30 Minutes with Autumn
When Autumn de Forest was visiting in November, we sat down and talked a little about some of her travel, inspiration, her likes, dislikes, what she’s reading, and some advice she’d give to parents who want to help nurture their children’s artistic interests and more.
You’ve been traveling quite a bit since you were here in July – you’ve been where it’s warm, you been where it’s cold and seen all kinds of beautiful sites in places like the Caribbean and Alaska, to name a few. When you see some of those places, does that inspire you?
It’s interesting, because my mom or my father will say something like, “Oh, look at those mountains, aren’t they beautiful?” And I can say they are beautiful because they are. But they really don’t inspire me in my work.
What inspires you?
Well, all different kinds of things inspire me. But some things that a lot of people think could or should inspire me, often don’t.
Do you miss painting while you’re traveling?
My dad will bring a little painting I’m working on and paints and stuff. Mostly, I’m gone for short times – one or two days. Sure, I miss it, but it’s not too much.
What’s the first thing you do after you’ve been away?
Depends if it’s late or not! Sometimes I just collapse and get comfy. Other times, I do some schoolwork. But I do schoolwork when I travel, too. (Autumn attends a virtual school – so even when she’s away, she’s connected to school.)
I’m at the end of Book 12 of the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I love it. I have his new book, When Did You See Her Last? But I have to stick with what I’m reading – one book at a time – and stay focused on it. Otherwise, I’m distracted like a squirrel!
(When our discussion turned to books, I mentioned I had four books going and she said she has to keep to one at a time or she might not finish it. I assumed the same rule applied when she was painting, but surprisingly, she likes to work on many different pieces at a time.)
Are you inspired by what you read?
Yes. When I read about other artists – like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. But with fiction, not as much.
If a parent came to you and said, “Hey, my child likes to paint. What should I do?” What would you say?
Set them up with a canvas – not a huge canvas – but a canvas. Maybe some acrylic paints – depending on how old they are. But more than just crayons and a little watercolor set. Maybe give them a couple books on artists. Don’t overwhelm them by saying, “We have to do this, and we have to do that.” Just take it slowly. If they are interested, maybe do a little more.
What would you tell them not to do?
Just don’t overwhelm them. Not every kid is going to want to be a painter. Not every kid is going to want to create. But there are other ways – music, art, acting, dancing. I’m not saying everybody should paint. Not at all. I’m saying maybe experiment with creating – but if you don’t love that, maybe that’s not your thing. But all those different things are arts, too.
Okay – so we’re going to run down a quick list of questions. You answer with the first thing that pops into your head. Ready? (My edited James Lipton moment.)
Your favorite word?
Love … and red.
Your favorite thing to look at?
Paintings by other artists – beautiful pictures … and the color red!
Oh, chestnuts, and I love the smell of peppermint.
I have a few! Stompa by Serina Rider and Lights by Ellie Goulding, and I also love Sail by AWOLNATION.
Do you have a favorite color?
Red … and gray and gold and brown and white … (she laughed at the idea of choosing.)
What excites you?
Opportunities, people, places and things.
Other than painting, how do you express yourself?
What’s the best part about coming to Michigan?
Park West! (Really. That was her answer. Smart girl.)
Here’s a look at some of the media coverage from Autumn’s recent visit.