativity.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I wish I could get some.
Is art necessary?
I think it has to be authentic to be necessary.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
It did when I was younger. Now I am grateful when I sell a piece because it means there is a chance for others to look at it and appreciate it. Making art is the result of an experience, shared.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
Depends on the collector. If a buyer likes your work and makes repeat purchases, they are paying you a great compliment.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
I like to let the work tell me what to do - which means it is a very interactive process. every mark changes the whole thing, so I spend a considerable amount of time looking, imagining, pretending, visualizing, trying things out, and revising. At a certain point it becomes clear that somthing is finished, or snaps into place in a sense. Then it is a matter of fine-tuning.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
SInce I have no control over that, I don't think about it much. I am powerless over the art world, and the more I surrender to that the better I am able to concentrate on my work. There are enough distractions in my personal life without worrying about what curators and critics think.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
I am a member of an artist run gallery in New York City, and thus do not have to deal with comercial galleries, gallery owners, dealers, etc. Therefore they have played a minimal role in my career. My job is to keep working, and hopefully each time I have an exhbition, put an exciting body of work together to share with whoever is interested.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I love teaching. I teach children and adults, from pre-K to college level. I love to teach art history because I love to study and learn. I also find teaching studio courses very exciting and stimulating. I enjoy working with people and being with them as they grow.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Talking with students about their work.
Do you personally collect any items?
I have work done by freinds, classmates, students, colleagues. Mostly exchanges and trades.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
google image search, artcyclopedia, artchive, WEB, Artlex, Professor Witcolme's art history site, the Metropolitan Museum site, the Louvre site, MOMA site, companion sites for textbooks I use (Gardner's Art through the Ages is a good one)
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
Listen to your heart, use your gift. be true to yourself, and find a way to do what you love to do.