By LISA LEVY, May 2020
I dug into the minds of artists/collaborators/married couple, Jen Catron and Paul Outlaw. know I’m not alone when I say absolutely LOVE THEIR WORK. You don’t know them? Do your own research!!—here’s the link: http://www.catronandoutlaw.com/ For a deeper dive into their personalities and work pre-Covid, you can listen to Episode #181 of Dr. Lisa Gives A Shit: https://traffic.megaphone.fm/RADIO3308731957.mp3.
DR. LISA LEVY: You’re both so social and entertaining. What are you doing now that’s new to entertain each other—besides the obvious (I know there are perverts reading this!)
Jen: Uggghhhhh we miss socializing!!! Am I an introvert now? I really hate zoom. We are playing a lot of card games. I am very competitive so as long as I win it’s such a blast. We bbq, we listen to a lot of music, we still have fun. Luckily Paul is pretty amusing.
Paul: I have successfully convinced both of us that I am not really Jen’s partner, but I am actually her dog. Jen has just taken me to the studio and locked me in a room where I hang around doing dog things all day waiting on her to come pick me up and take me out for a walk I think it’s the saddest thing in the world until I think about Jen’s life. Look at her! She spends all her time with a dog pretending it’s her partner! What a fool! I haven’t seen her go on a date in ages! How pathetic! (Clearly Paul has earned a vacation when this is over) Jen: OMG.
Dr. L: Are there any other people besides each other that you see on a regular basis?
Jen: Well, our apartment neighbors. We also work together. So we still see them with masks, etc. I should also note Paul’s company has been making essential work for COVID, so some interaction has been needed for that.
Paul: I have selected a small elite group of friends that have volunteered to entertain me no matter the danger of the Covid-19 contagion. They have agreed to see me and only me in order to protect me from any outside infections. (Dr.L here: This gives me FOMO.)
Don’t know how you do it—but, as artist collaborators, you’ve been working together since grad school at Cranbrook, moved to New York together and your collaboration continues to be more seamless than ever. Has your collaboration dynamic changed at all since the pandemic?
Jen: Our personal relationship has become weirdly stronger, I have no clue what our work will look like on the other side of this. We are very creative and adaptable (OBVIOUSLY) but things are moving so quickly it’s hard to hit that target! Our work is always changing, always reacting to the cultural landscape, and this has been a pretty massive cultural shift.
Paul: What she said.
Making a living for an artist SUCKS. Has this situation changed your thinking about it? Are there any actions you may take or change moving forward with your earning a living?
Paul: A while back, we started a company (The Factory NYC) to make money to allow us to be freewheeling artists. It worked. But, when Covid-19 hit, the rug was immediately pulled out from under us. Like a lot of people, I have spent so much time during this pandemic emergency trying to salvage our business and secure people’s jobs that we have not really spent much time being “creative” or working in the “studio” advancing our art practice. This seems like an imaginary luxury that everyone likes to talk about at the moment, but I feel very few people are actually benefiting from this period of intense isolation and anxiety. Who the hell is having a stroke of brilliance in the middle of this shit? Too much stress and anxiety everywhere I turn. For the future, I think we will work on that rich benefactor scenario some more.
Jen: Frankly, I think the art world will benefit. In some ways I feel like we will be more comfortable in the new world, which I hope will be scrappier and more focused on making culturally important work versus art for the fairs. One can dream. And yeah, we are def on the lookout for some benefactors, just give us a ring at 618-214-4725.
Dr. L: What is something you’ve made during this period, art or otherwise that is meaningful to you?
Jen/Paul: We’ve been working on a project that we can’t yet reveal. Despite the stress of everything, we ARE doing things. Here is a snapshot. WM
Hi I’m Dr. Lisa. I’m an unlicensed therapist who’s been practicing over 20 years. I enjoy doing therapy without a license, because ethically, it gives me the opportunity to be as honest and direct as I like, plus it’s a lot more fun. People often say to me, “You are better than my regular shrink!” Also, I never charge for my service. I leave it to you to decide if what I put out makes sense to you.
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