Name: Caitlin Joy Pritchard
Studio location: OneWay Gallery, 140 Boon St., Narragansett
Current/upcoming exhibits: Studio Show at OneWay Gallery currently exhibiting
What is your background? I call New England home, but in my daydreams, I fly on all the winds of the world and collect colors from rainbows! I think rain is romantic. I’m ever so grateful for trees. I often stop to smell roses and recommend everyone do so. They are gems, treasures, olfactory delights! I love life and I love art and I believe they are best friends! I have a Bachelor of Arts, but it only says I can teach, and nothing about my art skills. I spend a lot of time with children and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am forever trying to forget what my grown-up brain knows so that I can be more like one of them.
Why create art? I love art. I live art. I actively surround myself with art. I see the whole world as art in action. There is art in every moment of my life! I’m a huge believer in releasing, expressing, sometimes in the form of gentle oozing, other times expelling that which is in me ... us. If you have any inclination towards art making, there is life in you that wants to, needs to, fly free. My healthiest self can be found in seasons where I spend hours upon hours creating.
What is your preferred medium? Why? This is not a simple answer. I am a mixed-media artist so there’s no one material I tend towards, but the few gotos are fiber arts that I find and felt or “freeze” or hand knit then “freeze,” spray paint, oops paint, and markers ... on doors.
How would you describe your work? My current work is called Feasting and each piece is colored in my weekly mastication and digestion of my own life, plus the integration of psychological theories/understandings and the human experience.
My medium is purposeful. I knit, which is an intricate and aesthetic method of design used to build, join, strengthen, and enlarge. It is the adding of new elements to a preexisting story. It symbolizes unity, the braiding together of ideas, understandings, and beautiful differences. It is many colors, in pattern, joining to create one whole piece, generally used as an aesthetic beauty that covers, warms, comforts, snuggles, protects, shelters. My knits are “frozen” with polyurethane, enabling me to slice and dice, sculpt and form.
The additives are felted vintage sweater pieces, which other hands created using the same method to achieve similar aesthetics and purpose. These have been hot-washed and are in their full strength, yet malleable.
The mouths are my heart’s holes of import/export. They are constantly feasting on, masticating, and/or releasing love, compassion, emotion, empathy, control, sadness, contentedness, fear, peace, knowledge, beats ...
The learning and integration of each theory is represented in my chosen medium; the knitting, felting, and mouths (mastication and digestion) with which each piece is created.
What was the inspiration for a recent body of work? Having just started grad school at Lesley University in Cambridge to earn my masters in art therapy, my current work pertains both to morphing and to the process of learning with a focus on psychological theories. We are asked to spend two hours (sometimes less) creating “art” for class each week. My normal process is large works created over weeks, maybe even months of layering then whitewashing and then more and more layers. I get a glimpse and have a tiny idea concerning media, then I start working and the piece “becomes.” I know in a given moment if I like the piece or not and keep working till it is done. I can’t have people watch me in the process, but once it’s complete, I don’t care if everyone loves it or hates it. The piece just is what it is. When it’s done, I look and think, “There you are :) ... Yeah, this is what I meant to have happen when I started. This is right.” It’s like my subconscious knows the piece long before it manifests.
Whose work do you admire? Why? Magdelena Abakanowicz – the simplicity and strength of her fiber art pieces inspire me. Her colors, shapes, and medium speak to me on so many levels. El Anatsui – his metal walls/blankets/sheets are aesthetically beautiful while telling the profound story of transparent, non-segregating walls. Jean Michel Basquiat – his childlike, colorFULL, simple, yet complex images delight me.
Nick Cave creates dreamy rainbow-magic, texture-rich, unicorn-(im)possible Soundsuits! What’s not to love? He introduces new worlds with each suit. The wearer’s identity in this world is erased and he/she is transformed into a new being from a better world; a beautiful, awe-inspiring, aesthetically (over)stimulating, rainbow-drenched dreamland. Thoughts of wonder, hope and a better reality resound in each environment Soundsuits create. Nick Cave is brilliant and his art opens us up to a better understanding of a current state of inequality. He understands that there is more power in beauty, hope and love than in ugly anger and hate.
If you could experiment in another medium, what would it be? I am interested in learning to weld. I would love to be able to manipulate and create with metals.
What is your dream project? I haven’t dreamed it yet.
What do you do when you’re not making art? I am in grad school attempting to grow my heart and brain as I pursue a masters in art therapy. I have a French bulldog, named Handsome Jack Dooley, a.k.a. Noodle, who is my muse. We hang out a lot. Sharing good times with my family, my dude, and my friends, each of whom are precious, life-enhancing heartbeats I don’t want to live without.
What are you most proud of? Why? “It’s in the Blood,” a fiber arts teepee. When my dad, Daniel, was in his mid-30s he made a 30-foot tall Sioux-inspired canvas teepee. In honor of that, in my early 30s, I gathered vintage animal-fiber sweaters, felted each, and created a fiber arts teepee. My dad is a creative who inspires me, and it was rad to mimic his unique creation with my own twist.
Do you have a favorite local art spot? OneWay Gallery in Narragansett! I love the other artists and the ladies who work at the gallery. It is a play place for creatives and friends. OneWay is my second home.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists? Make stuff. Just do it. Don’t worry about the why and what, and definitely ignore all the who. Even if it’s blah, nonsensical, undefined, disheveled “shagala bagala,” find a blank canvas (be resourceful) and get it out. It’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself ... and every once in a while, magic happens!