1. When did you first start creating? I was always making stuff as a kid. When I was 4 or 5, I would paint rocks I found on the ground with glitter paint and try to sell them to people I met like the mailman or my doctor. I am no longer cute enough to sell people painted rocks. One of my absolute favorite things to do growing up was build forts. I would search all around my neighborhood for scraps of wood, tree branches, old fencing and just spend all day building these weird little huts. Looking back I can see that I was heavily influenced by Ewok (the furry creatures from Return of the Jedi) construction and Swiss Family Robinson tree houses.
Second Nature. Image courtesy of the artist
2. What is your process? In public art my process is usually tied to the site I'm designing for. I try to think about the history, culture and uses surrounding a particular place. That informs the general direction of the project. The rest is more organic, it's a trial and error kind of thing. Things that I'm looking at or interested in will start to seep in and influence the direction. For the installation I'm working on now, Prisims, I got really caught up in the color and shapes of Matisse, specifically his cut-outs. Toward the end of his life, when he could no longer paint, he started to cut shapes out of colored paper and made these incredibly vibrant wall murals. They just pulsate with joy and life. If I can just capture a tiny bit of that feeling, I'm good.
Too Much is Never Enough. Image courtesy of the artist
3. When did you first come to the Gateway Arts District? When I moved to DC in 2013 I was working for a sculptor in Brentwood. That's how I got to know the area and get acquainted with everything that was happening. The energy around the arts here is fantastic. Everyone is so generous and excited about what they're doing. I feel really grateful to be working in a community where the arts are so supported.
Prism Study, rendering. New public art piece which will be in progress at the 2015 OST. Stop #16 on the map. Image courtesy of the artist
4. What stop are you on the 2015 Open Studio Tour? Ha, I'm not sure! I'll be working next to the Gateway Arts Center building at the site of my installation off of Rhode Island Ave.
5. Where else can people see your work? Right now my website is the best place: beckyborlan.com. My installation project, Prisms, officially opens in Brentwood on June 3rd. We're planning on doing a block party type of thing from 6-8pm with food, music and a short dedication. In the Fall, I have an installation inside the Takoma Park Community Center.
"Make time for art. There are a thousand other things happening in your life, but art is important to you, so make time for it."
May 12, 2016
"If I call myself an artist, I have to prove it and create dialogues that invite investigation."
April 27, 2016
"I think of the word 'art' similarly to the word 'natural', often used yet the definition will go on indefinitely."