Childhood Nostalgia: Interview with artist Betsy Enzensberger for Create! Magazine Issue 17

Originally published in Issue 17 of Create! Magazine.

Betsy Enzensberger sculpts works that create a visceral longing and remembrance of the most nostalgic delights from childhood. The artist uses the familiarity of those sweet treats to help us remember the simplicity, value, and culture of desserts so often associated with positivity and joy.  

Enzensberger was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Tulane University in 2001 and is now a Los Angeles-based artist with a studio in Mar Vista. She has shown with galleries domestically in Los Angeles, Miami and New York, and internationally in Hong Kong, London, Stockholm and Byron Bay, Australia. You can find her sculptures in multiple public and private art collections. 

Betsy Enzensberger has become quite well known for her realistic, larger-than-life sculptures of dripping, frozen treats. Resin looks like candy. It appears delicious and sweet. The shiny exterior has a wet, melting quality. Her Melting series plays with the desires of everyone’s inner child. The lure of sweet, sticky popsicles artificially instills intense longing. The colorful confections practically beg to be rescued and consumed. 

“Resin - I love it. It’s beautiful, sexy, mysterious. It’s also toxic, messy, and annoyingly exhausting to create. However, I enjoy the challenges that resin presents. There’s just something about it I can’t resist. If the process was easy, I wouldn’t be doing it.” 

www.betsyenzensberger.com 

 

Were you creative as a child? What inspired you to pursue a career as an artist?  

Oh yes! As a child, I couldn’t stop creating - it’s all I wanted to do. My mother was an art teacher, so she allowed me to create whatever I wanted and I had access to really cool art supplies. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had won several awards for my art and had been published in various books. This was all really good encouragement for my creative mind.   

How did you start making popsicle sculptures? What was your early work like, and how has it evolved?  

I didn’t start with popsicles. The first thing I made was melting Ice Cream Sculptures. It had nothing to do with my incessant sweet tooth; rather it was the material itself, the resin that encouraged the “Melting” series. Resin looks syrupy when you’re working with it and looks like candy when it’s set. A friend of mine begged me to make popsicles, since that was her favorite thing. Apparently a lot of other people like popsicles too, because that has been my most popular series thus far.  

If you rewind to college, I actually studied abstract painting. Resin art is not something you learn in school. You need to be taught by a master, which is how I learned. 

How do you commit to art-making and make sure you spend enough time in the studio? 

Hmmm… it doesn’t feel like a commitment or a job. I can’t image not creating. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make shiny, pretty things… and I really love the challenge that resin brings versus the other mediums I’ve worked with over the years. There are so many artists out there that don’t make their own work. What’s the point of that? For me it’s the process that is the more enjoyable than the outcome. 

Share a brief version of your daily routine.  

Wake at 5:30-6:00am (naturally, of course). Coffee before anything else. Then, straight to the studio. The second I smell the resin, I’m ready to work. There are always different projects happening simultaneously, so I can choose to do whatever suits my current mood.  

What has been the most exciting moment for you so far in your art career? 

That’s a tough question, because every time I get a new opportunity or create a cool piece, I’m grateful to be able to do what I do. Traveling for art shows is THE BEST because it fulfills my want to travel with my need to create and show my work. So, if I have to pick one, my Solo Show in Hamburg, Germany is probably the most exciting moment thus far. It opened on September 5th and was completely sold out by 9pm that same day. 

What do you hope your collectors experience when it comes to your artwork?  

Pure and simple, I want them to experience JOY. I found that collectors in cities that have harsh winters tend to really appreciate my work because it reminds them of the joy if summer or the nostalgia of childhood.  

What are you currently working on and what's coming up next for you?  

What I’m working on is a secret… But I can tell you that I plan to be in Miami for the art fairs in December and Los Angeles for the LA Art Show in February. I will debut some brand new work at both shows. Stay tuned for more:) 

Other articles:

PxP Co-founders invited for a live interview with Matrons & Mistresses

Earlier this year, we connected with Lizzie Cheatham McNairy who is the founder of Matrons & Mistresses. M&M is a digital publication which speaks to the power of art to shift one’s perspective and touch one’s heart… a platform which shines light on the incredible women who shape the arts… and a community where there are far more questions than answers and people are encouraged to come as themselves. After hearing about and reading our latest book The Complete Smartist Guide, she was kind enough to invite us to do a live talk and interview with her about it. We’re so excited to have the opportunity to chat about this book together, which we have not done since it launched back in August!

If you’d like to join us next Thursday, July 15th at 7pm EST, please register for free here. Thanks and we look forward to connecting with you!

-Alicia (& Kat)

Alicia Puig honored with Latina Leaders Award 2020-2021

Alicia was one of 12 recipients of the Latina Leaders Awards 2020-2021 given by Latinasinbusiness.us

Learn more about the award, the other honorees, and the ceremony that occurred on June 10th to celebrate the winners. 

PxP Contemporary featured in Divide Magazine

Alicia was interviewed about the gallery in the second issue of Divide Magazine, an independent contemporary arts publication.

Pictured artwork by Betsy Enzensberger.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Professional Artist Resume

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Curator's Picks of Faces & Figures II!

Thanks to Ziquita Riberdy of Divide Magazine for selecting our next round of Curator's Picks from our current exhibition "Faces & Figures II". Learn more about the reasoning behind the selections below. Both artworks are available to purchase, simply visit the gallery artists page to browse by artist, search in our navigation menu, or check out the exhibition page. 

 Hannah Debson

"This piece is a direct reflection on the connection between art and fashion.
Photographers are sometimes forced to pick between art or editorial style photographs when in reality, the two can merge and function cohesively. There is a want for editorial style photographs to transition into gallery exhibitions and the contemporary art world."

Elisa Valenti Body Positive Art

"There is an "ideal body" that is portrayed in most of the world. Even in figurative
drawing, most models have a slimmer physique. Unfortunately, the "ideal body" only represents a fraction of the population. It's a breath of fresh air to see a realistic portrayal of a woman's figure that others may relate to."

PxP Contemporary's Second Curation with SHOWFIELDS

Alicia was invited to curate a second collection for SHOWFIELDS in February. She selected works by nine artists around the themes of human connection and the environment. 

View the collection

Curatorial Statement:

After spending most of 2020 indoors within the confines of our homes, we feel a collective longing for both nature and connection. These are two themes that are inherently a part of the artists’ works that I’ve selected for this curation. Some present the human form intertwined with or immersed in a landscape or other natural environment, while others compose images with figures alongside animals, flowers, and insects. Working in the mediums of collage and painting, these artists remind us to appreciate the profound beauty of our surroundings and of the importance of having respect for it now and in the years to come. 

These works of art also act as a record and documentation of life as an artist during the pandemic. While they, like everyone else, experienced loss, grief, anxiety, frustration, and fear - like nature itself, they also went through periods of growth and renewal. For me, bringing together this collection of artists is a manifestation of the belief that 2021 will indeed allow for more opportunities to connect with the environment, ourselves, and each other. It’s a sigh of relief, or rather, a breath of fresh air.

Featured Artists:

Austin Howlett
Emily Mullet
Erin McGean
Heather Polk
Kestin Cornwall
Mia Risberg
Shachi Kale
Sophia Tristan
Twiggy Boyer

Shop available artwork directly on the SHOWFIELDS website