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  • Lidy Henry

Interview with Robyn O'Neil


1. Describe your typical week- in the studio, at home, other activities?

My studio and home are in the same place, so my practice is extremely solitary. Besides trips to the grocery store and occasional visits with friends, my week in the studio includes very long hours and focused drawing time.

2. Describe your influences- what source, artists, do you look to for inspiration?

My influences range from comedians to poets to prehistoric artists. I truly don’t differentiate between the way artists from history affect my work and the way, say, someone like the character Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills, 90210 makes an impact. Honestly, I’m a sponge and everything I’m into (which is A LOT OF STUFF) makes its way into my work in various, obvious and secretive ways.

3. Where is your studio, and what does it look like? How do you find materials and resources to make work?

My studio is in my apartment in Los Angeles, CA. It’s actually the living room turned into a studio. I’ve never had what one would consider a “proper” studio. I prefer to work amongst my stuff, my cat, my bathroom, and my kitchen. I use a pencil and paper only, so there is really nothing else to say about that. I buy everything online.

4. How do you balance your art practices with other jobs, art or non- art related?

I don’t have another job; this is what I’ve done for the last 20 years. Sometimes, I travel to universities and museums to give lectures on my work.

5. What opportunities for professional development have been most helpful to you?

In the early days, I applied to several juried shows. These were very helpful to me because they introduced me to my local art community. Applying for grants has also been useful because it’s guaranteed exposure whether or not one gets the grant or not.

6.What were more helpful earlier on in your career (workshop, conferences, etc.)?

I’ve never done anything the typical way. I don’t remember ever attending anything like that.

7. Can your share process of getting your work out in the world (types exhibit planning process)?

I have gallerists whose job it is to make sure that people see my work. My job is to stay in the studio for as many hours as humanly possible, and make strong, interesting work.

8. If you could meet yourself fresh out of college what would you tell/ warn yourself about?

I would warn myself that this is not going to be an easy life path, but it is also life affirming. I would also tell myself to have more fun doing it.