This one is going to be a bit…how should I put it, lets just call it “different” than the previous ones. Not saying that as an insult or anything, I hope no one think that. This is a woman with a lot of humor, I can imagine that she brings a lot of energy and good vibes around people. This, my fourth published interview here is also the first one with a resident living on the other side of the great water they call “Atlantic ocean” (my first “victim” came from Mexico…but she is living now in Holland so that doesn´t count). Now, let me introduce to you a cussing catholic punk rocker named…well, I guess you can read the heading, if not…here´s Bernadette:
Me: A warm, hearty “-Hello!”. Please introduce yourself to my readers, who are you and what kind of art/tecnique do you prefer/use? Where were you born and where do you now live? etc…
Bernadette: Right on! I’m totally stoked to talk to you! Thanks so much for hitting me up!
I’m Bernadette Maurice Dennis… painter and printmaker. I work a lot with oil on canvas, and lately I’ve really been into printmaking by digitizing my art and then using a paper lithograph technique. Sometimes I will frame the prints straight away, and other times I will trim and mount them onto canvas and work them into a painting using acrylics. I like all of the possibilities mixed media offers, and so my most recent pieces are a mix of oil on canvas, paper lithographs, and mixed media.
I was born in Millville, New Jersey, but spent most of my adult life living in Alaska, the Jersey Shore, a short stint in Aruba, Philly, and now for the last 7 years or so I’ve made a home on a cool mountain behind the Shenandoah National Park in rural Virginia. I guess you can say I’m a ramblin’ one. Lol
Me: Your name “Bernadette” is there a connection to the Royal Swedish family (Bernadotte)?
Bernadette: Ha! What a cool question! I mean… not that I’m aware of, but if I’ve learned anything in life it is not to rule anything out!
As far as I know I was named after my biological mother, Bernadette. She was a young Dene’ Indian from a subarctic village in the Northwest Territories of Canada. My dad picked her up hitchhiking through Vancouver on his way to party in San Francisco lol. When the partying resulted in me she went back to her village in Canada and I was raised by my dad and his faithful wife. So although I am technically half Native American, I was actually raised by a bunch of New Jersey Italians!
Me: How was 2020 as an artist, for you personally?
Bernadette: Dude! Holy shit man! 2020! I think because it has been such a shit show of a year, my art has been my therapy. To be honest, 2020 was literally the birth of my identity as an artist. My creative self has for sure always been a part of who I am, but because I was so wild and restless as a young adult I had to travel a pretty long and hard road to get to where I am today. I was a young, single mother at 22, so I went to work in the airline industry and there wasn’t really a lot of time to devote to my artistic endeavors. My daughter is now 22 and out in the world on her own, and it is so weird that the timing just happened to coincide with the wild ride of 2020. I found myself so afraid of how the world around me was plunging into chaos that I sort of retreated into my creative side. Without the pressure of providing for another person I was able to really immerse all of my energy into my artwork. My work is how I responded to all of the unrest, political and racial tension, a friggin’ global pandemic with lockdowns all brought some serious fear and a need for wish fulfillment. I was working in my studio constantly… through sleepless nights and days where it felt like the news was always bad. I had amassed a body of work that I was really proud of, and so here I am… unleashed upon an unsuspecting world lol.
Me: When I look at some of your work I can’t help thinking about the early punk rock and the “Sex Pistols”, have these been an inspiration for you?
Bernadette: Oh fuck yeah! Early punk rock… the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Misfits… all of the classics for sure. I was a young skater girl back in the day, and I always identified with the punk scene. There are literally hundreds of sides to my personality, but I have always appreciated that punk rock was a home for misfit toys. The color, energy, and vibe totally inspire me. On the other hand, I also love the great fashion legends like Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, and Yves Saint-Laurent. Overall I love design in all its forms… So I have all of these weird sources of inspiration that you wouldn’t think go together, but for me they do.
