“ufos, diaries & underdogs”


I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I managed to get American artist Esther Pearl Watson on the podcast. Actually I know exactly how I did it … I asked Martha Rich to ask her for me. Worked like a charm. I have been a huge fan of Esther’s for years, and finally met her a few weeks ago in New York. I was nervous and intimidated… until she opened her mouth. I quickly realized that she was hilarious, really nice, and actually a little bit shy herself. Esther’s story is amazing… she had a very unique childhood, to say the least, and it fuels much of her current work. Anyway, I’ll stop typing so you can start listening. Hit play right up there under “Looking for the Swimming Hole at Dinosaur State Park”, or you can subscribe on iTunes. First up, a few of my favorite pieces from her painting portfolio. Esther refers to them as memory paintings, and I called them “postcards from childhood”:


Amazing. Instead of sunny, perfect childhood memories, Esther illustrates the darker side… you know, things like “Before the Landlord Finds Us” {you’ll have to listen to find out why there are so many UFOs in her paintings}. Part of the reason I think she’s such a creative genius is because of the way she recognizes / embraces her experiences, good and bad, and turns them into creative projects. Speaking of which, she found an old diary in a dirty roadside gas station bathroom… and yep, she turned THAT into art too. Enter “Tammy Pierce”:


Creative. Genius. Since that day, years ago in a gas station bathroom, Tammy Pierce has become her own woman. {ps. the real owner of the diary was not named Tammy Pierce… it’s a name that Esther made up from various names found in her husband’s high school year book… and btw, her husband is Mark Todd – another insanely talented artist / illustrator / teacher}. Here’s a little taste of Tammy’s world today:


Oh Tammy. So many bad decisions. And there you have it… I beat the art history books and got Esther’s story now! It was such a thrill to meet her in person, and I’m over the moon that she said yes to the podcast. I hope you loved it as much as I did! Thanks to Esther for sharing her hilarious, creative stories; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode; and of course, thanks to you for listening {AND thanks to everyone that’s given a rating on iTunes… ART FOR YOUR EAR is slowly moving up, row by row, in the “What’s Hot in Art” section because of you guys!}

Other people/things we talked about:

Mark Todd  /  Ashley Mistriel  /  Martha Rich  /  Alice Neel  /  ArtCenter College of Design, LA  

ps. I mentioned my brother, playing a hand mirror as a guitar in my “bossy older sister” air band… and should have mentioned that he wrote, played, and recorded the music for this podcast! Another creative genius. Thanks Cam, you’re the best  xo. 

comments (6)

  1. Tyler /// 11.28.2015 /// 5:35am

    Narrative is an important part of art making for me. Super inspiring to listen to this interview. Thanks for anther great Saturday morning listen!

  2. Anna /// 11.28.2015 /// 10:04am

    Am listening to the podcast right now! It’s what makes my Saturdays!

  3. Stacy /// 11.29.2015 /// 4:54am

    Thank you for keeping me entertained on yet another one of my very boring Sunday 12 hour shifts 🙂

  4. Sister Hilda /// 12.03.2015 /// 8:09am

    Lovely that she reads to her students while they work!

  5. callmesusana /// 12.12.2015 /// 10:37am

    I still don’t know if I believe that the finding of the diary is true. Nonetheless, Unlovable is one of my greatest finds. My 7th-graders loved it!

  6. “playing jenga under a fool moon” - Alphi Creative /// 06.01.2018 /// 9:25pm

    […] I’ve interviewed Esther before – both on the podcast (Ep.28), and also for my new book about women artists. Her “memory” paintings are a beautiful, […]

Instant Max AI Instant Profits AI Immediate Byte