Paz de la Huerta
Photographer: Frederic Auerbach
Creative Director: Deborah Ferguson
Interview By Laura Albert
I found being in the spotlight can make it hard to stay focused on one’s own art, how do you refocus, and can you talk about that process?
Well, I’ve recently been in the midst of a project and as of today when I started painting I found it hard to focus on anything else which is not normal for me. Usually I’m quite the multi-tasker. It’s important to me to continue working on my own projects and to work in different mediums because each one feeds one another. I’ll say that I am very excited my own projects when I’m done with this film and that will be my main focus. I learned a lot as of late. I’m turning one of the rooms here in the house into my painting studio and working on finalizing a book of my paintings from since my child hood. But focus is important, and as of late I’ve been emerged in this one project but I needed to step away from it for a little bit to rediscover what it meant to me and I have and as far as my film I’ve been working on for 12 years, La Valle de la Grimas my whole approach to that is I innately knew it would unveil itself to me the ending and everything and I have the ending now. I Have The location now for the last scene this ashram where they saw an apparition of mother Mary it’s been quite the journey and is an experience I have a 45 minute cut but there is probably over 12 years of footage and more to come and it’s about enlightenment and mother Mary. It’s a matter of raising the money needed to finish it at this point and I’m excited when I can do that but my work as an actress allows me to be able to work on my own projects too . And I’m going to start producing it’s a process but my goal is to direct. I work with watercolors and inks preferably for the same reason that I have no control over where they go and I like losing control with my work I believe art unveils itself to us and shouldn’t be controlled.
How often do you go to Spain – do you feel yourself more “connected” there or in NY? Where do you feel safest?
NYC I cannot do at all, though I have many loved ones there. I was living in NYC at the time of my accident and much of my belongings got left there. I lent some of my beautiful furniture to friends and my wardrobe, which is quite incredible, is all in storage right now my things are dispersed between Seville, Normandy, NYC and LA. Most of my things ironically are in NYC, a city I could never live as I’ve lost too many friends there and I myself have died there too many times.
I love Paris, it’s home for me. If it wasn’t for this home I have now in Los Angeles I’d be in Paris and I am going back for Christmas. I had a lot of unfinished business here in LA, loose ends I had to tie up, as my needs are different now.
I needed to take care of some health issues and I’ve always done that in America and I tend to like American men more for some strange reason, I miss Paris all the time and I will end up there… But my home here right now is keeping me here. A good home counts for a lot. I plan on having my things from NYC shipped here soon and that will be monumental it’s been 5 years since I’ve had them and I’m sure that will feel good.
I love Seville and most every summer I’ve been taking flamenco there. I couldn’t this past summer but I plan on spending the summer of 2017 painting there and dancing flamenco. I still have my place there on Calle Pureza, I really wish I could teleport. I’m here right now, God wants me here right now, but it’s not forever I could never live entirely in the USA, I love Europe too much. But this home here now is keeping me here.
Who knows, LA is a place to totally lose oneself in, and I did, and also a good place to find oneself. I feel if one can do it here one can do it anywhere. As far as safe. There’s a great film called A Safe Place that I feel could be the name of my memoir I’ve always been trying to find my safe place I’ve been trying to create that with in myself. I’m getting closer. Healing takes time. Feeling held is important wherever you are becoming your own mother. I’ve been giving birth to myself as of late.
I find in the US, people tend to be very begrudging of a person having more than one creative outlet – painting is something you have done since you were a child, do you ever feel overshadowed by your acting work?
Painting is my first passion and I’m excited for people to start to get to know my work as a painter; that’s why this book is so important to me, I had a first book, The Birds Didn’t Die Over the Winter … this one is different, it’s a start for people to get to know my work as a painter. I’ve struggled with health issues my entire life and no one could ever take away my painting, so that has remained consistent throughout my life and totally mine. I hope that this book can somehow show the journey I’ve been on through my art which much as of late has been about mother Mary.
