Quizzing Quesenberry

Letitia Quesenberry.

Letitia Quesenberry.

Change is good. You’ve heard that over and over, and I firmly believe in those words.

So, this week, I’m embarking on something different.

Usually, in this space, you read my thoughts on Louisville, being a Louisvillian and all things that come to mind.

But, now it’s time for something a little different.

I meet many people during my work at The Voice-Tribune and socially.

They’re interesting people with interesting stories to tell.

Stories that need to be told. Ramblings that make me think.

Some of these are going to be profiled each week in “Take It Or Leave It,” which I hope you’ll take with you.

This week, I caught up with local artist Letitia (Tish) Quesenberry, who has been showcasing her work for more than a decade.

Tish’s work has been shown all over the United States and in Europe.

Her work has gained attention because of her unique style and innovative techniques.

Regarded highly as an artist, I wanted to find out where finds her inspiration.

Lori Kommor: You hear of artists of having “a muse,” how does someone become your muse?
Letita Quesenberry: Send me a video of you roaming around an exotic place. It should be really brightly lit like the salt flats or super dark and mysterious like a subway tunnel.

Also, don’t give me details about where you are or who is with you.

LK: Do you ever get emotionally tied to a piece of your art?
LQ: Yes. There are a few pieces that I will always favor. Also, whatever I am working on at any given time is usually hard to part with.

At a certain point though, after I have decided that I am finished, and that the piece can’t be improved, I am ecstatic when someone wants it.

LK: Who are some of your favorite artist and why?
LQ: I can’t stop thinking about Agnes Martin. Her work has an amazing specificity that is really difficult to describe.

Her drawings are seemingly simple and yet so powerful. Also, many of the California Light and Space artists like Robert Irwin and Doug Wheeler are big influences. I really admire the photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Uta Barth and Trevor Paglen.

All of these artists are favorites of mine because they tend to handle information in a similarly oblique way. Looking at their work, there are immediate questions about what you are seeing.
I like that they suggest more than offering a clear description or explanation.

They test the viewer’s automatic response to the act of looking. I also get tons of inspiration from reading and listening to music.

LK: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
LQ: I come from a spectacular family of creative thinkers and makers, and was lucky to absorb many lessons early on that provided a great foundation.

It wasn’t until my first high-school art class (junior year) that I realized that art was what I wanted to pursue.

LK: What advice would you share with a young upcoming artist?
LQ: Trust the coherence of your taste.

Try to surround yourself with artists whose work you admire.

Don’t let the inevitable rejections discourage you for too long.

Most importantly, DO THE WORK.

LK: Life is full of frustrations, what are some of yours as an artist?
LQ: Not having enough money or time is a common frustration with most people these days.

Lately I have been focusing on making quicker decisio ns and going with my gut instincts. I tend to get really stuck when I question my process too much.

LK: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
LQ: That I am still actively making work.

LK: What is your motto?
LQ: Don’t turn around, don’t look down.