Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidi Pitre.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have been an artist my entire life, but sometimes, other rolls have taken precedence. Such as, being a mother, a breadwinner, or a caretaker. I had been raising kids and husbands for most of my life. I got the kids raised, but had no hope for the husbands. In 2009, I became responsible for no one other than myself and decided to take art more seriously than the one or two paintings I managed to create each year. Since then, I’ve been awarded residencies, grants, and other accolades I’m extremely proud of. I look back on those non-painting years and realize they were giving me the content I use now to tell my stories through paint. I also draw on memories of being raised in the 1970’s. For example, when I was five years old, I had a babysitter who taught me how to strike matches on the dining room wall. My mother just about lost it. True story.
Please tell us about your art.
Some people work out their tangled relationships, hopes, doubts and fears in their dream life. I work mine out on canvas. My work is a self-exploration of visual images collected throughout my lifetime: childhood memories, vintage advertising themes, or old photos. Sometimes I feel like I’m on an endless search to expose life’s vulnerabilities and imperfections.
My intention is to create a curiosity around “self” through the allure of the captured screenshot, only revealing a small piece of a story. I want to give the viewer part of the story, and leave them to complete the narrative based on personal experience. The work connects us to personal memories through intimate and nostalgic amusement. I want to strike a chord in people, giving them permission to laugh at a memory. Whether it’s a bad hair day or a bad marriage, with time we can find humor in just about anything.
I see my work as a collection of short stories from different perspectives. These (usually) women understand what it means to be a floundering mother, an awkward daughter, an exhausted housewife, a scorned lover, a woman who has been through hell and back. I want to show that everyone can embrace their own reality, laugh at their tragedies and bad decisions, expose their vulnerabilities, and choose to exchange pain or sadness for a new understanding of the past.
Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I feel like the world has always had chaos that waxes and wanes periodically creating fear/hope/anger/compassion in people on many different levels. Artists have always made commentaries on current events, injustices and movements, but today, with social media, an image can instantly impact thousands in such a short amount of time. I try to stick with storytelling. There are plenty artists out there making impactful statements on politics, racism, equality, etc. While I have opinions on all of these subjects, currently, I feel that is not the purpose of my art. I’m here to expose a favorite memory long forgotten, help you laugh a bit about it, and bring a smile to your face as you move on to the next painting.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Great question! Just this month, I was awarded an Austin Artboard! I was one of the top 10 finalists, which means my submission will be featured on billboards in the Austin area throughout 2019. I cannot express how excited I am about this! I will be having a solo show at the Dougherty Art Center called Southern Peculiar in May. Simultaneously I will be showing A Permanent Record, a visual journey of nostalgia and literature, at the Elizabet Ney Museum.
On social media my handle is HeidiPitreArt and my website is current, heidipitre.com.
- Address: Austin, TX
- Website: heidipitre.com
- Instagram: @heidipitreart
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiPitreArt
- Twitter: @heidipitreart