Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 1: Judy Coates Perez

I'd love to introduce you to one of my favorite artists. Judy Coates Perez is talented in so many ways. I've loved her work since almost the first time I saw art quilts. My first favorite of hers was a weird and wild martian scene. 

There’s A Place Called Mars...   2004   37” x 62”
Judy Coates Perez

Looking at Mars mission photos, I was struck by the contrast between scenes of a rocky, lifeless planet and the rich, fanciful portrayals of Mars in popular culture.  I prefer a fanciful Mars. A place, where flora and fauna from the pages of Ernst Haekel’s book, “Artforms in Nature”, fill a Ray Bradbury inspired world and a 50’s Sci-Fi alien femme fatal watches a song, sung by my sister in Girl scout camp to the melody of “The Snake Charmers Tune”, weave it’s way though the landscape.
This is a machine quilted whole cloth painted quilt. I used textile paints, chromacoal powders, tsukineko inks, foil and beads.

Moon Garden  2008  69” x 56”
Moon Garden is one of my current all time favorite pieces. So clean and beautiful - a perfectly balanced composition in so many ways.

Lyric: I'd love to hear about your background, how did you become an artist?
Judy Coates Perez: I have a graphic design degree from Otis Art Institute of Parsons school of Design. As part of my curriculum I took drawing classes as well as a couple illustration classes. In my typography classes we had to perfectly render enlarged letters from specific typefaces with ruling pens and paint brushes, that really works to develop hand skills.

I learned a lot about painting from my ex when we were in school because his father was an amazing painter and had taught him. The one thing to keep in mind, is that painting is primarily a skill, once you learn some basic techniques, like anything else the more you do it the better you will get. you know- practice, practice practice. I still feel like a painting novice in many ways and would love to learn more since I mainly focused on design while I was in school and now regret not taking more classes on painting.

L: What are some of your inspirations?

J: I derive a lot of inspiration from my life experiences and fascination with global cultural traditions and mythology. When I was 12, my family moved out of our house, put everything in storage and drove to Guatemala, traveling through the US, Mexico and Canada, 18,000 miles in all. We spent a year on the road and rented a house in Antigua Guatemala, studying the arts, culture and archeology of these countries. My mom and I also spent time learning back strap weaving from Indian women in Guatemala. In college I went to Japan to study graphic design and now I have just returned from teaching in New Zealand, I find that it all influences me in some way.

Some of the nature inspired imagery has come from things my kids were studying. For example, when we lived in Texas my son was obsessed with fossils and lichen, I have made work based on both of those subjects.

You can see more of Judy's work at:

Stay tuned for more about Judy. I'll spotlight some of her wonderful upcoming classes (she's a fabulous teacher!) and a review and giveaway of her latest DVD workshop. Leave a comment on this or any of the posts spotlighting Judy for a chance to win. What about Judy's work inspires you? Have you had a class with her? Tell us about it.