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Home FEATURES Marci Washington Interview

Marci Washington Interview

Written by Trippe   
Monday, 19 November 2007 05:08
Graduate student @CCA Oakland and soon to be featured in New American Paintings, this 27 year old painter is one of our favorites.

We've know Marci for a few years now and have watched her work mature yet still maintain a beautifully ghostly and haunting vibe. Titles such as Mistress, Drowned, Chandelier, and Stricken conjure up thoughts of crumbling mansions and old east coast families where secrets loom and beauty is found in the rust of past grandeur. Marci is about to be finishing the graduate program at CCA Oakland, soon to featured on the cover of New American Paintings, has shown her work in galleries around the world, and been featured in countless publications. Please welcome Maric yet again to Fecal Face!

Age? Location? Artistic education?

I'm 27 and I live in Oakland. I got my BFA from CCAC and am in my second year of grad school at CCA right now.

How long have you lived in Oakland and what brought you there?

I moved to Oakland to go to school in 1997. After I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles for a bit and then I decided that I didn't want to go to grad school in LA, and I was kinda sick of living there, so I moved back here for school.

What do you love most about living in Oakland?

I love how close I am to all of my friends and family. I love when friends randomly stroll past my kitchen window when I'm having coffee in the morning and having people just stop by on their way to other places. And running into people at the store and the bank and stuff like that. And walking to parties. Also, I live walking distance from Bakesale Betty, so that's pretty great.

Describe your process of creating a new piece.

Usually it starts with either finding a picture or pictures that give me a good idea, or having a good idea and finding a picture that kinda works with that idea. I work from a lot of fashion photography, so I scour magazines (especially my favorite- Another Magazine) until I find these weird moments that kinda jump out of the fashion thing and into something a little stranger. Then I combine and change them up and then start the drawing. I'm not one of those natural talent drawing people so it takes me a long time and I erase a lot. I only use 2H pencils and Pink Pearl Erasers. I draw everything in my big sketch book and then trace out the one perfect line for the drawing onto vellum and then transfer it onto my paper. I use a really soft printmaking paper, so I can't erase on it- that's why I do the transferring. Then I get busy with the watercolor and gouache.

How would you describe your style?

This is such a hard question for some reason. I really like Japanese wood block prints and old book plate lithographs, so I think I try to make paintings that almost look like prints, and that hint toward a story or situation. Really flat and simple, but hopefully depicting moments that aren't so simple- like the really important scene that you might pause in a movie, or the key moments you would choose to illustrate in a long novel.

If I came over to Oakland for a visit what would we do/ where would you take me?

First you would have to say hi to the cats- Penelope and Thor, and then we could go to Bakesale Betty's for fried chicken sandwiches and pumpkin pie. Then maybe the big cemetery up the street (it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and the Black Dahlia's buried there!), or maybe we'd be too full to walk so I might make you watch my new favorite movie- Eyes Without a Face.

When are you the most productive?

It used to be early in the morning, but now it's more like from 1 in the afternoon until dinnertime around 9, or a quick snack and then until midnight or so. The occasional late night is good too, but not all the time.

Favorite place traveled?

Bristol for all the rad kids I met and Venice for the big orange cat who sat on my lap while I ate spaghetti.


I really love Morrissey, Nick Cave, and Neutral Milk Hotel. Right now I'm listening to the new Arcade Fire album a lot and this one Royksopp song with the chick from the Knife singing. Man that's a sweet song. I'll probably be sick of it soon because I've been listening to it way too much. It kinda makes me wanna cry. I swear I painted my dark mirror before I heard the Arcade Fire song Black Mirror, but I think it's a pretty cool coincidence.

What were you like in high school?

Man oh man, it's so good to be an adult. I was an angry little ball of rage who wore all black and thought I knew everything. I remember my dad telling me to stop trying to be such tough shit all the time- that it wasn't really me. He was so right. I hated high school. I made it until the beginning of my junior year and then took my proficiency exam and went to art school. Even with my huge mountain of debt, it's still the best thing I ever did.

What are you really excited about right now/ what you have coming down the line?

So much! One of my paintings is going to be on the cover of New American Paintings (which seems totally crazy to me), I'm graduating really soon, my Dad is getting married, and my sister is winning all kinds of awards for her awesome bartending (her name is Amanda and she works at Rye). Everything seems so great right now- I'm waiting to get hit by a car or something.

For more on Marci, check marciwashington.com {moscomment}

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