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Thoughts on Collaboration at The Wolfe Studio

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

By Paul Fayard, artist and guest blogger

NOTE: This Thursday, see work from artists at The Wolfe Studio, past and present, in our Museum After Hours Pop Up from 5:30 - 8 PM.

I enjoy the process of creating a product that is well crafted and beautiful both as a Wolfe Studio artist as well as with my own paintings and drawings. I think to be a successful working artist in the first place you have to enjoy the actual work no matter what medium or form it may take at the moment. Getting lost in the present while working with one’s hands and eyes is a very meditative, therapeutic and transformative experience for me.

Creating forms which will be fired, painted and fired again, transforming them into unique alchemic incarnations by a modern day guild is actually a restorative break from my morning work at the easel. I have only to craft my part, not execute all the steps of the process.

Mildred and Karl Wolfe really appreciated this apparent duality because that’s how they themselves thrived as artists. They embraced the transformative power of art and valued the joy and satisfaction one gets from using one’s creative sensibilities. They balanced their time between doing work that they loved and hoped would pay the bills with doing work that they loved and really hoped would pay the bills. Bebe Wolfe and David Weidemann set up The Wolfe Studio so that artists in their employ could do the same. They have enabled so many artists to make a living while making art no matter what the form, from Mildred and Karl’s first artist employee, Ron Lindsey, Wendy Eddleman and Linda Bartling to Bebe and David’s most recently hired artist employees, Michelle Husbands, Kira Cummings and myself.

Mildred and Karl believed that “the purpose of art was to expand one’s soul” as Karl once told his students at Millsaps. They knew that art is a way of looking at the world and a life enriching pursuit. Working as a team has helped me evaluate and maximize my own efforts at the easel as well as enjoy the satisfaction of being a guild member who seeks excellence for the greater good of the guild.

Of course, maintaining any sort of balance between two pursuits, no matter how similar, is always a challenge. But for me, being a Wolfe Studio artist and painting on my own is one that seems well suited for my temperament. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a rich and creative legacy especially because Mildred and Karl and Bebe and David all provide such great examples for other artists to follow. I am delighted for this opportunity to show our work together at The Wolfe Studio and here at MMA.

Paul Fayard, Birder (detail).