Me: Does your art have a message? Is that important to you?
Bernadette: This is such a tricky question to answer for me. On one hand, not really, because to me art is such a personal encounter. When I am looking at someone’s work I feel like it is such a unique experience because I am not necessarily going to have the same reaction as someone else who views the same piece. I am sooooo not into trying to deliver or impose my beliefs on anyone else. On the other hand, I do hope that the viewer in discerning my work can walk away and take with them something good that they found in what I created. That it makes them want to give something, however small, back into the world to make it a cooler place. What is super important to me is delivering an experience that evokes something real and genuine, and every once and a while a good fucking laugh.
Me: What are your philosophy when it come to pricing your artworks?
Bernadette: I try to be realistic and fair. I am really into the idea that art is for everyone, and having been a broke ass struggle for a lot of my life I really know how it feels to want something cool to appreciate and having no money to buy it. I try to make cool pieces so that there is something for everyone, and that money shouldn’t be an obstacle to being able to have a piece of art that makes you happy. On the realistic side of things, especially with my larger oil on canvas work, I consider the time and materials I have into them and then my level of notoriety. Since I am really just starting out I’m practically giving them away! Mostly I’m just trying not to go broke making them lol.
Me: Do you have any tips you can/want to share or recommend when it come to selling and/or marketing your art?
Bernadette: Shit man… I guess just be open to all possibilities, and not to lose sight of why we make art to begin with. It fucking sucks to get discouraged when trying to build something, and it is easy to get sucked into how our social media campaign is performing or how much we are selling. Personally I think it takes a while to build something really good, and it takes hard work. Don’t be afraid to take risks, stay true to yourself, don’t be a douche bag, and your work I think it will speak for itself as long as you stay the course and put yourself out there.
Me: Do you read (books) and If so what was the latest book you read?
Bernadette: Oh hell yes. Because I’ve been working in my studio so much I have been reading mostly literary mags like the Paris Review, and a Public Space is one I like a lot. When I don’t have time to stay with a full -length novel I like the short food for my brain that those lit mags provide. I also love reading old MAD magazines from the early 80’s lol. Before I went on my binge of nonstop creating I read Hemingway’s ‘A Movable Feast’. I love the simplicity of his voice in describing being a young, broke writer living in 1920’s Paris hanging out with the likes of Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. Imagine that fucking adventure!
Me: Favourite Tv-series and favourite movie(s)?
Bernadette: Right now I am really loving ‘Lilyhammer’ on Netflix! I am a huge Sopranos fan, mostly because it really reminds me of back home in South Jersey, and my family (the New Jersey Italian, Catholic, Sunday dinner part… not the gangland violence part), so I always watched it when I was homesick. ‘Lilyhammer’ feels like it can be a Sopranos spinoff almost! Steven Van Zandt reprises his mobster persona in a way that is almost identical to his character Silvio on the Sopranos. I have seen a weird theory online where ‘Lilyhammer’ is Silvio’s coma dream! I am so devastated that it ends after 3 seasons! Also, the friggin music is awesome… just like it was on the ‘Sopranos’.
As far as movies go, I am a huge Anglophile and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE shit like ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Hot Fuzz’, ‘Once Upon a Time in the Midlands’… my all time favorite though is ‘Trainspotting’, hands down!
Me: What is your favourite kind of music and wich group/band do you love the most (right now)? (You can choose more than one.)
Bernadette: Holy Mac! I love anything that rocks… like we discussed earlier old school punk is high up on my list. I also love Led Zepplin, George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, and all those guys. Lately I have been listening to a lot of So Cal punk like the Descendents and Fidlar when I work, and then when I wanna a more mellow vibe I’ve been going for The Grinns, The Frights, Glass Animals, The National and Waveform. Shit I can go on all day about music!
Me: Do you consider yourself religious, If so wich faith do you betong to? …and/or do you consider yourself to be “spiritual”? (feel free to elaborate!)
