Today we’d like to introduce you to PM Neist.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born and raised in a fishing village on the northern coast of France, in a very industrialized area of the country. One of my earliest memories is the sound of foghorns and the red glow of the nearby steel mill at the back of our house at night. In my early twenties, I moved to the United States and never looked back. My artistic career has been deeply informed by my experience as an immigrant. I am an observer, forever navigating the nuances of multiple cultures; I can never fully belong.
I am also self-directed. I learned my craft through a blend of formal education, corporate jobs, and a great deal of practice and experimentation. I always carry a sketchbook with me. Once, I got caught sketching a portrait during a long corporate meeting! I had not even realized what I was doing. Drawing and listening use two different parts of the brain. Still, I keep my artistic and corporate lives mostly separate though they sometimes intersect in surprising ways.
Please tell us about your art.
I am a visual artist and embroiderer, a slow-maker in a fast-paced world, a portraitist in the age of selfies.
I look for the chinks in the armors, the unspoken rules, and the unexpected tenderness that lurk in the dark corners; then I sew it all up into textile collages on vintage fabric and linens.
I started with a cache of vintage linen and synthetic furs that inspired me to create a series of illustrated flash fiction. Embroidery was a spur-of-moment addition that soon turned into an obsession. It is also a slow, patient type of work that gives me time to figure out the stories behind each portrait. I learned to embroider in the second grade, at a time when little girls were still expected to learn how to make their own clothes. Although I use digital techniques to create collages or produce the layouts for a particular piece, I feel most connected to the handmade part of the work. The repetition of movement, the physical effort, the time spent, are my responses to our culture of achievement and mass-production
I find material inspiration in the mundane: scraps of fabric, thrift shop marvels, an encounter at the grocery store. I am introverted and patient. Embroidery is a patient art that suits my personality. I am always creating. Each piece carries the spirit of someone I have witnessed. Each piece of art is a prayer and a blessing to this marvelous life.
We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Solitude is both wonderful and necessary for creation. Experimentation needs to take place in the privacy of one’s own thoughts.
Loneliness is another matter. Studio time is so wonderful; it’s easy to isolate. I was recently selected for the 2019 Artist Inc. program powered by Fresh Arts. I applied to the program so I could connect with other artists. It’s been wonderful!
Take advantage of the many arts organizations in Houston: Fresh Arts, The Visual Arts Alliance, WIVLA offer terrific networking opportunities. Find your tribe and attend the events.
Instagram is also a wonderful tool. I have connected with many artists from all over the world on Instagram. It’s a wonderful tool for a quick dose of wonder.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I post regularly on Facebook and Instagram. I also send out a monthly newsletter with a short blog post and announcements about my work. And I have an online shop on my website.
But I really prize personal attention and relationships. I make a lot of bespoke, very personal pieces using material that people want transformed: a blank journal to be illustrated, bits of wedding dresses to be used as a background, family stories written on heirloom linen.
People who are interested in commissioned work can email me directly or use the contact form on my website. I respond to all email.
- Website: www.pmneist.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pmneist/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PMNeist/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PMNeist