Nicole Ennemoser (Photo by Bernhard Wolff)
Peripheral Peripheral ARTeries A
4 Picaroon is the collaboration of the two artists Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter. Picaroon’s art is intended to bring people together and make them wonder. We believe there is an intrinsic curiosity within all people and it can best be provoked in unusual places, like a busy pedestrian area or a small market square.
My work revolves around the human body, the abstract representation of its cells and its DNA. My research is oriented towards a dreamlike, playful reflection of an allegory of our cells, phenotypic in nature, of their own identity, trying to make a life of their own, to transform or escape reality.
Over time my images have gone from documentary to narrative to conceptual to emotive and back again.
Nicole Ennemoser “Give me a scribble and I’ll turn it into something beautiful” was one of my favourite activities when I was a little girl.
My photographs are an extension of myself, my experiences, and on occasion, the scars they left behind. They are a personal narrative, a way of sharing my inner self with those around me.
I find joy working with colours, brushes and crayons, and to experiment with lines, forms and textures.
Transience. In this case, the psychological as well as physical state of homelessness. It is the common thread that runs through both my writing and visual art work. It reflects my fascination with what constitutes home, the effects of displace-ment and immigration, language as a barrier, and the process by which we construct new cultural identities.
Marie Lang “I believe that art is most powerful as an expressive outlet for all that it means to be human, colorful, messy, spectacular.”
My current work revolves around the themes of wonder, immersion, spectatorship and intermediality.
I see a work of art as a kind of dream, a matter, which in its vagueness conveys what sometimes clear conceptual thinking cannot communicate. For me, the words of Francis Picabia “Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.” are absolutely valid both as definition of my work, and as artistic credo.
In search of building a visceral experience for the viewer, my work speculates that evoking elements of wonder, chance and discovery in the creative process can lead to an engaged and thoughtful participation by its viewer.
From my point of view harmony rhythm variety, full grandeur were matters that should necessarily be in an artistic expression a bit confused with the current contemporary art where concepts and truth standards as liquids are left to be objective for artists.
Serene Greene My work is a visual soundtrack, calligraphic in nature, and fused with the emotions of color. Created with successive layers of images, written messages, texture and color, they fuse techniques of painting and drawing, and represent the excavating of secrets and unrevealed life.
The process of creating and the presentation of art is a fundamental blessing and encouragement for human society that arises from the artists' ability to open to the primal elements of life's appearances. Feeling the heart of events and finding the freedom to express that in media and terms beyond the distortions of ego is a liberating thing that wakes people up to the natural benevolent vividness of circumstances.
Erin O’Malley “With digital macro photography I have been exploring the interaction of light with transparent and reflective surfaces. I consider my photography a series of experiments, a process of trial and error that builds upon past succes-ses through the manipulation of variables”
Feel free to submit your artworks to our art review: just write to firstname.lastname@example.org III
Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter an artist’s statement
Picaroon is the collaboration of the two artists Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter. Picaroon’s art is intended to bring people together and make them wonder. We believe there is an intrinsic curiosity within all people and it can best be provoked in unusual places, like a busy pedestrian area or a small market square. By definition, interactive art cannot stand on its own, especially in public spaces. It needs people who are willing to stop whatever they were just doing, and to explore and interact with a particular piece of art. Solely driven by their own curiosity, these people create a novel experience altogether. This creation is far from inevitable. It is impossible to tell with any deal of certitude, how participants will react at any given moment, yet this freedom results in a sensation that is as diverse as the people that attend. There are elements that the artist may have limited or no control over: adverse weather conditions, places that are too lonely, or too busy, or the people themselves, who may not have the time or patience to commit to what one wants to show them. Rebecca does not want to force her interpretation upon the observer and from her point of view, uncertainty regarding the outcome often results in a rewarding experience. By taking casual bystanders and removing them from their isolated position of outside observers, they themselves become a part of that piece of art. Some will lose interest after seconds, some will stay a while and then sometimes, people who have never met before will strike up a conversation and talk about what they just experienced. And this loop may come back around to the artists themselves, so that they may end up learning about an aspect of their work when they thought they knew everything there was to know. Sebastian believes that people like to see things that they haven’t seen before. We all are very skilled at spotting things that are illogical or don’t make sense within our familiar setting. But the awkward can be fascinating, the unusual can be appealing. Interactive art often has unique and abstract concepts that people want to find out about. Much like in a game of chess, we accept the rules and how the pieces move, and only a few will ever ask why the rook can move so swiftly when it is essentially a stone tower that we would expect to move rather slowly, if it moves at all. Just like that we want to make people get together and leave the familiar realm to show them something new entirely.
an interview with
Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian Walter Hello Rebecca and Sebastian and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what are in your opinion the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
Art is so diverse that we will have a hard time finding a universally accepted definition of the term Work of Art. Art movements of the past century alone have widened and extended the term to a point, where it becomes clear that any attempt to give a complete definition of the term work of art could only be made in retrospect. But for us as Interaction Artists, a Work of Art is characterised by the correlation between its form and content. Without the content, the form is meaningless whilst the form is imperative to bring the content into existence. Social and technological changes at the beginning of the 20th century layed the foundation to a form of art with participatory features, which introduced the idea of an open outcome, such as Futurism or later Fluxus or Happenings. Openness thereby is the objective to leave aspects of an artwork to the audience or to chance. Simultaneously, art movements with a technological component emerged and developed further, such as the early kinetic art or media art. We would mark the todayâ€™s synergy of these two elements, participation and technology, combined with the idea of openness as one possible feature of contemporariness of a work of art. Would you like to tell us something about your backgrounds? Both of you have received formal training at a very high level and both of you have moved from your native country to the United Kingdom: how have these experiences impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays?
