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Viking Themed Mini Golf and a Baby Kicking Statue: an Interview with Sean Putnam

Our elusive art editor Sean Putnam might be all the way in Sweden, but she couldn't escape our questions for you, our curious readers. Here's what she's up to and what she thinks about art:

Q: Tell us about the spelling of your name.

A: It’s S-E-Á-N. I just learned about that little thingy over the “a” last year in Ireland. The night before I started kindergarten, having procrastinated teaching me how to write my name, my mom showed me some different spelling options and I picked this one because it had fewer letters to learn.

Q: You’ve traveled a lot, and even though you’re from the area, you’re living in Sweden right now. Can you compare life in Hampton Roads to life in Sweden?

A: People smile A LOT more back home. The island I’m on now, Öland, has an astounding amount of mini golf places. It could give Virginia Beach a run for its money. Oh yeah, and they’re VIKING THEMED.

Q: What was your favorite movie as a child?

A: I have two favorites. I was drawn to The Brave Little Toaster because it wasn’t all fluffy juvenile nonsense. It didn’t shy away from exposing children to dark themes, such as the death of an air conditioning unit and the abandonment of a security blankie (that one really got me). In My Neighbor Totoro the big sister has to keep the little sister safe while magical spirit monsters whisk them around the Japanese countryside. I can relate.

Q: What is your definition of art?

A: Something that makes you go “hmmmm” or “WHAT?!!” or “bleeeeeehhggggough”.

Q: What is your reading recommendation?

A: Since I’m in the land of the Moomin, I’ll have to mention the Moomin series of children’s books by beloved Finnish author Tove Jansson. The co-founder of this very magazine calls it “Scandinavian Winnie the Pooh” because it has a similar cast of lovable, naïve characters with a classically Scandinavian appreciation of and oneness with nature. Here are the characters decorating the children’s section of my local library:

Q: Since you are the art editor, what is your art recommendation?

A: I want you to take a minute to really connect with this sculpture by Gustav Vigeland:

I’m sure there’s poignant symbolism reflective of Norwegian society of the 1920s in there somewhere, but…the dude is kicking a baby.

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