As a mixed media artist myself, I’m a huge fan of Austin based artist Deborah Roberts. AND – talk about good timing – she has a huge show opening at The Contemporary Austin THIS WEEKEND, Saturday January 23, 2021! (ps. tickets are required because of social distancing… get them right here). I had so many questions for her about, well, everything from process to the underlying message in her very powerful, stop you in your tracks work. I read part of her artist statement during the episode, because it just so beautifully explains why Deborah does what she does, so I’m going to put it right here too:

“Wading through my work, you must look through multiple layers, double meanings and symbols. My process combines found and manipulated images with hand drawn and painted details to create hybrid figures. These figures often take the form of young girls and increasingly Black boys, whose well being and futures are equally threatened because of the double standard of boyhood and criminality that is projected on them at such a young age. The boys and girls who populate my work, while subject to societal pressures and projected images, are still unfixed in their identity. Each child has character and agency to find their own way amidst the complicated narratives of American, African American and art history.” ~ Deborah E. Roberts

See? So good. You can listen right up there under “Hip Bone”, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts and or Spotify. Okay… first up, a few of my favorite girls:

Oh my goodness… that final piece! It’s titled “Fighting All the ISM”. Look at everything that goes into each piece… drawing, painting, flat patterns, and zillions of photographs all coming together in perfect harmony.

As Deborah mentioned, the boys needed to be included too. Here are just a few of them:

Gorgeous! It’s their expressions that get me… which is kind of amazing since each face is made up of so many bits from so many people.

Now, I just mentioned this quickly, but yes, Deborah’s work has also graced the the cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK:

Gah! I love those two girls so much. Obviously, I had to include this shot of Deborah in the studio with these pieces because, SCALE!

And finally, the boys and girls all together with…

… the woman who painted, drew and collaged them into existence! Thank you so much to Deborah for taking time out of this very busy, pre-show, week (so exciting!) to come on the podcast; and of course, thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Deborah on Instagram
  2. “I’m” at The Contemporary Austin: Jan 23, 2021 – August 15, 2021 {reserve tickets}
  3. Gallery shots above: Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  4. Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles
  5. Harper’s Bazaar UK


comments (11)

  1. “i’m” - fooledbyart /// 01.22.2021 /// 3:34pm

    […] Posted bythe jealous curator […]

  2. claire brewster /// 01.23.2021 /// 5:07am

    I can’t wait to listen, I love her work so much. I saw a show in London last year, it was so good. Thanks for sharing more of her work.

  3. the jealous curator /// 01.23.2021 /// 7:43am

    You’re going to love it… she’s fantastic!

  4. Sandee Johnson /// 01.23.2021 /// 8:39am

    Thank you for introducing me to her utterly fantastic work as well as her thoughts and evolution. She is destined for an amazing future!

  5. friendlybusdriver /// 01.23.2021 /// 8:40am

    I love this so much. Reminds me of Romare Bearden.

  6. Peg Grady /// 01.23.2021 /// 9:12am

    Amazing powerful work. Thanks for putting in the photo with Deborah for scale as I was thinking these pieces were smaller and seeing them on the wall with her in front blew me away, as did the story of her picking up her mail (getting your mail while being Black is yet another dangerous endeavor). Great interview, wonderful artwork, thanks for introducing her work to me.

  7. Amy Tingle /// 01.24.2021 /// 8:05am

    I love her work so much. I’ve only gotten to see two pieces in person but if we could fly right now I’d get my ass to Austin. Awesome interview with one of my favorite artist humans!

  8. Paulo herkenhoff /// 01.24.2021 /// 10:23am

    Debora Roberts has an exceptional eye for teenagers, their sense of being together, emotional doubts, elegance and ethic pide. I am a “jealous curator” wishing I could see ver show and meet her, but i live in Rio. Mas be to write some considerations on her art to express my appreciation for this ethical gift in those terrible days for democracy and social life under the principle of equality.

  9. Paulo herkenhoff /// 01.24.2021 /// 10:27am

    Sorry for my bad English. I meant ethnic pedir
    But ethics is part of the Debora’s artístico attitude. Another correction: may be to write some considerations […]

  10. Paulo herkenhoff /// 01.24.2021 /// 10:28am

    Ethnic pride

  11. Cheryl Hansen /// 02.03.2021 /// 3:49pm

    Great interview. Always love to hear the back story of the art. The scale of her work is crazy! Yes, very sad to hear about her picking up her own mail. We have to do better.

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