Sebastian studied Game Design in the Netherlands, whilst Rebecca studied Media Design in Germany, followed by her Masterâ€™s in Interaction Design in Edinburgh, UK. Now we both live and work in Edinburgh, which strikes us as a culturally diverse city. For us, it is essential to meet and communicate with people from different cultures from all over the world. This exchange will 6
Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian
often disclose new perspectives and views, and as our art focuses on sociological issues, cultural exchange doesnâ€™t only have an impact on our work, but is essentially our main source of inspiration. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
The starting point of our process of creation is mostly a question we donâ€™t have an answer for, mostly a sociological issue as said above. This is followed by thorough theoretical research concentrating on published papers and articles dealing with the broader subject matter. At this point we may have identified a certain aspect that we believe should be given form. This is a crucial point during the development, because we need to be able to grasp most elements of our research and transpose those carefully into an appropriate shape. Now that first step takes about a month or two. From there it gets broader as we need to investigate the materials and technical limitations that we will encounter. After all, we make use of a whole bunch of different electrical parts and a wide range of materials and it is quite a challenge to make the theoretical concept technically feasible. Yet, we want to create interactive art that revolves around the people that interact with it, so going out there at an early stage is essential. You will want to have people test your construction much like a piece of software or an electrical device, because it needs to be intuitive and must not be an obstacle that people need to tackle with. If your prototype is difficult to approach, you draw attention away from the content and deeper meaning, which you were trying to make more accessible in the first place.
And now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start with "Global Sounds" that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article and that I would suggest to visit directly http://www.picaroon.eu/work.html ... In the meanwhile could you tell us something about your process for conceiving and in particular for making this piece?
This project began with a personal question, the question about home. Since we both donâ€™t live in our native country, we were discussing if one creates something like a second home by moving to another place, which then provokes another thought regarding the definition of the place that we like to call home. We started to research about this topic and moved forwards to globalisation and migration. Realising that cultural values are being taken from oneâ€™s origin and introduced into the new environment, a new blend of cultural exchange is being created that ideally has the potential to be beneficial to everyone. We created seven pyramids made from acrylic glass to represent different cultures. Every pyramid represents one culture. We collaborated with the composer Theresa Zaremba in London, who created a song comprised of seven instruments from different cultures, such as a Didgeridoo from Australia or a Djembe from Africa. We also worked with the medium light â€“ inside of every pyramid is a light bulb which blinks like an equalizer according to its instrument. The installation is interactive in the sense that it needs people to activate the pyramids. The pyramids have a webcam with a fisheye lens on top which recognises movement. We used the software Processing and the electronic board Arduino to program the webcams and control the instruments and the light. As soon as one person stands next to a pyramid, movement is detected and one instrument starts to play. The more people come to the installation, the more instruments join in. It was of great importance to us that people realise how to interact with the installation by themselves without requiring an explanation. I personally find absolutely fascinating the collaborations that artists can established together as you did with between apparently different approaches to art... and I can't help without mention Peter Tabor who once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?
We can certainly agree. We often find ourselves with complete 8
different approaches to a specific challenge. Rebecca is focusing mainly on the level of artistic interpretation and the balanced correlation between form and content. Sebastian on the other hand transfers principles of game theory on the rules of the interactivity and considers social behaviour of participants. One of the features of your works that absolutely fascinated me is the symbiosis that you are capable of establishing between different disciplines in order to create a deep interaction with your audience: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?
An interesting thought! At the end of the day, the technology we use, electrical devices, sensors and LED’s are just tools. And there certainly is an artistic aspect to these elements, but what it really does – as you already implied in your question – is to enable us to blend disciplines into one. A good example for that is the music we used, which touched people on a very different level that images or written texts could hope to in this specific project. And since I have a scientific background, I couldn't do without asking you to tell us something about the technological aspect of your art practice: in fact your works are based on an effective synergy between Art and modern technologies as xBox Kinect and Arduino and I must confess that I'm always happy when I discover synergies between Art and Technology: do you think that nowadays still exists a dichotomy between art and technology? Moreover, I would go a far as to say that the more time it passes the less there are concrete differences between Art and Science... and I would go as far as to say that in a way Science is assimilating Art and viceversa... what's your point about this?
The very early roots of the symbiosis of art and technology goes back to chronophotography which was invented in 1886 as an answer to the second industrial revolution. It was a novel technique to capture linear trajectories of moving objects in a single image. After World War II, as a result of further technological development, interest in kinetic art grew, which led to collaborations between artists and engineers. Later, these synergies between art and technologies led to new art movements such as technological art in 1960 or the later media art until today’s interactive art.
Leistungszeit, xBox Kinect, Skeleton Viewe
busy. We realised that we were constantly in a hurry and always under the impression of not having worked enough. Now time is a resource that we like to believe we have a lot of control over, yet a lot of people – including ourselves at that time – seem to regard their own time closely linked with a sensation of fear, the fear of not having enough.
We believe that new inventions in technology and science will lead to new art forms. The first steps have been taken already, Ars Electronica, one of the most important festivals for interac-tive art, presented at their 2013 festival a large number of artworks which were inspired by newest findings in biology and neuroscience. Another work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled “Leistung-szeit”, a stimulating piece of public art: it has been represented in Munich, Zurich and Stuttgart and it's based on a deep involve-ment of your audience, that it's in a certain sense "forced" to think... while you lead us through the development of this project, I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indes-pensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
At its core, Leistungszeit is a provocation. While you walk by, a thought bubble pops up with a distinct sound and hoovers around your head, for everyone to see. In our world it is not uncommon to speculate about one’s actions or intentions, but the realm of thoughts seems to be quite a private afair. So we quickly realised that this is a powerful tool of getting our message across. Unlike a flyer or a booklet that you are sometimes given in a public space for various reasons, and that you can choose not to pay attention to, the thought bubble was hard to ignore as it followed you and around. Rebecca Gischel Sebastian Cassandra Hanks
We started this project at a time we were very 10
Leistungszeit, xBox Kinect, Skeleton Viewe
The thoughts we made people think revolved around common tasks and goals, but were extended to bizarre proportions to have a playful, but strong impact. So a bubble could read “There is another 700 unanswered emails in my inbox” or “If I can secure that longed for promotion, I can finally get myself that Porsche”.
in their crafts under severe blows of fate or by experiencing great personal bliss. Either way, an artist is shaped by her past experiences, and she cannot help but to interpret her piece of art through her view on the world.
