This post continues my series “In-Sync with…” aimed to get a closer look at contemporary artists and art professionals from Chicago and abroad. Read it, enjoy it, share it, and get in-sync with artist and publisher of PoetsArtists Magazine Didi Menendez. Do not miss his personal recommendations at the end of the interview.
I met Didi via social media. She is an active participant in Facebook through her PoetsArtists group. I have enjoyed her posts, comments and the wonderful artists I have met through her publication. PoetsArtists Magazine is a great magazine that is available as a hard copy, online and most recently as an iPad magazine. This month, Didi and I are co-curating an exhibition titled “From motion to Stillness” at the Zhou B Art Center. The entire exhibition will also be available as a publication in PoetsArtists Magazine. Enjoy the interview, download the magazine and visit the exhibition…
Sergio: Where did you go to school (college/university) and what degree you received?
Didi: I did not receive a degree for myself. I married the day after I turned 21, didn’t finish college and helped put my ex husband through college instead. So technically the degree I earned through him is computer sciences although through the 13 years that we were married I never bothered to learn anything about a computer. Now keep in mind that this was the 80’s and early 90s so by the time I finally decided to “if you can’t beat them, join them” was already after the divorce. I found myself learning Excel, Word, and eventually FrontPage. I LOVED Frontpage but when Microsoft cancelled it, I bought a Mac and have been using one for the last few years.
Sergio: What is one thing you wish you had learned at art school? I wish I had learned art in Art School which I never attended.
Sergio: What is your website?
Didi: I have many web sites and own several domain names but I use a wordpress site for my personal use. Try didimenendez.wordpress.com.
ABOUT YOUR WORK
Sergio: What are you working on and what inspires you right now?
Didi: I am inspired by faces and expressions. I want to try to bring that across a canvas. Although lately I have been using Arches Oil Paper. I really enjoy working on this medium more than canvas. Not sure why yet. It may be because it fills the place for the poetry I do not write anymore.
Sergio: How does a typical day in your studio/creative space looks like?
Didi: I have a regular 9 to 5 job that has nothing to do with the arts. I have children who are at school during most of those hours. I work from home so after I am done with my normal 9 to 5 job and taking care of the house and children, I do this. This being publishing mostly. I publish several journals including PoetsArtists.
Sergio: Do you find social media to be a distraction or an asset for you as an artist and how do you deal with it?
Didi: It is an asset. It is how I communicate with several artists at once via a community I’ve established online. It is how I find content to publish.
Sergio: What is your biggest challenge as a contemporary artist?
Trying not to stay static and growing. I don’t want to paint the same as I did last year or the year before that. I seem to be able to do this with my publications but with my paintings, it is harder to expand and grow. Possibly because I did not go to art school and everything that I learn is on my own. The school of hard knocks.
ABOUT POETS & ARTISTS MAGAZINE
Sergio: When and why did you start PoetsArtists Magazine?
Didi: I started publishing PoetsArtists when I found that I was no longer as interested in just publishing poetry. Plus I figured that if I published poets next to artists, more poets would get their work read. What happened though is that the art side grew and expanded and the poetry stayed static while my other journals which only feature poetry were being recognized by anthologies. PoetsArtists has yet to be recognized for the poetry. The artwork though is leaping and bouncing off the walls. Although I hope that this is our year in the poetry department. Are you reading this Matthew Hittinger?
Sergio: How does digital publishing and mobil media enhance your publication?
Didi: That is mostly what my magazines are. I only provide a print-on-demand option because it is easy enough to do through magcloud.com. I used to use other print-on-demand options such as Lulu and Createspace but they became more and more complicated to use and costly.
Sergio: What is the process of selection of poets and artists for each issue?
Didi: My poetry editors are David Krump and Jack Anders. Most times unless it is a themed issue the poems are selected by them. That is why I enjoy offering themed issues because it is like a curator position for poetry.
Regarding the artists, I choose who is published. It is a very easy process. I publish whose work I like. Period. There are no fees involved for publication. It is based on my aesthetics.
Sergio: How can interested artist submit work for publication?
Didi: The guidelines are posted on our web site at www.poetsandartists.com.
Sergio: What has been the acceptance of your publication in the art community?
Didi: I believe the acceptance is based on quality and not quantity.
Sergio: What is next for PoetsArtists?
Didi: The February issue is the one I am curating along with Sergio Gomez – from Motion to Stillness. The March issue is a themed collaboration issue; Heroes and Villains.
Book… I enjoy a poetry book from time to time…
Art movie or documentary… I like to watch movies, documentaries and TV shows via Hulu, Netflix, etc. on my iPad. I use my big screen TV as my monitor. I am typing this on a 50 inch monster.
Contemporary artist… I have recently become very excited about the work of Jeff Bess. All I ever saw done by him were these Rothko abstracts and just recently he painted a tractor. A huge realistic painting of a tractor. I don’t know what got into him but I hope he continues to paint more like this.
Place to be inspired by… MIAMI
Chicago cafe/restaurant… Do you know of any good Cuban restaurants in Chicago? Point me in that direction.
YouTube video… I recently put this video together for another favorite painter Cesar Santos. The review was written by one of my poetry editors Jack Anders – This video is like a trailer for the review which is published on the web site and will also be included in an iPad edition.