Interview with Interdisciplinary Artist L. Mylott Manning

Fibers and Threads, The Carlton Hotel, located in The Caravan Stylist Studio, New York, NY

April 2013

Katelyn Gallagher: What inspired you to design the wall the way you did?

Laura Mylott Manning: My artwork has a signature. I like to use bright, colorful fibers and materials against a dark background. It really makes the colors pop.

I am a New York based fine artist. Claudine DeSola saw my National Endowment for the Arts supported exhibition 700 Spools of Thread (Keep it Together) in the NYC Garment District last year. The performance entails a woman wearing a dress constructed out of spools of thread that feed into multiple sewing machines surrounding her. I draped the entire gallery space with yards upon yards of black fabric and built up a lush jungle of colorful threads and yarns.

Claudine was interested in having a unique wall installation that would contribute to the atmosphere of her Caravan Stylist Studio, located in The Carlton Hotel in New York. The studio provides styling services for actors, and the fashion and music industries. She invited me to create a work that is exciting for people to be around, in a similar aesthetic to my Garment District exhibition.

COATS have generously provided the thread materials for this piece. First, the 12’ x 8’ wall was painted with black chalkboard paint. Then I got to work, intuitively connecting and building an intricate network of multi-color blue yarns with a series of off-white yarns on top. The fluorescent blue, yellow, green, purple and metallic treads are added in star shapes to create dimensional layers.

KG: What does the artwork on the wall represent?

LMM: Recently, I was Artist-in-Residence at The Banff Centre in Canada. Throughout the residency we did many amazing hiking trips up the Rocky Mountains. I discovered that actively climbing, while absorbing such spectacular landscapes deepens my thinking process and brings me closer to an intense energy.

I learned the earth’s plates are constantly moving and slowly shifting the mountains. Time is captured in the ridges, breaks and lines of the peaks. I studied the textures, surfaces, cracks, glitches, colors, and sounds of the different rocks.

When I was designing this piece I was thinking about my experiences in Banff. I am interested in depicting a field of texture and surface, with a rupture into another plane. For me the larger hole created in the network of yarns, in the upper-right hand side, represents a shift into a new space. My intention is to have this work oscillate between opposites. There is flatness and a great depth at the same time.

KG: When others see your artwork on the wall what do you hope they vision or interpret the artwork as?

LMM: With my artwork I am always trying to empower people, in each form it takes, whether it is my public art projects, interactive sculptures, performance, sculptural garments or wall installations. My aim with this piece is to create a visually striking experience that causes a momentary surprise when the viewer first encounters it. The interpretation after that is subjective and each viewer assigns personal meaning. I do hope to relay a sense of energy.

KG: About how long did it take you to make this artwork?

LMM: Two days. I work very quickly. I plan to continue with this type of installation too. Currently, I am developing a series of large works on canvas in this style. Also, I’m in the process of creating a dress made out of 100+ vintage and contemporary watches to be featured in the American Watch Guild’s Chronos Magazine.

Thank you to Claudine and everyone at The Caravan Stylist Studio, The Carlton Hotel and COATS for the invitation and support. For further information and to view additional projects, please visit my website at: