I use story to explore who we are before the world tells us who we ought to be

About Me

Born in New York City, I grew up in Alabama during the late 1960s and 1970s. My family lived in the middle of the Univeristy of Alabama campus. Student protests and unrest around civil rights and the Vietnam war unfolded in our front yard. I have lived in Virginia, Washington D.C., New Hampshire, and had a brief stint in Nairobi, Kenya, but for the majority of my adult life I have been in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I have a Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing from California Institute of Integral Studies. Before starting the MFA program, I enrolled in seminary for a year and a half, studying Theology and the Arts. Because the central idea of my work, original self, is found in theology, philosophy, psychology, and the arts, seminary was a great place to start. Ultimately, though, I found that approaching my work through the arts was my calling. In my first career, I earned a Master of Arts in Public Affairs and worked for several different environmental and affordable housing non-profits.

About My Work

My body of work is story. Story that encourages each of us to inhabit our truest self and feel the depth of our connections to one another. I seek to draw viewers into an intimate relationship with the narrative, to feel it even more so than hear it, as an invitation into self-reflection and compassion for self and other.

Most often, the story form I work with is an audio-driven video that combines multiple mediums designed to engage multiple senses at once. Occasionally, I share stories through the written word alone. My work has a kinship with experimental film, essay film, and narrative documentary. I am influenced by artists like Laurie Anderson, Pauline Oliveros, and Lynne Sachs.

My work begins with the human voice narrating a first-hand experience. I distill the narrative dropping away words, bit by bit, until I feel I have arrived at the essence of the story. I am continually surprised by how many words are unnecessary, especially when spoken rather than written. Every word I omit makes room for more space and silence around the words that remain.

Layering music to accentuate narrative moments, I sometimes add ambient sounds, as well, to create a sense immediacy and presence. Visual imagery is the last layer I create, often in the form of abstract collage that slowly evolves over the course of the story. The role of the visual in my work is to amplify the emotional tenor of the narrative and to focus the viewer’s attention on listening deeply to the voice that is speaking.

PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS PAGE | Self-Portrait © 2023 Lucy Mathews Heegaard. Giving a Presentation AT CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES © 2022 NELSON MELGAR. MFA Program Coordinator Julie Bata on left, Classmate Aundi Taylor on the right.