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12 Questions: Ariana Huggett

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

I'm not religious now and I haven't been for a long time, but I'd say the Bible is up there. When I was young, I loved existentialism and read authors like Camus and Sartre. When I was in art school I enjoyed reading critical theory. My favorite book lately is called the The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben. I'm becoming more interested in preserving and understanding the natural world and less preoccupied with human culture.

2. What are you currently working on?

Right now I'm the artist-in-residence at the Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums for their 2018/19 exhibition season. I'm making paintings on location around these historic Milwaukee houses that will culminate in an exhibition that opens in October.

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

I guess it depends on how you measure success. I feel that over my life I've been making tiny gains. Everyday is a new day and I get up and try again. I can't think of a favorite failure, since they're painful, but I hope that I learn from my mistakes and many set backs!

4. What is your most unusual habit?

In my art practice, I can spend a long time mixing a color palette.

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why?

Alice Neel. She's great!

6. What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office? What is your studio like? Could you share an image?

A pencil. Since I'm a portable artist, my studio is my easel and supplies, my bicycle and bicycle trailer. Sometimes I drive a car to get places. I do have a studio in my house that I like too.

7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

I think the best thing is to do something. Drawing is a good place to begin that leads to new thoughts and inspiration and gets me outside of myself.

8. Who/What influences your work?

The world around me: light, color, atmosphere, form, geometry.  I like early 20th century artists like Edward Hopper and Stuart Davis. I'm inspired by Italian art and architecture. Music is also a huge influence on me and my work. I can't imagine my life without it.

9. Do you collect anything?

I accumulate things (like art supplies), but I don't really collect anything intentionally.

10.  What words of advice would you give to your younger self?

Focus and show up.

11.  In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice? 

Well it's been more than 5 years, but painting outside of the studio. It's so rewarding for me to immerse myself in an environment that is apart from me. 

12.  Share an inspiring image.

One of my favorite buildings by baroque architect, Borromini:


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