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Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist Season 2 - Exclusive Interview With Lola Thompson

Posted on 12/18/2011 by Todd in Work Of Art and Cast Interviews

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Lola Thompson from Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist Season 2

by Todd Betzold

It was a battle for the finals on last night's episode of Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist, as the artists met with residents of Cold Spring, New York, to try and find inspiration for a portrait. Jerry seemed to enjoy the piece done by Lola Thompson, but the other judges were not as impressed and she was sent home. Today we got an exclusive interview with Lola as she talked about her experiences on Work Of Art.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: What made you try out for Work Of Art?
A: Lola: I've got a bit of a fetish for public humiliation.....also - I watched some of the last season and it seemed like such fun! Various friends and family encouraged me to give it a shot - and the idea of making art for a month with no expenses was very appealing. I liked the idea of making things under constraints - I am definitely a person who works better with a deadline, or under pressure. I had no expectations - I just thought it would be a good thing to try. And it was - the whole experience was fantastic, the studio was incredible, and I felt really lucky to be surrounded by so many smart and talented people.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: After watching the episode last night, do you regret not using a picture of the coin collectors in your final portrait?
A: Lola: No, I don't regret the fact I didnt make a 'conventional' portrait. Dennis and Tommy are not men who are defined by their physical appearance - after knowing them only a few hours, it seemed to me that they were defined by their obsession- the lore and the history of our country's currency. A literal or figurative portrait just wouldnt have communicated anything about these guys. They were so damn smart - and funny and passionate and deep - after just a few minutes I was caught up in their spell - fascinated by the peculiar and overlooked meaning behind the bills which take up so much space in our lives. Is there anything we think about more than money as a society today? But how much do we really know about our own currency? I wanted the piece to communicate a little bit of the knowledge I gained from talking to them - and to show how beautiful these old bills are. Watching the show, there were definitely some things I wish I had done differently or better. But I was proud of my final piece and I'm glad I made it.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: You and Kymia didn't seem to get along. Was that just the way it was edited to look that way, or was there bitterness between the two of you?
A: Lola: There were definitely a couple of moments of tension between us - but I think it seemed a lot more catty and bitter than it actually was. I like Kymia as a person and I respect her as an artist. I think we both felt competitive with eachother - in part because we are quite similar. The fact is, we were in a competition. There were moments when I was solely focused on my own work - how to make a sucessful piece, how to stay in the game - etc. I tried to be really honest in interviews about my insecurities, my fears, jealousies, etc - I guess maybe that came off as 'mean' or 'bitchy' but that was certainly never my intention. And I don't think that anything I did or said affected anyone else's work adversely. As a cast we all joked that the show would probably be totally dull for drama loving reality tv fans - we spent the vast majority of the time being totally lovey dovey, supporting eachother, talking through ideas, giving advice and tips on everything from how to make a mold to titles to how to defend a piece in the crit.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: Did any of the other artists stand out to you during the competition?
A: Lola: Michelle is brilliant. She stood out from the get go - I was kind of in awe of her thinking, her ideas, her technical abilities...also she was hysterically funny and brave and generally rad. Of course Young's intelligence and ability to focus was pretty clear from day 1 - He's one of the most articulate people I've ever met - he's also very sensitive, but he balances it out with his slightly dirty, naughty sense of humor and a love for the crude and rude. We bonded over a mutual love of RuPaul.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: Would you ever do another reality show?
A: Lola: No - You'd have to work hard to convince me to do another reality show. Maybe if Bravo got the whole cast of Work of Art together for some totally weird final showdown - a performance art battle or something equally absurd.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: Any predictions for who will win in the finale next week?
A: Lola: Hmm....I think Kymia, Young and Sara J have all got a chance to win it - and I know they are all hungry for the win. They are all great artists with totally different aesthetics so it will be interesting to see what they all make. If I had to bet, I think I'd put my money on Kymia...but you never know.

Q: Todd, RealityWanted: What's next for Lola?
A: Lola: I'm working on a couple of new projects, curating a show with some friends - basically I'm trying to dedicate myself to making art. Its difficult to balance everything - I've got a job which takes up a lot of my time so I have to work hard to make time in my life for my practice. The great thing about the show was the opportunity it gave me to make art the single focus of my life for a month. In real life, there's a thousand distractions. I'm trying to give myself permission to take risks in my art making and not to be afraid of failure.

Work Of Art: The Next Great Artist airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Follow Todd @tbetzold


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