Maggie Dunlap: Painting Girls & Ghost Stories
Name Maggie Dunlap
Birthday November 22nd
Where are you originally from? Born in Washington DC, raised in Miami, FL
Where do you currently live?
Preferred art medium and why? Installation, because it feels great to create a space you want to be in.
Guilty pleasures? I guess my obsessions with true crime and all things paranormal and supernatural would be classified as guilty pleasures in the eyes of others, but I feel no guilt whatsoever.
“There is no right way to become an artist, and no one path works for everyone”
Who are some of your favorite artists? William Kentridge, Cy Twombly, Henry Darger, Bonnie Lucas, Kelsey Bennett, Rémy Bennett, Corinne Botz, James Concannon, William Dunlap and Linda Burgess, Maude Schuyler Clay, WIISSA
Favorite movie? I have many, but I think Silence of the Lambs takes the #1 spot because it is just a perfect film.
Favorite book? I’m currently reading House of Psychotic Women by Keir-La Janisse, which is so amazing and inspiring, and pertinent to my current work. Some of my favorite writers whose books I adore are Angela Carter, Flannery O’connor, William Faulkner, William Styron, and Toni Morrison.
Favorite musician? Right now I’m almost exclusively listening to The Garden.
What is something you deeply love about yourself? The thing I most deeply love about myself is one of the things I used to hate: my emotional sensitivity.
What is your definition of art? Just a way of seeing
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up, and how did these influence your art? I was raised by two artist parents between Miami, FL and Washington, DC and I was homeschooled for the last three years of high school. I’ve always been surrounded by art, and doing anything else never crossed my mind.
Have you had any struggle with mental illness (and/or addiction) and if so, would you like to share your experience with us? I’ve never really publicly talked about my mental illness, but I find it very affirming and helpful to read about others experiences, so it would be hypocritical to not share my own. Mental illnesses like depression and eating disorders can feel so isolating for those who suffer from them, and simply hearing that someone else has been or is in your shoes can be comforting. I have had mental illnesses my entire life and they have at times been debilitating. There is a stereotype of a the tortured artist, that one must be troubled to be creative. That might be true for some, but I have never been more prolific than when I’m actively seeking help for my illnesses through therapy and medication. While obsessive diseases like OCD and ED have given me a unique perspective that undoubtedly comes through in my work, it isn’t easy to make anything if you cant get out of bed. I wish I could discuss these issues in the past tense, but at the moment that is not the case. I’m very much still living with the reality of these illnesses but I am also in treatment for them, which is something I cannot recommend enough.
Artists paths are normally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like? I think I am just at the very beginning of my path, and so far it has definitely been non linear. I’ve attended an art highschool, dropped out to be homeschooled, attended an art boarding school, attended university, took a year off to focus on my mental health, interned at a blue chip NYC gallery, had my first solo show, and assisted other artists. There is no right way to become an artist, and no one path works for everyone.
What would you say are your artwork’s main themes? Girls and ghost stories
How would you describe your style? A 1976 horror movie set in a gothic haunted southern mansion starring a female protagonist clad in a white victorian nightgown. She sheds the nightgown and becomes one with the monster.
What is your opinion of the art world as it is right now? is there anything you'd like to change? Stop making racists and misogynists famous!!!
“There is a stereotype of a the tortured artist, that one must be troubled to be creative. That might be true for some, but I have never been more prolific than when I’m actively seeking help for my illnesses through therapy and medication. It isn’t easy to make anything if you cant get out of bed”
How do you think the internet aids/complements the art world? And how do you think it deteriorates it? This is such a heavy question! I don’t think I’m much of an authority on this. All I can say is that it aides the art world by creating material for amazing artists like Signe Pierce and Amalia Ulman but on the other hand, unfortunately does the same for artists like Richard Prince…
What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have to keep the creative juices flowing? Reading inspires my work more than anything else. Whether it's fiction– like the work of Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson, or VC Andrews– or theory I’m introduced to in school, I am constantly reading and that always motivates me to make art.
What project are you currently working on? I’m currently working on a film project in collaboration with aforementioned Kelsey and Rémy Bennett which I can’t talk about too much, but I am very excited and think it is going to be very good and spooky :)
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“Stop making racists and misogynists famous”