1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
Always. I have always created tiny worlds both in my head and in real life. The ability to conduct a team of people into really, truly creating these fantastical scenarios is a life long dream come true. My work feels pretty dream-like at times. when I was younger these fantasies would play out in my head and sometimes I would forget what was real and what wasn’t – now though, it is an even bigger problem.
2.When did you become a mother?
Artemis was born almost exactly a year ago – February 9th. We had a very quick pregnancy. I think some women become mothers when they realize they are going to have a baby, for me, it was in the weeks after she was born. I never had that blissful moment of connection they talk about, when you first see your baby – our love was formed from the many weeks after as we got to know one another.
3.What are your challenges as a mother?
Balance, most of all. Scheduling child care, juggling work, and school, and jotting in times to remember to breathe. It’s really, really difficult to have it all – a loving relationship with your partner, a successful career, an attentive mother. It’s a lot of titles to try and balance and I constantly feel six steps behind.
4. What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist?
See above ^ ha. Also because I have to. I have this overwhelming force in me to create, and if I ignore it, it destroys the rest of my life.
I also have felt this year an urge to be a positive role model for my daughter. For me, it’s important that my daughter sees that you can have a happy career and have children and a significant other, or any combination of these things. I try to surround her with strong women so she has examples in her head when she’s learning (much later!) who she wants to be.
5. Do you have a studio? Where is it?
Much of my work happens wherever I happen to be – I work mainly in photographer’s studios, but sometimes on location. This past year, I’ve worked in the Rivoli (an abandoned theatre on tenth street), several construction sites, a mid century modern home, a jungle themed mansion, a storage facility, and many other strange locales I can’t think of at the moment.
6. When do you spend time making art?
I generally work on set one day a week, although much of my work time is spent shopping, visiting locations, searching for items, meeting with shop owners, and researching designers.
7. What is your favorite medium?
8. How many children do you have?
One tiny girl
9. Have you ever considered giving up being an artist in order to be a mother?
I can’t do it, it would crush me.
10.What is your advice for a new artist mom?
I’m still in the thick of it, I’m still figuring things out. I don’t think I can give any advice because I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’m not still learning. Maybe, get a doula? Have someone with you at the hospital who has done it before – when I was in labour, and the days afterward, I just wanted female friends with me. There’s a reason midwives are traditionally women.
11. Do you have support from family and friends while making art?
Yes, I have a very lovely boyfriend who fully supports what I do in every way.
12. Do you feel like you are taken seriously as a mother artist?
Yes. I try to have a matter of fact attitude about it. Sometimes if a photoshoot runs over time, Jesse has to drop arti off with me. I try to act like its totally normal, like ‘of course I’m steaming clothes with an infant strapped to my back, why shouldn’t I?’ It is difficult though, at times. The first few months trying to find a place to pump on set was just a nightmare. I eventually evened out enough that I could just wait to pump until after, but my gosh it is painful.
13. Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?
14. What do you say when someone asks you “what does your husband do for a living?”
Well, it depends on who asks. Many times people are asking about his music, which I usually let him explain for himself. Just as often, they’ll ask about my work as well, so I’m not offended if that is what’s implied.
15. What is your story?
Our little Arti was a tiny surprise. We had discussed having babies, but not seriously and not anytime soon. I was still in school and Jesse had yet to find his dream job. It’s hard when the decision is taken from you; you feel very sacrificial-lamb. You have to give up so much as a mother and it is really hard for anyone who hasn’t experienced that to understand how that can affect a person.
If anything, motherhood has driven me to succeed, to not accept less than what I am worth. It makes me ruthless, not for myself, but because I cannot fail my daughter. I have become selfish with my time and abilities because I must be able to provide for her. Everything I do, I do with her in mind.
Savannah Norris lives in Indianapolis, IN with her partner Jesse and their little Arti.
Find out more at: savannahnorris.com