Richard Dreyfest Interviews Abby Rausch
by Mary Kate Teske
Your name is what and you hail from where?
My name is Abby Rausch. I was born and raised in Helena, and recently graduated from Rocky with degrees in Studio Art, History, and Political Science.
Did your parents celebrate in any certain way when you exited the womb?
My mom’s line was "get this shittin kid outta me" and my dad missed the birth because he was stranded on a broken down boat on Fort Peck when his pager went off. However he did show up at the hospital with celebratory cigars.
Tell me about the stuff you create and get your hands on.
I make prints, like to paint with acrylic, and use various found items in my pieces. Everywhere I go I try to collect things - I've been in DC the last two months and so far have found many feathers as well a squirrel tail I picked up in George Washington’s botanical garden at Mount Vernon. Almost all my art has animals in it, but it's not western at all, rather it has a very illustrative or graphic quality. Also, I just got into making crystals, ha ha.
A squirrel tail? What other strange types of items have you found for your work?
I have boxes of bones sitting in my parents’ house waiting to be turned into a project. I smuggled a flattened out snake with me from the Italian Alps, was gifted a chunk of elk vertebrae, found a fish skeleton by a dried up lake in Arizona. I collected snail shells from the Burren in Ireland and smuggled those across the border, and I've got many deer and elk bones, as well as a good-sized collection of feathers and rocks. For my graduation my cousin gave me a juvenile robin skull, so it seems to be fairly well known that a good bone is something I love. I try to pick things up everywhere I travel.
I see you have a love of politics as well as art. Do you see yourself pursuing anything in the realm of democracy the future?
Yes, I am very interested in politics, specifically international relations. I have been in Washington DC the last two months working on a nonprofit journalism project for Palestinian youth, and participating in an institute for economics and international affairs. I'd like to work for the State Department or the UN someday.
Okay, one last question, if one of the animals you collected for your art came back to life and turned you into a piece, what would you want to be?
I'd like my skull to end up as a prop for a Hamlet performance. I've got a gold tooth that would look great.