With Thanksgiving day festivities behind us, the good china and greasy turkey pans washed and put away, Katie Turner (my 24 year old middle child) and I went to work preparing art for our show at Theatrical Outfit. The Atlanta theater has introduced a new gallery and invited us to exhibit during their production of 'Big Fish'. Big Fish is a musical fantasy exploring the relationship between a parent and child and several of Katie's current sculptures delve into similar themes. Fish, mermaids and whimsical fantasy often show up in our work and of course we are a 'parent and child' so we were a perfect fit for the show.
Katie is pursuing her own art career and moved to New York City two years ago after finishing college in New Orleans. From the time Katie, her sister Elizabeth and brother Nate were 5 years old, they were making art to sell at our annual holiday art show. It was obvious when Katie was young she would become a professional artist. Whether with elementary school log cabin projects or high school art assignments, our home has always been busy with creativity. Working together making art is nothing new for us.
Katie's favorite place to work has always been sprawled out all over our living room while watching TV. I don't like to work with the TV blaring so it's always been a source of frustration and conflict. The Real Housewives of Atlanta and the Kardashians don't inspire me, at least not at this point in my career. Clay in the carpet and paint on the sofa have been the catalyst for many fights over the years. This time the studio was filled with my work in various stages of completion so there was no space to share. I bit my tongue as Katie took over our living room. Fishing poles, lures, and bits of antique crochet dollies quickly littered every surface.
Our art making relationship was a little different this time around because Katie and I took off our 'mother/daughter hats' and worked as peers. It was delightful having her critique my work offering solutions and improvements that I failed to see. She even solicited my opinions though I think she may already be out of my league. I pieced together big salvaged wood fish while Katie assembled found objects into delicate airy hanging sculptures. Even though we were making our own distinctly separate pieces, the creative give and take, brainstorming and collaboration was fresh and inspiring. Working side by side solidified the knowledge that my daughter has an incredible eye and an artistic vision and depth far beyond her years. It was exciting to wake up in the morning and wander into the living room to see what Katie had come up with in the wee hours of the night, long after I'd gone to sleep.
The day before Katie flew home to New York we loaded up my old Honda van and carted our creations to Atlanta to install at Theatrical Outfit. We didn't really have a plan for where our art would hang but as we worked together everything fell serendipitously into place.
Because we live so far away and opportunities like this are rare, it was a particular treat to share this creative time together.
Maybe for our next show I'll invade Katie's tiny efficiency apartment in the big city and get paint on her living room sofa!