Can you imagine creating art with the same materials for 10 years? For Selina Trepp, this structure and her limited materials provide her with subject matter – an ecological closed-system that is self-depleting. By constantly over painting and over drawing the same pieces and structures, Selina is faced with the challenge of how far to push herself with materials – how can you create something new while honoring the old? What happens when her favorite pink paint runs out and she’s committed to not purchasing more? One solution to this is creating animations, which she says is her main focus currently. She claims that if the concept is strong, the materials don’t matter as much – the idea will still come through.
Growing up in Switzerland on a commune, Selina has a unique perspective on what makes a fulfilling life. Her mother and grandmother were both painters, and an artistic lifestyle was not only environmental, but encouraged. About 10 years ago, she started on this current series – using and reusing the same materials – buying nothing new for her art-making except a computer and a camera. Selina reflects that she is so thankful for her upbringing because it taught her not to be consumed with making money, but to find fulfillment with less.
As we talk more about the Artist/Mother balance, Selina recalls that the decision to have a child (she and her partner have one 10 year old child) was a careful one. She knew that she could not enter motherhood unless the caregiving and work load was evenly split – 50/50 with her partner, who is a musician. This sharing of the responsibilities, for Selina, allows her the freedom to fully delve into her work. Her playful, musical, non-narrative animations live in the tension of finding joy in consuming less, and also anxiety about how to exit a closed-loop, self-depleting system.
Another element to Selina’s art practice is visibility for women artists. She recounts several times where she has been accepted into a show, but, because the other exhibiting artists are mostly male, she has firmly but politely declined. By examining what power she holds, she is able to use it in a way that serves others – in this case, other women artists. She regularly challenges the proportions of male to female artists in shows, and is gaining respect because of these choices (even though she might anger some particular galleries!). For Selina, art is life and life is art – the intersection is where she finds her most joy.
Biggest Art Crush: Alice Neel
Dream Trip: Japan
Film or book: The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – film by Jacques Demy
Favorite meal: Korean food, ice cream cake
Shout-out: Dan (husband) and Maxine (child)
To see more of Selina’s work please visit her website and follow her on IG @selinatrepp. Also, she has a show opening at the Cultural Center in Chicago in February of 2022. The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn