Monday, October 11, 2010

Artist Profile, S, Palm Desert

It’s rare for an artist to find and establish their voice so quickly in their career. That’s never been an issue for S, Palm Desert’s most promising export since dry heat. “From a very young age, I’ve just known what I wanted to say,” she told WMKAS over a very open and inspring brunch from her desert studio between bites of animal crackers. We should all be so lucky. “Art has always been and will always be my language. And I like to think I have a beautiful voice.” Such confidence is evident in the brave, sweeping, brightly-colored slashes that characterize S’s work; something that not only defines her style, but her worldview. “The desert teaches you that anything is possible; if a flower can bloom without a drop of water in 110 degree heat, then certainly I can create something of beauty. Or at least finish re-tiling my studio!”

Aside from the paint-splattered clothing and slightly dishelved hair, S doesn’t strike you as the sterotypical brooding artiste. Detractors have claimed she floats too happily on the surface instead of diving deeper into darker, richer territory. Don’t mistake her chippy demeanor for a lack of substance cautions S. “There is no artist’s handbook that claims depression is essential to creating important work. I wake up excited every day to create something new. And without my art, I’m not sure where I would channel that joy -- perhaps into my juggling.” There have been setbacks, however. At her first public showing in Los Angeles, her work was dismissed as “too fairy-schmairy” by decidedly moodier critics than those she had wowed in sleepier Palm Desert.

“That hurt, I won’t lie,” she says, head down, doodling with a burnt orange crayola. “Part of me wanted to pack up and go back home. But a larger part of me made the decision to never let anyone dictate my work. I put them in a mental ‘time-out’ and moved forward.” And she hasn’t looked back since.