Q&A with Denise Ward-Brown

Never Been a Time, 2017. Film detail.

What is your favorite tool, material, and/or process?
Adobe Premiere on my laptop.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received about your work?
Art is a verb.

What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone about their work?
Make quick/fast/alla prima work every day alongside the long-term work.

Where do you make work?
My desk has a view of a busy street with joggers, walkers, cars, and a flower-blooming island in the middle of the boulevard.

What do you listen to/watch while you work?
The sound of my keyboard.

Do you have a studio uniform? Please describe.
No. But my dog likes to sit right behind me in my desk chair.

Who or what has had the biggest influence on your work?
This quote by Frederick Douglass from his memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1845:

“The time is at hand when the last American slave and the last American slaveholder will disappear behind the curtain which separates the living from the dead and when neither master nor slave will be left to tell the story of their respective relations or what happened to either in those relations. My part has been to tell the story of the slave. The story of the master never wanted for narrators. The masters, to tell their story, had at call all the talent and genius that wealth and influence could command. They have had their full day in court. Literature, theology, philosophy, law and learning have come willingly to their service, and, if condemned, they have not been condemned unheard.” 

A book you’ve read more than twice is...?
Beloved by Toni Morrison.

How do you stay motivated?
Reading a good nonfiction book or rereading any book by Toni Morrison.

How do you procrastinate?
I like to talk to family and friends on the phone.

Early Bird or Night Owl?
Night owl.

Do you have pets? If so, what are their species and names?
Zola: toy poodle. Muzzette: cat that my daughter gave me. Buddy: cat found living in somebody’s backyard. He still hunts squirrels, rabbits, mice—eats the whole body and tail!

Epoxy, mineral spirits, or Command-Z?
Command-Z.