by Eva Avenue
Carol’s painting show Barcelona opens with a reception March 8 in St. Petersburg, FL from 5 to 8pm at the Morean Arts Center, which should really be called art center, cause it’s all visual art, but I guess that’s the trend, to be all inclusive all the time of everything. Postmodernism and everything. THE ARTIST WILL GIVE A TALK AT 6PM!
Since she’s my mom, I started the interview off like—
I always had the idea that having kids really slowed down your art career and for this I’ve always felt guilty. Now be honest—do you ever wish you’d never had kids?
Carol Dameron: Oh my god!! The short answer is no. The truth is I never ever wished that and I always put the kids first and I wanted to! And I’m a much better painter because of the kids.
Cause they’re my models and you have good designs and you’re poetic and it made my life richer and I thought it was really helpful. I never accepted the idea you had to stop cause you had kids. I just worked around it. I think it would be really bleak not to have kids and just have this lonely paintbrush. What kind of life is that? I’m not interested in that. I am surprised that you felt guilty cause I don’t feel that all. My friend’s mother was a singer and she also didn’t make it. She’d say to her kids, “You ruined my life. If it wasn’t for you…” But, god! I don’t think it’s that hard to be a reasonable parent. I mean, you gotta hide all that.
What is your favorite thing about painting?
I like colors, I like sloppy goo. It feels like I’m painting with butter when I use oils. I like laying out the palette, the smells, and seeing how the colors work on the palette. I like slopping. I like the different textures when you can have thin washes and little dry swabs and thick strokes and I like it when it works. When it doesn’t work, I can’t stand it. But at this point I’m starting to understand painting.
What do you dislike most about art today?
Oh, I feel that given the world in which we live and the anxiety and the trauma, what I see from a bird’s-eye view is the range of emotion is limited and a lot of the work deals with some level of psychological damage. So what I’m starting to see is several cracks in the surface, I’m seeing the world become round again and there’s a full range of different emotion. Picasso had horror and war and also joy and maternity, maternal feelings; he’d portray all sorts of feelings and I think we’re going back to that.
Actually, I’ve done a painting with a violinist and some dancers called The End of Indifference and I call it that with a nod to the art world. The universal meaning to this painting is this rounding out of emotion that I’m seeing in the art world. It looks to me like the art is becoming more thoughtful. There’s a lot of great art out there. There’s a more complete set of emotions, it feels a little more complete now. Dark and light.
There has always been great art and I also believe a person can be in the corner on the other side of the world and making something that’s so wonderful and we just don’t know about it. You don’t have to be famous to be great but I do think in the end, history chooses rightly. The only mistake history made is forgetfulness. Vermeer and Bach were lost for awhile and then they were found. I don’t think history chooses artists that aren’t great.
Do you treat painting like a 9-5 job?
Yeah—you can’t wait to be inspired. It’s just the work part, the nuts and bolts. You get up and go to your studio and you get your materials today and make your drawing and analyze and make a color study if you need it and get to work. You can’t just lie around waiting for the muse to arrive. You just get up and go. It’s not a question. But one day out of the week I teach a painting class, I teach advanced painting on Wednesdays at the Suntan.
What was the thing you were saying about the personal story set against some universal narrative or whatever?
An allegory is a story with a story behind it, so you’d have a personal story thrown against the backdrop of a universal theme.
What is exciting about this particular art show at the Morean?
It’s a great place to show work. The people that are there are so great and they have a good eye and they’re so nice and so easy to work with. Working with Amanda and Melissa, they’re so human, just so human and I want all the art world to be like them. I’ve been putting together this work for several years now and working very slowly ’cause the work has a lot of layers to it, lots of complexity and levels to the paintings and they’re large.
The last year I’ve really ramped it up to where I’m working six or seven days a week. I really like that. I worked up until the last minute and plus I have a lot of new drawings. I spent years making sketches for paintings but I have so much basis and training as a drawer—that’s my first thing, really. I love drawing so much and I produced some small drawings of windmills and spaceships which are both ancient and move around with the air.
I’m using the windmill as the symbol of the artist in my work because of the solitude and the heaviness and the turning mills of the mind, which makes sense. I think it would be more of a solitary thing wherever you were.
If you could live in a city other than St. Pete, which three would you choose?
Well, probably Barcelona, and Vence in the south of France where Chagall lived, and then I’d go to Miami. I’m happy now being in America, and if I had to go anywhere else in America I’d head south cause of the flora and fauna.
"There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge." ~Robert Henri