But the real beauty in our opinion was dealing with the subject matter on a superordinate level of meaning: If people would walk too fast, the sensors would not pick up on the people in time and the thougt bubble would only flash up for a second followed by a suppressed sound. Think about it: people short on time rushed by too fast for an installation that was dealing with shortage of time! As you can see, personal experience played a big part in the development in this project. So the answer is no, the creative process cannot be disconnected from an artists’ direct experience. Walter We have seen so many great artists who thrived
Leistungszeit, xBox Kinect, Skeleton Viewe 11
Besides a stimulating irony, I can recognize in your recent work Black Box such a subtle social criticism... I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could play an effective role not only making public opinion aware of current issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behaviour... As an artist duo deeply involved into sociological issues, I would take this occasion to ask your point about this.
You are right about the irony regarding the black box, but when it comes to your second remark, we are forced to disagree. Our intention to this day, has never been to “steer people’s behaviour”. Certainly, we appreciate if people end up drawing the same conclusions as we do, when we confront them with a certain issue that we communicate through our art. But more often than not, they will have a slightly or even radically different opinion and that is just as fine from our viewpoint. We are not trying to convince anyone, but rather want people to make up their own mind. Consequently, we try to avoid radical implications or point’s of view, as they leave little room for a fresh and unbiased assessment of a situation. Also keep in mind that not all participants reach the same level of depth. People going to a museum will generally be more inclined to immerse themselves into the kind of art they chose to see. We aim at all people in a given space and reach them to varying degrees. Thanks for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Thank you for your time, and yes, we are working on something new that we are extremely excited about. We can’t tell the details as of now, but it will likely have a bigger scope and will make us get about quite a bit. We expect a presentable prototype to be completed early in 2014.
Rebecca Gischel and Sebastian
An inerview by email@example.com
Cassandra Hanks 12
Leistungszeit, xBox Kinect, Skeleton Viewe
Nathalie Borowski (France) an artistâ€™s statement
Emanating from the exploratory power of the imagination, my work is based on taking scientific realities that I â€œdivertâ€? from their original framework, thus annihilating any possibility that a hypothesis or theory is true or false. My work revolves around the human body, the abstract representation of its cells and its DNA. My research is oriented towards a dreamlike, playful reflection of an allegory of our cells, phenotypic in nature, of their own identity, trying to make a life of their own, to transform or escape reality. Detaching themselves from or clinging to the "body" and always represented geometrically, the forms emerge full of fight. By playing with the idea of the escape and autonomy of our cells, broken free from their original confines, I wanted to give them their own identity. Zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, abstract, ready to fight or amorphous, rarely inseparable from their point of origin. Representing the unity of the cells, the drawings or cut-outs often have an animal-like quality to them, conscious and determined, sometimes indicating the presence of the underlying human, conveyed by anthropomorphic traces. Moving from the surface (ink drawings, cut-out forms) into space (placed as independent units), the forms escape and leave behind a trace of their absence. Placed and moved within the space as objects, they develop their own identity, evoking the continuously active renewal of our cellular activity.
Escaping the cell Polyethylene / glycero - photo Ph.B 2
an interview with
Nathalie Borowski Hello Nathalie, and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
Thank you for your invitation. In my opinion, a work of art is the result of a thought, the visual outcome of a research, of an inner questioning that asks questions of the person looking at it. It can provoke a sensation, an emotion. It does not matter whether it disturbs, enthrals or provokes repulsion, what seems important to me is that it triggers a reaction (irrational feelings or contradictions, peace or chaos). Without a utilitarian purpose, the work of art is embodied in dimensions other than those in which the artist sought to create it. It exists by itself and responds to something that resonates with the observer. However, it falls within a theoretical and historical framework or within a movement that defines it and, moreover, it may get its status from the institution that supports it.
Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?
By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art?
What makes an artistic work contemporary, in my eyes, it that it is connected to a particular point in time. It can likewise be defined by the use of new materials. It is the fruit, the artistic visual result of our ideas, our contradictions, our questions or thoughts established according to the world around us. It reflects its era. It can detach itself from reality but it still establishes a conscious or unconscious connection with our daily life, our feelings, our ideas, our stories or our thoughts.
Does being contemporary mean cutting oneself off from tradition? Even if some avant-garde artists refuse any affiliation with their predecessors, the artist always refers, one way or another through their knowledge or culture, to a past that is more or less recent. There is continuity rather than rupture, one era influencing another, a new approach that can be represented in a deconstruction or a parody. Means of representation evolve but traditions feed artistic inspiration. The use of new technologies allows us to go even further.
