We had the good fortune of connecting with Missy Borden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Missy, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
This is a tough question to answer as its rarely a clear cut decision. I would have to say though, because I work from an instinctual and intuitive place where one decision informs the next and a conversations takes place with color and marks, I am in tune to what works for me and what doesnt.
I guess that kind of leads me to my next thought- keeping going and giving up can kind of be the same thing in art making. If I paint over a painting with white gesso and start over, some may think “well, you gave up” others might say “you kept going”. I think it just depends on the way you think about it. I recently completed a commission painting of a hiking trail in Colorado… There was a point where it was 80% done and I just wasnt pleased with it–it felt over worked and the colors just didnt feel alive. So, without hesitation, I painted gesso over it and began again. The second version basically just fell out of the paint brush. It took less time to create and I am super pleased with it. So, did I give up or did I keep going?
I guess maybe I did both?
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Gosh this is hard.
I am a multidisciplinary artist (AKA im all over the place). However, there is consistency in mostly all of my work. I love to use gestural and expressive brushstrokes/marks, I love to use color intuitively, and I would say most of my work lately is driven by strong line work. I think there is a quote that says ‘I dont paint what I see, I paint what I feel’ and that resonates deeply within me. I am still getting into my professional career and I am not going to settle into one ‘style’ – the ideas I want to express sometimes need a different outlet and I am ok with that (at least most days I am). I guess as I continue to create, I am learning that I have a collage style, I have a drawing style, I have a painting style, I have a color use style… And although each series I create is different, I think you’d be able to tell it is mine.
I began a #100daypainting project (that actually took me 228 days) in 2020. I painted 100 pieces of abstract landscapes on paper. I taped off the edges of each paper with yellow frog tape to make sure the pieces would be presentable when finished. As I pulled off the tape to reveal each piece’s crisp white edges, I realized the yellow frog tape had become beautiful, paint stroked pieces themselves. I couldnt throw these away. So, I stuck them on the windows of my studio until I figured out how I could use the remnants, the waste, the trash, into something worthwhile. After some trial and error, I found a way to arrange the tape pieces into a fragmented composition that worked. I didnt like how the surface looked, so I poured resin atop one piece and totally loved it. It made the tape look less like tape and more like paint. And I have loved it so much that I still continue to keep all of my used tape for future projects.
For the last four years, I have been compelled to use stripes in my work. This definitely came from using repeating line as a way to show value in studies and sketches without having to shade big areas in. However, as I was translating my studies into paintings, I couldnt shake the lines. They became as much a part of the composition as the value and color did. And its stuck.
There is something about the looseness and gestural marks that come natural to me, and the striking and often harsh edges of lines that feels right right now.
My drawing style- semi blind or full blind contours all the way. Basically just not looking at the paper is my favorite. It allows me to quiet all the inner voices telling me im not good enough, and makes space for all the fun and surprising results. I began art making, probably like most artists, with a heavy emphasis on realism. I mean, it makes sense… if you attempt to master line, shape, color, value, tone, perspective etc, you are probably going to be able to be a more successful artist. But, I found that drawing something exactly like I saw it didnt do it for me. The emphasis on perfection just increased my own perfectionistic mindset and it felt suffocating. When I begin semi blind drawings, I fell in love. It was effortless and took WAY less time, and it was truly just fun.
I dont know if I really answered your questions but I think that is the best that I can do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hmm… well Steamboat is small but there is a lot to do. I would we would get coffee at Dusky Grouse, get lunch at Freshies, and make sure we ate at Noodles and More Saigon Cafe(its a Vietnamese restaurant that has the best vermicelli bowls) at least once. I dont drink, so unfortunately for those looking for great bars, I dont have input for you. Walking around the downtown mainstreet is fun enough to do for an afternoon I guess.
If they come in the winter, I would take them snowboarding and there are some really fun sledding hills. If they come in the summer or fall, there are SO many amazing hikes. But I would probably take them up to the quarry as it overlooks the town and gives you a really cool perspective.
We would definitely get italian sodas at the local bookstore, Off the Beaten Path, and then walk the core trail along the river and chat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would have to say my husband deserves a lot of credit. When we got married, I was a single mom going through college… I wanted to finish school AND I wanted to have more kids AND I wanted to be an artist. He encouraged me to do the things that made me happy and supported me through all the hard transitions. He always pushes me to be the best version of myself and although of course I am not always the best version of myself, his love carries me through.
Facebook: Missy Borden Art
Crystal Brindle Photography Kristy Baker Photography Tim Murphy Photography