"It’s about being an artist. Not just making the work, but creating an artful life. It’s about being bold, taking risks, making work, building a career, telling stories, finding inspiration, seeking information. It’s about owning who you are and the magic that happens when you JUMP."  - Crista Cloutier


Jump! The Working Artist Blog

James Turrell And My Fear Of Flying

When James Turrell heard that I was afraid of flying, he offered to take me over the Roden Crater in his two-seater plane. He had me there. My desire to say that I flew over the Roden Crater with the great artist James Turrell trumped my fear of flying, almost. It was a tiny little plane, what if we crashed?

Years before I had been in a New York restaurant when the woman who was in the car when Jackson Pollack died walked in. Well, one of the women, the other one died when he smashed his car into that tree. But as she strode through the restaurant, everyone stopped and stared. Someone whispered to me "She was in the car when Jackson Pollack died." It was this story I remembered as I climbed into Turrell's plane.

Yes, I thought to myself, if I died in a plane over Roden Crater with James Turrell it would be a noble death.

"Gee haw!" I shouted as we took off.

I didn't die that day, but swooping low over the crater again and again, chasing his cattle across the countryside from above, waving to the cowboys who worked his ranch, I certainly went to heaven.

And in the end, I got an amazing interview.

I brought no Italian with me to Rome.

At the Brazilian Embassy, I tell the guard that I am to see artist Vik Muniz. The guard speaks no English. My best mime only warrants a raised eyebrow. In desperation, I plead, "Parlez francais?" though I do not. A call is placed and I gather that I have been mistaken for a French journalist of great repute. "French" because every one now speaks to me in French, though my only reply is my customary Gallic shrug. "Journalist of repute" because I was granted the sole private interview with the artist so they assume I must be somebody.

The red carpet is rolled out as a diplomat whisks me upstairs to Vik. Introductions are made, in French, to Vik as he looks at me, baffled, points, and exclaims. "It's you!" We embrace as I explain how I am chasing him, wanting an interview for my Working Artist project, and how I connived to arrange this meeting.

They give us an ornate room to talk in private. Vik helps me set up and, as I struggle with my equipment, he patiently teaches me how to use my tripod. Oh God, I repeat to myself nervously. The Ambassador drops in to say hello. Oh God. A white-gloved man in uniform silently serves us espresso. I am shaking with caffeinated nerves. But he was the same Vik Muniz he has always been, generous, brilliant, hilarious, insightful, and gorgeous. And in the end, I got an amazing interview.





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"Throughout our lives, we may only meet a few people who touch us on a spiritual level and change our paths. Crista is one of those people." Jane Seaman, Best-Selling Author

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