Bernadette: I am definitely more spiritual than religious, however I do belong to the Catholic Church. It’s so weird the two sides to my spiritual belief system… The Dene’ people (my bio mom’s Native American tribe) believe in a creator, and that God is in everything. I kind of like to think that… that a force for good exists in nature. When I went to spend time in my bio mom’s village to get to know that side of my heritage I got to experience a drum dance after someone had passed away. It was pretty powerful to see how the Dene’ people connect our physical form to the existence of something greater in nature. It really resonated with me. On the Catholic side of things, it is really more of a personal connection to my past that keeps me there. I was raised in the Catholic Church, and so my upbringing was built around those celebrations of the holy sacraments and simple things like Sunday dinner after mass. I also went to Catholic School as a kid (insert imagined image of me in a Catholic School girls’s uniform here lol), so every single one of the memories I cherish from my childhood are connected to that atmosphere. Both of my parents have passed away in recent years, along with my grandmother, and I am so far removed from that part of my life that when I go to Church on Sundays it’s my way of getting to feel close to it again even if it’s only for an hour each week. There- there is the fucking mushy, sentimentalist in me sneaking out!
Me: Do you “believe” in the precence of UFO’s here on earth and If so, why or why not?
Bernadette: I’ll give you a break and be short with this one lol! I’m definitely open to the possibility. I think it’s dangerous to be close minded, especially in an area where we can’t possibly have all of the information. Like, don’t be dumb… the universe is fucking huge. lol
Me: Besides from creating art, what hobbies and/or interests do you have (If any)?
Bernadette: Shit! I am really trying to give you short answers! I am such a fucking crazy person that I have ten different answers for everything! I’ll do my best here… I love skateboarding, surfing, reading, writing, writing music, playing music, playing old school Nintendo, and lately playing GOLF of all things! It was like a ‘don’t knock it ‘til you try it’ kind of thing, and I found that golf totally rocks! I can absolutely get on board with a sport where you can drink and smoke while you play with cool people, and you don’t have to run!
Me: Are you a proffessional artist or is it at a “hobby” level?
Bernadette: HA! I am really putting all of my energy and time into being a professional artist. I am working really hard to put myself out there to gain recognition, and it is 100% my full time job. With respect to my approach, work ethic, and degree of commitment I am definitely a professional lol.
Me: What would you ask yourself If you were the interviewer? (If you have more than one question, go ahead, ask and answer a few If you like!)
Bernadette: Shit man! I have talked sooooo much, I will put you out of your misery and say you have it handled!
Me: Thank you for your time. If interested to buy or just view, where can I find you and your art?
Bernadette: OMG! Dude! Thank you for having me! It was so much fun to take part, and I am so happy that you invited me to be a part of your work. I really loved reading some of the other interviews you have done with some really talented, cool people. It was great to be included.
To view my work you have a couple of options. I am currently showing some of it at Art Works in Richmond, Virginia. It is a super cool gallery with a lot of great work. The link to my collection there is:
I also started a YouTube Channel to promote my work:
My website is still being built, but you can actually see the main part of it! I am actually super excited that it is even at this stage!
And then of course you can follow my social media platforms:
Wow….thank´s a lot Bernadette. I will definately check out your channel on Youtube, that´ll be interesting. I just love the energy and the excitement you seem to have, I feel that we sometimes are on the same level (crazy, that is), maybe it´s a shared medical/psychological diagnose I don´t know, hahaha.
Below is a few (three to be precise….thats three, 3. Just sayin´) of Bernadettes artpieces. If you have any questions about them I suggest you go to her instagram account and ask her. There´s plenty there. I will most certainly keep my eyes open on this chick, I think that with her energy and entusiasm she can go really far…remember where you read about her first (here..thats on my blog it is. Here, right here.)
Thank you so much for your time Bernadette Maurice Dennis, I wish you the very best in the year of the lord (anno domini) 2021 and onwards.