The artist featured this week is Cole Marie Metzger, owner of Five Carrot Heart Workshop. Her answers to my questions, as you’ll see, were eloquent but accessible, just like her artistic media. Most recently, Metzger had a few pieces of work displayed on the brick wall in the back of the Dash-In which is what lead me to interview her. I was not disappointed, as, yet again I was pleased to make such a talented and well-rounded individual’s acquaintance. If you frequent the Old Crown, you may even know her face without knowing her talent. As a woman who proclaimed herself an artist at age 8, she attempts to maintain that title in a world filled with many responsibilities and distractions.
When asked where she grew up she responded comically with, “I haven’t managed to do that yet,” but Cole Marie experienced childhood in Huntington. She described Fort Wayne as being the magical place they used to come visit to go to malls and music stores as a child. As a lonely child, Metzger said what first made her decide to create art was purely boredom. “Eventually,” she elaborated, “I discovered my perseverance and emotional investment helped me complete work that I could be very proud of.” She decided to attend IPFW for her undergraduate degree. Cole remembered going to Mad Anthony Brewing Co. open mic nights with her friends. Her choice to live in Fort Wayne came when she met her husband, who was also from a small town. Neither wanted to live in the town they grew up in, so they found a place on the outskirts of New Haven after looking at several houses in Fort Wayne. “The city definitely facilitates the artistic community,” she mentioned. Since she lives in a more rural neighborhood now, she said her favorite thing to do is walking around downtown with her son to show him the art galleries and peek inside places like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
You may have seen the work Metzger’s donated for FW Derby Girls’ 1st “Bust a Move” event, or the Benefit for the Island of Jeju protection. Since she has a heart filled with gold, she also donated pieces for two Fort Wayne Homeless Benefits and for the Haiti benefit hosted by Old Crown. New Haven Parks and Rec and Wunderkammer have also shown her work. Since Cole was once an art teacher, IPFW used her “Battlestations” (below) piece in their “Art Educator’s Exhibition,” and until the Dash-In, most recently was the show Old Crown hosted “Atrophy Exhibition (2016).” This was a solo show featuring mostly college portfolio material of Cole’s. At that show, she sold practically all the new work she had created.
That put Cole Marie back to square one. Since then she has been trying to make time for art but it has been a struggle. When asked how she finds time to hold a job and make art, her response was incredibly relatable:
“I get caught upin the grind like anyone else. I have fresh ideas that areneglected or abandoned because I don’t want to start anything that will consume me when I have a home, garden, family, and pets to tend to.”
When one is away from creating, sometimes it is like pulling teeth to be able to sit down and focus on creating new things. It is especially difficult when the “distractions” from art are actually very important responsibilities. Not everyone remembers to put their family first, but Metzger loves them and sees them as a priority. One of her works which has been hanging at the Dash-In (pictured below) “Allegory,” was likely motivated by this attempt to balance the demands of her life.
“I see a woman at three stages of her life,” she said, describing the piece to me, “experiencing different levels of energy, stress, and hope. Is she excavating something or burying something? Viewers have to finish that stories for themselves.” Perhaps it is a self-portrait of sorts. Her Atrophy exhibition directly addressed her difficulty with being pulled in a million directions in terms of both duty and interest: “It’s not about loss of inspiration, talent, or perseverance,” her artist statement read, “my ‘atrophy’ is due to a lack of time.” She said she is inspired by “emotion, colors, compost, nature, food, dreams, animals,” and just about everything, but that it was easier for her to justify sacrificing all other aspects of her life in college working for good grades.
Most people have made the investment to become a professional in their field by attending university understand the post-graduate struggle, and can relate to what she is experiencing. Shown below, “Growing Nowhere,” (2011) was inspired by her many years as a college student. It was on display for the past month and a half at the Dash-In, so I asked her about its meaning. Her response?
“It was definitely inspired by several years of being a college student (I went part-time). I felt like I was gaining so much, but not going anywhere. I felt stagnant & my responsibilities were parasitic growths feeding off my energy.”
I know I feel this often, so I can understand where she is coming from. Since I am to say yes when I am called to serve, I feel like I’m always being yanked a million ways. As you can see by the image below, there is a uniquely raw and accessible nature to her works. If you can view them in person, I would highly recommend doing so.
Her favorite medium (if she had to choose) is charcoal. Subtractive methods of drawing are her preference. “All the Erasers are essential in my studio!” she exclaimed. But, afterwards she mentioned it’s “a hindrance to enjoy so many different mediums because I don’t ever master any of them….every time I revisit a medium I have to reacquaint myself with it as if it were my first time.” She mentioned the possibility of many more oil. Acrylic, or watercolor works in the future. Her subject matter is pulled from the natural world: plants, animals, songs. When asked about doing a collaboration, she said the one artist who came to mind right away was Dan Moord, who I know has also done a collaboration with Frank Louis Allen (who also just had a show at the Dash-In). Metzger said they have similar philosophies in art and that she sees him as a master who could teach her very much about using colored pencils.
The show at the Dash-In ended this week, but you can snag some baked goods from the Old Crown (made by Metzger) and perhaps experience some of her work through your taste buds. Say hello, send a raven, or e-mail her at Colemariemetzger@gmail.com for information on her art/commissions/collaborations.
Fort Wayne venues mentioned in this article:
Five Carrot Heart Workshop : https://www.facebook.com/FiveCarrotHeartWorkshop/
Mad Anthony Brewing Company: https://www.madbrew.com/
Old Crown Coffee Roasters: http://www.oldcrown.com/
Fort Wayne Museum of Art: https://www.fwmoa.org/
This city is filled with so much talent. Stay humble and try not to let your vices destroy you. Until next time,