To place my appreciation of burlesque into perspective… an example of my own work with the nude, “Double Kai with Jessie,” ink on paper, 2017.
The view from Martha Wilson’s studio, with in-situ artworks left by previous artists-in-residence.
More great style and design inspiration from the cute staff of Artpace
“Safety First!,” followed shortly by color-coordination … #Priorities
Artpace artist-in-residence Martha Wilson in studio
Manicure of Artpace receptionist, courtesy of her 10-year-old daughter. The diagonals caught my eye!
Burlesque Beauty: Larger-than-life Mistress of Ceremonies, Foxy Blue Orchid, San Antonio native who is now based in San Francisco.
End of the night line-up of performers at the San Antonio Burlesque Festival. FIVE STARS!!!
My handy-dandy studio assistant, an indispensable orange rolling cart, which helps me get lumber from the Artpace wood shop across Flores Street to the Artpace galleries.
Ink drawing from my time in British Columbia this summer, “Ben with Kankan Hiding Behind Her Fingers”
Editor’s Note: This is the second story in a series from filmmaker Heyd Fontenot on what it’s like to be an artist in residence. Read part one here.
When I return home from participating in artist’s residency programs (I’ve been on several over the last 15 years or so), curious friends will often ask, “How did working in a different environment affect your art??” They’re referring to a change in habitat, I think, usually when the residency happened to exist in the mountains or on the ocean or in a foreign country, all of which stoke a picturesque fantasy.
My method for working is fairly established — so I go to these residencies prepared. I’ve got my photo references, art materials, and a pretty good idea of what I’ll be hammering away at. But that is not to say that I haven’t changed directions or been influenced by new surroundings. There’s great potential for new developments especially when working alongside new artistic peers.
I happen to have the good fortune of being curated into San Antonio’s Artpace during the same period as New York-based Martha Wilson. She and I happen to share many interests, but we really bond over anything vaguely taboo.
This last weekend she and I had a delightful time at San Antonio’s very own Burlesque Festival. (We were asked not to take photos during performances, so I can only hint at the visual magic with one image from the end of the night … sorry.)
Martha and I both regularly engage nudity in our artwork, so burlesque was a perfect date for the two of us.
Not that artful moments aren’t possible at your garden-variety strip club, but burlesque is such a different animal. Among my favorites were those that evoked the golden age of burlesque, using vintage music and costumes.
It was a sensorial feast — but the spirit of the performers was the most potent element in all of this: dancers of all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors could hardly contain their joy.
Honestly, at times it felt like a spiritual revival. I’m so grateful to have witnessed it. So back to our studios we went, with visions of burlesque and the ringing echoes of that joy.