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Local Artists Live: Madison Faile
April 18, 2020; 10:00 AM–10:30 AM CDT
“You can do anything you will yourself to do.” These wise words, spoken to artist Madison Faile by his grandmother, Deanie, indicate the origins of his dedicated, unbending nature. Pure creation itself drives his artistic work, and no matter the medium or subject, one thing is abundantly clear: this artist lives to create.
Originally from Selma, Madison grew up in an artistic family where his love for art was cultivated from an early age. His mother was a ballet teacher and his district attorney father was an avid photographer with a darkroom in the home garage. His grandmother, for whom he is named, was a very accomplished portrait painter and draftsman, and it was she who taught Madison how to draw. Encouragement and support from his mother especially helped his path in becoming an artist.
There are several artists in the Museum’s collection who inspire Madison, including Walt Kuhn, John Singer Sargent, Ida Kohlmeyer, George Inness, Clara Weaver Parrish, and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.
Madison is the first artist featured on the Museum’s program Local Artists Live, which will stream from the studios of various local artists, showcasing the talent and diversity of Montgomery’s art community. We asked Madison the following questions to learn more about his life, art and process, and to get a taste of what we might enjoy during his Local Artists Live segment set to stream on Saturday, April 18.
Left: Original artwork by Madison Faile; Right: Portrait of Madison Faile by Anna Gibbs
This program is part of the series:
Meet the Artist
Madison, what is your favorite thing about being from and living in the south?
Being from the south is something that many try to escape, but I’ve always embraced it. Southern culture is so steeped in [both] pain and beauty, and I love the contrast. Forgotten elegance, ruined finery…I could go on for hours.
What excites you most about the growth of Montgomery’s art scene?
It’s been exciting to see Montgomery grow and develop over the last few years. We’ve come so far in such a short period of time. I only hope that with this growth comes an emphasis on public art, because we are still greatly lacking [in that regard].
You said Walt Kuhn’s Clown with Long Nose is your favorite artwork in the MMFA’s collection. What is it about this painting exactly?
Walt Kuhn’s life and work have always been a favorite of mine. There is a real metaphysical side to his characters. I don’t consider them portraits; I consider them paintings of characters. The one in the museum’s collection, like many of his, has real menace.
You are known to paint plenty of clowns yourself; is this directly related to the Kuhn painting or do you have another inspiration?
No. [My inspiration is] the circus.
What piece of art that you have created is your favorite, and why?
Changes all the time. Impossible to answer.
Do you have an all-time favorite work of art, and have you seen it in person? If you have, how did you feel at that moment?
Changes all the time. Also impossible to answer!
Tell us about your love for New Orleans. Has the energy of the city helped shape you as an artist?
New Orleans will always be my spiritual city. I always find endless inspiration when I’m there.
What is your preferred medium?
I usually work in acrylic and oil, [sometimes] charcoal and pastel, and I adore colored pencil.
Do you listen to any particular music when you paint?
Everything. Ragtime to Big Band. 70’s to 90’s grunge. Nina Simone to Green Day.
What advice would you give to beginning artists?
Keep going. Do whatever you have to do to make the best work you can. Don’t settle.