The Norman Transcript

N-town Q/A

July 5, 2013

Q&A: Michael Joy Wilson combines taxidermy, rhinestones



Q: What did you do to the taxidermied pieces to fix them?

A: I repaired a bunch of them, rebuilt the fins and stuff that was broken on them and cleaned them up. Then they’re covered in glitter and they have rhinestones on them and gold leaf and they’re painted and kind of shinied up. It’s meant to be making them into icons, there’s a reverent part to it and also a funny part, too.

Q: What was your creativity process like? Were they planned beforehand?

A: I’d been thinking about them for a while because there was quite a few of them. People had given me weird art supplies, that’s another thing about me, I tend to collect googley eyes and someone had given me a box of glitter, like a big box of glitter, and my partner had given me these big jars of rhinestones and it kind of worked in the way of quilting. I’ve done a lot of quilting with my mom where you have pieces of fabric that came from a dress from when you were a kid or a patch from your dad’s shirt and fabric from your grandma. So a lot of the materials might not have any meaning to anybody else but they have personal meanings to me. It was just the coming together of a lot of things I’d been thinking about and were really important to me.

For the pieces in the show I really wanted to do work that felt like something from Norman and living in Norman. The fish and the materials and all those things are memories I’ve collected in my life, but most of them from living in Norman and things I really enjoy about it. So it seemed to celebrate this particular area for me which is what I wanted to have in the show. I wanted something that connected me to Norman.

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