Posted on July 03 2018
My childhood was a good one. I grew up between Raleigh, NC and Louisburg, NC. My mother grew up in Franklin County on family land that was a working farm. Those lands were passed down to my grandmother from her father. Being able to come from that legacy gave me a particular affection for family, the land and work.
How were you first introduced to the world of art?
I was introduced to “making things” through my mother’s creative production. She made our clothes and had a particular style about her that gave me the permission to think about things in a different way. I came to know art through a range of experiences. Two of the most lasting happened when I entered fourth grade. My best friend at the time was a girl whose father was a designer. Her mother who’d died a few years before had been a fiber artist. Sleepovers at her house were so interesting as I was exposed to art materials and an “aesthetic” that was very different from my what I’d known. The other experience was Saturday art classes with Richard Craven at the North Carolina Art Museum, when it was located downtown in Raleigh, NC.
Deciding to burn paper as a means of drawing came around 2005. At the time, I had just started a Master of Fine Art’s program at UNC-Chapel Hill after having been a high school art teacher. My cohorts each had a technical direction but I did not. I remember hearing my mother (or perhaps one of my aunts or uncles) talk about directing the sun’s heat through a piece of glass to burn a leaf or set fire to paper and it resonated with me. Heat and fire connote a vast array of meaning and allow me to work with tools that are not typical in art-making. Operating outside of traditional approaches has become important to me.
Of all of your techniques - heat/laser technology, accumulation, embossing/debossing, interference and gilding - which gives you the most fulfillment? Which challenges you the most?
I don’t have a favorite, but gilding has become the technique that I think most about. The results provide a wide range of conceptual triggers. I am also most unsure of the medium as the optical effects and impact of the work is much less graphic, and relies heavily on the viewer’s willingness to have a slower observational experience.
I’ve always been interested in portraiture, especially creating images of women that ask the viewer to reconsider their relationship with that person or to consider them at all. Loretta Lynch came to me as a subject not only as an African-American Attorney General in the Obama Administration and native of Durham, NC, but as a beacon of hope and power and a symbol of martyrdom all rolled into one. That type of tension is attractive to me when selecting a subject.
What excites you about doing commissioned portraits? What does the process look like for these projects?
I approach commissioned portraits having always been fascinated with Warhol’s hands on approach to his subjects via the Polaroid camera. I allow the subject to choose an image of themselves for me to work from. In the current age of image proliferation, people have many choices from which to choose from. Also, people tend to be tentative about having a portrait made. Selecting the reference image gives them a chance to collaborate with me and have some influence over the process.
View Stacy's work on display now-August 10th at V&V, 353 W. Main Street Durham, NC or contact us for additional information at 919-797-2767.