Katy Anderson + Patrick Medrano
Ten years into their love affair, the artistic tie that binds Katy Anderson and Patrick Medrano is stronger than ever. A new baby, exhibits in Athens and Paris and big leaps for their nonprofit Fodice project tell us this creative duo has no plans of slowing down.
“We are 3 years into the Fodice project. We are just now tied in to the right people as far as preservation. We are just getting to the point where we can raise real money,” says Anderson about the nonprofit organization they created in 2008.
The abandoned school they are re-purposing sits just outside Anderson’s hometown of Lovelady, TX. It was built in 1938 for a segregated, largely African-American community and was only used for about 20 years. The building was abandoned with desegregation as the population migrated to other towns and schools. Anderson discovered it during her last year of high school. “It’s very remote. You have to go down a dirt road for six miles just to get there and there are maybe three houses that people live in,” says Anderson.
Drawing attention to the history of the Fodice Community, the revamped building will serve as a space for an artist residency program, replete with studios, a gallery and private living space. “We were able to purchase the building and land, we put up a privacy fence and this summer we put electricity on site, so we can start doing construction,“ says Anderson. “We have some huge supporters. Carolyn Farb is one of our biggest supporters and she sits on our board. She’s really been instrumental in helping us move forward. We have big hopes for this next year,” she reveals. “It’s a huge piece of African-American history,” adds Medrano.
When they met in 2002, the couple began creating a large body of work in the abandoned school. “There’s no one to bother you there. Honestly, we’d get naked and go take crazy, imaginative pictures,” says Anderson. A trip to a Marfa, Texas exhibit in 2007, set in a restored fort, inspired the duo to establish the Fodice Foundation.
The couple has been working together since the day they met. “The first piece we ever did was a silhouette of Katy and me. In between the chests, a film would go through it. The film was a negative of all the photographs she had taken since we had been together, which was only a couple of weeks. We’d already taken a whole roll of film that was interesting enough to put in,” explains Medrano.
It was a path that only fate could have drawn. “(Before) I would have said ‘I never want to collaborate’,” says Medrano, a self-taught artist. “But it’s just how it happened. There’s me as an artist, strictly painting and sculpture, then there’s Katy, who does strictly photography. Then there’s Anderson-Medrano that is able to do all of those things, and more. It’s that thing I think is so powerful to people,” explains Medrano. “We are artists at heart. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t do it,” he says.
Anderson + Medrano collaborative works are currently on view in Athens, Greece, at the Athens School of Fine Art in a show entitled Western Sequels: Art from the Lonestar (through Jan. 15th). “That’s through Gus Kopriva, who is a big supporter and collector,” confides Medrano. The pair also has pieces on view in Paris, France, at Dorothy’s Gallery, in the Bastille District. “It’s a show that was created to support the Barack Obama reelection and to encourage Americans abroad to vote,” Anderson tells us. Medrano’s solo work can be seen November 17 during Artcrawl 2012 at John Reynold’s curated show Birdbrain at Mother Dog Studios (720 Walnut, 713.229.9760). They are also regular fixtures at Gallery M Squared (339 W. 19th Street).
Adding to an ever-growing body of work, the couple recently welcomed a baby girl, Tomorro Rose Medrano. “People don’t believe us, but if it had been a boy, we were going to name him Quiet,” says Medrano.
By Nadia Michel
Photography Sofia van der Dys