Linda Oldham - Reconsidered May 25, 2016 16:50
Hi Linda thank you for taking a moment to discuss your work and upcoming show “RECONSIDERED” at Virgil Normal in Los Angeles.
Linda you have created incredibly labor intensive art, fields ranging from decor, surreal tea parties, fashion lines, and book publishing. You’ve worked with German porcelain figurines, hand made tile, vintage flour sacks and vintage magazines, you’ve cut and sewn and generally employed an array of collected items.
When did you get started? I’ve been making things my whole life, my sisters and I were always busy fabricating fantasy playgrounds. We inherited our creative spirits from our mother. We spent our days running around the farm, finding things around the pond, building forts and houses out of tree branches, posts and cardboard.
Growing up in Texas what were your early inspirations? Making do with found objects and using my imagination.
What were your early artistic endeavors? I started painting as a child as well as making stick dolls and the outfits to clothe them. But I don’t necessarily consider working within traditional artistic mediums any better than other mediums. To this day I create gardens, construct bathrooms, studios and more. This keeps me grounded and fulfilled. In general, I am happiest learning a new skill and figuring out a process.
Your process begins with collecting at flea markets, what comes first the idea or the object? Sometimes I see something old, and it triggers ideas. Not clear where, but the idea gets planted, develops and the object finds a purpose. For instance, we picked up some wooden animals in Alabama they sat around for a while before I painted them, built a table and tea set and then put them out to for a never ending tea party on our Abiquiu property.
Do you consider your work surreal or does the process of reconsideration lead to the surreal? Not so formal as surreal. I don’t like the baggage that comes along with a term so entrenched. I prefer the term reconsidered.
You moved from Dallas to Abiquiu, New Mexico home of Georgia O’keeffe, what drew you there? and what was the art scene like in the early two thousands? We (my husband Jack and I) lived there for 17 years. What drew me to Abiquiu was the astounding nature. Landscapes created by volcanoes and the beautiful mountains. One of my favorite locations is Plaza Blanca it is a very inspiring, very flat, a very spacey landscape. New Mexico offers so much nature,our property had a river that ran through and the colors in the sky and sedimentary landscapes are very reminiscent of O’keefe’s paintings. We Found the town of Abiquiu on a road trip and fell in love with the 30 acres property. Ultimately it was a bit too far out of town. An hour drive to Santa Fe is a long way to go for a movie. Now living in pine tree laden property with a mountain behind. 6 acre property, we’ve left most untamed and built a new studio connected to the house. In Abiquiu the studio was a fair distance from the house which proved daunting in the winter. Todd and I built a humongous beaded flower mural that is 12 feet long by 3 feet tall which stretches the entire width of the bathroom. We also restored an antique bathtub from Mexico made of a carved out mesquite tree with copper patches, we poured resin to make water tight.
The families factory you ran sounds like it had an organic path to growth into different industries, which has ranged from Todd Oldham’s
fashion house, home decor and book publishing. How was your factory able to accommodate all of the ventures? It was initally dedicated to producing the Todd Oldham fashion label, that delivered 6 collections per year. Eventually, with all of Todd’s endeavors it became the shipping hub for the special projects like dishes and furniture and then Ammo books I was involved in the business side of things, financial, production and shipping.
What new projects do you have planned for your Santa Fe home?
Right now I am making a new garden with lots of native plants and a small 15’x15’ patch of grass to avoid mowing and save water. I am also making wallpaper out of 1939 nature magazines. and constantly working on the reconsidered animalgams that will be on view shortly at your store.