A painter’s little secret: interview

Posted on April 18, 2010

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It’s been quiet on the interview front at Shortcut, but here’s a special treat: I’ve talked childhood friend Linda Heydegger into letting me interview her about her work as a painter and showcase some of her pieces in digital form on the site. Linda’s been painting and drawing since i first met her at age 11 and she’s done so with increasing success. Her last exhibition, a series of still lives, was a delightful amalgam of mundane objects set off by dazzling colours: these are household items glimpsed perhaps casually on kitchen tables across Europe, but rendered with fastidious detail and arranged sensually like objets d’art before the viewer. Each piece barely bigger than a large-sized envelope, the still lives evoke a series of postcards conveying multiple domestic worlds, each with its inherent cultural flavor. And yet these multiple, disparate words, nudged into careful composition and bathed in glistening colours, converge into fundamentally the same vision: an image of home.

Linda was born in Basel but raised between Arizona, Germany, Switzerland and now lives in France.

Read the interview or enter the gallery

Shortcut: You’ve been painting for years and have had several exhibitions. At what point did painting become more than a hobby for you?

Linda: The first time i experienced satisfaction in my own work was as a twelve year old, when I won a wonderful white ballet tutu in a drawing competition. Since then I have developed a certain ambition… By the way, even today i tend to approach art as a hobby rather than a profession. This lends my work a degree of lightness and an ostensibly independent streak. More than anything it’s my work as an art teacher that pays the bills.

Shortcut: Any role models that inspired you, painters and others?

Linda: Role models were something that influenced me at an earlier stage.  For example the pop art works of Andy Warhol or the charged, solitary landscapes of Edward Hopper. I also enjoyed Georgia O’Keeffe’s rich paintings. And Cindy Sherman’s ability to stage her own stories via the medium of photography appealed to me. I can find inspiration in many places. Old photographs, the gesture of a woman brushing her hair at a train station, a children’s game, a shapely cup aso. I find inspiration in many mundane objects or things. I absorb them and digest them, at times brooding about something for a long time. Then later they resurface in my work in some way or other.

Shortcut: What do you want to express in your works? Do you have a clear idea when you start or is it an intuitive process?

Linda: A certain idea of your work exists at the beginning. Usually in the form of an intuition or foreboding, similar to a dream that you try to reconstitute after waking up in the morning. Sometimes the dream is lost, but occasionally all the details emerge clearly. I process memories and stories.  Like in my work “Little Secrets”, a series of small letters cast in plaster. The little secrets, which here can no longer be read or deciphered, exist purely in the imagination of the observer. In my still life paintings, I briefly appropriate for myself the objects I paint and I get to enjoy the richness of all these small gems. They are interchangeable and also superfluous – they stand for the fleeting nature of possessions.

Shortcut: You live in France with your partner, after living in Switzerland for a long time. What made you decide to move?

Linda: What makes my heart skip a beat with joy – this old apartment in a villa dating back to 1897. The villa and its large garden were what triggered the move. We live very well here on the border between Germany, France and Switzerland. we can take advantage of the best of each region.

Shortcut: Switzerland has become well known for its Art Basel fair and now the Art Basel Miami. What’s your take on art fairs? Do you think they’re useful, inspiring events or an excuse to party and make money?

Linda: To me Art Basel gives me a yearly glimpse into the general trends and the prevailing mood in contemporary art. You can get all riled up and at the same time get carried away about something. This paradox is the real kick for me.

Shortcut: On a different topic: what’s your favorite spot in Europe?

Linda: I can’t give a definitive answer to that. It depends on the season and what your current lifestyle is – i’ve definitely enjoyed the cliffs of Corsica’s West Coast, the arid landscape of the Alentejo in Portugal and the hills of Piemont in the Spring. The best place is probably Sicily  – i’ve always wanted to go there!

Enter Gallery

See more paintings at galerie maeder

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