A Q&A with artist Marie-Elena Ottman

Do you know anyone who has participated in the Nissan Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race? Artist Marie-Elena Ottman (marie-elena.com) has. Her adventurous spirit also reveals itself in her art.

LEO: What type of artist are you?
Marie-Elena Ottman: I consider myself to be a multi-disciplinary artist and enjoy exploring and incorporating new materials in my work. As an artist, I am continuously growing and exploring new materials. I always allow myself the opportunity to try new techniques and, even if I fail, I always gain something from those experiences. It keeps me from staying stagnate.

What is your earliest childhood memory that involved art?
I remember as a child playing with ceramics, sculpting animals and play settings, while my mother worked on her ceramics. [Play-Doh] was one of my favorite toys as well as painting.

Who are some of the artists you admire?
Quite a few actually, but I enjoy following Sergei Isupov, Jun Kaneko, William Morris, Judith Schaechter and Ruth Asawa.

What do you want to do that you haven’t done?
Play in my studio and explore materials and techniques that I acquired in graduate school, such as glass, printmaking and fibers.

What is something most people do not know about you?
That I paddled 52 miles from the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean in a cayuco — [a] canoe type vessel used by indigenous groups in Panama. It was a three-day ocean-to-ocean marathon which occurs yearly.

About the Author

A Q&A with artist Marie-Elena Ottman

Jo Anne Triplett is the contributing visual arts editor at LEO Weekly. She’s a past member of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Public Art, was the content advisor on the Glassworks Building video, and has written for Louisville Magazine, Kentucky Homes and Gardens and the national publication Glass Craftsman. Jo Anne came to Louisville from Washington, D.C. where she worked as a researcher and writer for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.



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