Wendy R. Friedman is a mixed-media artist from New York City with a passion for found objects and new perspectives. On top of her busy artistic practice, Wendy always makes time to attend Senior Planet’s Morning Stretch – which she credits for getting her moving again after lockdown and for introducing her to a world she never would have explored otherwise.
What inspires your artistic style?
When I begin a new work of art, I prefer not to know what the piece will turn out like in the end. I’m open to following where the object d’art may lead me.
I’ve always been interested in found objects and items we come in contact with regularly in daily life. I remember my daughter asking me when she was little, “When we’re taking a walk and you see something on the street you say, ‘That’s interesting, let’s bring that home and make a sculpture out of it.’ But other adults say, ‘Don’t touch that it’s dirty.’ Which is right?” And I said, “Both ways are right, they are just different ways of looking at things.”
For instance, several years ago, I began collecting stickers created by graffiti artists displaying their own images, aphorisms, political statements, and brand advertisements. The decals are stuck illegally on public and private surfaces around city streets. By appropriating the colorful labels into my own artwork I’m preserving a part of history. These stickers will wear away from the rain and sun. They’re temporary – but they mark a moment in time.
“I wish I could tell younger people – this is a really great time in my life.”
You recently filmed a video with Senior Planet about Morning Stretch! Why do you love that program so much?
Yes – Senior planet has connected me with a larger world that I never would have investigated. I guess I was too busy working. With Morning Stretch, you start with simple actions, and they get you moving again. I feel like it’s a gift.
What does aging with attitude mean to you?
For me, it means working towards better and better self-acceptance. Not being so judgmental about how my body shouldn’t or shouldn’t be, or how my mind should work.
The best way to exemplify that is that when I was younger, I was taking a ceramics class at Parsons along with those who I viewed then as “older adults”. There was one woman who wore purple every single day in every shade in every single outfit. She was just at an age where she didn’t care what people thought!
That’s what I think is aging with attitude. It’s being your best, most true you. And allowing yourself, even at this age, to figure out who that is without limitation or self judgement.
Pam Hugi is Senior Planet’s Community and Advocacy Manager. Based in Brooklyn, she runs Senior Planet’s Supporter program in addition to being a contributing writer for this site. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.