I recently interviewed Lorna Leedy, artist and owner of Fancy Pony Land, a studio and showroom in Marfa, TX. On the eve of her new community exhibit, “My Personal Flag,” Lorna discusses the inspiration behind working with several artists, each creating a visual representation of themselves.
Lorna, the exhibit is gorgeous and works so nicely in your shop and studio. How did you come up with the idea?
Several years ago I read a piece in The New Yorker by the comic writer Jack Handey called “My Flag.” He describes the plethora of symbols and images on his personal flag, explaining that “the bra and panties stand for women’s rights. Davy Crockett shaking hands with Daniel Boone symbolizes how we need to put aside our differences. The skull and crossbones, in the lower right corner, stands for pirates, and all that they have given us.” Ever since reading that piece, I’ve wanted to make my own flag and create an exhibition. I’d also been meaning to make flags for the front of my store, Fancy Pony Land, to draw attention to my otherwise drab exterior.
Was there any one thing that inspired you?
I heard that Ballroom Marfa, the excellent non-profit contemporary art space across the street from Fancy Pony Land, was doing a show about New Orleans (“The World According To New Orleans,” curated by Dan Cameron), a city I called home off and on for about ten years beginning in the mid-nineties. I consider it a second home because it’s the place where I grew up and learned how to be a working artist. Since living in New Orleans, Mt. Rainier National Park and Marfa, TX equally feel like homes. This got me thinking about place and identity and that’s when the show “My Personal Flag” was born.
How did you approach artists to participate?
I invited a handful of friends to make their own personal flags and got an overwhelmingly positive response. Soon I had friends of friends contacting me and asking if they could make flags too — the list just kept growing. The show has flags by fifty people, including my dad and several other family members, many Marfa locals, several New Orleans artists, old friends from high school and college, some people I’ve never met and my kindergarten teacher. The show has been one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. Many people pitched in to hang the show and help out and it really looks fantastic in the space. The variety of flags is as wide as the variety of people involved.