“Painting is my first passion… I’ve struggled with health issues my entire life and no one could ever take away my painting, so that has remained consistent throughout my life and totally mine.”
Do you have a dedicated space for painting? When you create, do you listen to music and if so – what gets you there?
Music is so important, I blast music, all types of music and I just get lost for hours. I forget to eat. I just paint and I have a space in Seville, Spain. I feel incredibly inspired there and in this space, and I’m about to turn a room here in my home in LA into my painting studio as soon as I’m done with this film. I’m excited for that. It’s a beautiful space, this house has incredible creative energy, you were here, we created here, it’s a home meant for making art in. Music, yes music, all kinds. I’ve recorded some music as well and am putting together an album of some songs that I’ve put together over the past decade. It has a top secret subject matter and name.
Have you worked with Robert Wilson? I have had the privilege to work with him and it seems like you would get along with him. It is so critical to have mentors, how have your mentors impacted your work? Do you have any mentors now? Do you think about getting in to film directing?
That’s amazing… No, I have not. Yes, I have had many mentors. Also strange synchronicities withsome artists I’ve worked with.
Before I ever knew Francesco Clamente, whom I love dearly, people said my painting from childhood reminded me of his and then we became friends and he’s done my portrait a few times and he inspires me on every level. Also Jim Jarmusch and Gaspar Noe have been mentors to me, they both feel I’m a very talented director and have encouraged me to finish my films. I have other relationships with quite amazing artists that I don’t really like talking about, but yes, I’ve had the joy of being inspired by some very talented people. And en fin I believe I shall end up directing. I must finish my film La Valle de la Grimas. And then I have some other ideas I’ve expressed to you that I could do simply in the meantime I need a good co-director, my old producer was that for me, Johnny McNabb, but he sadly passed. The film is dedicated to him.
Using clothing to tell story, to express emotion, seems intrinsic to you, innate, do you think of creating your own line and what attracts you to a specific designer?
I love fashion and I love incorporating it into storytelling. Clothes are essential in creating a character, and great fashion and beauty, who doesn’t love beauty I fantasize about different scenarios in my private life along with in front of the camera, moving, and still of what I would wear. If and when and to whom I’d get married it would definitely have to be Alaia. I love Vivienne Westwood of course I love sexy clothes. Simple clothes I love slip dresses in my own life I love black dresses. I have many. I love Dolce and Gabbana. Simplicity, elegance great cuts when it comes to my creative projects I travel far and wide. I do love simplicity and a great cut.
I explored with a girlfriend making a line of very beautiful slip dresses. I would love my own line. I’m exploring a lot the idea of art direction maybe having my own publication. I have a name already for it.
Beautiful clothes are the best and I have an amazing collection I’m excited to get my wardrobe back. For Cannes in 2009 I helped design my dress for my premiere with Zac Posen, my beloved friend and an amazing talent, and took some inspiration from a La Perla body suit. And then used two old decorative pieces for braids from India that Francesco gave me and turned them into a belt. I love black, lingerie inspired clothes and simple sexy cuts.
I grew up in Brooklyn Heights in the 70s, the first tall white building next to the bridge is where I grew up. The Heights has a magic to it, what was your favorite place to hang there?
It must have been amazing back then. I didn’t have many friends or perhaps fickle friends while I was there. I was an artist that didn’t come from an artist family. I just was this kid thrown into the mix. I spent many hours alone walking around Brooklyn Heights. All my friends were older, I was already going out at night so I was late to school… I like the water, so I guess the promenade. The stoops for the seconds I had some fake friends to hang out with. I desperately wanted to be liked and I realize now just how amazing I was and deserving of that love but I wasn’t receiving it at home and I didn’t know what it felt like at all so I took a lot of shit. I know my place, my safe place. It was the painting studio at St. Anne’s, that was my favorite place to be, and I spent most of my hours there.