As the September Exhibit nears its end, featured artist Michele Ledoux reflects on a few questions from Gallery Director Hannah Reeves.
REEVES: The interaction between your process and finished product is interesting, because it seems that your technique is very layered and involved, but that you aim, ultimately, for some manner of serenity, or simplicity, maybe. Could you talk about that interaction?
LEDOUX: I really feel like my statement speaks directly to this question… "Conceptualize, formulate a plan and then, ditch it. Build it up. Tear it down. Take the most complex concept and strip it to plain and simple. And, when you do keep something—make it important."
REEVES: How did you arrive at the medium and technique you employ? Were there earlier iterations to work through?
LEDOUX: I first learned about encaustic on a trip to Santa Fe. I believe it was the universe leading me to it… On my way out of town, my truck suddenly had this horrible "thumping" sound. And, of course, it was a Sunday. So, I drove around and around looking for someone to take a look. When I finally found someone, now too late to head back home, the thumping was gone. While looking for a hotel, I came across one of the old art festivals in the dirt parking lot (which no longer exists) and there was an artist there who worked with encaustic on paper. Immediately drawn to the medium, the next morning I headed to Boulder and bought my first encaustic book. I remember not being able to put the book down. Being a self-taught encaustic artist, the iterations are many… with a multitude of life learnings along the way.
REEVES: Because you sometimes represent your own work at art fairs, you must have some direct interchange with your audience that artists don't always get. Is that right? Is there anything particularly important that you've taken away from any of those interactions, if so?
LEDOUX: Absolutely…interactions with my audience are significant to the purpose of my work. The work itself is just one part. It's the conversation and the sharing and the connection. It brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart when someone sees my work and shares that they feel a sense of calm, a sense of peace, a sense of ease. My work is about spiritual growth and expansion. It's a commitment to authenticity and presence. It's about showing up.
REEVES: Who / what are some of your influences?
LEDOUX: While I am constantly expanding and further refining my own creative voice, my work is currently primarily influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Color Field Painting, The Zero Art Movement, Arte Povera and Hard-edge Painting. And, I have particular interest in and am inspired by artists such as Picasso, Barnett Newman, Sean Scully, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, Gunther Uecker, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois to name a few.
REEVES: I always like to ask: What is your studio quirk?
LEDOUX: I am, and always have been affected by my environment. As such, my studio has two vintage afghan rugs (with paint on them), incense burning and often times the om chant playing in the background. Everything has its place. And, although I live/work in a 1929 hunters cabin in the midst of the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado, my studio is neat as a pin. : )