Mairead Case: I so admire your wildflower heart: you’re at home in the wilds of Colorado, where you were born, but you are also one of the most gracefully, practically cosmopolitan people I know, and have lived in cities (Chicago, New York, for most of your adult life). How do you think about home today?
Brit Parks: Calling a place home is a very distinct claim. I would call mine a kind of ether. It’s a mysterious mix of several places. I do unquestionably have Colorado cowboy blood in my veins. I love NoLita, the neighborhood I lived in New York for many years. It’s the site of two of my most beloved places on earth, Cafe Gitane and the steps of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. I am also extremely bound to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, where I received both my BFA and MFA. The teachers I had there are unspeakably brilliant in talent and guidance. Walking through The Art Institute Museum daily is unrivaled. Eva Hesse’s Hang Up sculpture and the Ando Gallery are as close to nirvana as I get. In terms of a state of being, making art or writing is what I consider home. It’s a constant intuitive process and language that means the most to me.
MC: You are a multidisciplinary artists in terms of your knowledge and vocabularies as well as the work you actually make. What inspired your return to film for Baby & Company?
BP: I was very generously offered the opportunity by Jill Donnelly, the Owner/Buyer of Baby & Company, after she had a chance meeting with Sam Anderson from the band Hey Marseilles. Her only direction to me was to make a beautiful film that involved him performing cello, as he’s a very accomplished musician. The first part of the process was conceptualizing the film itself. I love film because it has a life of its own. The way it takes light and rejects it--the way it gets dirty and exposed. I will never stray from analogue, because it’s a physical material. I have always edited in-camera, because I really believe in the purity of the process: in film as a document of performance. In this case, I was startled by how exactly the film captured the shots I had in my head and how influenced I was by Sam's live cello playing.
MC: Do you have any wildflower heart beauty tips for us?
BP: I live by the idea that you should be able to make something out of nothing. I subscribe to the idea that you should make/write like no one will ever see/read it. And I have always tried to be as fearless as possible in all regards. I push myself very hard to make work. I believe it’s work in the most sublime meaning of the word.
MC: Who are your heroes outside of your cat-babes, Mick and Valentina?
BP: My existence is based on heroes. I always want to witness something unknown or that I don’t understand. I do have a set of heroes I constantly return to: Sophie Calle, Arthur Rimbaud, Rosalind Krauss, Eva Hesse, Maya Deren, Antonin Artaud, Jean-Luc Godard, PJ Harvey, Guy Debord, Greta Bellamacina, Robert Montgomery and Louise Bourgeois. A lot of my friends are the most talented musicians I know. I really love Joan of Arc and Disappears, from Chicago. Above all, the people I am close to are truly my reason to be: they keep my heart beating and bones in line.
MC: What is your favorite place to be alone in Seattle?
BP: Anywhere with my headphones on, or a book store. Lake View Cemetery is fairly dreamy too. The really old grave stones have the most beautiful little poems.
Mairead Case (@maireadcase) is a working writer in Colorado, and the author of the novel See You In the Morning (featherproof), and Tenderness, a poetry chapbook (Meekling Press). Mairead is also a poetry teacher at the Denver Women’s Prison and a Ph.D student at the University of Denver. Previously she lived in Chicago for a decade, where she worked at places like the Poetry Foundation, Louder Than a Bomb, and as a birthday party clown.
Brit Parks (@britparksxx) is a poet and visual artist. She received both her Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Parks is the recipient of the Edes Emerging Artist Semi-Finalist Fellowship. She has published poetry and exhibited visual art/film. She lived in New York City for ten years holding positions at The Guggenheim Museum and The Whitney Museum of American Art. She currently writes The Sunday Guide for Baby & Company.
Brit Parks, 2016, Photo by Sohail Fazluddin (Garments:Dress/Coat, A Détacher, Shoes, Cherevichkiotvichki)
Eva Hesse, Hang Up, 1966, The Art Institute of Chicago
Ando Gallery, 1992, The Art Institute of Chicago
Brit Parks, Glass Sleep Super 8 Film Stills 1/2, 2016
Brit Parks, how we became blue, 2016, Photo by Sohail Fazluddin
PJ Harvey, Photograph by Patrick Robyn
Disappears, Baby's All Right, Brooklyn, 2016
Robert Montgomery/Greta Bellamacina, Avenir Magazine, 2015