WASILLA — Colleen Wake is her own kind of modern day renaissance artist, jumping from one medium to the next, following her creative muse wherever it takes her. Wake recently participated in a question and answer interview to discuss her eclectic creative pursuits, her process and thoughts on local talent and drawing inspiration from your surroundings.
Q: What kind of mediums do you gravitate toward?
“The only thing I don’t like to do is knit. That’s the only thing I haven’t learned. Everything else, I love,” Wake said with a laugh. “Myself and my daughter are really into the Wearable Arts Show by the Valley Arts Alliance. We’re very sad we’re not going to be able to do the show this year, but I think they’re putting together a showcase with outfits.”
Q: What are some examples of what you do?
“I work a lot with Pat Garley at Arctic Fires Bronze, and what I do there is I help other artists with their work, with casting and things like that. I’ve dabbled in painting, my own sculpting, quilting. Really, it’s a little bit of everything. I enjoy everything… I do a lot of the steel cut out art. I do it by hand with the plasma cutter.”
Q: How long have you been involved with the Wearable Art Show?
“We’ve only missed the very first one.”
Q: What about it makes you want to come back every year?
“I think a lot of it for me is it’s a really awesome mother, daughter day because my daughter she’s now 16 and we’re really close and we kind of have this rivalry with each other to outshine each other,” Wake said with a laugh. “Plus, it’s really nice to see what the other artists have come up with… We’ve come up with some really crazy things. It’s really fun when you see something somebody’s done. It kind of gets you going for next year.
Q: So you cover a lot of ground creatively, what have you primarily been working on lately?
“I did have a piece in October at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art. I had one of my sculptures of a bronze Mother Earth. I had that in there. Mostly, it’s just been helping other artists continue their work. I’ve done a little bit of painting and such, but not as much as I would like. You can’t really get out and do a whole lot… I can plasma cut all day long. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I really enjoy the steel art. I have a severe case of instant gratification.”
Q: So you like to paint too?
“I do. I do acrylic because it dries fast and that instant gratification. I’m too impatient to let oils dry. And a lot of times when I do acrylic painting, I’ll have like two, three running at the same time,” she said with a laugh.
Q: What do you like about dabbling with so many different mediums?
“I think it’s the textures and colors of different things… My motto is go big or go home… I’m quite eclectic. It’s just whatever grabs my attention.”
Q: Have you enjoyed making art since you were a kid?
“I liked to pencil draw when I was younger. I remember in second grade getting in trouble for drawing during math class. But when the teacher saw I was doing a sketch of her at the chalkboard, I kind of got off,” she said with a laugh. “My brain is nonstop. I’m always constantly thinking about some kind of project. I would say 99 percent of everything I do artistically is for me.”
Q: What do you think about the Valley’s creative scene?
“I think the art scene in Palmer and the Valley in general is really good… It’s amazing. Since I’ve been up here in Alaska, I’ve met sculptures, painters, fiber artists… There’s so many creative people.”
Q: What advice would you give to creative people looking for inspiration?
“My ideas come from everywhere… I would say look at nature… Talk to other people… It’s not stealing… Do you what pleases yourself. If people like it, that’s awesome. But, if you do it for yourself and it makes you feel good, who cares what other people think. That’s what I do.”
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org