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Interview with Sheila Wyne

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above image – cracked mirror self portrait by Sheila Wyne
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
My creative work reflects a personal view that an artist’s perspective is applicable in many venues. My pursuits as an artist include visual art, public art projects, set design, neighborhood-initiated environmental design and grass roots community art support. Just as moving through a day requires different combinations of muscle and intent, so too, my various artistic pursuits require flexibility in the imaginative process.

What is your current role with MTS Gallery?
A member of the Anchorage arts community that participates in the gallery’s season as viewer and artist. An unofficial, ‘kitchen cabinet’ post for feedback when necessary.

How did you first become involved with the MTS and the Trailer Art Center?
I was involved from the very beginning, when a group of artists and writers were looking for venues for a performance art evening that was a space out of the main stream.

What do you like most about being a part of the MTS Gallery and the Trailer Art Center?

Seeing younger or newer generations of artists and their work. The Trailer Art Center is, in some ways, the legacy that older artists can help make happen for future generations of artists.

Can you give a brief history of how the Trailer Art Center and MTS Gallery was formed? What is the relationship with the Trailer Art Center, MTS Gallery and the Land Trust?
It was artist initiated. We first brought it to the attention of the organizations involved in the Arts and Culture Redevelopment of Mountainview because we could see the potential of the site but needed access and time to develop the site. The Land Trust was set up to buy properties within the Mountainview area to aid in this redevelopment. This was the initial stage of the connections between TAC and the Land Trust.

Since then, it’s been a long road to get all players on the same game board. But fortunately the artists were solid in their vision and proactive which helped steady the trip to where we are now.

Have you had any work shown at the gallery and/or been involved in any performances?
Yes. I’ve participated in group shows.

Can you name one show that you have seen (either visual or performance art or both) at MTS Gallery that really made an impact on you? What did you like most about the show?

Many of the shows that have left a strong impression are ones I didn’t see! One of those is the performance on the roof. The images are amazing and the retelling of both the performance, what led to it and the fallout afterwards have left an indelible impression.

The first ‘formal’ show of Gage, Sagan and Wallin is a show that I saw. Visually, this exhibition showed how ready AK artists to stand along side of work in more international art centers.

How do you hope the Trailer Art Center will grow and expand in the next 5 years?
Fully viable arts center on course to being self-sustaining.

How long have you been an artist? How did you initially become involved with your medium? How can we find out more about your work?
Over 20 years.
Through working with clay. I kept having ideas that I couldn’t realize satisfactorily in clay.
I have a web site that is up and running but not finished.

What inspires you to do your work?

My own studio work, the most solitary of my creative pursuits, is similar to walking backwards. I can’t directly observe my progress toward a destination. I “see” where I’ve been through the trail left from assembling, painting, reading, writing and conversation. This trail grows larger before my eyes as I move into the unknown. By observing these markers, I eventually sense my arrival when the last view strikes my internal eye as a destination. When successful, this artistic mode can lead me beyond my own limited cartography to a surprising landscape. But it is always risky. There are times that I never reach a destination and find myself simply wandering in the wilderness. But it is there, through this process, that I make the discoveries that can lead to what I desire. To bear witness to what can’t be said and hopefully give voice through a visual poetry to what can’t be seen.

How did the Studio Party initially start and how does it keep going from year to year?
The Annual Studio Party first started after I came back from an extended stay in NYC. While there, my friends would gather in the studio around the worktable for beer and conversation. Sometimes they’d call me from there and tell me they were having a great time. I realized when I hung up the phone that the studio should be more of a gathering place.

When the AK Slam Poets we’re headed to the Lower 48 for their first national competition, we had a party where the proceeds went directly to them for their travel expenses. That year the annual studio party was born.

What show are you most excited about to see/be involved in at the MTS Gallery this year?

No single one in particular since I’m not fully versed in the details of the season. I just look forward to seeing what’s coming and what everyone is doing.

Are you a Mountain View resident? How long have you lived in Alaska and where did you grow up? Do you have children?
I came up here after college from Illinois.

If you had a vision for a transportation solution in the greater Anchorage area, what would it be?
Designated bike lanes
Light rail from the valley with excellent bus connections
Reclaim our RR to the airport

In your opinion, how can art effectively change a community?
It can change a community 1 street at a time. Every time an artist puts down roots on a particular street, the impressions of the community changes. I’ve noticed this since I got the studio on Willow Street. Now there are 7 kids that are growing up thinking that having an artist on your street and in your life is normal. These impressions have a ripple effect over time. Art and the artist becomes part of a healthy community and is not seen as something exotic.

What, in your opinion, makes a good artist?
Those that follow the nerve of one’s own being.
Those that nurture the good ideas and turn away from the weak ideas (no matter how attractive).
Those that can follow through with a lifetime of getting up and doing it again and again and again.

Any other comments?

Whew! No, I think I’m done for the moment…


above image – she and 61 studio truck

Thanks to Sheila Wyne for this interview. For more info, contact her at http://www.sheilawyne.com


Written by mtsgallery

September 16, 2008 at 7:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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