We had the good fortune of connecting with AUDREY MORTMAN and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi AUDREY, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
When I was a student in college, a book practically fell into my lap. The book was titled, FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY, by Susan Jeffers. I devoured that book, and the message that I took away from it became my life philosophy, It helped me lean into the fears and the challenges that came into my life and career for the rest of my life. And there were plenty! That philosophy got me through cancer, alcoholism, depression and anxiety, as well as being shy and still entertaining in front of huge crowds and appearances on television. It got me through a career as a CHER impersonator and a talent agent, and later on it got me through revealing the real me to the world through my artwork. When I entered a contest at the NATIONAL ENQUIRER as CHER in 1988, an agent saw my picture in the paper after I won and wanted me to do “look-alike work”. I had no formal acting training and was fearful of performing in front of large crowds, appearing on television, and being interviewed, etc. But I felt that fear and just walked right through it. Even though I was scared, hesitant, and shaking, none of it mattered. I did it anyway! Twenty years later, after a successful career impersonating CHER, I was hit with the same fear about revealing my new love, my artwork. I had to push through it. I loved the work I was creating using bold colors, thick textures, and line work to achieve my art, but I was still a little shy. I reread the book and pulled myself up by my bootstraps and entered contests, joined art organizations, participated in many art shows all over the country, and slowly became a success! My web site, AUDREYMORTMAN.COM, shows my diverse work and I would love for you to take a look.. So, what have I learned? I learned to push through fear, after all, we ALL have it. Some people are paralyzed by it, and others embrace it. I have learned not to run from it and to walk through it. By doing that, I have become the Audrey I always wanted to be. When I was a small child and dreamed of the future Audrey, I saw this Audrey that I am today. I feel honored and proud that I became the person I wanted to be. Challenges are always present in life, it’s what you do with them that shapes you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Talking about my art has never been an easy thing for me to do. The very point of creating art is to go to places where words cannot go. I want to express my feelings rather than speak them. It doesn’t matter how the paint is applied,- brush, palette knife, pouring – as long as something is being said and that I am heard. Often, I try to give the impression one has upon entering a room. We see everything and at the same time, we see nothing. Looking past the obvious and engaging with the audience is my process. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to look more carefully and closely at the world around them. To discover beauty in unusual places An artists’ creative process is” connection”. Connection with the piece, connection with herself, and connection with the audience. But most important, connection to the beauty of the world… I want the viewer to see beyond their own sight. My intent is to make art that stirs the soul and connects us to what lies beyond our sight. The unconscious. Amedeo Modigliani said “What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal, but rather the unconscious, The mystery of the instinctive in the human race” When I first start a painting, there are no rules. Sometimes I know what I’m going to paint, sometimes I don’t. I don’t know where I am are going. Painting is an intuitive process, so I let the canvas tell me where to go, and the paints and canvas and I create a piece of art that I hope will touch the viewer. It’s purely intuitive and practically has a life of its own. I want the painting to come to life in the eyes that view it. My approach to painting is to maintain spontaneity. I begin the piece with the idea that I want it to continuously move – whether it’s your eyes around the painting or the emotions you have with the painting. I want that painting to come to life. The viewer has a mind of their own and eyes of their own and they’re going to see it their way, I just hope they look!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Heres what we would do if my best friend came for a week or so to visit. We would have a blast!!!! MIAMI: spend a day driving through the Keys and swim with the Dolphins take an Everglade swamp boat ride see Flamingo Gardens have a drink at the Fountainbleu have lunch in Little Havana visit Windwood a drink at Bayside on Bayshore Dr Sunday brunch at the Biltmore Hotel Margaritaville beach, shopping, and drinks at South Beach stay at Faena Hotel and see the burlesque show visit Coconut Grove FT LAUDERDALE: stay at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for a stand-up comedian, dinner, drinks, and gambling walk around Los Olas 1st Sunday morning of the month Jazz brunch at the park DELRAY BEACH: visit the Arts part of pineapple grove 1st Friday nite when the art galleries are open take a Delray yacht cruise down the intercoastal go the Beach at Delray eat and dance at the Buddha bar 2nd floor listen to music at Tin roof visit the Morikami Museum and walk the grounds drive from Delay to Palm Beach on scenic route 1A1 along the beach and beautiful mansions PALM BEACH: take a walk on Worth Ave visiting designer boutiques Leopard lounge cocktail and dinner Taboo Restaurant for happy hour visit the spa at the Colony Hotel
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I feel like I have lived two lives. The earlier part of my life as a CHER look-alike, and presently as an abstract artist. My success in both of these careers is attributed to many factors. But the most important is because of my children. Their lives were turned upside down by my life as CHER. There were weekend shows, travels all over the country judging Look-Alike contests, performances in Vegas, New York, Alaska, Europe, television shows, radio interviews, photoshoots, etc. That all took time away from them and from my role as their mom. They never complained or made me feel any guilt. They were just so proud and excited for me. They encouraged me to do more, and that, above all else, allowed me to enjoy and create the career I had chosen. As for my career as an Artist, I attribute that to two people; my husband, Richie, and my teacher, Eydi Lampasona Meyers in Florida. I painted all throughout my childhood and as a young adult, But my career as a CHER look-alike took time away from that, and I eventually stopped painting. Twenty years later, after I retired from my CHER career, I wanted to paint again. I started by taking a class at the Boca Museum of Art School and was lucky enough to get Eydi as my teacher. The work I created in the beginning, was collage art. I was hesitant to start using paint again, I felt “rusty” and non-creative. Eydi encouraged me. Slowly, I gave up collage and started painting furiously again. My juices were flowing. I mostly painted in class twice a week, but that was not enough for me. It was my husband who surprised me with a 1000 square foot studio where I have been able to create huge canvases and let myself go free. Without that studio, without him, I would not be the success I am today. He encourages me, shleps my artwork to various shows, pays the bills, and all with a smile. I dedicate my career to him.
Website: AUDREYMORTMAN.COM and AUDREYASCHER.COM
Linkedin: AUDREY CASSEL MORTMAN
Facebook: AUDREY MORTMAN ART & AUDREY CASSEL MORTMAN
Other: EMAILS: AMBERCAS@AOL.COM AUDREYMORTMANSTUDIO@GMAIL.COM
Professional CHER photo – black and white headshot: Devon Cass Photographer, NYC