It makes us think about or experience different views, feel emotions and leads us to break the rules of an earlier era, to always explore new horizons.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there particular experiences that have impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I someti-
Escaping the cell Polyethylene / glycero - 2 m x 1 m (78" x 39") Photo: N. Borowski
mes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?
quality, it pushes the students to set themselves free and explore new avenues. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
I attended various courses in several schools of fine arts in Paris which has allowed me to broaden and nurture my work on both a theoretical (Ecole du Louvre) and practical (Ecole des Beaux Arts, Ecole Estienne) level. The encouragement given by one of my professors, Hubert Rivey, who is also an artist, has also played a decisive role. Although I think a formal education can provide vital basic artistic skills, I also feel that it’s not right for everyone. It sometimes suggests certain means of expression that are different from what the artist may feel in their inner self, sometimes causing a sort of artistic “mould” in which personal creativity is erased. That being said, when the teaching is of a high
Although I do not have any scientific training, my work takes an artistic approach that blends art and science. I generally start with a scientific reality relating to our identity (our DNA, our genetic code, our chromosomes, etc.). My intention is not to illustrate it, but rather to try to develop our interiority, which differentiates us from one another, in a visual form. I have always been fascinated by what makes up our identity, 17
what we’re made of inside and what creates our uniqueness. In the artwork “The Degenerates”, which is a transcription of the translation process of our genetic code into “random writing”, I wanted to highlight the contradiction that exists between the predetermination of our genes, and our free will which offers us the possibility of modifying our genetic attributes. Beyond a purely figurative form, I want to show our internal physical world, a world made of cells, bacteria, of genes full of fight, of animality, but which is not devoid of poetry. With regards to the cut-outs, it gives me the possibility to extract forms and to give them an autonomous “existence”. The act of cutting out changes the nature of the object. It is as if their detachment gives them greater freedom. It can take several weeks or months for my work to mature. No form or drawing is ever predetermined. It’s as if letting go of my imagination could be a metaphore for a time that we have no control over (of a future that we do not know). Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with Escaping the cell that our readers can admire in these pages and that I would suggest them to view directly at your http://www.nathalieborowski.com/plastazotes.html : would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
This started with the idea of giving our human cells a form of autonomy. How to enable a form to “exist” outside its original confines? I chose to create an installation where “human bodies” are represented by sheets of polyurethane foam, a semi-rigid material that can be adapted to the abstract idea that I have of the body. I wanted to give a dreamlike dimension to our cells by giving the illusion that they could be represented in an almost irrational form as autonomous beings. This concept is not immune to the idea of being able to control what we are made of. We are composed of multiple organisms, cells, chromosomes, bacteria, and I wanted to give them their independence through a chimerical embodiment, to bring out our physicality by giving them animal characteristics (claws, paws, horns, etc.) that are not devoid of humanity (heads arms, bodies, etc.). By playing with the idea of the escape and autonomy of our cells, broken free from their original confines, I wanted to
« The Degenerated » Ink on paper 2,30m x 1,70m (90” x 66’’)
give the cut-out forms their own identity. Zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, ready to fight, independent but inseparable from their point of origin. The sheets defy gravity, the cut-out forms gathering in a single space where they seem to drift freely. The geometric structures reinforce the feeling of floating. Playful and organic forms, dark and light, a childhood landscape turning from black into white. They appear to evolve all by themselves. They seem to be escaping, are discernable but without an outline. Another piece of yours on which I would like to send some words is Ping Pong of DNA, a work that I like very much: a feature of this 18
Ping-pong of DNA, installation (detail) Ping-pong balls / feathers Photo: N. Borowski
is unique (with the exception truly identical twins). Our cells are organisms to which I wanted to give several identical or comparable “individualities”. I have embodied the human cell in a ping-pong ball whose symbolism of its bounce gives it a dimension of movement, which evokes the continuously active renewal (perpetual) of our cellular activity. On each ball, an imaginary and unique form is drawn. These hybrid creations recall “chimeras”. In genetics, a “chimera” is an animal organism resulting from double of multiple fertilization, harking back in some way to the Greek myths of a fantastical hybrid Photo: N. Borowski
this piece that has mostly impacted on me is the effective synergy that you have been capable of establishing between a theoretical, abstract concept as DNA and such a tactile feature that we can receive by a simple ping pong ball... there's a stimulating channel of communication between apparently distant concepts that converge to an unexpectedly simple concept: our inner physicality...
This synergy is the result of a reflection on our DNA. It is the material support of our genetic information and I wanted to create a physical embodiment (animality) of this concept. In the strictest sense, the genome of each human being
Ping-pong of DNA, installation (detail) - Ping-pong balls
Entomological box, 2013 Cuts of ping-pong balls with cellular language
creature and symbolizing a “multiple” of beings possessing the attributes of several animals. By placing the ball on a support or suspending it in the air, by stopping its movement, it allows me to freeze time and to play with the meaning or meanings of life. Removing the ping-pong ball from its original use as a play thing, dissecting it, I give it an autonomy reflected in the detachment from its “cocoon”. This celluloid material gives the cut-out object the allure of a small solid form, yet fragile in appearance. Just like insects that have been studied, dissected and displayed, I distort an imaginary reality to produce ball cut-outs that give an animal dimension to the cells.
"Cellular language" - Detail of a lithography - 75
Being strictly connected to the chance to create a deep interaction, your artworks are capable of communicating a wide variety of states of mind: have you ever happened to discover something that you didn't previously plan and that you didn't even think about before? I'm sort of convinced that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal hidden sides of life and nature... what's you point?
even an imaginary “visibility”. Making a concept accessible is to discover other spheres, other perspectives. Our relationship with the world is perpetually being redefined. Artists benefit from the freedom to create what they want, which means that they are likely to imagine, to reveal, to bring to light certain spheres that have never been discovered before because they are not obliged to produce a result.
