Miranda Herrick is a Tennessee based artist whose geometric art, created from a mix of materials that includes recycled trash, is mesmerizing. She describes her work as both systematic and intuitive and today she shares with us details about her process, her thoughts on being a working artist, and her latest work.
VBB | Tell us about your work & creative process.
MH | My most recent series of work consists of larger scale pieces made from recycled bits of aluminum cans nailed to MDF board. My process tends to be very meditational. Whether I am making a small drawing or starting a large aluminum piece, I usually begin by penciling off a grid and letting my pen decide what path it wants to take from point A to point B. That decided, I simply repeat that action X number of times and go with the flow. It is a meditation in action and I never know what a piece is going to look like until I am finished.
VBB | What led you to start creating your colorful, often geometric series?
MH | I can't remember a time when I didn't draw patterns and shapes. It is a very intuitive action for me. About 15 years ago I started creating mixed media pieces. These included quilts made from Starburst wrappers, rugs made from Wal-mart bags, ransom letter type copies of Bible verses whose letters where cut from magazines. I brought these ideas back to my patterns about ten years ago and started making my geometric images out of cereal box- type recycling and then aluminum cans. The cans work great because they bring an unexpected rich luster to the patterns.
VBB | What's the best part about being an artist in Nashville? Is there anything special about this city's art community?
MH | Nashville is a wonderful city and we are getting to experience it during an exciting time of growth and transition. There is definitely a lot of momentum in the art community right now. There is a great deal of energy and many exciting events occurring at new venues in the Wedgewood Houston area and at Oz Arts. Community minded artists like Megan Kelley of Haus Rotations and entrepreneurs like Chuck Beard of East Side Story are doing everything they can to make the Nashville arts community both larger and more intimate by spreading the word about happenings and giving folks opportunities. This, of course, barely scratches the surface.
VBB | I feel that often times people have a vision of the artist secluded in a studio apart for normal life, but in reality many modern artists have day jobs, families, volunteer work, etc. etc. How do you schedule time to work/when do you work on your art? Is it hard for you to balance being a working artist with the other demands of daily life?
MH | Yes, there may be artists out there who are cloistered in their studio, but I know that my friends and I all struggle with the balance of day jobs, family and finding time to be creative. I feel fortunate, to a degree, that the artwork I am currently creating is fairly systematic. I think that makes it easier for me to work on art for an hour or two in the evening after the day job and commute are over. Maybe I can get in 'the zone' a little more quickly. I don't wait for inspiration.
VBB | Your work can be seen in Bennett gallery in Green Hills (and other galleries?), what advice do you have for artists just starting out that might be seeking gallery representation?
MH | This could be part two of your last question, because this is another thing to add to day jobs, family, and other things that compete for an artist's time. Networking, applying to galleries, maintaining a web presence, and a good deal of self promoting are all things that an artist should probably be doing to try to get her work seen. And I've always felt that if you are making visual art, it may as well be seen!
VBB | What's next for you and your work?
MH | Right now, I plan to continue working on my aluminum can series, Reflective. (I have attached a picture of Reflective IV, @ 53" x 53" as well as a picture of my shelf of accumulated cans.) I may create a second Works and Days series in 2017, ten years after the first series. I am going to pursue representation out of state and continue the attempt to have my artwork seen.
VBB | One of your artworks, Works and Days is a gorgeous series of drawings that was turned into a book - one for every day in 2007. Tell us about that particular project. What did you learn from the experience of creating something for the same project every day for a year? Is that sort of discipline important for all artists?
MH | I had created a small series of drawings in 2006. They were 4" x 4" pattern drawings. They seemed too small for titles, so they were only labeled with the date I completed them. I was surprised by how people reacted to knowing the dates the works were made. I kept hearing folks say things like, "Oh you drew this on my birthday!" So I decided that in 2007, I would complete a drawing for everyone's birthday (Sorry, not a leap year.) I tied the works together as a series by gradating down the color wheel. All the pieces in January were red; February drawings were red-orange, etc. So the end product was an elaborated 365 piece color wheel.
The larger goal of the series was simply it's completion, the sheer numbers. But for me, for my art, the outcome was more than that. Pushing myself that far lead to lots of discoveries for me as an artist. The creation of one thing leads to the next. You have to make that first thing, before the next thing can be fully articulated. Eight years later, I still find fodder in the completion of those 365 works.
And yes, last year I was very lucky to have been helped by over one hundred people in the creation of a book of those drawings. I launched a successful crowd- funding campaign back in September of 2014. (WARNING: Here is some of that shameless self promotion I mentioned earlier!) That book is currently available in Clarksville at the Custom's House Museum and in Nashville at The Frist Center for Visual Arts and Bennett Galleries.
See more of Miranda's work at her website.
*All images used with artist's permission