We have been fans of this Ann Dinwiddie Madden for some time now. She is a giant spirit who is easy to admire! Her work is gritty and whimsical at the same time. You are going to love her, there is no doubt! You can start by reading this interview with her!
Quick background, please!
My name is Ann Dinwiddie Madden and I grew up in New Orleans, went to college in Tucson, studied abroad in France, lived in DC for 10 years, went grad school in Baltimore and now I'm raising my crazy, fantastic, smart, funny-as-hell girls in Bay St. Louis with my amazingly patient and loving husband.
Can you explain some of the method to your madness within your creative realm?
I work by instinct. Maybe it[s because I'm lazy or a terrible planner or just plain clueless, but that's what I do. Things seems to come together in the end somehow, so that's good, I guess.
You are a co-owner of Smith & Lens. What is that like? What impact does it have on your making?
Smith & Lens is a beautiful beast. It's a hell of a ride and I am so happy to be on it with the genius that is Sandy Maggio. I've learned a lot from her and the artists we show and the community who interacts with us. The gallery has afforded me many opportunities and introduced me to so many people I would not otherwise have been exposed. It's a ton of work but it's absolutely worth it. It impacts my making in subtle ways, I think. Sandy and I face constant challenges regarding event planning, curating, and the needs of clients and artists. It keeps us on our toes and it's a lesson in time management, for sure. I'm a slow learner.
The coast knows you for your maverick sense of photography and supporting of artists, but you’re also a mother. Does motherhood tie into the way you make art?
My kids used to be my main subjects but I've worn them out. Every now and then they will humor me, but posing for me has now become a form of currency. If they want something, they have to earn it and one of the ways to do that is to be my muse, like it or not. I like to think of it as a collaboration and they definitely like it better when they have some of the control. But at the end of the day I'm bossy and I'm not apologizing for it.
If you were going to make biscuit art, how would you do it?
I have no idea, but I'm going to go make someright now and get back to you on that.
Animals! We at the Greenhouse love animals, especially cats. Do you have cats? Do they have names?
We have recently become cat people! We started out by feeding this sweet, feral almost adult, kitten. Gigi named her Prim. Then surprise! Prim had 2 kittens that she introduced to us during Tropical Storm Cindy. Gigi named them Ruby and Popper. We are in love with all of them.
What is your favorite thing to snack on when you are making?
I like my cold drip iced coffee with almond milk sweetened with pitted dates. Gross? Maybe but I don't care. Whatever leftovers are available and my favorite green smoothie made with spinach, pineapple, peaches, banana and hemp protein.
Can you tell us about one of the pieces that you brought to the Greenhouse?
The water tower piece is the first image transfer I made with mixed media in this series. I shot it from the car, through the window with raindrops blurred. I wasn't driving. Most of these pieces were shot on a road trip. Anyway, I like my landscapes slightly out of focus and I had these circles of bright, tissue that I bought for a shoot and never used. I put some on there and loved it. When I think about this series I laugh because I feel like it's some crazy version of Maholy-Nagy doing set design for a 1980s Esprit shoot. It doesn't make any sense. Does it have to?
If you were not making art as your hustle, what would you be doing?
Everything I have ever wanted to do is art related. I have wanted to be a curator in a museum, an art therapist, a set director, a fabric designer but I've got years of experience bartending, waiting tables and working in other galleries. My first job was at Heavenly Ham in New Orleans in high school. I loved that job, but I hate ham.
A reception to celebrate Ann and her work will be held on September 23, 2017 from 6-9pm. Music by Valerie Sassyfras. More information here!