Labors of Love: Creative Fluidity with Grace Repasky

By Amy Garlesky

Musicians don’t always stick to music; often, musicians are “multipotentialites,” as in, people with multiple creative pursuits. To learn more about the different passion projects our favorite musicians find comfort in and promote their work, we created our ongoing series Labors of Love.

Today, we present our chat with Grace Repasky, a multidisciplinary artist based in Atlanta and lead singer of the band, Lunar Vacation. Ahead of the band’s newest single “Gears,” out today, we spoke with Grace to dig a bit more into their love of visual art, independent radio, and their aspirations for the future. Have a read and take a look over some of Grace’s work below and be sure to pre-order the band’s upcoming record, Inside Every Fig is a Dead Wasp out October 29.

Slumber: What inspired you to get into printmaking, drawing, visual art in general?

Grace: Art was something I got into before I even liked music. When I was growing up, I was sure I would be an artist of some sort and would go through different career phases at like, ten years old. There would be periods of illustration, wedding planning, clothing design, calligraphy, and painting, to name a few. It makes me feel good to make something tactile, even if it’s mindless scribbling on a page or messily scrawling on a plank of wood. 

In addition to a fascination with the act of creating something, experiencing others’ work is equally (or most times, more) incredible… So much can be expressed through a piece of visual work, and there are endless interpretations and emotions evoked through it. That’s probably my favorite part – no two people will experience the same emotion or feeling from the same piece of work.

“I am fascinated with the infinite artistic processes there are that create one thing. Things like printmaking, etching, painting...all try to create an image but can exude completely unique feelings.”

Slumber: Do you have a favorite piece out of those you sent along? Can you tell us a little more about what inspired it, the thoughts, emotions, influences behind it?

Grace: Hmm. I am painfully indecisive, so my favorite piece will probably change weekly; however, my little book scans have an interesting meaning and story.

The little book was something I made in a time of deep infatuation and intrigue with a person who lived across the country. Often I struggle to accurately express how I feel directly to the source, so I try to convey my feelings through a piece of art and, in this case, that vessel happened to be a handmade, hand-sewn booklet. There was minimal writing, but each page was carefully cut, crafted, and made intending to express a feeling. I included a severed bumblebee leg, cutouts from a cool newspaper called Slingshot, and bits of my old artwork. That was my first attempt to bind pages together via string, which proved to be an interesting process (my fingers were pricked and bloody by the end).

I guess this piece was more of an abstraction of where my head was at the time … definitely fueled by some strong feelings. I think a piece is successful when you feel like you’ve put in as much emotion as possible into it and are ultimately proud.

Slumber: Music and visual arts are both very creative and artistic outlets. Are there similarities and/or differences in how you relate to each of those arts?

Grace: Oddly enough, I feel more confident in songwriting and music-making than in visual art. They are similar outlets feeling-wise, but personally, music feels more second nature. I think that’s because I feel like there is so much I have not seen, experienced, or been aware of in the art world. Maybe that’s my internal bias. It probably is.

But as time goes on and I can take different art classes, I get more excited and confident in what I am physically able to make. I definitely haven’t hit a particular style I feel synonymous with, but I think it’s good for now.

Writing and sharing songs feels more intimate, and at times, slightly scary. It’s like the world sees my insides exactly how they are, then takes it and creates their own meaning – meaning and judgment. Which is the most beautiful part! With songs, the process of creating feels more raw and honest than in my visual work right now. I am still figuring out what I want to say in my physical pieces, but for now, I am just going with the flow and trying out a bunch of things and seeing what sticks.

Slumber: To dig deeper, what’s something you love about your art-making that music can’t provide? 

Grace: I am fascinated with the infinite artistic processes there are that create one thing. Things like printmaking, etching, painting, sun transfers, and woodblocks all try to create an image but can exude completely unique feelings.

I’ve learned many ways to boost creativity and inspiration on projects from my teachers, ways that seem almost child-like. Like, if you are stuck on a painting, rip up a bunch of paper, throw it on the ground, and look for a hidden image or something. Processes that seem silly really work… the act of making something visual taps into deep emotion but also requires a looseness that is reminiscent of a child. There is room to be kind of ridiculous, and lots of happy accidents happen.

“The world needs more people doing what they feel they should be doing and making what they feel they should be making. There can never be too much art...go until you can’t go anymore.”

Slumber: You mentioned that you tend to be fluid in what you like to do and make. Is there anything you’re passionate about right now or any practices/techniques you’ve been trying out as of recently?

Grace: Yes! Ever since I took a printmaking class in the Spring (remotely, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more in person), I’ve been really interested in practicing those techniques and finding ways to implement them into my work. There is more freedom in printmaking, and it puts a lot of emphasis on the process rather than the outcome. In particular, making linocut prints has been my go-to. I absolutely love the feeling of pulling back your final image off of the block. It’s taught me to be patient and very intentional about everything I make.

Slumber: Are there any artistic mediums or practices you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten a chance yet?

Grace: I’m trying to acquaint myself more with oil paints this year. I think that’ll be my 2021 goal. That and being able to develop, scan, and make my own prints of my film photos.

Slumber: Do you have any favorite albums or even a particular kind of music you like to listen to when working on your art?

Grace: My go-to right now is the monthly show “Confusing Mix” by Josh Da Costa, or Sui Zhen’s mix, both on NTS radio. These days I’ve been finding my new favorite songs through NTS rather than being artificially fed by streaming services. I hope everyone moves away from streaming one day and back onto independent radio.

Slumber: Who is one visual artist that inspires you in your artwork, and one musician that inspires you in your music (or vice versa)

Grace: At the moment, Lee Krasner (visually) and Ted Lucas (musically).

Slumber: How have you been spending your free time during the pandemic? Have you started any other new hobbies, or more generally, any new part of life you’ve discovered that creatively inspires/excites you?

Grace: The main thing I did during the pandemic was getting my mental health back on track. As I’m sure everyone experienced, the pandemic had (and still has) a pretty negative effect on my life, and it was up to me to fix it. I guess the realization that there are some things I can’t do on my own and I’m old enough to be responsible for my own health. Being responsible for me looked like getting help by medication and therapy. I’ve gone through some dry creative spells but am learning to be kinder to myself and realize when I need a break.

While I’ve been writing more and getting more involved in visual art, finishing college has been the most prominent in my life. I’m graduating in December and thinking about the future way more than is healthy (lol).

Recently I’ve been reading more. Some of my favorite books have been Brave New World, Amusing Ourselves to Death, and Lee Krasner: Living Colour.

Slumber: Lastly, do you have any words of advice for anyone that’s interested in pursuing a multidisciplinary creative practice?

Grace: The world needs more people doing what they feel they should be doing and making what they feel they should be making. There can never be too much art. I say to go until you can’t go anymore.

Listen to “Gears,” Lunar Vacation’s new single out now via Keeled Scales: