Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frankie Martin: Baker Interview

Here is the interview Frankie Martin and I did as part of her Residency at the bake sale. For info on the bake sale (2/13 at Secret Project Robot in Brooklyn), see the post below this one.
TRACY: Hi, Frankie! Tell me some stuff about BIKE USA (the project you raised funds for via the bake sale table) and how it relates to your ongoing body of work.

FRANKIE: Bike USA is a project beginning late May 2009 which involves me biking from Virginia to California (with company and alone, for different stretches) . In addition to adventure reasons, I will also gather data for a new body of artwork, in the forms of digital video and photography. I will do a few performances along the way, and hopefully collaborate with strangers on FVC, a larger video project. I have started writing a book, which I will also be able to work on during periods of rest during the bike trip.

T: How does sugar affect your life on a daily basis and how does sugar make you feel inside when you eat it?

F: I usually eat sugar is between the hours of 2 and 9 pm. If I eat too much sugar, I get a headache. Peter Pan is my favorite place to go for donuts. Lately I have had root beer floats. There have been times when I have had a problem with sugar (eating too much of it) and forced myself to consume it only on the weekends. This is probably due to the fact that when I eat it my taste buds are so happy.

T: What makes you want to be a baker and how did you learn?

F: There are many aspects of baking that I enjoy.
1. The potential of failure, and the eventual relief of making something well. I enjoy the science of it, and experimenting within that science to test the limits.
2. Being able to share edible delights with family, friends and strangers.
3. Being able to decorate the baked good later. The visual element.
4. It relaxes me.

Although I believe I baked cookies with my Mom growing up once in awhile, I taught myself how to bake. She was not really into the idea of being in the kitchen as a family activity. But I really enjoy baking with children, and teaching them.

T: What kinds of stuff do you bake?

F: I bake cookies, cupcakes, quiches, pies, muffins, breads (in order of most frequent to least frequent). Lately I have been really into baking things that have an element of surprise. Sometimes the surprise is good, sometimes its not good, but always edible. I have included surprises in cupcakes, cakes and brownies. Citrus surprise cupcakes yielded mixed reviews, but this could be due to the fact that some surprises were sour and some were sweet.

T: You like biking, yet you also like to eat butter and oil and sugar combined together. What sort of conclusion can you make about liking to be fit but also liking to have greasy sugary fingers and mouth?

F: I do not actually like having greasy fingers or mouth. I prefer to brush my teeth after eating sugary foods, I am extremely dentally conscious. There are many dichotomies within my personality, and I think this has something to do with my desire to be well rounded. ? I'm not sure, I'm still figuring myself out. I do enjoy being physically fit/strong/healthy, but I also enjoy desserts. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

T : How was your experience as a resident baker for Sweet Tooth of the Tiger? What was your favorite part? What was funny? What did you find to be weird?

F: My experience as a resident baker for Sweet Tooth of the Tiger was more fun than I expected. I was afraid it would be like sitting at a craft fair table (which i did once only), but in fact it is much easier and more pleasant to tempt people with delicious treats. It was nice to be able to explain that the baked goods were going to benefit BIKE USA. It was great to watch people try the treats, and hear back that they liked them. I also enjoyed chatting with Tracy and people watching.

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