Interview with Helen DeRamus

Interview with Helen DeRamus

with Corlia Koch, web specialist, the Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia

 

  1. Who are you, what do you do, and what is your background?

Atlanta is my hometown. I graduated from Emory at Oxford in the extended program and then from Emory University in history and art history. My art history concentration in Asian art set the tone for my career in art. I taught in Savannah, Georgia after graduating, then moved to Englewood, New Jersey, where I taught high school and began studio courses. Returning to Atlanta in 1979, my interest in photography (my dad’s influence) took me to the SE Center for the Photographic Arts studying with Buck Miller, Larry White and Neil Chaput de Saintonge. In 1981, I started a commercial photography business that I ran for the next ten years. When I began critique sessions with Joseph Perrin, he encouraged me to combine paint and photographs, so here I am. I continue to combine photography and paint and use my photographs for inspiration.

  1. What’s integral to your art and or art career?

Experimentation is integral to my art and I think of my style as eclectic.

  1. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?

I am on a journey through the landscape and the idea of “moving focus” in Chinese art inform my work. For me to be successful means combining three important elements: hand, eye and heart. The odd shapes in nature always call to me, knowing that in nature, there is always the infinite and the infinitesimal. I use a variety of mediums including encaustic, oil and wax, lithographic  crayon and India ink working on wooden panels, canvas, and paper.

  1. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?

Intolerance makes me angry and working in the studio makes me happy…many things make me happy..too many to list.

  1. Who and what inspires you in your work and or in your life in general?

The natural world inspires me. I experience intense pleasure through my eyes and sense of touch. There is something new to see every day.

  1. What superpower would you want?

X-ray vision, no doubt.

  1. Who are your favorite artists and writers?

I admire and get inspiration from so many artists many of whom I know well. But I can point to Giacometti who inspires me to value the process above all else. The writer, Annie Dilliard, for her capacity to see the whole landscape and appreciate the tiniest creatures. Robert MacFarlane, another writer who describes the landscape in a way that helps me appreciate the history and “feel” of the landscape and Julie Mehretu whose large complex works inspire me to imagine the possibilities of a new way of seeing the landscape.

  1. What advice would you give to other artists?

Value your work. Make connections with artists you trust to keep you honest. Work as much as you can because your inspiration comes from working. Be open to learning from other artists you admire.

7 thoughts on “Interview with Helen DeRamus

  1. Great interview, Helen! It was good to see you at Ricci’s memorial service. All the best, Holly

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. I enjoyed reading your comments. At some point I would like to meet you. I was in the first Atelier with some Fountainhead people and then in and out of the encaustic experience. I have primarily been a filmmaker who lost a good deal of my footing when everything went digital. I kept trying to find new ways to merge the processes but haven’t found many people doing that. I nearly had a major film on its feet a couple years ago on Bangkok and Opium but my guy died a few months in, meaning a person significant to the project. Anyway, I’m an artist, filmmaker, writer and astrologer and look forward to meeting you some time. Presently, I have no space to work but will think about that soon.

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