That’s another time that costume painters are called is when someone is supposed to look like they’re naked except for a loincloth or something like that. So we paint many, many flesh colored unitards that exactly match the guys that wear them.
DTH: When and how did you start making art?
MP: I wanted to be an artist since I was little. In fact, my mother told me that I told her many years ago, “Mom, I’m going to be an artist till I’m forty and then I’m going to be a writer,” but she didn’t tell me this until I was forty and I was having a book published.
But I always wanted to be an artist and then a writer and I went to school and got a B.F.A. in painting and also had a concentration in fabric painting and dying. I liked to work the long screen-printing tables. You could design a silk screen and then you could print yardage and then paint into it. I loved the scale of it and how big it was.
That’s what I think also drew me to painting for the theater, is that I would go over to the Center for Performing Arts and paint scenery because I could paint really big backdrops and I found the size of the canvas very moving.
DTH: Why did you decide to write your latest book “The Successful Artist’s Career Guide”? What is it about?
MP: I have been writing this book for a long time and I’ve been writing down pieces of advice and things that people told me that were useful. I guess I thought that I wanted to share these things with other artists as kind of a good karma thing to do because there are many things I wish I had been told.
I just wish someone had taken me aside and told me a couple of things so every time I would get an idea or remember something somebody told me I would write them down and then I started to see a book and my agent got interested in it and she drew up a proposal and it was picked up pretty quickly by North Light Books.
I think in this day and age people will get their art degree and then they will peck away at it for four or five years and then something about it will become unsustainable — they can’t deal with the freelance life or it’s too stressful or they can’t get health insurance so they get a “real job” so they can get health insurance.
In this new era, very few people get a job that they can keep for forty years and retire, so I think people are looking around in their world to see what else they can do for a living and if they want to start their art career. So I guess that’s what this book is for, just to be encouraging.
DTH: What is your talk about this Monday?
MP: I am going to tell anecdotes about other artists featured in the book and the stories about their circuitous past and the path to the successful artists they have become and tell my story from different career paths that I took before I arrived at the one — the more than one — that I’m on.
I am going to offer step-by-step ideas of how you can shape your artistic life and imagine where you want to be in five or ten years and try to begin to plan a trajectory.
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