We had the good fortune of connecting with Judith Christensen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Judith, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance implies a satisfactory distribution of time and energy between making art, making a living, being with family and friends, gardening, and attending to other responsibilities. There just aren’t enough hours in a day for all of that. As far as studio time goes, can there ever be enough? Not for me. I’d like to be in my studio every day, all day, practicing making art—not necessarily producing art, but practicing art. To be able to try new ways of doing and new ways of thinking about what I’m doing I need to feel my time is limitless. And there are days, sometimes even weeks, when my studio time is extremely limited. While it’s easy to feel like an artist when making art, when life intrudes and studio time is inadequate or nonexistent, it’s equally easy to feel like a sham artist. Fortunately, I have now been at this long enough to realize there will always be ebbs and flows. And, I’ve experienced enough fluctuations to be able to reassure myself that once life calms, I can and will return to the studio. 

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I gravitated to visual art from writing, so I view the narrative of a life as rich and boundless. Domestic themes are not just valid, I find them significant on a personal, a cultural, as well as a political level. Consequently, much of my work focuses on the metaphor of the house and the everyday details that framework encompasses. I’ve made miniature houses covered in seeds, dictionary pages, construction drawing details, quotes from Voltaire’s “Candide,” dressmaking patterns, results of an echocardiogram, and more. Grocery lists, packing lists, study lists, French flashcards, auto-buying comparison charts, and “to do” lists for a father’s memorial service have all found their way into my artwork. Every minor detail of an everyday life matters. The house becomes a repository not only for personal and familial memory, but for cultural memory as well. Being a part of professional organizations, first San Diego Book Arts and more recently Feminist Image Group, allows me access to a community of like-minded individuals. We share stories, information, ideas for exhibitions, opportunities, successes, and disappointments. That involvement and support offers tremendous assistance and encouragement for navigating the difficult path of making the artwork and then finding an audience for viewing it.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For the first few days we’d wander around Balboa Park, including SDMA, the Timken, MOPA, SDAI, the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Rose Garden, if it’s the right time of year, and the Natural History Museum, then walk the bridges in Hillcrest, making sure the route would take us by as many Irving Gill homes as we could locate. On one of the days, we’d walk on the beach in Coronado, ending with snacks and drinks outdoors at the Del. Then we’d head north, to UCSD to take in the highlights of the Stuart Collection and swing by the Salk Institute. Also on the list is a walk or two along the beaches and cliffs in La Jolla after visiting the Athenaeum Music and Art Library, then watch the sunset with drinks at La Valencia, and end the day with dinner at Lanna Thai.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve had two teachers who have encouraged me to take one path rather than another. Ian Tyson realized, before I did, that I would be making art for the rest of my life. Genie Shenk taught me to question deeply the decisions I make as I go about the practice of art.

Website: www.judithchristensen.com
Instagram: judithchristensen.art

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