Sophia Heymans Where do you currently live, and how does it affect your art practice?
Do you make work for yourself, or do you often think of your viewer?
I have a place in Minneapolis, but lately I’ve been spending most of my time on my family’s farm outside of St. Joseph, MN. There are three houses on the farm. One belongs to my parents, one to my father’s sister and her husband, and the other to my father’s brother and his wife. Together they have 80 acres of prairie and wetlands. I adore the farm because of all the space I have to work. My family always has interesting projects going to keep me motivated and inspired. My uncle built a furniture studio in one of the barns and I am able to build stretchers and painting surfaces in there. My work can become too muddy, claustrophobic and repetitive in a small studio in a city. When I paint on the farm it feels like I’ve been transplanted to the real ground from a clay pot. It’s too great. It’s hard to want to leave.
I always make better work when I can successfully pretend nobody else will see the painting, though it is challenging to keep myself from thinking about an audience on some level. The paintings in which I can forget about the viewer usually turn out fresher and braver, and most people prefer them.
What is the best job you have ever had? When I was in school in Providence I worked at the Athenaeum, one of the oldest libraries in the country. It looked like a mausoleum and Edgar Allen Poe used to hang out there. Plus I worked with the coolest old ladies ever.
Name your favorite dessert and least favorite food. Dark Chocolate and Key Lime Pie. I don’t like Cheetos, at all, and I don’t like the cheetah with sunglasses on the packaging. He doesn’t seem like someone I want to get to know.
What has most influenced your work? It’s too hard to name one thing, there are just so many factors, most of which I’m sure I’m not even aware of. I’m always inspired by watching the landscape out the window on road trips and train rides, seeing the different kinds of lighting during different seasons at different parts of the day during different types of weather… simple things we all understand but don’t think too much about.
april issue #9 of forgetgood