By Bruce Edwin
Artist Biography and Statement
“My practice as a professional artist, educator and public art professional brings together many related disciplines providing a framework for collaborations with artists, cultural institutions, communities and city programs, and the public and private development in the realization of public art projects, programs and site specific commissioned public artworks. I currently lecture, instruct, and conduct workshops and presentations addressing the public realm with the goal of generating new arts policies and guidelines through inclusive community dialogues.
As an artist, my painting and studio work comes from a Midwestern influence during the late 60’s and early 70’s. Most of us working during this decade saw the shift in object to process, the impact upon my studio art manifests in current installations created with my long time art collaborator and husband, John Levy. These monumental installations touch every aspect of my art and performance music background in addition to combining my tendency towards collaborative projects.”
-Caryl M. Christian Levy
Listen to the part one and part two of the exclusive interview with Caryl M. Christian Levy below, with a further interview with her below textually.
An Exclusive Interview with Caryl M. Christian Levy by Bruce Edwin
Hollywood Sentinel: How did you get started in creating art?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: My mother, Marie Christian, was a studio fine artist. She created visual work in her home studio since I was a child. So, I have always understood "how" to be an artist from that lived experience and have made visual art all my life.
Hollywood Sentinel: What training in art did you have?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Formally, I have my Bachelors in Fine Art after studying at the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska. I have my terminal Masters Degree in Public Art Studies from the University of Southern California.
Hollywood Sentinel: What made you want to pursue a career in art?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: I began my art career as an educator in Nebraska, studies art and architecture on a Fulbright Scholarship, then began perusing a career in antiquities conservation with an internship at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu.
Hollywood Sentinel: Have you ever been a starving or struggling artist? If so, what was it like and how did you overcome it?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: When I moved to Los Angeles in the mid-seventies, I had no money or connections so I worked in the floral industry as a designer to support myself. My internship at the Getty was not paid at that time, so making studio art was out of reach. After several "part-time" jobs to support myself, I landed a commercial art position as a catalog graphic designer and worked my way up the corporate ladder in the private sector. I was able to build a skill set and overcome my starving artist financial needs while developing a visual arts career that disciplined me to draw - everyday.
Hollywood Sentinel: That's great. I know that you are also educated in music, and work in this arena as well. What is your musical background and why is music important to you?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: I was lucky to be a part of a very musical family environment. The musical languages were easy for me and I excelled in keyboards and stringed instruments. I actually began my arts interests as a musician, which has now manifested itself in my public artworks that combine bas relief-sound-composed musical scores and lighting performance.
Hollywood Sentinel:Very cool. Why is it that art so important to you?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Art is my contribution to the contemporary act of living. It is my method for sharing experience and joy.
Hollywood Sentinel:I love that. Who are some of your favorite living and non living artists and why?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Favorite is a misleading word for me as I have a very broad litmus of appreciation. I think I have favorites in many genres, but some artists that have been very influential. The impressionists first opened my palette to understanding color and my mother along with many Western representationalists I revere for the technical drawing and line they can express.
Hollywood Sentinel: Nice. Are you able to like artwork by a artist you don't like personally due to their politics or similar? Why or why not?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Again, like is like favorite. If I have difficulty engaging a work due to the content, then I can admire the skill or technique but may not engage the work because of the content.
Hollywood Sentinel: That makes sense. What is superior, classical realism such as by the masters, or modern contemporary abstract? Why?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: They are both the same for me - they just use different languages to express formal aesthetics.
Hollywood Sentinel: I love that too. How can a modern artist be revolutionary with their work? Should they be?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: "Nothing is new." Yet, everything is new the first time it is viewed.
Hollywood Sentinel: I love that statement! In your book "Monotypes, The Vestment Series," Ruth Weisberg mentions your "Vestment Series" being in the similar vein of female artists Miriam Schaprio and Joyce Kozloff. I can see why she mentioned Schapiro. Were they both influences, and if so how and why?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Yes, they are both influences in theory more than medium. Celebrating my foremothers in my work and the value of a woman's work in my choices of mediums has been fostered by examining feminist artists like Shapiro and Kozloff.
Hollywood Sentinel:Interesting. Schapiro and Kozloff are referred to as feminist artists. Do you define yourself as such, and why or why not?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: As a woman artist, I identify my personal experiences in my work. That would identify me as a feminist.
Hollywood Sentinel:Wow, that's great. Your "Vestment Series" of art work references the Holy Communion. What role does spirituality and religion have in your life and your work and how and why?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Throughout my formative years the church played an influential role in my musical training as a vocalist, organist and pianist. The church liturgy structures much of my moral compass and influences me still today. The vestments series references not only the robes that veil our participation in ceremony but also how our clothes, or vestments, of everyday become our shared identity in public and private - how we express ourselves in contemporary dialogue - our image if it were.
Hollywood Sentinel: Excellent. What is your ultimate goal in life as a person, and as an artist?
Caryl M. Christian Levy: In life and art, my goal is the same. To share my gifts with others.
Hollywood Sentinel:Well, you are definitely doing that in extraordinary ways on a daily basis. Thank you for all you do and thank you for the interview with us today Caryl.
Caryl M. Christian Levy: Thank you!
View the the second part of the exclusive live interview with Caryl M. Christian Levy here below:
For more information on the artist, visit here official website at www.CMCfinearts.us
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