Part 2: Interview with Yolanda Sharpe
Has anyone left an impact on your art? What has been the biggest influence on your work?
My favorite opera singers are many. Those that come to the top of my list: Sopranos Rosa Ponselle, Joan Sutherland, Leontyne Price, Zinca Milanov. Tenors: Jussi Björling, and Mario Del Monaco. Baritone: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. . . to name a few. Soprano, Maria Callas is in a class all by herself! I learn about the meaning of words, colors, and music that should come from the voice. Whenever I listen to recordings of her singing, she teaches me that the character’s mood, intentions, and destiny are all wrapped up in the musical score –which reveals the composer’s true focus.
There are many more singers that I like and appreciate, but I don’t want to ramble on.
In regards to the visual arts, once again, there are plenty of artists who have inspired me along the way, and they come from different centuries. Of the most contemporary artists, I wish that I could purchase work from: Elizabeth Murray, Howardena Pindelle, Brian Fekete, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud, Leslie Parke, McArthur Binion, Janet Fish, Joseph Raffael, Sondra Freckleton, Thom Shaw and so forth. I also like the graffiti artist team, BLU. They have a wonderful web site that features their still drawings, and videos: http://blublu.org/
Inspiration is often an elusive element for young artists and poets. Did you ever have difficulty becoming inspired?
No. I have more ideas to work on than I have time in any given day to do them! I find that once I get started with a body of work the ideas flow to, and through me. I don’t wait to be “inspired”. I just work, and go on from there.
Some poets and artists spend months completing a single project. How much time do you usually need to finish one of your pieces?
On average, it takes me from two to three and one half years to complete a body of work, using a particular medium. A long-shot view, however, reveals that I have worked much longer than three years when I step back far enough to see the totality of what I’ve been working on. For example, in 2007, I began working on a series of color pencil and pen & ink drawings. The following year, I expanded my work to focus exclusively on ink, and on larger sheets of paper. This work took me on a journey to produce a series of artists’ books, working from both drawing and the digital medium. Currently, this year, I am designing a composition for a 360-inch long drawing that will use mixed mediums. I think that it will take at least two years to work through this current project.
The watercolor series is another topic. And the same goes for my work with the encaustic (painting with wax) medium. So, I can’t wait around for inspiration! The ideas are crashing around in my mind, and they are looking to be released into all of these projects.
What has been your proudest moment?
I hate to say this, but I don’t know of any one singular moment along. There have been several moments that I was proud of, and I am quite fond of the experiences gained within those moments. Some that come to mind are: 1) learning that I received the Fulbright Scholarship to travel and work in Russia, 2) seeing the concert hall filled beyond seating capacity in Krasnoyarsk, Russia when I came to sing a concert there, 3) seeing my advanced students receive awards for their paintings in notable exhibits, 4) being granted the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and 5) receiving help from friends for my concert to raise funds for the local food bank Most importantly, however, I am always happiest when I can tell people that the Lord helped me through every accomplishment. This is the most thrilling moment, I think.
Is there an artwork or poem that has an especially deep meaning for you or that you’re particularly fond of?
Artwork that my friends give me has special meaning. Once I receive such treasures, I take the artwork down to Artware in Oneonta and have it framed. Also, your mother, Marly Youmans, wrote a poem regarding her impressions of me called, ”Pome for Yo”, and she sent it to me earlier this year. This is intriguing for me, as no one – especially no writer with her international stature - has written a poem about me before. So, I cherish this poem very much.