Nina Forman: Lammys Forever
LG: How does your visual art and music influence and inspire each other? Do you find yourself expressing in both ways simultaneously or does your flow fluctuate between the two?
NF: Music and visual art are pretty separate right now. Music is mostly something I do when I’m with my friends (Heather and Rae). I’ll play music by myself sometimes, but mostly I paint when I’m alone. Painting is a private endeavor that I put alone time into. I don't see the two merging often. I will make songs by myself with the intention of sharing them with my bandmates, whereas painting feels like I'm doing it for me. It's a solo project, and it’s definitely therapeutic. I think a lot when I'm painting: meditating, unpacking, reflecting, processing thoughts and feelings. Whereas with music it is easier to distract myself, get out of my head. But yeah, I have been creating in both ways simultaneously lately.
LG: Tell me about the band you are in, Morning Forever. How did your band form?
NF: The band is me, Rae and Heather. We have all been close friends for years, and each of us started playing instruments just a few years ago on our own. We have consistently had super similar music tastes, and we always loved to talk about music and how it would make us feel. We decided to become a “real band” right when Covid started and I moved back home to LA.
LG: Who writes the music? What other musical artists inspire you?
NF: We all write, but Rae has written the majority. Rae is great with song structure. Heather wrote a song from the drums up. I have written parts for guitar, bass, and drums. Overall, It's a super collaborative process. There’s one song that we each wrote a verse for. We're still trying to figure out our own sound, what we want to sound like. Heather and I like harder, more punk rock, where Rae likes songs that are softer. She likes folk music a lot. We all really like Big Thief, but our sound is totally different from theirs. The Lush album by Snail Mail has been inspiring lately. I listen to a lot of Elliott Smith. We all love indie rock. Slightly folk, slightly punk. We need someone else to tell us what our sound is.
LG: Do you make artwork for your band?
NF: I haven't yet, but I do make artwork for my brother who puts out music. He makes lo fi beats to study to. I do a lot of his album art, and have gotten some random other lo fi beat makers reaching out to me wanting me to make art for them haha which is cool. The last Morning Forever album art was made by all 3 of us collaboratively. We all make art on our own, so it would be hard to pick one of our paintings that we would want to use. I would love to make art for other musical artists, especially people I don’t know.
LG: When you make a painting do u have something specific in mind that you are intending to create?
NF: I don't usually go into a painting with a clear idea of what I'm going to make in the end. It's usually just painting as a way to pass the time, and then at the end I'm like, “oh snap I guess that's how I was feeling”. It kind of reveals itself at the end. It can be scary but it's really cool. It’s sort of funny because I paint to get out of my head, but then I make my thoughts tangible. I've been painting a lot since I moved back in with my dad. There's an extra bedroom at his house that I've been painting in and I have a lot of room. I'm really grateful because at the other tiny apartments I was living in I was unable to have proper ventilation when oil painting.
LG: Do you have a favorite medium to work with?
NF: I’ve gotten super into airbrushing. My airbrush has been my lifeline haha. I paint equally a lot with acrylic and oil. I usually have one type of each painting going on at the same time.
LG: What other visual artists inspire you?
NF: I really like Milton Avery lately, his cute, cartoonish drawings. I really like abstract artists, such as Richard Diebenkorn. His landscapes specifically. At Pratt I was really inspired by book making and printmaking. Anything tangible. I'm inspired by a lot of my friends. Heather has a whole army of ceramic slugs and I think it's the coolest thing ever.
LG: What motivates you to create?
NF: Recently I've been overwhelmed with how much time I have to be awake. Like just waking up and being like, “damn I have like 12 hours until I can get back into bed and go to sleep again? What can I do?” It really freaks me out. But when I start painting, time flies. When I get into it, I get really obsessed and I can't stop doing it. It has to do a lot with just having the time right now since I don't have a job and I'm not going to school. I get really motivated when I make things that I really like, it just makes me want to go back and paint more. Creating inspires more creating. Also my friends encourage each other to do our own projects. I realized that I don't have to be in school or going somewhere to make myself feel important. I just make stuff with my friends and that feels really awesome.
LG: Do you ever work from references?
NF: I've been painting a lot of my stuffed animals I still have from when I was a kid, specifically these “lammys”. I've been chillin with them, looking at them a lot, painting them. Most of the time I'm just throwing paint on the canvas though.
LG: How do you decide on the color palette you want to use?
NF: I decide at the beginning what overall color I want the painting to be. Most of my pieces are full of lots of different colors, but it all starts with one color. When I mix paint I mix one color that I like and then from there I use that color to mix the next color and so on, so all the colors are connected.
LG: How does living in California versus New York influence your art?
NF: Having more space and time is the biggest difference. In my apartment in NY I didn't have the room to create the things I wanted to. In California it's a lot more accessible to go outside and paint during the day. But I wouldn't have known how much I liked to paint if I didn't move to NY and go to art school.
LG: What are your goals artistically?
NF: I want to eventually go back to art school, not during coronavirus times though, because I want to paint with other people. I love school and am excited to go back some day, it’s just so expensive. Overall, I just want to keep making work.
Check out Nina's work!