This is the twenty-seventh in a series of interviews with each of the Sondheim Award Semifinalists. Finalists have been announced, and will be on exhibit at the Walters Art Museum June 21 to August 17; those not selected as finalists with be exhibited at the Decker, Meyerhoff and Pinkard Galleries at MICA July 17 to August 3, 2014.
Name: Martine Alicia Workman
Current Location: SW Waterfront, DC
Hometown: Lake Bluff, IL (born in Cumberland, MD)
School: California College of the Arts
Current favorite artworks & other things: Christian and Islamic illuminated manuscripts, Japanese woodcuts and Ehon books, ephemera, early American newspapers, Agnes Martin, Albrecht Dürer & Amy Gerstler
What is your day job? How do you manage balancing work with studio time with your life? I do graphic design and illustration, but right now I’m taking care of my newborn son full time. I’ve also worked in a bakery, and worked as a caretaker for the elderly. If I can’t make it to the studio, I’ll draw in my sketchbook and think about new projects. All of my work first takes shape in my sketchbook.
How would you describe your work, and your studio practice? I make works on paper and artist’s books/zines rooted in drawing. My practice is project based and changes depending on what idea I’m pursuing, although every project begins in my sketchbook.
What part of artmaking to you like or enjoy the most? The least? I love the process of making art, and I’ve always loved to draw. I love making messes and I hate cleaning up. I’m trying to get better at the administrative side of being an artist.
What research do you do for your art practice? I enjoy research and am always trying to learn something new; sometimes it makes it into my work and sometimes it doesn’t. I ask my artist and librarian friends for opinions/help and use the internet. I have collected a bunch of books for my own library I refer to often.
What books have you read lately you would recommend? Movies? Television? Music?TV: I love murder mystery shows and will play them while I’m assembling books or doing production work. Murder, She Wrote and Moonlighting are my favorites but I will watch any mystery show! Music: I’m a huge Prince fan and enjoy soul music. Movies: Pedro Almodovar is my favorite director. Books: I have a newborn son, so I’ve only been reading baby books for a while… Happiest Baby on the Block is pretty great!
Do you ever get in creative dry spells, and if so, how do you get out of them? During dry spells, I’ll do production work, make lists of practical things to do(application deadlines, research/order new materials, etc) and I’ll read a lot and do research on a new topic of interest. I don’t actively try to get out of them, since my work has ebbs and flows that are equally important to me.
How do you challenge yourself in your work? I push myself to learn something new with every project. This is easy to do in the research phase of a project, but can get frustrating when materials or techniques aren’t working out the way you hope they will.
What is your dream project? An artist book with an unlimited budget and large staff at my disposal is a total dream!