BONFIRE

Conversation: Marleigh Culver and Jessi Frederick

Cultural — 11.12.2017

This conversation took place over Google Hangouts while Marleigh was in Virginia, and Jessi was in Brooklyn. It was then copied, pasted, and formatted to fit this screen.

ARTIST
Marleigh Culver

WRITER
Jessi Frederick

Jessi Frederick

Hi Marleigh! So let’s get into this thing. I know we “met” on Instagram… and by that I mean we’ve never actually met in real life… It seems to be the basis for most “modern relationships.”

Marleigh Culver

Hey Jessi, I can’t remember when I started to follow you!! But I’ve always been into how strictly your create your imagery and display your life on instagram. It’s interesting and the shots are always a little different than what I see from most bloggers.

Jessi Frederick

Thank you! I mean, it’s definitely difficult…personally speaking, I think it’s hard because by nature and job description, I am more so a blogger than anything else. But it feels so restricting creatively, for me. I know you put out a video recently on your Instagram stories expressing this “period of doubt” which is definitely something I face monthly, if not weekly. What are some of the challenges you’re currently facing when it comes to being creative?

Marleigh Culver

I’m trying to not let myself be limited or compare myself to the people whose work I admire. Sometimes I see things I love and get bummed I will never be as great or clever as them. I’m not a trained illustrator and would not really call myself that, but my work is between art and illustration.

So sometimes I feel like a black sheep. I just constantly want to be new, interesting and as original as I can be.

Jessi Frederick

So what inspires you? ( I find this to be the most challenging question when I’m asked it…)

Marleigh Culver

Color inspires me. Spaces and architecture inspire. Basically I look at the world and scenes and blur them down to simple shapes and specific colors. The world is like an endless line, everything is a shape and permeated by light in different ways. I’m inspired by situations I’m in and how they make me feel which I try to push through in my work.

Jessi Frederick

Has your art always taken on this sort of approach, or did it evolve over time into this style of diluting shapes & accentuating colors?

Marleigh Culver

I’ve actually been working with colors and abstract shapes since high school. I was really into mixed media and fell in love with hard edge painting. Ellsworth Kelly has always been a huge inspiration to me in how he really simplifies things just to the point of being basic, but not crossing that line. I love how bold and straight forward it all is. So I’ve always liked the abstract side of things.

Jessi Frederick

I think what has always gravitated me towards you and your art is the similarities in which we create and why we do it. I always see it as this incredible challenge to use a camera frame as a way to not expose what is being cropped out of the frame, but to try and simplify the chaotic world and see things more simply, up close, and abstractly. The same way you do, quite frankly, but our styles and way of communicating that form are completely different.

Marleigh Culver

Yes! The structure is basically the same, it’s like coding a site. You use all the same parts but styling it comes out completely different in the front end.

Jessi Frederick

Exactly. I was also about to compare it to cooking and using recipes, but I think that metaphor would only apply to me and my inability to cook….. So, what’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects coming up? New adventures?

Marleigh Culver

I’m working on getting a studio space to work in for a show I have at a gallery space in Richmond in 2018. I have paintings I’ve been brewing on for those. I have a bunch of collaborations with some big and small brands in the textile and home goods arena. I have some cool stuff happening I can’t talk about which kills me! I’m just stoked my work is getting out there, I keep getting really interesting projects that have been super fulfilling and unique.