My works attempt to recreate a world, to reveal an interiority, a concept, to open new horizons. Each day I discover things that I had not foreseen. When developing an idea, you’re also seeking an answer. The studio is a laboratory of freedom. I think that the artist can give another dimension to things that are hidden in an infinitely small world, reveal other aspects of them by giving them
One of the feature of your work that absolutely fascinated me is the symbiosis that you show between Art and Science... and I would go as far as to state that your work shows the artistic side of Science: by the way, maybe because I have a scientific background, but I’m sort of convinced that soon or later new media art will definitelyHanks fill the dichotomy betCassandra 20
artists to use new media such as information technology or robotics to create new works of art (BioArt with the creation of artificial life, for example). On the other hand, art provides access to data or facts that would otherwise be inaccessible (naturalist biology, historical evidence). Each supports the other, there is a perpetual interaction. Scientific concepts are increasingly subject to artistic questions, while certain scientific experiments (genetic mutations, etc.) raise issues that artists latch onto. And I couldn't do without mentioning also ÂŤCELLULAR LANGUAGE Âť... even though this might sound more than a bit naif, I have to confess that the first time that I happened to run against this interesting piece I have magnified the settings of my iPad in order to read the text... I've found very stimulating this work especially because it has suggested me the idea of a visual grammelot: a synesthesia between languages, since all in all, the DNA is a language... by the way, while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts? cm x 57cm (29" x 22") Photo: N. Borowski
Indeed, I started with the fact that our DNA is a language. In fact, the human cell has a system for
between Art and Science....I will dare to say that Art and Science are going to assimilate one to each other... whatâ€™s your point about this?
I am not looking to illustrate a concept, but rather to show an interiority. I truly believe that art and science are not that different from each other, to the extent that the creation of a work of art approaches the work of a researcher. Artists and scientists use intuition, thought and imagination to discover new things. They do not follow the same procedure but they can have similar concerns. Experimentation and creativity are common denominators for researchers and artists. I also think that there can be assimilation of one to the other. On the one hand, the arrival of technological advances enables
Series of Ping-pong of DNA - 20cm x 25cm, Photo : N.B
communicating with its environment that enables it to permanently emit and receive “messages” that reflect its spatial position. Exploring the universe of these “cells”, I decided to create a visual alphabet, symbolizing a form of communication, an internal language. I therefore designed a playful and poetic "coded" typeface for which I designed each letter of the alphabet. Words, phrases or texts illustrate an internal “language” that is incomprehensible to those who do not know the code. Composed from drawings, it could refer to a synesthesia recalling a visual grammelot. This invented language cannot be spoken, but we can suppose that if the drawings were interpreted, they could embody a form of communi-cation. By transforming our language into a calligraphic typography, I invite the observer to enter this inner world using an interrogative approach — doesn’t our own internal “language” reflect the uniqueness of each one of us? Your works have been exhibited in several occasions: you recently had a solo at “The Galerie” Talant - Dijon, and moreover you received a couple of grants... it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive it?
Indeed, grants from the state or prizes are a very motivating means of support because the precarious state of artists forces them to reevaluate themselves periodically, but they never influence my artistic process. Encouragement is always very appreciated when artists have self-doubt. Being selected at the end of my studies for the Salon de Montrouge* (Montrouge Contemporary Art Show) gave my work greater visibility among professionals and thereby allowed me to access a wider audience. But I do not take this latter point into consideration when I’m creating a work of art. I conceive it according to what I wish to achieve. Of course, feedback from the public is always very interesting, but it never determines my creative process. * The most recognized institution in France for artists at the start of their career
Just wondering if you would like to answer to a cliche question that I often pose to the artists that I interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the
Untitled Untitled inkInk onon tracing paper 39 tracing paper1,70m 1,70mxx1m 1m (66" (66” xx 39”)
No title - Ink on tracing paper (detail)
most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Well, actually ain't that cliche...
What I perhaps like the most about the creative process is moving from thinking about to creating the work of art. It allows me to structure my ideas, to make a visual representation of my research and it often leads me to other questions. I like being on a perpetual quest, and even if I do not always find an answer to my own questions, it always sparks an exchange, a discussion with the public. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Nathalie. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of ?
I'm continuing my investigations in order to answer questions regarding our identity, our inner universe by splicing the fields of art and science. I am experimenting with other materials and trying to establish some analogies. At the same time, I’m involved on a voluntary basis in an artistic program in part of Paris (“Kiosque des Batignolles”) where artists who are creating installations will soon have the chance to exhibit their work. In the coming months, I’ll be holding other exhibitions, including a private one, but I invite the reader to visit my site to keep up to date with my news. An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo : N. Borowski
Trystan Mackendrick (USA) an artist’s statement
My artwork has never held a single trajectory, only the guarantee that my next project will diverge greatly from the last. Over time my images have gone from documentary to narrative to conceptual to emotive and back again. My photographs are an extension of myself, my experiences, and on occasion, the scars they left behind. They are a personal narrative, a way of sharing my inner self with those around me. I like to push boundaries and challenge conceptions, turn the grotesque into the sublime, and highlight the simple beauty of this world when I can find it. But if there has ever been a mission or goal to my work, then it would be one of instillation. Be it a thought or an ideal or an emotional state, it is always my hope that when someone walks away from viewing one of my pieces, that they take something away with them. As one of my college professors once told me “the worst reaction you can have to someone’s work is no reaction at all”.
Trystan Mackendrick is a fine art and commercial photographer, digital printer, novelist and forensic psychologist. His work has been exhibited on both the east and west coast, as well as internationally, and has been published in periodicals such as Collage and The Chronicle. He is also the recipient of numerous awards, particularly for his documentary work. As an artist, he prefers to take a more conceptual approach to his craft, and is more concerned with inducing a reaction, emotion or thought than simple aesthetics. As a photographer, he specializes in black and white photography and studio lighting, and his studio offers a diverse range of services from individually-tailored portfolios and product photography to digital printing and retouching for other artists.
an interview with
Trystan Mackendrick Hello Trystan, welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
I think that Art is a very general and subjective concept for most people, often based on technique and aesthetic. But for me it’s a matter of contribution, in that the artwork must give something to the viewer that did not exist before. It needs to have a function. This does not mean that the piece needs to be beautiful, or that the artist needs to be proficient in their craft, only that the piece is capable of creating an experience for someone. If the artwork can inspire, can make a person think, question their ideas, give the viewer a new way of seeing the world or incite an emotion, then by my definition, it is indeed a work of Art.
