My Interview with Bethany Noel Murray
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Here’s the truth. Photos of Bethany’s work do not do it justice. They cannot capture the complexity and detail of her 4 foot x 4 foot canvases. If the images of her work move you, do yourself a favor. Go to a show or visit her studio. You won’t be disappointed.
The week before I first saw Bethany’s work I had been in Santa Fe, where I was blown away by the diverse art scene. Santa Fe is home to Meow Wolf, my happy place. But, I was also lucky enough to stroll down Canyon Road, sipping my cappuccino, and ogling dozens of art studios and gardens packed with sculpture. The art had a refined feel to it. I could tell they’d been crafted by professional artists who were clear about their intent and their methods. Seeing Bethany’s work reminded me of those studios I flowed in and out of in Santa Fe — full of story and intent, crafted by an artist with a refined hand.
Bethany suffers from chronic migraines. As a migraine sufferer myself, I thought I might have something in common with her story. I was wrong. Her attacks can sometimes last weeks and often her migraines leave her in an almost catatonic state where she looses all of her senses. Her disease leaves her with a rotating wheel of trauma. She suffers and she recovers, knowing that she’ll suffer again. Her chronic migraines have given her food for her art. She paints her ocular auras. But it also gives her a reason to paint. As she says in the interview, they’ve forced her to ask herself “What do I want to do when I come back alive?”
That being said. She’s also a nerd.
She has a technical approach to art that many of the science-minded listeners will vibe with. We talk about the tips and tricks of how to manipulate feeling in painting and writing. If she ever wanted to write a manual I imagine the title would be something like, “A Technical Approach to Transcendence.” But what I mostly appreciate about Bethany is how she approaches her small business, i.e., her art. She does what many artists struggle to do, network, promote and plan for how to grow. I have struggled with this aspect of my career… forever. It was not covered in my MFA and the idea of networking and publicity makes me feel like my blood has been replaced with ginger ale. But what I like about her business philosophy is it reflects how I’m trying to approach my career now —
- Take yourself Seriously
- Say yes
- Ask for help. From everyone!
I hope you enjoy this episode. I dropped in some theme music. Not sure how I feel about it. Have an opinion? Don’t keep it to yourself!