We are happy to have Linda Wandt as our newest Art of Austin artist! Get to know more about her and her work.
Linda Wandt is our newest Art of Austin featured artist! Get to know her and her work!
AoA – When did you realize that you were an artist?
Linda – I’ve always enjoyed making things, since childhood. I used to copy book cover art in watercolors when I was a child, my mom was artistic and always kept me in supplies. I was an art dork kid all the way through high school, but I wasn’t planning on trying to make art for a living, I was studying to get into emergency medicine with the ambition of being a surgeon. When it was time for me to take the entrance exams to be an EMT I had to get really honest with myself and realize I was too sensitive to do that kind of work, that it wasn’t the right fit for me, I went into library work instead for a while. Eventually I went to UT to study art in 2003 but also worked at the Fine Art Library there while I went to school, it was the best of the both worlds. Going to school for art was sort of a “what if” situation, and that’s where I realized I was in fact on the right path. I learned how to use oil paints and my artwork just exploded, I’d found my medium! Painting made so much more sense to me once I found oils, it was like the whole world opened up to me with the slow dry time they give you. I made a 4 by 5 foot painting called “The Queen of Bones” in my second painting class there and I knew I was doing the right thing, it felt like coming home.
AoA – Can you speak to your art training?
Linda – I started with art classes all through high school and then community college that were mostly passing time, really. I got my BA in studio art because I didn’t really plan college that well, it was hasty choice at a time when I wasn’t sure what to do with my life, and it’s taken awhile for me to figure out what I want to do with my art. Art school was okay, I’m glad I went but I don’t feel I got a lot of of it technically speaking. I debated heavily over whether or not to go for a Masters, and I chose not to and now I wish I had known then about atelier programs and had done that instead. These days I’m really craving a more formal training in figurative drawing and painting. I spent 6 years working in an art supply store after school, and I learned more there about painting tools then I did in college. I did some very intensive self study while selling supplies, reading all the technical books and making color charts and trying all the different mediums and brands of paint, it was a really great way to get access to all that stuff. I would work there all day and then go home and paint or study until 2am, and I did that until I couldn’t do it any longer, I wasn’t sleeping enough. I was also painting from a live model once every week, and that taught me about painting the human form. I took a long road, doing it all myself and didn’t seek out other teachers until recently, I took two workshops with really well known figurative painters last year, and will continue to learn from others from now on. But teaching myself things like verdaccio, the green-grey underpainting method of the old Italian master painters was a serious struggle to take on myself. I’m finally researching ateliers to attend, because I feel it’s the step I need at this point to raise the level of my work, which is what I am constantly aiming for.
AoA – Where do you derive inspiration from?
Linda – I get inspiration from everywhere! I think of myself as a sponge that takes in input and it gets jumbled up and comes back out different and fused. I read a lot, and in college I also studied a great deal of literature and philosophy, and those two subjects have had major influences on my work. So while a lot of my imagery comes from my imagination, a lot of it also comes from the amazing people in my life, people who really challenge norms and question things and I find that really beautiful.
AoA – Can you tell us about your work?
Linda – There are bee and animal paintings that I love to make, and I’m so fortunate to get some really amazing commissions sometimes, but I’d love to discuss my figurative work. On the subject of people who challenge norms and aren’t afraid to be themselves, that’s where the heart of my work lies. I’ve always been incredibly fascinated by the subconscious and the mind itself, it’s so complex and mysterious and the fact that it functions as it does at all just boggles my brain. There’s a curtain where the conscious mind and the subscious interact, and that is a space I am very interested in, and I keep coming back to through my years of painting. I now primarily paint female subjects because that is the filter through which my perception and experiences come from. My work can certainly be viewed as feminist, I see it when I step back to look at the whole picture, but when I’m in the details it’s seldom something I’m consciously thinking about, I’m thinking more about humanity as a whole. Our ability to self create is fascinating, when people make choices to face their fears, to delve into their processes and gain self understanding, I want to paint that. There’s a lot of anger, pain and fear in the world, and I want to put out imagery that inspires internal dialogues, for the viewer to ponder what they are looking at through their own filters and perceptions. I use a good deal of symbolism and I certainly have thoughts about what the pieces mean to me, but I love getting feedback from people who are coming from different points of view and reading the work in their own ways. I would like to say however, that both “Instinct vs Intellect” and “Smokescreen” are both societal reflections, exceptions where the subject is not focusing on the individual per say.
AoA – Can you talk a little about your creative processes in creating?
Linda – I typically let an idea sit around in my mind for a long time before choosing which ones to fulfill. I really take my time mulling them over and reinventing them and I’ll make a lot of small starter pieces that maybe aren’t technically good, but they are like brainstorming steps. The painting I’m about to start now is from one of those older pieces, so it’s been in the works for a decade at this point, now is the right time for it, I feel it’s maturated enough. For the final painting, I need to create/collect certain things for the reference photos I will take – the costume my model will wear, and I need to get with a 3D printer for what she will hold in her hands, it’s from my imagination and doesn’t exist yet, tangibly. There was a painting where I sculpted a dead owl with paperclay for the model to hold during the shoot so all the details of finger placement were there. So I sort out all these elements ahead and either hire a model or have a friend come model for me if they are the inspiration, and we do a photoshoot. Then I draw everything out and add whatever elements weren’t present. I most often work in layers, so I start with the underpainting and build up, it’s a really time consuming method, but the results are so worth it.
AoA – Where can we find your work? Do you have any shows planned for the future?
My website is lindawandt.com, my Instagram is @linda.wandt.art and my FB page is lindawandtart. I have a newsletter on my website you can sign up for too, to keep up with the shows and markets I work, where I primarily sell prints of my paintings. I’m soon to take a show down from Caffe Medici on West Lynn, it’s up til the 10th of July. Prints can be found at www.lindawandt.bigcartel.com.
I have several shows I’ve applied for and am waiting to hear back from, my next for sure show is a fundraiser in October at Big Medium (XO) to raise money for immigrants and refugees called Build Hope Not Walls, I’m very excited about that one. www.buildhopenotwalls.com I do EAST every year from my studio at Pump Project, that’s a great time to come see me and chat and see what I’ve been up to in person.
Connect with Linda Wandt!