I am by no means an art historian, but it seems to me that the last sixty years or so have created more pieces of art that fit my definition than any other period thus far. The religious and iconic portraits of the past have given way to abstract and socio-political pieces, ever-expanding mediums, challenges to what constitutes the nature of art and more profoundly, the norms of our society. I have a great appreciation for the profound skill and dedication that went into the work of the Old Masters, but I have always found viewing modern art to be a far more exhilarating experience.
Trystan Mackenrick with a nearly unusable vintage Minolta, taking nonsensical snapshots of anything that caught my fancy. And honestly, I never once thought I would do anything with it. Until one day, years later, while pursuing an associates degree in architecture, I signed up for a photography course.
It was there in the darkroom, that I met Sandra Johansen, who was in charge of the lab at the time. If I know anything about making photographs, I owe it to her, as she was the most amazing printer I have ever met. In fact, I continued to audit classes after I graduated, just so I could continue working with her.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there particular experiences that impacted on the way you produce your artworks? By the way, I would like to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to wonder if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...
But the philosophy of the professors, of the school in general, was beyond stifling. The focus was on traditional, conservative and my Cassandraphotography, Hanks
My pursuit of photography started many years ago 26
From the Eros and Thanatos Series
ideas and images rarely found any support. I imagine that many artists would find such an environment discouraging, even demeaning. But in fact, it pushed me forward, and my work became even more controversial. That stifling environment gave me the courage to express myself without regard to what other people thought of my work.
singular answer. My pieces, and my process for making them, vary greatly. Some pieces are complete happenstance – nothing more than being in the right place, at the right time with a camera in hand. Others have been the result of flashes of inspiration that conveniently struck while I was in the middle of a shoot. But the majority of my Fine Art work is conceptual, and I will sit for hours at a desk with a notepad jotting down ideas, trying to find the right structure and symbolism. After that comes the prop list, and the sketchbook. Lighting is always an important consideration to me, and I like to draw out my images ahead of time so I have a better idea of how I want things to look.
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
Past the lighting and the symbolism, there’s always post-processing. And when it comes to this, I can become highly neurotic. As I mentioned before, all
Those are all good questions, and none have a 27
Love Lusting Sanity
the time I spent in the darkroom during my initial training was invaluable to me, and I’ve worked hard to carry those lessons over into the digital realm and maintain that standard of printing. It’s not unheard of for me to spend three or four hours finalizing a print for exhibition.
in personal symbolism, where I created my own version of the Major Arcana found in a Tarot deck, and the second was as much an exploration of Jungian psychology as it was myself. But as I was creating these series, my longstanding relationship with my fiance was beginning to falter, and a downward spiral ensued. It was the ultimate failure of our relationship that forced me to look at the nature of relationships, and the various roles that I had played in mine. The series was a cathartic release for me, a testament to our love and its destruction. Hence the name, Eros & Thanatos.
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your series Eros & Thanatos, that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?
Eros & Thanatos evolved from two other bodies of work I had created the year prior, Tarot, and Aspects of Personality. The first was an experiment
How would you describe the message and the narrative behind this project — that is, the idea 28
you would most like to convey or the story you are trying to tell? Your art practice tends to be fairly diverse, from conceptual to narrative to emotive and anywhere in between and I would like to suggest our readers to visit your website at http://www.trystanmackendrick.com/ in order to get a wider idea ... by the way, while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?
tive component. Through these images I wanted to convey my own personal experience, but in a more universal context. There are many themes and psychological concepts highlighted in these images that are applicable to many different types of relationships, and while it is unlikely that two people will experience an event identically, I like to imagine that my images are capable of reminding the viewer of something they once experienced themselves.
As to your other question, I work in so many different areas that I don’t think I really distinguish between disciplines, or notice when I’m crossing lines. What I can tell you, is that some of the images that I’m most proud of are the ones that
While many of my works do contain a narrative, Eros & Thanatos was primarily designed as a series of stand alone images – although there are several diptychs in the series with their own narra29
Traces of You, from One Final Kiss Goodbye
end up being so androgynous that they can fit into multiple categories. It doesn’t happen too often, but there have been times when a travel snapshot has become a fine art piece, and likewise, a fine art piece has been used for commercial purposes.
volving the creation of alternative realities and dream states, which I hope to be starting on soon.
Since many of the readers of our review are artists, would you like to tell us if digital technology as post-editing has impacted on your creative process? All in all, modern technologies allows us not only to make possible what was once hard to make, but are also and especially capable of helping us to conceive new kind of works...
The instrument that we see in Piano Man is a piece that seems to not need a player, while I can listen to Vince's loneliness, asking for something, or someone... I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion about socio political issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can even steer people's behavior... what's your point about this? Do you think that it's an exaggeration? And what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in our society?
Most definitely. The transition from the physical darkroom to the digital one was not the easiest for me, and even now I’m still very much the traditionalist. I’m cautious about the over-use of filters and my images having the appearance of being digitally manipulated. But the possibilities are growing on me. In fact, I’ve been doing quite a bit of experimentation recently, which has led to the conception of a new surrealist body of work in-
I agree with you entirely, and I would go so far as to say that this should be a goal to aspire to. As I mentioned before, it’s artwork like this that exemplifies my definition of Art. I think that it’s our resCassandra Hanks 30
scars they left behind... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
Yes and no. On one hand, there is no mandate that an artist must bring a piece of themselves or their life experiences into their work. You don’t need to expose yourself on a personal level to create something beautiful and inspire people, it’s simply not necessary. Sharing myself with those who view my artwork has been a conscious decision on my part, and many successful artists have avoided this route entirely.
ponsibility as artists to contribute and comment on society, and to raise awareness when we can.
