By: Abigail Covington
Which, if any, emotions or experiences lend themselves better to music than art?
This is a very complex question. I feel like there is a way to sing songs, and there is a way to paint, and all my emotions and experiences are tied up in both. I can say this: My music and my lyrics change with me. The same songs I’ve been singing for 20 years have grown old with me, and through the repetition of singing them over years, new layers of emotion reveal themselves. Painting is the same, but it's with color and space. The way my colors layer my composition may reduce or reveal. This all comes from experience, from the past. Everything is always there.
What is the role of music in your life versus the role of art?
I need them both daily. I enjoy seeing art and listening to music equally, and making both brings a tremendous amount of satisfaction and joy to me.
In 2004, Peggy was a character, and she represented the idea of single female voice that held a platform to be heard. She still represents that for me.
How did you get set up with Soco Gallery and what will this exhibition feature?
Elana approached me and she was funny and supportive. It felt like a great match. The ladies that run Soco are amazing and working with them has been so seamless.
What can Peggy Honeywell communicate that Clare Rojas can’t?
I am not sure this is a question for me. Maybe a grief that only song can sing in any of us.
What is the purpose of negative space in your geometric abstraction paintings?
The past holding space for the present.
Previous exhibitions made clear what was troubling you: The imbalanced expectations of men and women. What issues are you grappling with through your art now?
The difference is I am not grappling anymore. I am still frustrated with the way things are for women. Trump continues to reveal how far we have to go for equality and basic respect. But I don’t grapple with why anymore. I know people don't have access to basic information or open-minded families. We are all a product of our environments. I can’t control others or their ignorance, racism and sexism. I can only control myself. I am not hitting my head against the brick wall anymore. I am just enjoying as much of my life in as positive of a way as possible. This seems to be the best embodiment of empowerment on the planet.
In your early work, the folk art influence is clear and Peggy Honeywell’s bluegrass sound is a perfect and parallel accompaniment. Your recent paintings are more abstract. If they could sing a song, what would that song sound like?
More harmonious humming, echo and reverb.
In a 2010 issue of The Believer you stated that one of your goals was to get a black belt in martial arts. Status update?
I have vertigo, and I found this out in Aikido. It is still a dream, but maybe more Tai Chi.
Do you listen to music when you paint?
Yes, of course!
What’s on your mind these days?
The election and all the politics that surround it have taken up a bit of space in my mind.
It’s been 10 years since your last album. When will Peggy Honeywell strike again?
Peggy has never stopped making songs. I just stopped releasing them to the public in a super public way. Honestly, it’s challenging straddling the art and music worlds. I write, record, and put them under my bed. When I die there will be hundreds of songs under my bed in formats that will no longer be audible.