Interview with Maxine Thirteen

by Roxanne Phillips, MFA
Printmaker and Master Printer, Pele Prints
Maxine Thirteen. ”My Forgotten Man.” 2020. Oil on Canvas, 24”x36”. $975.

Roxanne Phllips: What is the biggest point of inspiration for your artwork?
Maxine Thirteen: Some of my work is inspired by old films and styles from bygone eras, while I also draw inspiration from macabre and surreal themes. Most of my work revolves around humans. I find the amount of story and feelings you can portray simply through body language, lighting and color choices to be especially fascinating.

Maxine Thirteen. "Sophia.“ 2020. Oil on Canvas, 18”x22”. $495.

RP: What do you find most challenging/rewarding about the creative process?
MT: What I find most rewarding in the creative process is the moment when my work on the canvas really starts to reflect the concept in my head. It's a great feeling to see your thoughts fully represented outside of yourself. On the flip-side of that, I nearly always feel like my pieces have an ugly/awkward phase where I doubt if they will ever become what I want them to be.

Maxine Thirteen. "Nothing to Wear.” 2020 Oil on Canvas, 18”x24”. $750.

RP: What is it that you are most eager to convey through your art/how do you want the viewer to receive or interpret your art?
MT: I think everyone projects their own personal experiences into their interpretations of art, so the takeaway will always be a little different depending on the viewer. I don't get very wrapped up in trying to control how my art is received, it's more interesting to me to let that be fluid. There's always some underlying, personal feelings that I attach to each of my pieces, but I often keep those to myself.

Maxine Thirteen's studio.

RP: Describe your studio space – size, location, set up, what qualities must it have, what would you change?
MT: I use my apartment dining room as my studio. The space I take up with my art right now is around 120 square feet, but I often find myself expanding into other areas of our apartment. I'm not really known for neatness and organization, so the setup of the space is always in flux, and often messy, but I generally like to have 2-3 easels set up to bounce between multiple projects at once. I keep my paints and various other supplies in a rolling shelf to help me shift between the different work spaces easily.

A must-have for me is good lighting. I use the portion of my dining room with large windows, so I get great daylight, and I also have a small clip-on, flexible lamp that I shift around the studio when need be. Ideally, I would have a studio space entirely devoted to my art, as opposed to me trying to fit within the confines of our one bedroom, Maplewood apartment. I'm steadily out-growing my current setup and will have to figure out a larger space sometime soon. 

Artist Maxine Thirteen.

RP: What motivates you to continue making art?
MT: I’ve always needed some sort of creative outlet, and over the last few years I've come to find painting to be the most satisfying way for me to fulfill that need. Ultimately, I'm motivated by the fact that I'm always happier when I'm creating and finishing new paintings.

Maxine Thirteen is a self-taught, figurative painter who has been displaying her paintings in numerous spaces throughout the Saint Louis area since February of 2019. She began creating and selling a variety of custom artwork online and locally ten years ago, and is now focused primarily on oil painting and exhibiting in local spaces. She offers commissions and custom, promotional art. Learn more about Maxine Thirteen: and

Roxanne Phillips is an artist and art educator based in St. Louis since 2001. She earned a MFA in Printmaking & Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA in Painting & Drawing from University of North Texas. She has worked with Art Saint Louis since 2017 as Administrative Assistant and Installer and since 2018 as Master Printer for Pele Prints. She also works as adjunct art instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. Her works have been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the St. Louis region including at Art Saint Louis, Crossroads Art Studio & Gallery, and St. Louis Artists’ Guild. Her work is currently available at Union Studio in St. Louis. She has served as exhibit Juror for several regional exhibits & art fairs. Roxanne is past Board member of St. Louis Women’s Caucus for Art.