Artist Spotlight: Priscilla Weidlein

July 27, 2017

This week, we are sitting down and having a chat with one of the newest artists in our Red Cap Cards family: American artist, Priscilla Weidlein. Priscilla’s work is a lively celebration of hedonism, nature, and joie d’vivre, full of hypnotic scenes that are full of life and love. Her creative spirit is infectious! We just want to drink it in—and maybe grab a bite of one of her feasts as well! Read on to learn more about Priscilla, her inspiration, work process, and even a bit of advice for artists starting out.

Priscilla Weidlein, Photo by Angel Tucker
Photo by Angel Tucker

Tell us about your life in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is a delight. I live in Providence, which is a beautiful and lively city (though not without its dingy strip clubs). We’re twenty minutes from the ocean. The fair seasons compel me to be outdoors as much as possible, and in winter I hibernate like a chowder-plump bear. My favorite part of living here is how wholly food is celebrated—my life revolves around cooking with friends.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I like to spend the waking hour outdoors. Ideally I catch the sunrise, then run in the large park nearby; visit the birds and vermin. Then, after my signature breakfast (of egg and anchovy taco) I let the work day roll out however it will: active studio work, emails, visits to the frame shop…whatever is up, I make sure to always set time aside to sit at my drafting table. When the sun comes down, I give my brushes a wash and turn the computer off. My focus turns back to food and who I will share it with.

Priscilla Weidlein studio
Photo by Angel Tucker

Did you always want to be an artist? Did you have any other aspirations?
As a young child I told my parents that I wanted to be an artist, and they responded that I already was one. Isn’t that generous?  I have various entrepreneurial aspirations, all of which are in some way tied to my art practice.

What is your work process like?
I start with a tidy workspace that I proceed to ravage. My paint vials (Dr. PH Martin’s) start in a neat row and end in chaos; fallen chess pieces. I listen to music (right now I’m heavy on Kamaiyah). I can work for hours without noticing time pass. Every so often my leg will fall asleep and I’ll get up, tack my work to the wall and walk away for a tea and newspaper break. The magic of fresh eyes gets me very time.

Priscilla Weidlein studio art
Photo by Angel Tucker

What inspires you most? In work? In life?
Light inspires me—light from the sun, light from people. I observe people and the ways they express themselves, through their physical presentation and the way they treat one another. I draw a lot of inspiration from classic cinema: the fashion, elegance and romance characteristic of bygone eras.

Photo by Angel Tucker

What is your favorite piece of work you’ve created?
I recently had a lot of fun making my Bacchanalia print—I designed it to be the invitation for a racous farm party in Vermont, but alas the party was put off, so I’ve made prints with the design instead. I enjoy its harmless irreverence. You can find the prints for sale on my site.

Bacchanalia by Priscilla Weidlein

What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?
In my early 20s I had a great mentor, a painter in New York, who told me to draw and paint every single day! And keep going! And keep going! That was my mantra starting out. I started a drawing a day series called “Dear Diary,” which led me to my first gallery show.

I Believe In You by Priscilla Weidlein

Favorite mediums to work in?
I love anything that allows me to achieve super-saturated color on paper. I work mostly in watercolor, for all its depth and subtlety. Right now I’m hungry to work some larger scale projects, possibly in oil. I’m attracted by the glop factor.

Photo by Angel Tucker

Who are your role models in terms of art or otherwise?
Louise BourgeoisMaira Kalman, and every friend I’ve ever had.

If you didn’t work as an artist, what would you be doing?
I’d like to host splendid, glittering dinner parties ’round the clock. To cook impossible feasts. How to monetize this?

Indoor Dining by Priscilla Weidlein
Indoor Dining by Priscilla Weidlein

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
Yes! I’m soon to start work on a series of wine labels for a fantastic Italian natural wine maker! This has been a decade long dream.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists and illustrators?
Surround yourself with people who energize you…with people who lift you right up!

Grape Snack by Priscilla Weidlein
Grape Snack by Priscilla Weidlein

Any pipe-dreams?
I’d like to have approximately 1,000 dogs. My qualm with the term pipe-dream is that it suggests the dream is unrealistic (I’m a Sagittarius). But here’s one I love: my friends and I dream of going in on some land together by the sea, where we can have work spaces and host summits and grow big, old gardens.

Ciao Bambino by Priscilla Weidlein
Ciao Bambino by Priscilla Weidlein

Obligatory Red Cap question: favorite drink?
Pét-nat! My heart goes to the fizzing, fermenting, lively stuff…

Thank you, Priscilla! To view more work by Priscilla, visit her website or see her work for Red Cap in our online shop.