Interview

Q & A with Sandra Payne
by Odili Donald Odita
Plexis Online Magazine
Spring 1998

Q&A with Sandra Payne

1. What developments in your career as an artist led you to the work you are doing now?

An extreme hunger to examine beauty at its most outsized.

2. Can you describe some of the varying sources that feed your work?

Fifty Sources:

  1. The scent of Casa Blanca lilies
  2. As a child of the 1950's realizing that Josephine Baker could exist
  3. Knowing that noboby better tell Aretha Franklin that she was busting out of those too small outfits
  4. The dizzy interiors of Piranesi
  5. Colette read at dawn and dusk
  6. The Waterlilies of you know who
  7. Sweet potato pie from the kitchen of Aunt Berneice
  8. Aunt Ethel's couture hands running a business out of her kitchen
  9. The astringent intelligence of art not necessarily made for the eye
  10. Desert skies, desert smells
  11. A massage following a mineral bath
  12. The face and soul of diamonds
  13. A pearl's heart
  14. Nina Simone, Cesaria Evora...
  15. Patti Labelle's 'Over the Rainbow'
  16. Flying to anywhere into the sun
  17. Wine tasting of roses
  18. A love affair imagined
  19. True love
  20. The drive from Santa Fe to Taos, and then on to Ojo Caliente... alone
  21. The thrill of discovering Harryette Mullen, J. California Cooper, Julie Patton, so varied, so singular
  22. The discipline of arranging flowers
  23. Velvet, satin, chiffon, fur
  24. A cool glass of water filled with ice
  25. Memories of singular artworks
  26. Cut crystal and burning candles
  27. The grace of those who carry baskets, bundles, and burdens on their heads
  28. Listening to Bobby Short and Ella Fitzgerald in a house trailer parked in a grapefruit grove
  29. Sequined devotional flags of Haiti
  30. Atget's photographs of Paris
  31. Butterfly wings
  32. Persian manuscripts
  33. Gilded Japanese screens
  34. Navajo weavings
  35. The St. Louis Evening Whirl, a black tabloid of be-bop and jazz language speaking gospel
  36. The sacrifices of those who came before me
  37. The color red
  38. Strawberry ice cream
  39. Vanilla ice cream
  40. Aunt Verna's hot rolls
  41. Miz Edwards' fried chicken (fried amidst Wheat Street roaches)
  42. Perfumed by Joy
  43. Moroccan Jasmine
  44. The sunsets I witness
  45. The night sky away from city light
  46. Christmas trees
  47. A Chambered Nautilus
  48. Simplicity
  49. Peace
  50. Home

3. At one time you spoke of the idea of shopping in a market? How does this feed into the aspect of viewing/seeing your work?

A market is a concept, like a painting, a great work of literature, or a stunning handsome man allowing one to contemplate beauty, truth, desire, rage, jealousy, envy, contempt, and perhaps, the power of evil.

4. Can you explain in your words what you feel the glass and jewelry mean, and what you are trying to evoke in the new work?

Velvet, glass, jewels, copper wire, feathers, powdered pigment, driftwood, suede mean... nothing. These elements are in a conspiracy to seduce, to mystify, to pull as does an undertow.

5. Do you feel that you can place your work within the western tradition of art making? Does your work consider this, does it lie outside of this reality, or is it in a comfortable (uncomfortable?) place in between?

There remains an eternal need to create the unique, the never seen, never desired. That is the universal, global, feminine, masculine.

6. Where do you want your work to ultimately take you and your audience?

Take a walk with me in my underwater garden on the outer rings of Saturn.

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