Five Questions For…. Jeremy Pickard
Name: Jeremy Pickard
Organization/Company: Superhero Clubhouse
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
I grew up on the hyphen of Jordan-Elbridge, NY, a small town-village outside Syracuse. Most of my early theatrical adventures happened in my head, or in the backyard surrounded by oak trees and wild mint. Then I stumbled blindly through Ithaca College, ignited some mini-revolutions in my basement, studied at the O’Neill NTI, studied Europe, moved to NYC, started childsitting, started writing, discovered SITI Company and my brain exploded a little. Somewhere along the way I became a vegetarian and pieced together a scrappy manifesto.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
Starry Night, and here’s why: I was bored on holiday break when I was 12 or so. I found a stupid little picture of the painting while flipping through an encyclopedia. I read about Vincent’s life, and I became obsessed with how much he broke the rules… all that paint, you know. And poverty. You don’t need money or verisimilitude to make your own world, that’s what the stupid little picture was saying to me. But then I was singing Don McLean all over the house, and…
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
I wish I could play virtuosic piano and compose, because as much as I love words, I guess then I wouldn’t need them so much.
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
I have the great fortune of childsitting a pair of siblings three of four days a week. I’ve been able to watch them grow up over the past three years.
A day usually involves an after-school pick-up, a lot of escorting kids to their various activities, buying snacks, nagging about homework, playing board games, chasing them around, cooking dinner, stealing all of their ideas… Sometimes we tell each other stories, and sometimes we get mad at each other and have to talk it out, and we laugh a lot, and we’re tired most of the time.
I also get paid to perform, but rarely.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
For a time during my first year in NYC I was waiting tables in addition to watching the kids, which was a fairly normal work schedule for most people, and a reality for many of my peers; but it was hell for me, and though I was paying the bills, I was making zero art. I quit the restaurant business. Since then I have been very poor, but very free to rehearse, to write, to perform, go to museums, see shows (when they are less than $20), read books. And it allowed me to put more attention on my childsitting gig, which simultaneously feeds my pocket, spirit and art.