by Lorie Lewis Ham
We at KRL feel it is important to support every segment of the local arts and entertainment communities, and this week we are interviewing Fresno artist Myrna Axt, an Assemblage & Mixed Media Artist, who was born and raised in Reedley.
KRL: Welcome, Myrna Axt. Let’s start off with giving us an overview of your style of art…Assemblage, and your philosophy.
Myrna: My art is Assemblage (Ahh-sem-blah-juh, like Collage), or found object sculpture. The origin of this art form goes back to the Cubist construction of Pablo Picasso (1912-14). Other famous assemblage artists include Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder, and Louise Nevelson, who began creating her sculptures from found pieces of wood in the late 1930s.
Driven by a childlike curiosity, love of objects and collections, my artistic voice came forward and morphed into an assemblage artist at age 65. I am passionate about engaging my hand and heart, by intuitively breathing life into discarded remnants, so these can be appreciated in new ways and shared with others.
My desire is to do the unexpected and uplift reality using individual pieces that were never intended to be together. In my work, I am constantly seeking synergy between the “known” quantity and the core value of a piece while still paying homage to the subtlety of the composition.
KRL: What led you to create this kind of art expression?
Myrna: When I started creating, I didn’t know “what” this kind of art was called until I visited a gallery in Texas and saw this kind of art..Assemblage.
KRL: What do you feel is unique about your art?
Myrna: There is a cycle of life…Birth, Growth, Death, Decay, and Rebirth…that’s where I come in. It’s exciting to create each piece as it is unique and can never be duplicated. There is something magical about taking an ordinary or dilapidated object and reviving it into something extraordinary. This is my belief and goal in all of my three-dimensional, found object art.
KRL: How long have you been an artist?
Myrna: I’ve been an artist approximately eight years.
KRL: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Myrna: I take communion at my worktable with a desire to open a door, without knowing where the door leads. I stand back and let my imagination take flight. My eyes travel over my accumulation of finds and my soul sings! Common items I’ve selected are now moving in new directions…I wonder who has touched these, who and how was this remnant used? I like to think that part of that person’s energy is still contained within the object.
KRL: What do you love most about being an artist?
Myrna: I love most…my opportunity to create! It becomes a form of meditation for me as I get lost in my own world. I’ve also made so many new friends giving me great pleasure and expanded my life.
KRL: What is the hardest thing?
Myrna: The hardest part of being an artist is the business side. As an artist, I just want to do the fun, creative side, not scheduling shows, bookkeeping, etc.
KRL: Have you had any honors for your art you’d like to mention?
Myrna: My art has led to many awards and exhibitions. Most recently, I received first place in the sculpture category for the Clovis Art Guild Rodeo Show and Honorable Mentions in the Alliance of California Artist Show for my horses.
I’ve received numerous other awards from the following organizations: Fresno—Sorensen Gallery, Alliance of CA Artists, Fresno County Fair Fine Arts Show, Cayucos—Cayucos Art Association, Madera—Circle Gallery, Kingsburg—Kingsburg, Swedish Arts Festival, Visalia—Visalia Art League, and Clovis—Clovis Art Guild.
KRL: Do you have a day job as well as being an artist? What other careers have you held through the years?
Myrna: I’m retired. I spent my career in advertising, mainly on the McDonald’s business; yes, as in hamburgers. I was on account service side, not the creative side. My last position was as a Regional Advertising Manager in the Kansas City area.
KRL: I understand you are originally from Reedley. Did you grow up there?
Myrna: I grew up in Reedley and attended elementary school through two years at Reedley College. I finished my degree in Communications at American University, Washington, D.C.
KRL: Where can people see and purchase your art?
Myrna: I’ve been honored with a number of exhibitions over the past several years at Pacific Grove—Artisana Gallery, Cayucos Art Association, Fresno—Fresno Art Hub, Broadway Studios, M Street Gallery, Studio 74, Historic Water Tower, Tower District Records, Brush and Easel Gallery, Fresno Arts Council.
My art can be seen in Moss Landing at the Haute Enchilada Gallery, Fresno Art’s Council Historic Water Tower Gallery, Circle Gallery in Madera, and the M Street Gallery, Fresno.
KRL: What are some of your future goals with your art?
Myrna: Future goals….to continue to create as long as I can because it gives my so much pleasure. It’s FUN.
KRL: Any events or art shows coming up?
Myrna: I will be a part of Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour, September 29-30, and October 1 in Yosemite Lakes Park, Symmetry Salon, across the street from the YLP Community Church.
KRL: Do you have a website or social media sites on which people can find you?
Myrna: I’m active on Facebook, and my website is myrnaaxt.com.
You can find more art & other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.