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Untitled Journal Page Created by Carol Parks
Carol Parks Interview : Page 2 of 2

Artist & 'Art Freak' Zine Publisher Carol Parks

continued from page 1

Q: Your visual art, especially collage, seems to be very tied to and inspired by the written word, or the way text looks on a page. Can you discuss the links between writing and visual art in your work?

A: My favorite artist is Henry Miller, and I have a collection of his letters. He wrote these amazing letters. Letters are such an amazing thing for other artists and authors to read. I use them in my work, in a way…I grew up in a very religious environment. For me to take a photocopy of a Miller drawing or painting, tear it up, and use the pieces in a collage, is a little like taking communion. Taking in the works of my heroes and the people who have informed my work, even if it's just torn up scraps of their photocopied work, is a ritual assimilation. I do a lot with Picasso…I write letters to him, and he writes back. Then, I rip them up and add them to the work, creating many layers so that we are one.

Q: What is your favorite book to curl up with on a gloomy day?

A: The Shell-Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher, tells story of a brilliant artist and his life through the eyes of a child. It is the most visual writing, one sentence in and I am transported to Cornwall; she writes so visually that I'm with her from word one.

Q: What was the most challenging, exciting, or surprising aspect of working with Lisa Sonora Beams to create the designs for her book, The Creative Entrepreneur?

A: The Creative Entrepreneur is a diverse educational book about bridging the gap between the creative and the pragmatic, to try to help artists who are notoriously business lame-os get it together. She's radically creative, a great painter and writer and so whimsical and precious, with an amazing business education. She has the keys to the business world and can relate that to artists. We started to talk about the need for someone to help the creative person get it together business-wise, and encouraged her to do a workshop, she booked into Hacienda Mosaica in Puerta Vallarta, and she sold three seats, and it wasn't enough to make the workshop worthwhile. She was in trouble, and was considering canceling the whole thing, and I needed a vacation in the worst way. I wanted to help Sonora, and it was cheap, so I went.

I learned so much in that five days that it blew my mind. If it had cost ten times as much, it would not have been enough to pay her. She spoke to me on a level that I absolutely grasped, and I came home revved to the hilt to fix my classroom, grow my business, and I went from hosting three or four workshops a year to over thirty workshops.

Q: Can you discuss the Carol Parks Art Foundation? I'd like our readers to know more about its mission, why you began it, and the progress you've made, as well as your hopes for the future of the foundation.

A: Every year we hosted gatherings, and created a valentine exchange by mail, but it seemed like a waste of women to get together and not make something of it, so we decided I'd auction off a painting a year, and try to put together money to support various and sundry art-related events. We sent cases of art supplies to children in Africa, and supported projects to benefit homeless kids. There will come a time, through the foundation, where I will support obscure artists and give them the tools they need.

People think art is a luxury, but it's not. It's right up there with food and water, to pick up a pen and make your mark.

Q: What was the biggest challenge for you in changing careers mid-life and going back to school? How did you cope and stay sane during this transition?

A: It is very hard for anyone to buck the establishment. Jesse Reno is the concrete example of a man who does nothing by the book. He's a total radical success as a painter, and he made it up as he went along. The hardest challenge was getting over the belief that I had to do it a certain way — and even if I did, the odds were against me. That's just a lie. There are plenty of new ways to make a living in the arts.

The other challenge was ageism. I work a triple shift every day, and I don't have an old cell in my body. I was told time and again that I was too old, or didn't look the part…never mind any of these ideas. During this time, my art kept me sane. If you are impassioned by your work and you want to do your work, you will find a way to do it — that's the bottom line. Anything else is a lie.

© 2009 Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »