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Artist Tess Bilhartz: Collaboration, Film and Bob Dylan

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

This week I am talking to the wonderful and hilarious painter, Tess Billhartz. We met up in her Brooklyn studio to talk about collaboration, narrative and how film plays into her paintings.

Bilhartz grew up in Dallas, Texas and received her MFA from Boston University in 2010. She has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, and the DNA summer residency program, among others. Solo exhibitions include, On A Good Night at 0-0 Los Angeles in 2017, and Purple Nights, at Arts and Leisure Gallery, New York, NY in 2016.

Bilhartz began collaborating with artist Holly Veselka shortly after her move to NYC. The process of working with another artist has gone on to impact her work in the studio and inspire other projects. Other artists we mention who she has collaborated with include Maggie Ogden and Henry Alberto. We also talk about road trips, including her trip to Marfa, Texas and Bob Dylan tattoos.

The more I look at Tess's work the more I think of her as a female David Lynch. Her work can be unnerving and compelling while reflecting on what it means to be female and an artist right now. Her subject matter is typically women who seem both dangerous and confident in cars and bars. Personally I would love to road trip and get a drink with any of them. When I look at her work, I see myself and other women artists I know. These women take risks, they are strong, they can probably outdrink you and beat you at pool, but they also ask the question, "How long can this last?" The sun comes up, there are destinations on road trips and the bar closes. As a viewer, we get to be on the ride in between. I hope you enjoy the episode!

You can find Tess's work online at her website and on instagram at @tess_bilhartz

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