Interview with Tift Merritt

The Spark with Tift Merritt: Radio Interview with Anna Schuleit

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THE SPARK: Interview with Anna Schuleit

Perfect days are rare. But painter and MacArthur fellow Anna Schuleit and I live on the same street. Rare is no never, though I’d been trying to meet her for months. I was on the road, she was on the road. She was running, I was running. I really thought I’d like her. Her paintings reminded me of my favorite painter Cy Twombly, only more female, even more visceral. Her installation pieces filled abandoned mental institutions with classical music and flowers. I had a sense of a person of such compassion, seriousness and joy.

Rare and perfect day. Anna sends me her address and it is one block down my street. She greets me at the door in striped stockings with a big hug. Infectiously, she tells me of her passion for world travel, the 10 to 12 hours a day she spends alone in her studio, the deep care she brings to her work, the joy she takes in making things. I keep thinking to myself, in near disbelief, that we live on the same street. We are the same age. She says inspiring things as easily as someone might sharpen a pencil. We talk with ease and laughter, even after the microphone is off. I wonder aloud if she’d ever make an album cover. She suggests we take a train across Russia together. Of course.

Strange to find yourself a grown up working artist and then bump into someone who is also a grown up working artist on the same street, some bright shadow of yourself in their eye. That is what I always wanted to do when I grew up.

Tift Merritt

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