We had the good fortune of connecting with Debi Grupe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debi, why did you pursue a creative career?
At a very young age, at least 5 years old, two things excited me in life, playing sports of any kind, nearly, and making art. The two loves were always in my life. Now that I don’t play as much sport I have time to focus on my art as a career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I know it’s a very cliche thing to say, especially for abstract artists, but my art is extremely intuitive. I almost never start with an idea, medium or subject to explore. It’s all about the mystery.
The difference between me and other art explorers is probably nothing other than the final pieces of work. There are no two original works that are the same. Similar perhaps, but never the same. My mark making is mine, their mark making is there’s. There are plenty of good forgers out there, but their job is simply to copy.
As for being able to sustain a career as an artist, it has its highs and lows. I am never in a settled place with it. But I keep on going. There are very few artists who can truly say they are in a stable place financially. I probably know about seven or eight artists who only sell their work for a living, meaning they don’t have a second job.
And I know some amazing struggling artists. Don’t you?
I keep on this path because it is the one that truly satisfies me since my time to be a professional athlete has long gone by.
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.
I live in Palm Springs, so I would recommend coming here in the cooler season, late fall to early spring. I would definitely include hiking one of Joshua Tree park’s many trails, then head to Pappy and Harriet’s for some music and dinner!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Marcelle and Heinz Grupe (my ever supportive parents), Linda Maxson (friend and artist, local), Terence Greer (friend, mentor, graphic artist, painter from Britain), Mitch Tarr (husband), Mohsen Khalili (friend, artist), Dustin Otterbach (friend, artist), Nancy Boyd (artist, art instructor), Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, David Lynch, the Dadaists, the Abstract expressionists, mid-mod graphic design and architecture, and the list goes on!