The Joan Quinn Profiles

JQ: Are they all from CalArts?

MD: […] Well there are some people from CalArts and there are some people from UCLA and there’s some unknown entities.

JQ: So what I want to know is – when you were in Boston 

MD: Yes

JQ: Were you into the arts?

MD: I was. I mean I was there until I was in high school and then..

JQ: And what little community did you live in? 

MD: I lived just outside of Boston in this little community called Belmont (where Mitt Romney’s from)

JQ: Belmont? My show goes to Belmont

MD: Really?

JQ: Yes

MD: Massachusetts?

JQ: Yes! Belmont. Isn’t that great?

MD: Hi Belmont

JQ: And when I walk on the street they go, “There’s Joan Quinn”

MD: There’s Joan!

JQ: I know – it’s great. Belmont – I love Belmont! So you were into – What were you doing?

MD: […] I was more like your last guest [Lisa Adams], doing visual art and it turned into installation, performances, and then I started making dolls, and I went to the Chicago Art Institute 

JQ: Yes, but were you painting at the Chicago Art Institute? 

MD: I was doing all of it. Like I went there because they had performance art, film and painting, and it was so well rounded and […]

JQ: And who teaches that?

MD: Well there’s painting teachers and 

JQ: And then you integrate them?

MD: Yeah

JQ: Because you have to do the integration

MD: Right

JQ: It’s not a class – I got it – in that… but is there an actual class in puppetry? 

MD: There was! There was one taught by Blair Thomas there. He started the Red Moon Theatre and then they had Janie Geiser as a visiting artist and I ended up studying with her here at CalArts.

JQ: Oh, so she taught at CalArts too. There is actually – cause this is pretty interesting – a puppet making class at CalArts?

MD: Yeah

JQ: And this puppet – we have. Did you make the face? 

MD: I did. I did. So I sculpted.. 

JQ: Out of what?

MD: I used foam and styrofoam and masking tape from Staples – but then I put all art supplies on it…

JQ: But did you learn that in class? 

MD: Yeah, I mean – you learn lots of different techniques. I also study at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center every year and they have a puppetry festival – and – I mean there’s lots of techniques, but you have to decide what works best for your show.

JQ: So there’s a puppet on a hand

MD: There’s a Muppety style

JQ: Yes

MD: There’s American Theatre Table Top style

JQ: That’s this

MD: That’s sort of an offshoot of Bunraku, which is the Japanese style..

JQ: Oh – Bunraku

MD: where six people..

JQ: And then there’s the other

MD: There’s rod puppetry, shadow puppetry, there’s kites

JQ: strings?

MD: There’s theatrical things. There’s…

JQ: What about those old fashioned puppets..

MD: Marionettes.. Yes! Yes!

JQ: What about those? Are they anywhere anymore? 

MD: Yes! They are. At the O’Neill Center, I actually studied with the maker of Howdy Doody’s son, 

JQ: Ohhh ohh

MD: Jim Rose and Philip Huber who did the girl in the Wizard of Oz movie that just came out. But it’s a very old art form and very few people do it now, cause it’s so precise and it’s kind of the opposite of computers

JQ: How did you choose? 

MD: It kind of chose me.

JQ: It loves you

MD: It loves me! I was making dolls and people were like, “Well what are their stories about? They seem pretty far out. What do they…”