Alright, this is going to be a long one, because this is an artist I not only feel strongly about but I hold close to my heart. She made me realize that I loved art too much to not make it my degree and has taught me so much. She was kind enough to let me interview her for a profile feature so I hope you all enjoy.
A little girl wandered into the dining room to find her mother sitting at the table. The child watched inquisitively as the woman cut herself from the family photos. Her mother wasn’t unattractive, just not particularly photogenic. The curious child continued to look as she closed her grip on the handles with a snip and turned her wrist to a cut a small circle in the picture. A coin of glossy paper, with her mother’s face printed on the surface fell to the table. This is the first of many moments that would influence Carrie Ann Baade’s artistic career.
“My greatest accomplishment so far is being terrible at everything but painting and teaching. It was my one great, god given talent.”Baade says. “Im very proud that I suck at everything else, so I had no choice but to follow my heart’s desire.”
Baade’s desires took her to three different art schools. Her Bachelors from the University of Chicago (where she was recruited at 16) and her masters from the University of Delaware. “I feel a little like I have gone to school for 18 years and had approximately 90 teachers. Only about five of these, from grade school through grad, changed my expectation of what I could accomplish. These were the hardcore tyrants who were as hard on themselves as they were on me. Their level of personal investment and caring was intimidating.” Carrie says “They had standards and they were very clear that I would achieve or else. These are my role models as an educator. Everyone else was a waste of time.”
Baade also studied a year abroad at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, where she learned from art conservationists and began practicing her method of painting on copper panels. “I was using it because it doesn’t warp with humidity. It is stable. Canvas is a drum and likely to crack.” Her tedious process takes over a month to complete and involves sanding, priming and working with lead based chemicals. “I have made many art materials and at one time married an art conservator who made my paint and mediums.” So no Baade brand art supplies in the future? “I think I would be more interested in other things.”
Many professors eventually write their own textbook but Carrie says no. “My goal is to study with as many living great artists as possible and record their processes and techniques. This is the book I would write. Kind of a contemporary Vasari.” Though she thinks a memoir of her life would be a much more exciting read “Oscar Wildes meets Anna Karenina meets Bridget Jones Diary.”
Baade hopes to include many artists in her Vasari. One she got to meet, Mark Ryden, wasn’t the pleasant first encounter she imagined. “[I] had an allergic reaction to the drink he bought me and my throat closed,” she recalls. H.R. Giger, Travis Louie (a friend), Ernst Fuchs and Chris Berens are other names she would like in her book. “I plan to live a long time,” she says, realizing “There should be more women on this list.”
So what does she feel about writers that insist on teaching one technique in their textbook “All the folks who write books on technique suck.”
Last year she exhibited a new collection of paintings “Tales of Passion and Woe” and accepted a 2010 Artist Fellowship for the state of Florida, Baade talks about accomplishments. “This year I realized that in my 35 years on earth, that I had achieved everything that I had wanted to do. So I got some more goals.” Which are? “going to Bali as the only leftover.” She has wanted to go for the past 16 years. She says when Alex Gray, a fellow surreal artist, “announced his trip, I was totally on that.”
She says Bali is awesome