Take a look at a tree with its full body and ascending branches. Feel the grooves in the bark and study the texture. Now fly above the land and look out to see a sprawling forest and the complexities of its surrounding terrain. You will start to see a communion between the Earth and all its formations. I am inspired by this relationship as well as the colors, textures and patterns of the natural world. Through abstraction (form, line, and color) I like to transform these elements into emotional landscapes. I am interested in the perception of space and the interchange between positive and negative. Through observation I like to understand a landscape and the complexity of its transformation through natural or man-made processes. Most recently I use aerial photography that I layer and manipulate in Photoshop to create designs that I then paint. My work utilizes technology, but is balanced with the handmade.
Blenker has been developing and evolving a personal aesthetic in her artistic endeavors since childhood. Growing up outdoors in Northern California, she began engaging in color and texture through pastels, drawings, and paintings. She later honed her skills under Kathy Reed at the Lafayette Parish High School Arts Academy in Louisiana, where she learned a solid foundation in design principles and techniques. This heavily influenced her decision to attend Pratt Institute in New York City. After leaving the Institute, she moved back to Louisiana to begin her artistic pursuits. She now lives in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. She spends most of her time painting at her studio and moving through the city, embracing the culture.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Visceral, Breathing, Layered
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
There is a presence to New Orleans, a contagious, live-like-there-is-no tomorrow mindset. Joyous revelry coupled with a deep and dark history finds it's memories woven into the tangled oak branches, crumbling brick buildings, creaky shotgun houses, and the ever present water that winds through and beyond the city. I believe the landscape of the city reflects it’s story, there is a lurking duality creating an ever-present tone of conflict. I am inspired by this tone and particularly the delicate reliance and impending nature of water to the city. I often walk or bike through the city's neighborhoods, looking out to the Mississippi or up at the oak canopy, and ponder what will wash over this city with the next generational wave.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
A painting can start with an idea, a drawing, a photo, or a place and the process is always changing.
I work symbiotically with technology. In my most recent series, my process starts digitally, I explore aerial imagery of the earth and create compositions in Photoshop by layering, dissecting, and manipulating found images until a harmonious composition and color palette emerges. I then render these as paintings, breathing life into the digital compositions by welcoming the improvisation of texture and color.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I have always been fascinated by the synchronicity of the earth and its formations. Whether I am looking at grooves in a piece of bark or aerial footage of a river delta, my work is inspired by the textures, spacial form, and patterns that make up the natural world.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
The Impressionists, Abstract Expressionists, Julie Mehretu, Wassily Kandinsky, Lee Krasner, MOMO, Frank Stella, etc.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Music has always played an important role in my art. I often feel synesthetic effects while listening to or watching my favorite bands/artists. Certain albums evoke color palettes, and I often internally arrange sounds into layers like my paintings, all weaving together to create a composition. A few bands that have been influential to me in my creative process include:
The Books, Animal Collective, Sigur Ros, Four Tet, Caribou, St. Vincent, Dirty Projectors,
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Riding my bike around the city, reading, or at my job on the Upper West Side
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
My favorite time of the year is fall, when the cool breezes come after a long, hot summer. Each season has something to offer though, spring - energetic and eventful, summer - long lazy heated nights, cool fall with glow-y orange sunsets and winter - gumbo weather.
I cherish my mornings, I like to hear the city wake up, and this is also my favorite time in the studio, entering it with a fresh mind is inspiring and meditative.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
All I do is listen to podcasts and drink Yerba Mate energy drinks, so if I’m laughing hysterically with headphones on thats what’s happening.