Marlene McCarty, 52

25th St at Tenth Ave


Photo: Jay Muhlin

What do you do? I'm an artist. I make monumental drawings.

Monumental in scale or significance? Both! They're like 10 by 14 feet. The ones I'm most well known for—and that's in quotation marks—is a series of portraits of girls who killed their mothers. My most recent show is all transgressional relationships with apes and orangutans.

Animal lovers, so to speak? [Laughs] You could call it that.

Do you have children? Yes, I have a nine-year-old daughter.

Ever have nightmares about her murdering you? I always say I hope my work isn't some, like, kind of Shakespearean foreshadowing.

I bet you're a cool mom. Oh, I don't know. I'm a nag. "Get your teeth brushed!" "Get outta bed!" "Did you do your homework?!?" Society makes me be that way. The alternative would be a hippie home-schooling upbringing. Instead, she goes to private school.

How does that work on an artist's budget? I'm not alone. I have a partner—she's a film producer.

So your kid has two moms. Do people take that in stride yet? Well, nothing is ever easy, but I do see things changing. And she goes to school with other kids who have two moms. When she was, like, four or five, she was very vocal: "I don't want two moms. I want a dad and a mom." I'm sure it'll come up again, but now's the acceptance stage.

And at some point she'll realize that she just might be better off with her two moms. You know, yeah! There's research that supports that.

More from Marlene

"I made a pact with myself many years ago that though it would be nice to be able to support myself with my art, [money] wouldn't be the compelling factor for creating it. Part of being an artist is you're compelled to constantly re-create yourself. If you kept doing the same thing it would be very boring."

"These are MBT boots. It stands for Masai Barefoot Technology. It's a New York walking thing. I had this weird knee-hip pain thing and when I started wearing them it went away. They do kind of rebalance the way your weight rests on your feet."

"Lately there's a real slowdown in people paying for drawings they said they were gonna pay for. Everyone is taking a hit. This might be the most intense recession, but I've lived through a number of them. I'm like, 'You know what? I know how to be poor and make art.' It doesn't make me stop. All these people are freaking out, and I'm like, 'Ha! Welcome to my world!'"

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