Aaron Lang: Lauren, congratulations on receiving the Joan Mitchell Grant. Can you tell us a little about the grant itself, the work you're doing, and how this grant will help you further your artistic vision?
Lauren Gallaspy: The Joan Mitchell Grant is a $25,000 award given to 25 American artists each year. Artists are first nominated through an anonymous process, and then selected by a jury of three artists of prominence working in the field today. It feels, of course, gratifying and empowering to be recognized in this way, in particular, as an artist working primarily in a medium that is often overlooked by the broader art world. Most importantly, though, receiving this award exists as a kind of allowance — a prompt that, I think, many artists find themselves consciously or unconsciously looking for in order to get back into the studio and back to work. I'm happy, as a result, to be demonstrating that impulse to students. Right now I'm working on a series of vessels and paintings for a solo show in Asheville, North Carolina at the end of the summer.
And now for a quick glimpse into the mind of one of our favorite ceramicists, we gave Lauren the opportunity to answer ten of Marcel Proust's famous questions. Her responses:
What is your greatest extravagance?
movies and books and blueberries--equally.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
efficiency. and honesty when used incorrectly.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
an affection for small, fragile things like chipmunks, or stick bugs, or soft-spoken children.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
a sense of humor
Which talent would you most like to have?
the ability to sing easily and on pitch. also, the ability to dance, but if I had to pick just one, I'd rather stand still and sing perfectly than move around and keep my mouth shut.
What is your most treasured possession?
I love objects too much to pick just one--at the top of the list right now is a small, meteorite chunk that I got for my birthday, a wooden pinata mold from Mexico, and my handmade wedding ring. But I also really love my ipod.
What do you most value in your friends?
humor and loyalty and the ability to lie when necessary
Who are your heroes in real life?
David Rakoff, Kiki Smith, Oliver Sacks, Maria Bamford, Kay Ryan--a real Murderers' Row of smart and sensitive.
How would you like to die?
Surrounded by dogs…but not, like, attacked by them, just sort of piled up around me. And with lots of dog food around so they wouldn't get any ideas later on.
What is your motto?