When Expressive and Industrial Art Meet with Roxanne Grooms

Your work is described as therapeutic. Why don’t you like that term very much?

I’m doing what I do because I want people to embrace their overall mental health, to really let themselves go, get lost in the art, and figure out what it is that they see and why they see it. 

Looking at your work, I have noticed a couple of themes that I want to dig into. The first being the hand sewn elements in some of your works. I’m really interested in what it means for you to have this very different tactile approach to the linen or canvas that you’re working on. Where did that come from?

My grandmother again can take total credit for that because she taught me how to crochet. I can’t crochet, but I liked watching her crochet as  her hands created doilies, potholders, and tablecloths.  I started to incorporate that into my work because not only did I like it for its nostalgia, but I also liked the way the sewing of the cloth around the painting anchored it, cocooned it, and gave it a stable existence. I liked the fact that it wasn’t just a flat surface.

I really love this idea that you’re playing with where you’re disrupting the weave that already exists in the canvas and adding this completely new rhythm to it. One of these patterns is the circle motif that shows up over and over again in your work. An artist named Yayoi Kusama came to mind while I was looking at your work. What is the circle for you? Is it a motif to meditate on and release anxiety through? Or is it something else?

When Lisa (Camargo) and I first met, we had this interview and we talked about the circle. I shared with her that it’s so strong and  functional, yet so soft and pure. I loved that duality. It felt really powerful for me because it’s so strong and exists as such a soft and gentle entity. 

Any parting words that you would like to share for emerging artists who are interested in setting up their practice?

If you love it, do it; stick to it. It will come. What will come - who knows? Don’t expect to get rich quick, but shoot for it if you want to. Stay true to your heart, and I know that that’s cliché, but gosh this is - we get a blip. If you ever watch the Science channel or those types of shows, you realize how huge the universe is and that the world will be extinct at some point a hundred million trillion years from now. Go for it and be happy. Love what you do.