The Process

Dorian Fitzgerald, Table Decorations

For the first of our “The Process” columns, in which we talk to an artist about how they made a particular work of art, the Believer interviews painter Dorian FitzGerald about his Table Decorations, Oprah Winfrey Party for Sidney Poitier. FitzGerald’s past subjects have included a Fabergé egg, the throne room of the Queluz National Palace in Lisbon, and Elton John’s sunglass collection. We did this interview by Gchat one morning. He told me of how he exhibited the painting in a show he organized with two friends of his, who “left for overseas soon after.” FitzGerald was born in 1975 and has shown work in New York, Montreal, and Toronto.

—Sheila Heti


THE BELIEVER: What is it about flowers that compels artists?

DORIAN FITZGERALD: For me, as I suspect for others, it’s partly a technical challenge—rendering from life, and getting the paint to be as compelling as one of nature’s most attractive creations. Of course, there’s the symbolic realm, too: roses are as loaded with symbolism as any other flower. These flowers are a table decoration from a party thrown by Oprah Winfrey for Sidney Poitier’s birthday.

BLVR: Where did you find the image?

DF: On a cover of O at Home.

BLVR: And when you saw it, did you immediately know it was something you wanted to paint?

DF: Yes, definitely. It was one of those lightning bolts—certainly one of the strongest I’ve ever felt. It was such a perfect summary of all of the concerns occupying my mind at the time. And I had been wanting to paint flowers for a while. So it was perfect.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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