We first noticed the unique hand-knotted rugs of Amy Helfand at ICFF—and were really excited when she agreed to create a Playlist for us. Read on for this Red Hook, Brooklyn-based artist’s take on the tunes that keep her humming. What do you listen to while you work? I listen to a variety of things depending on what I’m doing. If I’m up and around, making art, or working on sculpture in my studio it tends to be louder, and if I’m sitting at the computer, it tends to be more mellow. I’d say I have varied tastes, which run from the Avett Brothers and Led Zeppelin to Regina Spektor, Will Oldham, and the White Stripes. I often tune in through the Web to radio stations like WNCW in NC and WMVY on Martha’s Vineyard.
How do you listen? I most often listen through the computer speakers.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I’ve recently been listening to Sugar in the Gourd, which is an old-time music Web radio station.
Does music influence your work? Sometimes it does. I have a piece called “Ragged Wandering” (image below) that had its roots in a song called “Left on Laura, Left on Lisa” by the Avett Brothers.Where do you find music recommendations? Mostly from friends and family. My brother-in-law is a great collector of Americana and alt-country, and I’ve discovered quite a few bands through him. Other friends listen to different genres that I wouldn’t usually go for, but now do—I have a friend who knows practically every country song ever written, and my husband teaches high school, so he is up on what his students are listening to. I also listen to the radio a fair bit, so I hear things there.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? This is a hard question! I’d say it would have to be earthy and lyrical but with Technicolor, out-there moments. Interesting…I think I am a “sampler,” so to speak—an apprehender of images. Maybe someone in the pop music world who does this is Beck or Moby, but I wouldn’t necessarily associate my work with them at first thought.
- Ten Thousand Words, The Avett Brothers
- Missing One, Bonnie “Prince” Billy
- Sigh No More, Mumford and Sons
- Jokerman, Bob Dylan
- Airstream Driver, Gomez
- Slim Slow Slider, Van Morrison
- This Will Take Time, Jim Avett
- Oh No, KaiserCartel
- Persuasion, Richard Thompson
- To Ohio, The Low Anthem
- The Calculation, Regina Spektor
- Dirty Boulevard, Lou Reed
(Images: Amy Helfand)