When Ingrid Mathurin was a child she yearned for a sense of stability while living in a household that was often unstable. Mathurin's mother lived with mental illness and her personal strife left a young Mathurin to care and fend for herself. At the age of 10 Mathurin picked up comic books and found her mind preoccupied with the visual art and stories laid out within their pages. It was not long after her introduction to comic books that Mathurin herself began expressing her creative side.
Something very important happened when Mathurin was 14 years old. A women, whom Mathurin credits as a second-mother, entered into her life and encouraged Mathurin's creative habits. With the support and encouragement of this woman, Mathurin continued to create and at 18 years old she met a mentor, under whose guidance she sold her first oil painting.
Mathurin became a mother at a young age. She continued to create even while juggling the responsibilities of being a young adult and new mother. Art was therapeutic for Mathurin. The time she spent painting allowed her to delve into her past pains and present challenges in a meditative-like state. It was through her continued practice of making art that Mathurin came to better understand herself as a person.
In 2013 Mathurin suffered an unexpected stroke. Mathurin's medical issues sidelined her artistic process as she underwent physical therapy to regain the use of the right side of her body. Years passed and Mathurin still didn't feel fully herself. Mathurin underwent additional tests that uncovered that she was living with an autoimmune disease, an ailment that the doctors believe to be Lupus.
In the fall of 2016 Mathurin conducted an audit of her life. This led to her leaving her career as a Makeup Trainer with Mac Cosmetics and moving back to Jacksonville. When Mathurin first suffered her stroke she thought she would no longer be able to paint. While on the road to recovery she vowed to live as a working artist once settled in Jacksonville. After arriving in Jacksonville, Mathurin has worked diligently to immerse herself in Jacksonville's creative community by attending public meetings, participating in and attending gallery openings, and using her personable nature to expand her network. On the second Tuesday of every month Mathurin co-hosts the Every Single Artist Lounge, an informal meet-and-greet organized by the Cultural Council and hosted at the Cafe in the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Artists of all disciplines, gallery owners, curators, art educators, and the general public are welcome to participate.
10 Questions with Ingrid Mathurin
Do you have any patterns, routines, or habits when starting a new project?
When I start a new project, I start off by doing a lot of research and sketching out my ideas. Right now I’m working on a project dealing with plants and meditation. Some projects can take 1-3 years to complete. My current project will only take five months from start to finish.
What have you learned about yourself through your career in the arts?
I’ve learned that I needed to be more disciplined in the studio. There have been instances where I've spent more time on my computer watching videos than actually painting or doing other work. My time in the studio is important. I now keep my phone on silent to minimize the distractions while I'm working.
How do you define success in what you do?
Success is when I’m able to convey a message to many different people and they actually understand the work I've created. That’s what makes it all worth the hard work I put into creating.
How has meditation influenced your creative process?
Meditation has helped me to have a clear view of my intentions and the messages I want to place in my work and share with the audience. In September of 2016, I went on a 12-day meditation retreat that changed my life. I meditated for 10-hours a day for 11 days.
My work has changed as a result of the retreat. The work I’m creating is now of a broader perspective. When I think of an idea I want to be able to make it from start to finish.
As a relatively new resident to Jacksonville, how would you describe Jacksonville's creative community and what steps have you taken to immerse yourself in the community?
I recently moved back to Jacksonville but I remember the art scene from 13 years ago and the creative community has changed so much. I was 18 at the time and the art scene was developing. It was difficult for me to break though as a young artist during that time and only a hand-full of people really supported the creative scene. Boom Town was one of my favorite spaces and they gave me an opportunity as an artist. Now I see the community coming together even more. Slowly more opportunities are being made for artist.
Since moving back, I actively attend City Council meetings that directly affect me or my peers. I also attend Art in Public places meetings. I always try to support artist in the city as much as possible by supporting their events. It’s important as an artist in this community to know what’s happening so that I can be a voice for the community.
Starting February 27, I will be the taking on the role of President of The Art Center Cooperative. It’s a non profit that comprises a focused group of professional artists in search of excellence and recognition at their craft. I look forward to working with The Art Center Cooperative and many more organizations within our community.
You have lived in Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Greenville, South Carolina; and Miami, Florida. How does being an artist in a major metropolitan area compare to being an artist outside of a major metropolitan area?
I was born in Nyack, New York but I grew up in Orange Park, Florida. For the past 13 years I’ve been in and out of Jacksonville and lived in Orlando, Miami Beach, and more recently South Carolina. In a major metropolitan area an artists are able to really thrive and live off of income earned through being a full time artist. Here in Jacksonville the priorities are different. The value of an artist is not the same as it would be in Miami or even in New York and I’ve experienced it. It’s been difficult for me even now to live as a full time artist in this city. I would love to see the city support the artist here more and understand the value of how the arts change communities. I would like to see more opportunities created in Jacksonville for artists from Jacksonville so that I along with others can thrive and live doing what we love and do best.
You recently added new components to your visual arts, including live performances and living plants. What influenced your change in approach and materials?
My work changed after attending a Vipassana Meditation retreat in Jesup, GA. It was something I needed to do to help clear my mind from the many stresses I was dealing with in my life during the past five years. It opened up my mind. I learned that I should not limit myself and that I should be fusing together everything that I’m good at doing. My work is now reflective of my experiences and the people that have influenced me.
More live installations will be incorporated into my work. I create based on whats moving me and whats currently within my heart. My current body of work with meditation and living plants is a reflection of my experience at the meditation retreat and also having to heal from some hardships that I faced when growing up.
Your previous professional experience includes working for Mac Cosmetics as a Trainer. Do you see a relationship between makeup and the arts?
Yes, there is a great relationship between makeup and the arts. Everything is defiantly the same, its just a different medium. As a makeup artist, I learned a new medium, body painting, which I can now incorporate into my live installations.
Being a Trainer for Mac Cosmetics helped me become more business savvy, which I apply to my art career. It’s pretty much the same, except my medium was makeup application and body painting. With both, I had to consistently learn and create as much as possible. I also had to be a leader in my role and help to inspire and motivate my team. That's the exact same thing artists do when we build collaborative relationships with other artists.
What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment as an artist since arriving in Jacksonville?
I don’t feel that I’ve achieved my greatest accomplishment in Jacksonville as an artist yet. I've had some great successes, and recently I created the best works of art thus far in my art career. It was for an exhibit at The Space Gallery called A More Perfect Union. The show was curated by Hope McMath.
It was the first body of work I’ve completed after attending the meditation retreat. I really want to help build the Jacksonville creative scene to be a thriving community for artist. That is my current goal and once I’ve helped to achieve that, that will be one of my greatest accomplishments as an artist in this city.
What do you hope your children take away from your involvement in the arts?
I have 2 children. My daughter is 14 and my son is 11. I hope my children learn to be dedicated and give their love and energy into something that they truly believe in and are passionate about.