We spoke with Heather Accurso, an Ann Arbor-based artist, about her work currently on display in our 117 Gallery as part of our exhibition, Favorites’ Favorites. Heather holds an MFA from the University of Chicago and teaches drawing at Washtenaw Community College. You can check out Favorites’ Favorites from now until February 10, 2018.
What is the inspiration behind your pieces in this show?
For the past few years I’ve been drawing my daughter, Bea. In the pieces she is powerful, overcoming disastrous situations as a transcendental super-hero. Recently, I became interested in adding sculptural elements to my work. I was inspired by seeing so much artwork made in Detroit with found objects. I enjoy the hunt of finding found objects, so that’s where the work is heading. I was also inspired by fiber artists that I’ve been meeting, including my friend Kirsten, to use fabric. I had been drawing these tiny little sacred shrouded corpses and I actually would make them and draw them realistically. I made them with linen around fiberfill and objects wrapped in twine or sewn or pinned together.[spacer]
Is your daughter depicted often in your other work?
Yes. I decided if she’s willing to continue this collaboration I’ll probably end up having to draw her as an adult woman later on down the road because she’s already almost ten. The years are flying by! So yeah, since she was born. And prior to that I would photograph the children of friends or I would find images online of children that I would totally change in the drawings.
Does she enjoy being able to collaborate with you?
She does. It’s hard work for her, we take a lot of photos to get the right pose. She comes up with the pose sometimes, she knows the story that I’m trying to tell. We pick out the clothes. There’s one drawing she doesn’t want me to sell, it’s not in this show, and I’d kind of like to try to, but I promised her I’ll never sell that piece. She’s attached to that one, called “For the Drone Children.” I don’t really know why, there’s a lot of pastries in that one, cake and cupcakes so I think that’s what she likes the most about that one.
Why did you choose these pieces for the Favorites’ Favorites show?
These are the only two pieces of my recent work that haven’t been seen at the Ann Arbor Art Center. I actually did submit “Paramedic” to two calls for large group shows and was rejected. I knew Seder (the curator) would be open to my choice. I think it just wasn’t a good fit for those shows I applied for, but I think it works great with this one. I was so happy when I heard who was in Favorites’ Favorites because they’re artists doing something eccentric and it just feels right.
See more of Heather’s work on her website.