1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?
I am a practicing visual artist working in Atlanta and Lakemont Georgia. In 2012, I returned from Washington, DC after receiving my MFA in Studio Art from American University. My first training (MA degree from Georgia State University) was in Art History. I taught art history for a while at GSU and soon after that, I was Associate Curator of Education at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta for four years. I was the owner of an art consulting company, Barkin-Leeds Ltd. for 21 years. (yes, you heard me right). During all of this time and for many years prior, I knew i wanted only to be a practicing artist. Circumstances and finances prevented me from doing this full time until 2005, when I closed Barkin-Leeds Ltd.
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2. What's integral to your art and or art career?
The now-deceased artist Benny Andrews once told me " If you make art, have something to say". As a person who, from her own instincts and her experience with art history knew, art can indeed convey all kinds of messages, and this comment by Benny was taken by me as a directive to make art about the things I felt most strongly about.
3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use.
I have always centered my work on concepts that relate to issues in societies, how these issues affect people, and my responses to those issues. In the past, I dealt with the crisis in Darfur ( a series of large drawings that were my portfolio when I graduated with my BFA from GSU); the way cultures replace one another, either through war, the environment, or politics; and most recently my reaction to "shooter" video games which are quite often based on actual war scenes in Afghanistan and Iraq. I produced an animation and am continuing to make paintings about this recent subject.
4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
What makes me angry? Liars, war, injustice, cruelty, torture, unfair acts, underhanded people, selfishness, incurable illness. What makes me happy is to be alive (I am a cancer survivor), be able to work, to have family, to love and be loved, to have support from my spouse and friends and family, to live in a country that is not at war, to make progress with my work.
5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?
Anyone who is dedicated to what they do inspires me, especially if it is to the benefit of society as a whole. There are a lot of artists that I admire --Carrie Moyer, Thomas Nozkowski, Goya, Rembrandt, Picasso, Jose Lerma, Katherine Von Heyl, Zoe Charlton, Sam Scharf, Kandinsky, Philip Guston--I could go on and on. What inspires me in my life in general is anyone who has charged ahead when it was risky or difficult to do so--Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, Helen Keller, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler--again not enough space to keep going.
6. What superpower would you want?
Superpowers scare me a little, but I guess being able to eliminate disease would be high on my list, along with wars, of course.
7. What is your favorite artists and or other person?
See the list above. I will add a few--Marina Abramavicz, Abraham LIncoln, Albert Einstein, John Glenn, Frank Gehry,Charles Rennie McIntosh, Elizabeth Murray, Katherina Grosse; OK I have to stop.
8. What advice would you give to other artists.
Follow your passion, and make what moves you. Don't worry about what people say, what sells and what doesn't, who writes about your work and who doesn't. Be kind to yourself and to others. Support other artists whenever you can with encouraging words and constructive critique. Go out and see a lot of work. Attend openings. Do your work, work ,and then go back and work some more.
9. Contact details if any?
Temme Barkin-Leeds, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.temmebarkin-leeds.com