We had the good fortune of connecting with Margie Schnibbe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margie, how do you think about risk?
I believe that risk taking is essential in all creative endeavors. Every moment of a project involves taking emotional, intellectual and artistic risks, and I have been taking these kinds of risks every day for many years. When I approach a blank canvas, hold a lump of unfired clay in my hands, shoot a video, or open a computer program and create a new file, I am taking a risk. I work intuitively and every artwork involves a leap of faith that I will make something meaningful, exciting and new. Sometimes at the start of a piece or project I feel anxious and ask myself questions: What am I doing? Will this new work be successful? How will it be perceived? How will I be judged? As I continue working I focus and quiet my mind. When a project is finished and I am happy with the results, I feel joy and forget about the questions. Then I start a new project and the process begins again. When I was young, I separated from the comfort of my family, friends and intimate relationships to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. I have lived alone in unfamiliar and often isolated locations in order to have a private space to make my art. I have rented studios that I could not afford, in the hopes that I would eventually make enough money to pay for them. I have been a sex worker and a pornographer to pay for my art. In the past, quite often my risky behavior inspired my art work. However today, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have chosen to separate lifestyle risk from creative risk. I work alone in my studio and I only leave for essential business. I have limited physical contact with others and never unmasked. The only risks I take are with my art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art practice is a lifelong journey that is forever evolving. Inspired by experiences in my daily life and motivated by my passion, I make personal and intuitive works using a variety of materials. I determine the form or medium for each project based on my intention and desired effect. I create sculptures, paintings, drawings, installations, poetry, prose, performance, ‘zines, music, websites, films, and videos. I am a feminist and an artist’s artist. I have dedicated my life to making art, and my work is as idiosyncratic and unconventional as my life. Although I have faced numerous emotional, financial and career challenges in the thirty years I have been a professional artist, I have never abandoned my vision. Now that I am older I have come to understand that challenge is an opportunity for growth. And I am still growing, every day. My solution to overcoming challenges is to keep making art and never give up. My brand is not one signature item or style, it’s more like a smorgasbord of a life whose ingredients are derived from the fusion of my personal, intellectual and creative histories. My brand looks a lot like a roadside attraction with an eclectic gift shop that is filled with many different types of unique art objects I have created. Sometimes I call my brand Babyhans, the name of my first website and one of my online shops. Sometimes I call my brand Vena Virago, the name I used when I made porn. Sometimes I call my brand Margie(dot)LA, the name I used when I made radio programs. Most recently I have been calling my brand SchnibbeBADatCRAFTs, the name of my Etsy shop. However, most people know my brand as #margieschnibbestudio, a hashtag I use on Instagram to identify my artwork.
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.
Yikes! In Los Angeles we are back in COVID-19 lockdown mode. Right now I ask my friends to STAY HOME as much as possible and STAY SAFE! Support art and culture via museum and gallery websites, online conversations and events. Order takeout food from your favorite restaurant. When you shop, support small businesses. Donate money or other resources to your neighborhood food bank, community group working with the unhoused, or to a friend or neighbor in need. Lots of our friends and neighbors are out of work, underemployed, have sick family, or might be sick themselves. Folks are often shy about asking for help. Check your social media to see who might need help, and offer them some assistance. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my mother Anne Schnibbe. My mom is awesome and recently celebrated her ninety-third birthday. I admire her faith, determination and strength. Thank you Mom for believing in me! I love you! I’d also like to send some love to all my friends, family, teachers and colleagues- way too many names to mention here!
Other: https://vimeo.com/schnibbe https://www.etsy.com/shop/SchnibbeBADatCRAFTs http://www.babyhans.com http://www.margie.LA