My Empirical Valentine : Vicki Lee & Ted O'Donnell

February 13, 2014

Artist Vicki Lee and photographer Ted O'Donnell met, fell in love and started producing amazing art babies. I first encountered their pictures last year , shortly before they held an exhibition titled  IS./WET and was absolutely fascinated by the mix of Ted's photography and Vicki's paint experiments. Nearly a year has passed and they are busy creating more mysterious ,beautiful, visceral and atmospheric art in a series titled TO END : flowers , Renaissance lighting and billowing smoke fuse ominously with melting, dripping colour taking on another dimension. Their playfully combustible energy, friendly rapport and total lovesickness fashions the kind of roses I'd love to receive on Valentine's Day.  I picked their brains about  love, art, inspiration and squid...

How did you two meet?

Ted : A batch of rainbow chard in the veggie shop.. we still often hang out at the veggie shop.

Vicki:We met at an organic fruit and vegetable store. I was fascinated with this colourful rainbow chard spinach (it was pink, purple, yellow, red and all the colours in between) and he started telling me all about its nutritional value and how it is actually quite sweet. He ripped off a bit and put it in my mouth to taste. Game over.

What attracted you about your partner initially?

Ted: Disarming beauty, brutal honesty, and a unique way of seeing the world around her

Vicki:Ted anchors such deep sense of calm internally it seems to permeate to the aura surrounding him. He's a man of the Earth, which is the ultimate sexiness in my eyes. When we first started dating, he picked me up for the movies wearing a  Ralph Lauren tweed blazer on and no shoes, which to me screamed a capacity and desire to do it all and not be limited by much, especially as he didn't say anything about it as if it was a normal thing to do.That and he has perfect curly hair. I LOVE curly hair.

What attracts you about him/her now?


Ted:
Her quest to live life beautifully on her own terms ...and still her unique way of seeing and responding to the world around her.

Vicki: So many things at all different levels. To answer in short though, there is an excitement surrounding our union as spirits.
He's a yes man in the best possible way. We end up in the strangest and most awesome situations because we both have a thirst for raw experience and pleasure. Ive always seen human interaction like the mixing of chemicals. Its what is produced in the fusion that says it all and makes you go back for more.

What is her/his most annoying characteristic?

Ted: Paint.. everywhere...... (no really, everywhere)

Vicki: The same thing I'd say is his best characteristic. Man of the Earth is an Earther, watch out!

You create beautiful art together. How did it come into existence?

Ted: It's just what happens when we are together, we like to do it. Once we started playing around with various ideas we just felt the compulsion to continue.. it wasn't really a choice we made

Vicki: I'd been stewing on this concept for a few months and over wine one night we just started putting it into action at home.We were mixing all sorts of kitchen ingredients like tahini, honey and turmeric powder to make the paint and dripping it all over roses and orchids we could find lying around.

What do you love the most about working together?

Ted: The fact that it is a work in progress, with no foreseeable end date..

Vicki:It always feels like we have a funny little secret going. Like an in joke but no one else is caring or watching haha
I also like watching Ted in action. He's a lighting genius.

What inspires you?

Ted: Music, self expression, honesty, fearlessness..

Vicki:Movement. To me, life is movement. Everything in it and about it passes and changes and transforms and thankfully never remains as is. So seeing this process in nature, for example in moss forming or waves crashing can keep me pretty happily occupied. How beautiful everything becomes when you realise it cannot last.Even when you think you're regressing, time means you are always moving forward.By movement I don't mean physical movement, I mean flow, lucidity and vitality.I call it juju. The WD40 of life.

What are you obsessed with at the moment ?


Ted:
Single fins.. my vegetable garden.. the art of fermentation.. and the quest for rich tonality in my photographs

Vicki: Squid. I google the movement and pattern change of squid every day.  I think it might be an addiction...Snakes. The rainbow serpent, the kundalini snake, shakti and even sperm all take the same form and mean the same thing. It weirds me out. Also this one tone of grey that is almost khaki olive but not quite. Its magnificent and graceful but strong as well.

Favourite book / tv show / film ?

Ted: Most things by Hitchens, The Old Man And The Sea - dont really watch any tv shows... - lately, The Great Beauty and anything with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in it.

Vicki:  Book - The Picture of Dorian Gray -Oscar Wilde, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying - Songyal Rinpoche...film : I'm a bit embarrassed to say its Forrest Gump! Tv show : I don't watch tv, its too big a commitment.

What is on your bucket list as a couple?

Ted: Live in Paris, live in New York, then dissappear in the jungle somewhere.. making beautiful pictures all the while

Vicki: Get a block of land by a water stream and design and build a place from scratch. Aim to have given a bit more than we've taken by the end of it all.


What will you do for Valentine's day?

Ted:Enjoy each others company while avoiding the mass hysteria.

Vicki:On our first Valentines day together, Ted took me to the street he grew up on with a 6 pack of Peroni and 2 skateboards...we have a bit of a tradition now so maybe Five dock skate park this year?…I love a bit of cheese , it just has to be good quality cheesy.

Check out their new website www.tovl.com.au  and contact them via email to reserve your piece of To End magic.

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