Interview by Monika Bullette
For our first new interview leading up to the 2016 Delaware Fun-A-Day, we asked Maia Palmer to expound on her work and Delaware. Here are her joyful, optimistic answers - thank you, Maia!
We like to know how people are connected to Delaware - are you a resident, born and raised?
I was born in Delaware and lived here through high school, then I traveled quite a bit. I lived in Japan, Spain, Hawaii, and a few other states, and then I moved back to Wilmington in the summer of 2014. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made!
Since you have been documenting parts of Delaware... do you have a favorite place to hang out in Delaware? Any hidden gems we should make time to check out?
So many! Delaware has a ton of wonderful state parks, and I love them all! I also really love the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge down by the Riverfront. It’s tiny but very peaceful.
How did you get introduced to Delaware Fun-A-Day? What or who inspired you to participate?
I actually found out about it the day before the deadline last year when I was getting a pedicure. Ashley Messatzzia of Spookymess Creations told me about it while making my toes look beautiful!
Did you have a favorite project from Delaware Fun-A-Day 2015? Any Artists you are hoping to see participate again?I don't remember the name of the artist, but I loved the one that was all drawings on index cards of various true but impossible sounding science things!
What advice can you pass on for this year’s first timers?
Just do it!!!
How long have you been making art? How did you get started?
I think I was around 7 the first time I remember consciously making a choice to do more drawing. I had copied a drawing of Peter Rabbit out of a book, and everyone told me how great it was. I liked all the attention, so I figured I should do more of it ;)
What types of themes do you like to pursue in your work?
I like painting and drawing local scenes because it’s a great excuse to spend time outside and take lots of pics. I generally prefer buildings with a lot of angles, an interesting perspective, and a strong sense of light.
Where did you get the inspiration for your 2015 project?
I had already been working on a series of miniature oil paintings of local spots, but that would take too long, so I decided to go digital. I liked the idea of postcards because they are naturally small format, and I liked that it was both artwork and also something that could actually be used.
How do you combat creative blocks?
Whenever I can’t think of anything to draw/paint/make, I almost always resort to blind contour hand drawings. It’s easy, there’s always something new to observe, and it’s very meditative! Plus, filling up a sketchbook is always very satisfying.
You have done a fair amount of 3D work... who is your favorite sculptor?
That’s a tough one! So many favorites! One sculptor who influenced me a lot is Steve Pi – he’s an amazing teacher and artist! I also love the figurative sculptures by Kiki Smith and the fiber art by collaborative duo Guerra de la Paz.
List 5 things that have been inspiring to you lately…
1. Teaching – coming up with projects for my students forces me to create work outside of my normal activities. And I love seeing all of the creative solutions that my students come up with that I never would have even thought of!
2. Running and being outside
3. Seeing work by other great artists at events/galleries like Oddball Art Hall, Talleyville Frame Shoppe, and Hardcastle Galleries. I love the diversity of the Delaware art scene.
4. Weird bones and skulls! A bunch were donated to school, and they are super fun to draw!
5. The holidays – I like to make presents for my family, and it gives me the opportunity to make things that I wouldn’t normally consider! Right now I’m making some fun jewelry out of shark teeth.
Please describe the project you're doing for Delaware Fun-A-Day 2016:
I will be creating a “Portrait of Delaware” coloring book. It will include quotes and drawings of Delaware residents as well as more local scenes. The work will be presented as both loose-leaf pages and actual coloring books. I like the idea of finding out interesting or random tidbits about the lives of all the different people I interview.
Do you have any other projects or events that you are working on?
I’m always working on a couple of different paintings, and I also have an ongoing series of drawings on dictionary pages.
Where can people check out more of your work?
I have several paintings up at Hardcastle Galleries, and most of my work is online at www.maiapalmer.com.
Do you have anything additional for us?
I had such a great time last year – both in the making of the project and at the opening! It was one of the first shows I was in since moving back to Delaware, and it really helped motivate me to stop making excuses and just get to work! Thanks!