One of the most iconic visuals associated with the Indy 500 is the blanketing of the city with “Welcome Race Fans” signs and banners. The Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have built upon this annual tradition with their collaborative project, Welcome Race Fans, connecting visual art and artists to this historic race. This year 5 Indiana artists were commissioned to create original GIFs that celebrate the Welcome Race Fans tradition. We sat down with Madison Watson, one of the local artists to learn more about her creation Marathons and Milk.
You can experience all the artwork of Welcome Race Fans on the big screens around the Speedway, projected onto Monument Circle during Shining A Light, and shared on social media.
Where are you originally from? What made you lay your roots here in Indianapolis?
I am born here in Indiana but have spent time in a couple cities in California growing up. I stayed in Indiana to complete college at IUPUI.
How do you spend your days?
I spend most of my days recently working out (just got back into it) and making more content whether that be editing time lapses or actually drawing.
Tell us more about your work in Welcome Race Fans and how you curated this piece.
My Welcome Race Fans piece was specifically designed to be about all aspects of winning the Indy 500. I used about 3 references for the body alone and I wanted to make sure there was movement in the very prominent flag in the top left corner. I will say the still image is one of my favorite pieces to date. I created it using the app Procreate on my iPad.
A two part question for you: First: on the arts scene: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Where do you see Indy’s arts & cultural scene?
In five years I hope to see loads of growth on my artist style. Also on a personal note I hope to continue the journey of self discovery in all aspects of life! I see the Indy art scene flourishing in the future. Look at them incorporating different forms and styles into major events such as this one! I love to see the art realm in general opening up to the digital arts of all forms.
Since you were a child, you have had a strong interest and passion for the arts. Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in the arts?
Most of my childhood we had either a room or a hallway filled with my siblings and I’s art. Both of my parents are the “DIY” and crafty types, so curating things are deeply ingrained into my spirit LOL!
If someone has a dream they’ve always wanted to make a reality. What advice would you give them?
My advice to them would be to stay on that path and do not let anyone or anything to deter them from that goal. Also that you can’t completely focus on Plan A if you are contemplating Plan B simultaneously. All in all, do what you think is best for you!!
If you had to listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
Pretty Wings by Maxwell or Tadow by Masego, couldn’t decide!
It’s the weekend. What are your plans and/or favorite things to do when not at work?
I am a very social person so on weekends you can catch me at events with my friends. So if you see me out, say hi! I love to talk and am super friendly, I promise.
Quick- you can only eat at one local spot for the rest of your life. Where ya going and what’s your go-to item on the menu?
Juicy Seafood, I get 1/2 pound of snow crab 1/2 black mussels and add broccoli to my seafood boil.
When thinking about the future of our city, what are you looking forward to the most and why?
When thinking about the future of our city any mind turns to the fact that we are building new and exciting things literally everyday. We redid the entire downtown, painted underpasses, have new and exciting artists come to perform and are even bringing popular restaurants to the city. Indy is going to be a place to look out for soon, mark my words!