honoriartist (honoriartist) wrote,

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Anna Banana Interview

Here is my interview for Anna Banana's project on artists who changed their name:

Anna Banana
NAME CHANGE QUESTIONNAIRE from Anna Banana; revised 8/8/03

NAME(S) NOW used now: 1st, Middle, Last:

My "real" name is Madelyn Kim Starbuck (nee Averitte)

BIRTHDATE (year, at least) February 5, 1947

LIST ALL the other names you've had in chronological order; and in which context(s) they are used:

Legally changed/used all the time

Assumed: AKA's/additional identities/where used:

Since 1987 the name I use is honoria, most often spelled with a lower case first letter.

Q: Was there a PARTICULAR INCIDENCE/influence that precipitated your name change? If so, please specify:

A: I was in a pen pal club and an aggressive man kept writing to me. I decided that it would be best to adopt a whole new name and personality for the purpose of presenting an intellectual but rather socially stuffy image to the strangers of the various networks I was investigating.

Q: SOURCE of new name: _X_ self selected ___ family nickname ___ workplace nickname __other/please specify

A: I named myself after a character in one of my favorite series of detective fiction, the Lord Peter Whimsy series by Dorothy L. Sayers. In the series Honoria is Lord Peter’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Denver. The character of Honoria writes short gossipy notes to her friends and has a small humorous part in many of the books. I also liked that the name contained the word “honor” which I though would be a good clue to the kind of communication I welcomed.

Q: REASONS for changing/taking other names:
hated given first name: ___ second name: ___ Last name: ___ wanted new start ___ liked new name better ____ it just "happened," ie. others use it ___ other ___ please specify)

A: It seemed right to have a different name to present into the world of networking.

Q: LIST TEN TRAITS/characteristics you associate with:
your new legal name(s):

your assumed/alternate name(s):
A: In the beginning I associated Honoria with dowager duchessness, a rich person with a staff to wait on her and hours of leisure in a day, a strong contrast to my real life as a mom and secretary in an office at a University. As I continued using the name honoria she took on a life of her own. When she entered into the Mail Art Network she was pretty much a fresh character. At the same time honoria came into my life I moved from making, framing, and selling fine art paintings to making small artworks to send to the mail art exhibitions. As honoria’s name appeared on more and more documentation of mail art shows, her personal style developed and she became known as an independent identity. No one in mail art knew about Madelyn. honoria was well-established in the Mail Art Network at the time I began to enter into various environments on the Internet and started graduate school. Suddenly it seemed that the honoria part of me was directing my academic direction and I started using the name honoria in "real life" in addition to my mail art and Internet identity.

At first honoria primarily had these traits:
independently wealthy
independent thinker

As she evolved as an artist and intellectual she developed others:
increasingly intellectually curious
articulate in written networking documents such as manifesto, message boards, articles

Her biggest leap was to become a cyberopera impresaria, a shift and focus that brought into play certain other traits:
flowing avant garde yet ultra feminine and couture clothes
front-row season tickets to the Austin Lyric Opera

Q: THINGS YOU DO NOW as (new name)

A: As honoria gained confidence as an international artist and as a persona on the Internet her creative vision expanded. She collaborated with other artists and scholars to produce a blending of Mail Art and Internet interaction. The collaboration eventually took the form of the first Internet Opera called "honoria in ciberspazio", Italian for “honoria in cyberspace”. I called the opera after honoria in the grand concept of self-historification made famous by the Italian mail artist, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini. I first went to Europe as honoria although we used Madelyn's passport to attend the 1992 Networking Congress held at a beautiful country estate in Italy north of Venice. When honoria and Miss Ruby landed in the garden where the networking events took place, we knew that we had arrived "home", a place where art, conversation, networking, communication, global concerns, poetry, and performance were all woven seamlessly into a beautiful sincere event.

Q: THINGS YOU DID as (previous name)

A: Significantly contributed to the support of my family by working as a secretary, created fine art with a goal to sell in galleries, taught fitness classes, organized life-drawing groups, enjoyed letter writing as a hobby.

