Photographer, installation artist and best friend, Mariann Marcum took time out of her hectic post grad schedule to talk to me about being an artist and, you know, stuff.
LM: Talk to me about what inspires you.
MM: I like to think the main compulsion of artists is in that "je ne sais pas". That being said, I try to hone in on field research for some brain-stimulation (as a component of "being inspired"). Maybe it's more like brain-poking. I don't know. Anyhow, this might look like anything from reading a novel or academic paper, to looking at other artists' work. It's good to look to established artists and see a sustained, healthy practice that they are still passionate about. As an emerging (maybe even pre-emerging? : P) artist, I need to seek good art to remind me that it's more than worthwhile, and that it might take a bit for my own work to hit a stride.
LM: Your own work is based primarily in photography, although you are handy with the installation, with paper and book arts - so many things, really. What is it about photography that makes it your main tool?
MM: I am a very science-minded individual, and I love efficiency. Whenever I used to think about the time and tedium of painting and drawing the kinds of pictures I wanted to make, I would cringe. Photography seemed to provide a comfortable solution. It was definitely a naive choice, and it must have been some slick spiritual guidance (and God chuckling at me) when I chose the photography route. After I learned about the history, theory, and dialogue of photography in art, I claimed it for totally different reasons. Now, I especially love photography for it's connective power between the "real" world and our own, hidden psychologies. Oh--and by the way--photography (the way I use it) is every bit as tedious as painting or drawing. Just in a different way.
LM: What do you find challenging about photography?
MM: That it is such a prevalent, super-saturated form!! Wow. I'd like to know how many cameras exist out there. I mean, how does one think about going out and adding more, new documents into the world? When I think about that, it's generally when I'm using a big camera and consciously making art. When I don't think about that, I'm usually just using my point-and-shoot, pushing a button. I definitely do both, and at the end of the day, I have to reconcile that.
LM: I've been really interested in 'dreams' lately - not the nocturnal kind, but the sort of half fantasy goals we set for ourselves. So tell me about your dreams. Where do you want to be in five years?
MM: I'd like to be living near enough to a bigger city so that I could make regular visits, but far enough away that I see mostly nature out any given window. (Preferably, with a good amount of friends and family near by.) I'd like to be part of a close-knit community, have my own garden, and a big, quiet studio with lots of natural light. It would be a dream to have a split work-life of half art making, half service. Maybe in hospitality... or teaching... or, ? I don't know. I use the term 'service' broadly. I just love talking to and helping people, even if in a small, mundane way.
LM: Words and text are really integral to your work. Why don't you wrap us up here by telling us your favorite word?
MM: Wow. Another "wow" for this interview. Good job there. : ) I love language. I love that there are so many words. Some words have a multitude of meanings, some words were meant to just have one. It's pretty amazing, and I love foraging through them all, and trying to absorb each one into my little brain. There's no way on earth I could choose a favorite!
To see more of Mariann Marcum's work, check her out here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/secretultram/