My friend Melly introduced me to Alma Stoller. Alma's work is fresh and original and I decided to interview her.
JL: What is your story, how did you become an artist?
AS: I have always been an artist, first in theater and music and now in all forms of art and design. I enjoy throwing myself into it all....from painting, collage, poetry, textile art, pottery and jewelry.
JL: Do you keep a journal?
AS: Yes, I do....I keep an idea journal.
Where I paste images that inspire me, colors that I'd like to explore and designs I'd like to explore.
JL: You live in Manhattan. How long? How does it affect the art you make? Are the nearby museums a big influence?
AS: Yes, I live in New York City , born and raised. I LOVE New York for the culture and the access to pretty much everything and YES, I try to soak in as much of the museums and the art life as I can. I recently saw the Tim Burton exhibit at The MOMA. It was absolutely fantastic. Sometime this week I will be making it to the new Picasso exhibit at The Met.
I am sure that on some level, it all influences me and takes shape in the work I do.
JL: I see you draw, paint, polymer, carve, sew, make dolls, and bead-- what is the common denominator that attracts you to all of them?
AS: That is a good question. I think I simply like to challenge myself. I am not all that aware that I do so many different things....to me it is all part of the same thing....the same creative process. I feel I have something to say, something to explore, something to push me to a different creative level, so it takes shape in a variety of things. I enjoy the process of design....I like coming up with my own. I enjoy the process of figuring out the HOW-TO of this or that.
JL: I also noticed, in your most recent zine, that you love doing 3 dimensional work with fabric. How did that come about?
AS: Yes, Fabric Sculptures and Archi-textures.... is another way of working with fabric...playing with it to create free form pieces that ultimately shape themselves.I enjoy pottery and ceramic work, so I decided to explore those structures in fabric.
JL: You love doing portraits! Why? Does each one portray a mood or a feeling, or is it more the process?
AS: Yes, I go through phases when all I do is paint and collage...
I love my portraits, I love the girls I create. They all have their own personality, and a story that can be read in their expression.
JL: You’ve got young children. Do you make art with them? How does their artwork influence yours?
AS: Yes, my son Julian (8) knows how to embroider and he is very interested in drawing. My daughter Rose (12) is interested in fashion and design.Julian likes to create air-dry clay and polymer creations. He is a pretty adventurous artist.
JL: What are your major influences in the art you make?
AS: Right now, I am really enjoying the works of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Robert Rauschenberg. But like my work, my interests and influences seems to change with the season.
JL: You’ve started The Glossy Project this year, tell us about it.
AS: Yes, The Glossy Project started out because I would get a lot of questions regarding my art quilts and designs. So I decided to create a project that incorporates what I do in a very easy way. My Glossy pieces are embroidered on fabric, then they are painted, stitched, basically completely altered and jazzed up to your liking. By using images from magazines, anyone....all over the world can learn and explore it.
JL: Zines. I know what they are, but I’m pretty clueless about how they work. What’s up with zines? How did you start making them, how often, how do you select the theme. Tell us about the process.
AS: Simply put, zines are self-published magazines.
They are lot of work but great fun. I have been self-publishing since 2004 (and have written a tutorial on how to create a zine.)
I recently finished issue no. 5 of The Fabric Arts Zine. It is a limited edition zine.The process incorporates writing...lots of writing, photography, creating projects, patterns and more.
I still have some available in my Etsy shop
JL: What are you working on right now? Any upcoming projects, classes, books?
AS: I am always working on something.... I am working on a book, another limited edition art zine and a few fabric art pieces. It really isn’t work for me. It is more like meditation....my time to zone -out and recapture myself.