Heidi Cregge, The Ocean is Life

Heidi Cregge debuts her new work at Levende, Friday, May 6th, 2011. If you have not been to an opening yet at Levende, you have to check it out. It is a new type of Art opening experience really. They don’t start until 9pm, for one. The bar makes it a great place to end your First Friday Art Murmur walk with a tasty beverage. The huge walls in the place make large format work possible and this month, we are all so proud to host the work of “Live Art Wednesday” Veteran Heidi Cregge. Heidi’s beautifully painted organic forms are graphically arresting and are all certainly compelling. I asked her a few questions about where her inspiration comes from.

Obi: What is your relationship to the Ocean? I know it comes from a personal history which includes Hawaii, right?

Heidi: I am an island child. My mother is a surfer and my father is a sailor. Growing up in Hawaii and surrounded by water, the Ocean is life. A lot of the time it kept my father away from home, though, and from all the times of asking the waves for his return, I grew a relationship with the Ocean that was a little fear and a lot of respect.

Obi: What other incarnations has your art had in the past? Can you walk me through a little chronology of your art career? Have you always been attracted to these organic forms?

Heidi: My first artistic pursuits were in photography and filmmaking, which led to my work with video compositing, special effects, and programming. In grad school I used ocean plants and organic shapes to challenge my programming and 3D modeling skills, and it became clear that I was creating artworks about my home. To take a break from coding, I would also create a great deal of organic forms in felted wool, crafting them as exultant offerings with inner and sometimes interactive glow.

I’ve shown a lot of installation and sculptural work in the past few years, and consider myself a visual artist with a lot of computer art skills. Lately, I have returned to the idea that making art for the Ocean is a sign of respect. In Hawaiian culture, it is a belief that all things are spiritual and filled with life. Lifting up a marine life form as a totem, filling it with light, and giving it life, honors the Ocean. Do I do this because the Ocean is all that exists between here (California) and home? Maybe.

Obi: Talk to the formality of the work? There is an almost scientific quality about it, wouldn’t you say? As if these forms exist outside of an ecosystem…

Heidi: There’s a lot of science in ocean life, especially when you want to recreate organic forms in the computer. The natural order of coral growth patterns are amazing – fractals that grow and branch while waves and water temperatures create subtle variation. The pure-space of a computer is probably the opposite of a real-space ecosystem, though, and that influence shows in my work. I’m inspired by the algorithms of natural forms, oceanographic illustration, and navigation: charting, stars and sextants, satellites. Because of my family’s sea-faring ways, my work also explores travel, separation, and reunion. It’s what I know.

  1. Sandy

    “Because of my family’s sea-faring ways, my work also explores travel, separation, and reunion. It’s what I know.”

    Heidi was raised in a family where her Father left on a submarine for 6-8 months at a time.

    Heidi was raised on her Mother’s birth place, Oahu, where she learned to love the sea and it’s many creatures. She thrived on Oahu and found her passion of art in her own expression of her environment in her art there.

    I am extremely proud of Heidi!!

  2. Dalinda

    Thanks for sharing your insights Heidi. I enjoyed reading this interview. I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your evolution as an artist and human being! 🙂

    Much Love- Dalinda

  3. Technical question – how do you cut the paper / vinyl. Laser or by hand? By the way – great work. I look forward to see your career progress.

  4. Sigrid

    Heidi, I love your ocean paintings. I noticed you added gold (or silver). When are you having your next show? Please add me to your mailing list.


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