Q: LIST VISUAL EVIDENCE: (artwork, clothing, photos/body size, posture, collections,) that reflect or result from; your new legal name

your alternate/assumed name(s):

- Art: all honoria’s artwork is now networked art: mail art and web-art.
- Décor: the walls of my home are covered in mail art posters and examples of mail art
- Fame: honoria has a significant standing in the Internet web-art world, for example, she has been interviewed by the New York Times and Wired magazine about the cyberopera.
- Fashion: honoria wears fancy clothes that she buys in thrift stores and rarely dresses down
- Attitude: honoria maintains a sense of pride and aristocratic reserve in the face of life's challenges
- Posture: honoria has upright posture yet is not stiff, she can be a bit theatrical when she is relaxed and among friends
- Academic status: Honoria earned a Ph.D. through the study of the effects of the Internet on the Mail Art Network. This advanced educational degree may lead to a rewarding job in her field of interest. A rewarding career would be a major leap in self-fulfillment compared to her original status of departmental secretary.

Q: REACTIONS TO your name change by:
A: family – my extended family including old commune mates call me Madelyn and think of honoria as an art project or a passing phase
Friends - most friends acquired in the last 15 years know me as honoria, the old friends call me honoria and Madelyn both, depending on who else is around and the prevailing name among that group, some people just call me dahling, a name that goes with the honoria style.
Co-workers - know me as honoria
Business Associates - know me as honoria
others - my son calls me Mom introduces me as Madelyn

Q: IN WHAT WAYS has using your new name changed your:

My life as honoria is much freer and fun, constantly making art and connecting to other artists. Gaining a Ph.D. by pursuing the role of an alternate persona is a surprise. Madelyn would never have gone for a doctorate but it was a natural thing for honoria to attain.

Honoria is more sure of herself and haughty than Madelyn and much more of a risk-taker.

self esteem?
Honoria is used to people telling her she is wonderful. She has the respect of many people in the areas of research, mail art, opera, and technology. honoria is surrounded by younger people who often confide in her and ask her advice. She is a wise woman to her many younger friends.

Honoria is looking for a university teaching job in art & technology. Her online portfolio includes mail art and digital art. www.mailartist.com/honoria/portfolio Because a job search is under my “real” name involving my social security number and other official documents I am applying to jobs under the name Honoria Madelyn Starbuck.

Honoria is a mail artist and net artist. She has flourished for years in both networked environments.

In the course of her graduate studies in net art honoria met Knut Graf who is a design analyst at frogdesign. Knut and honoria have been partners in the opera and any number of other activities for the last 7 years.

physical activities?
Honoria struts her stuff, attends art and technology parties and events. She belongs in the front row of the opera.

COMPARE HOW YOU FEEL about using/being introduced by your previous name/your new name?

I like my original name; it is used by old friends and has a warm family aura. Honoria is more high-powered, well-known and it feels more professional when I am introduced as Honoria.

Q: IF I HADN'T changed my name, I probably would be:

A: I probably would have gone back to school but I would have stopped with a B.A. or a Master’s Degree. I can’t imagine being Madelyn in mail art or on the net either, but I’m sure she would have found her niche. She would probably be an executive assistant or development officer. I might still be married to my husband who is a potter. I would be wearing less punk and couture fashion and more grown up stylish garb. My hair cut would not be as spiky.

Q: WOULD YOU RECOMMEND a name change to others? If so, on what grounds?

A: Yes, change your name to go in as many directions you can envision for yourself. Adopting a new name leads to self-discovery. Living on the edge between fact and fiction is a rich place for an artist.


A: Having a different identity for each personality and creative function helps in organizing and assigning resources to projects. I get twice as much done now that I am two people. In fact, Madelyn needed honoria to do the art stuff, she didn’t have time. When I need to be three people or more, I won't hesitate.

Please use additional pages where necessary to add insights relevant to your name change that I have given insufficient space for, or omitted from this questionnaire.

PLEASE RETURN completed questionnaire to Anna Banana, RR 22, 3757 Hwy. 101,
Roberts Creek, BC, Canada V0N 2W2 OR
email it to me at a_banana@sunshine.net

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