We had the good fortune of connecting with Claudia Parducci and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Claudia, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance? (Brief pause while I snort coffee out of my nose!) Like most creatives, I figured out pretty fast that art is no way to get rich, and besides, I am still old-fashioned enough to see an inherent conflict there- creative freedom vs financial stability. So in addition to being an artist with a daily practice, I have worked numerous other jobs to pay the rent, while also raising a child. My goal is always to side gig as little as possible for as much money as possible, leaving me as much time in the studio as possible. I’ve played music for a living, written grants and managed an AirBnB. This is the point where I need to confess a caffeine addiction. (Ok, also a dependence on nicotine gum!) Over time, as my child and my art career grew, I have been fortunate to gain more undisturbed time in the studio, but work/life has never approached anything I would consider balanced, even with a life partner who has shared the burden. I am pretty proud if I remember to walk the dog, and am absolutely ecstatic when I manage to catch a nap.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I pursued art as a child and while in school, but I was a serious musician as well, and that was the career I initially fell into. My art education happened in fits and starts, and I wasn’t able to attend graduate school for art until I was in my 30s with a very young child. Managing to survive the collective challenges of work, parenting and full-time graduate school is probably the thing I am most proud of, as well as having the “balls,” or being insane enough, to switch from one unstable creative path to another that is even less stable. In art, you either catch an early break or you try to stick around long enough to get noticed. The thing is, that may not ever happen because it is a crap shoot of perseverance, connections, and luck. If pursuing art doesn’t provide one intrinsic rewards, it probably isn’t worth doing. I am a big proponent of the peer posse, and I find artists to be among the most game, handy and generous people I know. They make cool shit happen, even if the world isn’t watching. Some days I believe my work is a response to the world as I experience it. Other times it is just what I have chosen to do to fill the space between breakfast and dinner. My last few projects have utilized textile: rope, twine and the like, knitted, knotted, cast in bronze and rendered with pencil. In 2016 I learned to knit so I could make a series of 23 columns, 16 feet high, which I dyed by hand. They were inspired by the Parthenon- an early example of Western civilization and patriarchal design, and I wanted to reimagine the columns, and by extension, Western civilization, from a feminist perspective. Recently I have cast ropes in bronze and hung them so they appear to sprout from the wall. I call these works Life Lines- and think of them as something to grab hold of when the shit hits the fan.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To me a good time during a pandemic is heading to Will Rogers State Park for a long hike, or to the beach for the same, but at sunset after the lifeguards and crowds are gone and you can’t get busted for bringing your dog. I am an “eat in” kind of person, so I tend to cook and serve on the patio, with about 20 feet between me and my guests. We each have our own serving utensils. When friends visited town pre Covid, I would generally give them a list of museums and galleries, point them facing out and let them explore LA on their own. If you haven’t guessed, I lean introvert.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I could not survive as an artist without a fierce posse of women who trudge the same path. Today’s shoutout goes to three who are part of my art sisterhood: Lavialle Campbell, a brilliant artist with an incredibly multifaceted practice, who has included me in multiple shows she has curated and has remained a supportive colleague since undergrad art school; Sydney Croskery, a painter extraordinaire, who has a studio right down the street from mine, and is always up for spur of the moment critiques; and of course, I’ll shout back at Eve Wood, who recommended me for this interview, and is a twice gifted artist/writer of supreme heart and generosity.
Facebook: Claudia Parducci
Photographs by Elizabeth Daniels (artist portrait with columns) @elizabethdaniels01 Alan Shaffer (all others): @alanphoto1