Louise Ingalls Sturges

1. How would you describe your art to someone who’s never seen it in five words?

Colorful, whimsical, melancholic yet hopeful, pop, abstractly personal

2.Process when working on a piece?

Painting: I begin with a blank canvas, a pile of photographs, assorted found materials, a vat of matte medium, colored pencils, sharpies, oil and acrylic paint and an emotion. I then build a landscape out of this-blending found imagery and photographs to create a horizon line… I’d say it’s analogous to putting a puzzle together-though one that has no defined pieces..perhaps that’s too abstract but that is the feeling I get. I am only done when harmony has been achieved and oftentimes I feel like it is a conversation that I have started with myself that never ends. I put all the fragments together and begin to elaborate or obscure the images, often this means I obscure to the point of elimination and either I have to unearth the image or replace it with another. It is a long process and can take anywhere from 6 months all the way up to 5 years for me to feel fully satisfied with a painting.

Photography: Shoot what inspires me, scan what I love, and build a sequence out of that. I am currently considering a move from taking pictures to making pictures. Up until this point I have very little to do with directing or sourcing my subjects, I have just always shot what is in front of me, be that a swing, a building or a best friend. But right now, I have a few ideas for shots that I feel would infuse my new project with a more specific focus and thus, this summer, I am considering that I may take friends to particular places with specific and quirky props and see what happens.

3.What would be the biggest difficulty in your job?

Making money doing what I love, i.e. painting in my studio, travelling and taking pictures.

4.Favourite part of your job?

Creating something new out of pre-existing materials. Heralding my friends and family as the beautiful people that they are. Lastly, I have had a few people say that they look more closely at the minutiae of the every day after seeing my work-that might be the most satisfying result-helping people appreciate what they see.

5.Favourite music while working?

Rock and roll, hip hop, reggae, and indie rock…it’s a wide cross section including-Led Zepplin, Beirut, B-52’s, Caribou, Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Here we go magic, Bob Marley, Francoise Hardy, Roy Orbison, and lately Broken Bells has been in heavy rotation as has this one song by Broken Social Scene.

6.What inspires you and where do your ideas come from?

I might have to be wide open here and say EVERYWHERE, from citylife-street art and style, Native American cave drawings and dreamcatchers, rainbows and moonlight, to e

William Eggleston and Robert Rauschenberg are two of my personal heroes.

Iconoclastic gals of their time I’ve read biographies about like Marilyn Monroe, Janis Joplin, Edie Sedgewick, Diane Arbus, Baroness Elsa, and Bjork.

I’m always inspired by Godard films and the movies Dazed and Confused and Ferris Buellers Day Off were early influences.

As a blogger I tend to cull quite a lot of inspiration from the web. I frequently look at both fashion and art based blogs. I look at photography sites like manymany.org, the humble arts online group show, and the 20×200 project by Jen Bekman; these sites are full of inspiring work. I’ve just started using tumblr as an online inspiration board and I love it-there is an unending wealth of inspiring images out there floating around the internet. (http://besosyfotos.tumblr.com/)

As per IRL, real life analogue inspiration, I have amassed quite a number of vintage LIFE magazines, old Playboy magazines, art and photography books as well as novels like On The Road, Watch for Me on the Mountain and Valley of the Dolls.

The 60’s and 70’s are the decades that I am drawn to the most-the free love, open road ideals, the flowers in her hair and the music are an unending source of inspiration. My friends, polaroids, feathers, prisms, rainbows, balloons, boobs, Americana kitch, Dexedrine, Native American and African textiles, and marijuana all hold a place in my creative process.

7.Which current artists’ work do you particularly like?

Off the top of my head… Rinko Kawauchi ,Alec Soth, Monica Canilao, Xabi Tudela, Jacqueline Dimilia, Jennifer Sanchez, Chrissie Abbott, Cassie Jones, Alec Soth, Damien Hearst, Tracy Emin, 70’s Stephen Shore, Mitch Epstein, Cass Bird, Jasper Johns, Joseph Cornell, Mark Rothko, Gustav Klimt, Ryan McGinley, Agathe Snow, Jennilee marigomen, Hannah Whitaker, Penelope Umbrico, Lisa Yuskavage, Mercedez Singleton, Andrea Galvani, Ixone Sabada, and Erica Browne

(also-here is a link to blog posts tagged with inspiration nation: http://besosyfotos.blogspot.com/search/label/inspiration%20nation )

8.Ideal plan for a day off work?

My ideal day off work would have to be a beach excursion with buddies, beers and books. Preferably this would take place in Barcelona but in the real world where I live in Brooklyn, I’ll take Fort Tilden or Coney Island (with a ride on the cyclone).

9.What is your greatest ambition?

To make a living off of making art.. So, in other words, I’m looking for a long lost Medici or some such patron who wants to support me and my commitment to making art. I would also really like to curate an all womans art show some time in the near future, as there is still quite a discrepancy in the amount of men vs. woman being shown in Chelsea and in galleries in general. I think that should change. For now, I try to promote other women painters, sculptors, and photographers by putting their work on my blog but I think it would be great to do a group show and highlight these talented ladies. In the short term, my greatest ambition is getting into the graduate school of my dreams (the Bard MFA summer program upstate) next year. Oh and also to get an intern.

10.What do you fear the most?

In no specific order: dark water, my iphone falling on the subway tracks, a fire burning all my negatives from the last 15 years, Alzeheimers disease, my parents and my cat dying. Some of these fears are avoidable, some not.

11.Grateful for…

I am grateful for: lot of love from my family and friends and mi amor, getting the opportunity to travel as often as I do, being born a woman in a first world country in the 2ost century, the invention of Polaroid (thank you Edwin), the internet, sunshine, color film, a great shoe collection, my cat sharice, good legs, blush, my photocopier/printer all in one,

12.What other talent would you like to have?

I wish I was good at surfing, skateboarding and playing drums. I also wish I was better at drawing things as I see them and that I was as good at photoshop as I was at color darkroom printing.

13. If not yourself, who would you be?

That’s a tough one…an eagle or a falcon I guess. My Native American spirit animal is the coyote-that could be fun…I suppose Mary Kate Olsen seems to have a pretty good time with her life. My favorite historical figures mostly died in some tragic fashion-Diane Arbus, Janis Joplin, Edie Sedgewick, Baroness Elsa, so I would have to pick and choose time periods of their lives-the suicide and overdose thing is not my style. I dunno, I suppose that I feel pretty lucky to be who I am and where I have been so perhaps I can’t wish too hard for a switcheroo. It is a fact that we all have our luck and our hardships and my art and life are about trying to focus on the brighter side of these things, while remaining conscious that all is inevitably fleeting, final—the fatalistic beauty..

14. Your state of mind

I am a Libra though and through, so, I strive for balance in all that I do but rarely have everything aligned to do so.  I’m terribly optimistic at times yet I can easily swing to the negative..I am best at mediating other peoples lives and my paintings and photographs are also a mediation of sorts-all about checking in with the present in congruence with the past-whether that is a moment or an emotion.

15. Shout out loud – free to say whatever you’d like


-or alternately –


More by clicking here.

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges

© Louise Ingalls Sturges


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