Monday, December 1, 2014

Interview with Artist Maxine Hess

Maxine Hess: "Unemployment Line II"

1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?

I am Maxine Hess and I am a visual artist. I think I always wanted to be an artist. Even as a child I drew the trees outside my bedroom window. Whenever there was something that needed to be drawn on the blackboard at school, the teacher would ask me to do it. I still remember the orange house I drew in kindergarten. I studied at Boston University Fine and Applied Arts for two years before getting married and having two children. Wherever we lived I took a painting class, but I didn’t complete my BFA degree until I moved to Atlanta and attended Atlanta College of Art. Then as they say “life happened” and I shifted gears and worked in higher education for a number of years as a career counselor while I completed a M.Ed. and a Ph.D. at Georgia State University in Human Resource Development studying both career and organization development.. My background in career and organization development led me to a position with the Federal Government. During my tenure with the government I was fortunate to be able to complete a certificate in leadership coaching at Georgetown University. During all those years I sporadically took classes in etching and painting. When I retired in 2007 I was determined to return to making art full time, but that got delayed for a couple of years while I provided leadership coaching on a contract basis for the CDC. Now I can finally call myself a full time artist.
2. What’s integral to your art and/or art career?

For me continuing to learn is vital to my art. I took a workshop in encaustic painting from Helen DeRamus, studied painting with Joan Tysinger at SCAD and I’m currently in the Fine Arts Workshop Atelier with Michael David. When I first started back to making art I visited as many galleries and exhibits as I could and I joined WCAGA and the Atlanta Artists Center. 
3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?

In some ways I see myself as a visual sociologist. My themes come from my personal experiences, from growing up during the feminist movement and racial unrest, and from current socio-political events. 

4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
Maxine Hess: "Cherish The Idea"

I’m most angered by seeing injustices in the world, by people not accepting diverse ways of thinking and believing, by people being treated uncivilly and without respect. I am most happy when I see people accepting one another, making an effort to understand and respect each other’s differences and similarities. 

5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?

Women in general inspire me, their strength and resiliency. I grew up during the feminist movement and was influenced by so many amazing women who fought for equal rights for women. There were so few options for women in the past – they could get married and have children or they could become teachers or nurses. Yet there were women who broke the mold and became adventurers, doctors, lawyers, engineers. In spite of adversity women have been and still are able to reinvent themselves and move forward. 

6. What superpower would you want?

This probably sounds trite, but I would like to bring peace to the world, to end genocide, human trafficking. I would like to make a positive difference. 

7. Who are your favorite artists and or other person?

I have many favorite artists and as I’ve grown and matured I keep adding more. Some I’ve always loved are Van Gogh, Matisse, Soutine, Kokoshka, Miriam Shapiro and more recently Hannelore Baron and Anselm Kiefer. 

8. What advice would you give to other artists?

Make art that you believe in, that has meaning for you regardless of how it is received. Listen to your own voice, trust your intuition. Learn from feedback and from other artists. And, above all be persistent.

Maxine Hess: "The Veiled Gun"