All too often, artists are set on the fringes of society, misunderstood because we don’t fit the mold, or in some cases, break it entirely. Sometimes this is a badge worn stoically, and other times with great pride and prestige. But regardless, being recognized as an artist often allows us the latitude to speak up a little louder than most. Not everyone has a strong opinion, nor do I think you need to. But if there’s something out there that moves you, that you think people should be paying attention to, then as an artist, I think you should scream it from the mountaintop. As you have stated, your photographs are a personal narrative and an extension of yourself, your experiences, and on occasion, the
Vince from the Portraiture of the City Series 31
The Twelve Apostles, Dumfries, Scotland
On the other hand, how can you not? Our personal makeup and life experiences, whether on a conscious level or not, influence our decisions. Our preferences for certain colors, textures and compositions are unique to each of us. When a photographer takes a picture, it is their unique perspective that we are seeing. He or she is showing us the world through their eyes. I once took a course on “The Psychology of Photography” and this was the basic premise that the entire class was built upon. I have been very impressed with your series of photo that you have shot in Scotland: I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the background of your pieces: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background... and I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even encrypted in the environment we live in, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
I’m not a nature photographer, so much as I am a traveler. And when I’m on the road, I’m usually not too keen on stopping to take a photo. I’ve actually passed up more than my fair share of amazing landscapes, and on many occasions simply left my camera home. But when I’m traveling and I find those shots that contain or capture a feeling or idea, I’m compelled to pause and reach into my camera bag and click the shutter.
So yes, I believe that photographs can reveal unexpected sides of Nature. I think that the glow of the afternoon sun coupled with a slight breeze on a few delicate stalks of wheat can indeed evoke an emotion, and that a simple 32
Trystan Mackendrick gravel path curving away into nowhere can reflect the thoughts of the traveler who took the photo. That at least was my intention, and I thank you for noticing. "The worst reaction you can have to an artist’s work is no reaction at all"... How much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
I relish the feedback from my audience, but maybe not in the same way as most. I can’t think of a single artist I know who doesn’t love having their work admired and praised, and I am no exception. It validates all the hard work that we put into our craft, and our decision to become artists. But truthfully, it would make very little difference to me whether someone loved or hated my work, so long as it made them feel something. I think in some way, I would even prefer a violent display of distaste to a simple comment of appreciation. But above all, I create art for myself, because that is what I love to do. It may be a gross negligence on my part, but my audience is rarely taken into consideration.
Since you are both a fine art and a commercial photographer -involved into fashion photography as well- I question, but all in all, an important one... what are in your opinion some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts?
I would say that the art world is very much a business, disappointingly so. While I adore galleries and am very much a collector myself, they are nevertheless glorified retail stores, with rent and employees to pay. And so it only makes sense that they would select artists whose history of prior exhibitions suggests that they are on their way up, if not completely established, as this is an important selling point for any buyer. Unfortunately, it is not always the most talented artists who have the best exhibition histories, but rather the most talented promoters. If you wish to succeed in the art world, you have to learn to promote your work, or find someone who will. That, at least, has been my experience.
Commercial relationships, on the other hand, are far more easy to develop. There are so many avenues by which you can pursue your craft, and word of mouth can go a very long way. Networking, among other things, is key to success, and I’ve found one of the best ways to establish yourself is by working with other professionals, whether they be make-up artists, hair stylists, or clothing designers. But it’s only the initial establishment that presents the challenge. If you can overcome that, business relationships become increasingly sustainable, and often present the potential for advancement.
Cassandra Hanks 34
Michell Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Trystan. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I’m afraid my life has grown quite boring these days. As far as my fine art is concerned, there’s the new surrealist series that I’m developing and I do have a couple group shows coming up on the horizon. Commercially, there is a shoot for a new clothing line on the schedule and a possible album cover, but what I’m really excited about is my travel itinerary. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be opening up a new studio in Los Angeles soon, alongside my partner, Meagan Nesbitt, a very talented photographer. It’ll be a change, but I’m really looking forward to networking with all the talent that’s out there, and hopefully exploring some possibilities with a few of the local galleries.
Nicole Ennemoser (Austria) An artist’s statement “Give me a scribble and I’ll turn it into something beautiful” was one of my favourite activities when I was a little girl. I find joy working with colours, brushes and crayons, and to experiment with lines, forms and textures. Since early childhood, painting is a source of inspiration that I love and that I seek to further develop as an artist. From an early age, teachers recognized my talent and desire for art and subsequently supported me. While others were doing needlework, I was encouraged to engage in portrait painting. At the age of 14, I enrolled at a secondary school for applied arts to refine my skills and to dive even deeper into the world of painting. Whenever I put colour on my palette, spread it with my brush, mix it and try to achieve just the right shade, when I use my little palette knife to create just the right texture, when I start to apply the colour to the canvas – these are the moments when I forget about time. I sink into my thoughts and the world stands still. Whenever I’m joyful or sad, feel desire or melancholia, a pure piece of paper or a glistening white canvas allures me to go on a creative journey. I can hardly resist filling its plain surface with elements, figures, colours or materials. “To forget about time doing something I love – this is what I have found in painting.” Every painting is a piece of me. Laying this piece into the hands of another person, the hands of its new owner, makes me feel incredibly proud. It delights me to make others happy with my art. I also enjoy working on commission projects. The exchange of thoughts and ideas with my client and the translation of these thoughts to canvas is an exciting and beautiful way of cooperation. Inferno,
30x40cm, oil pastel chalk on paper
an interview with
Nicole Ennemoser Hello Nicole and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
A black spot on the wall can be art, a rubberball in a corner could be art, i cannot define what art is. I think if some people are standing together with the same emotion with a similar feeling watching something at the same time, then it is possible that art will be formed. And to foretell this moment is impossible so i have to say that i cannot define art. Art is simple, in everyones origin. I am very experimental and curious, life is fast and canvases are limited - it would be too bad, not to try everything on canvas or paper nothing is impossible. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you produce your artworks? I have read that you got in touch with Art since early childhood, when you found in painting a source of artistic inspiration... your talent has been soon recognized by your teachers who supported while moving your first steps in your career. By the way, I would like to ask your point about formal training: I sometimes ask to myself if a certain kind of traning could even stifle a very young artist's creativity...
