Posted on Leave a comment

MEET FRANKIE SLAUGHTER

Frankie Slaughter

FRANKIE SLAUGHTER

Where is "home"?
Q
Funny you should ask, we have changed ‘homes’ two times in the last 5 months because we are waiting for the completion of some renovations on our house.
The literal answer is right now, home is a tiny airbnb. I recently realized we have moved into 12 ‘homes’ in our 30 plus years together. Many of those moves were in and out of apartments during the total 12 years in Hong Kong - in two different time periods.
Q
But metaphorically, home to me is where we carry and live out our passions, where we laugh, cry and hug, where we have our community, systems of support nearby, our best friends, those who keep us in check, call us out. It’s where we live authentically, where there’s give and take…it’s where we explore and stay curious, it’s where we can go out and meet and greet or retreat inside and feel just as happy - comfortable and content to just be.
Q
How has your family impacted your work?
Q
This question is easy.  My mother was a modern dancer ( she studied and danced the Martha Graham technique) art teacher, and actress and lived in leotards and tights - and at any given time might be carrying a film projector, a bag of fabrics and trimmings ( in case she might happen upon a fabric store) art materials, dance costumes and tap shoes. Once, a couple getting married asked my mother to choreograph a dance to dance down the aisle of their wedding. Mom didn’t disappoint- she performed her modern dance barefoot wearing a wild, modern, flowing ensemble. Let’s just say, as a teenage, I wanted to act like I was not related to her!  She was also active at the local fine arts center in our hometown and so I grew up ‘living’ there- attending every class offered….puppet making, painting, set design, pottery, tap, jazz and ballet classes.
Q
And then there’s Dad - who has collected magic since he was 6 years old and performed magic shows at my birthday parties every year for my first 13 years. The man is hilarious and full of fun and heart! One trick he performs (all performance, mind you) is once he has a volunteer, he proceeds to cut a hole in her head, pour a pitcher of milk into her head and then another volunteer pumps the elbow of the first volunteer so that milk pours out of her arm. When I was 8 years old,  one friend at my party called her mom to ask her to take her home because the trick scared her so. Then, this same father went on to become a print maker and an exceptional drawer and we have just published his book of drawings. So, do I need to say more? I have two siblings and we are all artists… not sure you can come out of that household and not chose art to keep you sane.
Q
Tell us about your experience living in Hong Kong and how it influenced your life and your art.
Q
Well, when you are 32 years old and you have a 3 and 5 year old and your husband asks how you would feel about moving 7,000 miles away for a job and you jump, you have to be ready for a wild ride! I loved the spontaneity of the decision. Every day and every experience there was enlightening, life changing. My daughters attended an international school and our friend group came from all corners of the globe. I rented a tiny studio in our small seaside village about 15 minutes from downtown Hong Kong and would work there while my girls were at school. I became involved with a local pottery workshop and traveled with that group to some very rural villages in China-visiting dragon kilns which were the traditional form of kilns used for Chinese ceramics.
Q
I am fascinated with language and communication and how we interact with foreign cultures, how we are different and yet the same. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than learning enough Cantonese to have conversations with locals with whom I might never have had the chance otherwise. How did these experiences influence my life and art? Living abroad brings exposure to other ways of life, it offers a perspective shift. My eyes and ears opened, changed, grew…so did my humility. I wish more folks in this country had this opportunity, I think it might help us attempt to understand each other better.
Q
At this moment, what are you grateful for?
Q
I am grateful for my two beautiful daughters, their health and their happiness. As Michelle Obama once said, ‘my children are my hearts walking down the street.'
Nothing is more important than family (and I might add, my dear husband and my doggie, Millie).
@
What’s the best thing about creating art?
Q
No rules….the freedom to play, experiment, make mistakes, expect surprises, juxtapose materials and colors.
Q
What activities, aside from art, set your soul on fire?
Q
Dancing and mountain biking. (Not at the same time).
Q
What’s a day in your studio look like?
Q
Every day is different. I will start by saying I am not a neat artist by any means, I constantly experiment and make major messes. Tidy artists will cringe but I sometimes paint with my fingers, my hands, anything… whatever it takes to get the energy into the work and the paint on my surface.
Q
I usually work on several things at once. If I am heating up my encaustic, the process is more involved and I need to dedicate more focus and concentration, not to mention the fact I am using heat with my torch/flame. If I am printmaking, I have to clear so much space in preparation for all of the tools and mess. Because I am a collage artist, I have huge bins of pieces of paintings and drawings and such and usually pour the papers out on the floor to see every corner of each piece-before I select the one I want to incorporate into my work. As a mixed media artist, the only consistent thing about my time in the studio is I am always juxtaposing materials (sometimes, incompatible ones ) experimenting, always taking chances, always making mistakes and I am usually surprised -sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. I literally need to get out of the way and intuitively let the painting tell me what is the next step. Every process is a learning one!
Q
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Q
Sugar, in any form. Buttercream icing is the best, there’s no need to even think about eating the cake. I really need to consider omitting it!!
Q
What’s the strangest thing you have eaten?
Q
Sting ray and Conpoy with sea moss with sea cucumber. (Not at the same time).
Q
Have you ever met anyone famous?
Q
Yes, Liv Ullman. (Most younger folks will have to google her). She actually bought one of my jackets and the funny story is that she came by our booth in Key Largo to look and loved one of them. When she came back a second time and we mentioned that each jacket had a name in the placket and she asked what was the name of the one she was trying on. I crossed my fingers before looking in hopes the name would be fitting for her. I looked and read the name of the jacket aloud,  'A CLASSIC BEAUTY' and she said, ‘I’ll take it.'
Q
Does it count that I saw James Brown in the Atlanta airport? My brother-in-law and I approached him (in his cobalt blue suit!) and told him he was the ‘Godfather of soul’, his bodyguard started to walk toward us and Mr. Brown held up his hand as if to say  ‘it’s okay.'
Q
What’s the best gift you’ve received lately?
Q
My sweet daughters create a book for me (twice a year) of photographs of all of us together. Since my birthday is in the summer, they make one for the summer months and then one as a Christmas gift. So they cover most of the year. The best gift is being together with them and then having photographs of our memories together.
Q
Thank you Frankie, it's a pure delight to get to know you and show your amazing work. 
Q
Can't wait to see everyone Thursday, Oct 7th!