Loring Baker is one of the artists participating in the exhibition 'Recurring Memories', and she answers some of our questions about her inspirations, the best part of being an artist, and more.
What’s your background?
I was born in Corpus Christi, which is a coastal beach city in South Texas. I am the middle child of three girls. I was a punk rock kid so art, playing music, and books were always my main interests. When I was really little I drew, loved coloring books, put on plays, and played dress up. I started college, fell in love and had my son, then moved back home to complete my BFA degree. A few years later I was able to go back to school and got my MFA degree. For work I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Del Mar College and until Covid-19 hit, I was also an online assistant to a travel agent.
What does art mean to you?
To me art means freedom. There are no boundaries in art and I love that. It’s a way for me to explore and be curious in a very physical and tactile manner. It’s a way to get thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. out of my head. I can communicate things that I can’t explain any other way.
How did you start making art/Why do you make art?
I started making art when I was a little kid and just never really stopped. My first real art class was in high school- none of my earlier grades offered art as a class. Then when I went to college, I found out you could actually study art as a major. I couldn’t believe it. I never knew that people studied art formally, it just never occurred to me. My high school experience was a bit different and I ended up finding a way to graduate a year early, so it’s not like I had a teacher or counsellor at school telling me about my options. So yea, when I found that out I was completely hooked! I make art because I love to do it. I love the process, and when I am standing in front of a large piece of paper or canvas or whatever it may be, I feel like I am working on something bigger than myself, something that matters. I know that sounds really ridiculous, but that’s how it feels.
What inspires you? What are your biggest influences?
I am inspired by all kinds of things. Nature, books, my son, my friends. My surroundings are always very inspirational to me. Growing up on the coast, water and beaches are particularly inspiring to me. I am inspired by other artists, especially women artists, and even more by those aritsts juggling it all while also being a parent. I am inspired by people who have health issues and are still making it through life day by day. I am inspired by anyone living on the fringes, any oddball or rebel who doesn’t quite fit in. I am deeply inspired by my meditation practice and other self-care routines. I am inspired by social justice, politics, strange instagram accounts I follow… I could go on and on.
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
The best thing about being an artist is there is always something to do! I am never bored because I can always gesso that canvas, or work on that drawing, or sand that whatever. There is always a list of a million things that need to be done. I have always had very busy hands, I shred napkins in my lap at dinner, or twist and knot them if they are cloth, so having something to keep my hands busy is pretty ideal.
What gives you the most joy?
My son, my family and friends, making art, sitting outside reading, swimming in super clear water with a mask on, walking on the beach, nature in general, good films/ documentaries, libraries, god I love libraries, deep conversations, good food and wine…
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
I think it was William Kentridge who said something along the lines of, “It is not my job to worry about whether the work is good or bad, it is just my job to make it.” I love that. And then from the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” the beautiful queen, Lady Chablissays, “Like my mother always said, ‘two tears in a bucket, motherfuck it’.”