Nicole Ennemoser (Photo by Bernhard Wolff)
the teachers always liked my paintings. I guess they felt something. That was the reason why i always got the best mark. Sometimes you have to make your own decisions and not what is expected. Be a rebel!
Sources of inspiration are here everywhere,at every age, in any view - consequences can be inspiring, if you allow it. Eversince I was a small child, I loved to paint and in every school I was promoted by teachers to paint. I avoided topics I had to paint - I chose my own topics and saw it as a challenge to paint them so beautiful, that it didnâ€™t matter what the theme was, because
Following instructions with which style or materials to work on canvas is not the right way for me to become a succesful artist, I believe it interrupts you to be free and makes your flow with the inspiration smaller. But I also think it is very important to practice and exercise to perfect your techniques and Cassandra Hanks 38
smart book to write down some notices to not forget the ideas. Itâ€™s a good way to orient when my head is full of inspirations. Because most of the time i am working on multiple pictures at the same time to be in the flow. And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
Depending on my feelings, unfinished paintings are standing or hanging around me, to be faced with. I am not sure, if paintings are ever totally done. Sometimes paintings take me months to finish themâ€Ś sometimes it goes faster. One day you are waking up and you can finish the painting. I just love these moments.
handcraft. Skill comes with practice, I paint nearly every day also even if the muse is on vacation. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
A few days before i get the urge to paint, the picture comes up in my mind. The only thing i have to do is to transfer it onto the canvas. To manifest the painting in my head, i take out my
Jessicaâ€™s high, 100x70, mixed techniques with oil and priming materials on canvas
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your recent and interesting works Inferno that have been admired by our readers in the starting pages of this article: I have to admit that I have been impressed with this work from the first glance... would you tell us something about the genesis of this piece? What was your initial inspiration?
Inferno: I always dreamed about this picture. I know this room. It was easy to transfer it on the paper. It was a very intense and fast painting. What happened in this room i want to leave to the fantasy of the viewers. Itâ€™ s awesome that you have chosen some of my favourite paintings. A visual of Damage Control that has particularly impressed me is the synergy between the apparently contrasting ideas of circularity suggested by the elliptical shape and the straightness of the lines on the border: this gives a sense of rhytm to the canvas: you used such technique also in another interesting piece entitled EL Maestro, with a quite different effect: in this case, the vertical flooding lines suggests such a staticity ...
Damage Control: on this painting I worked more than a year. There is a documentary on my hompepage about this painting....It was very time consuming and emotional. Till I woke up one night and exactly knew how to do it. The person who earned it got lots of moments in my life and i believe i was succesfull that people can feel it here. El Maestro: this painting came up free of compulsion. It was like composing a piece on a beautiful white paper. There a mark, there a spot, there an eye, this and that and in the end it stares at you and says: I am done! Such a nice feeling, i cannot describe. I would not switch this feeling for anything else. By the way, any comments on your choice 40
El Maestro, 42x59cm, oil pastel chalk on paper
of "palette" and how it has changed over time?
I am a very comfortable but resolute type of woman. I take paper plates. They are comfortable and cheap. You can take many of them, you donâ€™t have to clean them so you have more time to work. It is a very good way for me to paint. You can see the changing of my colours anyway, without the palette.
Damage Control, 80x100cm, oil on canvas
"Was guckst du!?!" could be translated as "What are you looking at?" and it's the title of one of my favourite pieces of yours... Your creative process is capable of discovering such an Ariadne's Thread that links together different stories, establishing a channel of communication between apparentely "separated realities"... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
Was guckst du? In English "Why are you looking"? It is a painting that I like a lot. You are right here with the feeling of communication. It’s a painting without borders, without above and down, without the definition of the paper. The title also asks you something, so the real and the unreal are melting into one thing. It’s about a conversation with a piece of paper which turns into a communication between you and me. For sure personal experiences influencing the paintings. If the body is changing or your personality, or the age and you are getting wiser or dumber J i believe you can see or feel the progress anytime.You can sharpen your mind anytime, and we can be happy and thank God that it is that way, otherwise stagnancy happens and i am not sure if the „muse“ likes this. I don’t want to be in restrictions, i don’t want to paint with just one style. I also think it is not necessary in these times to manifest just one style that everybody knows you as an artist for.
Was Guckst Du? 42x56cm, oil pastel chalk on paper
By the way, I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the background in your pieces: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background... and I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
If the viewer feels something with your paintings it is enough and shows that you as an artist created something. But who knows, maybe i'll change my mind later, i don’t know, i am just seeking artistic freedom. Maybe this is my identification state. I know everything about my paintings, where i did them, when i did them. I am with my paintings every single day. They are like my kids. That was one reason why in the beginning of my career as an artist it was so hard for me to give them away.
In code: this you also have seen right. These paintings areCassandra coded, thereHanks is one example cal42
process everytime. I am avoiding fear to be unproductive and i am again winning artistic freedom. It seems that this is one of the most important things for me. Sometimes i have so many ideas that i want to put them all on one canvas or paper or wall or whatever. I would spend some words about your figurative pieces What rhymes with good, Evening stroke and especially Glorification of facts that I found really interesting and I would suggest to our readers to visit your personal website directly at http://www.nicoleennemoser.com/leinwaende.htm to get a more concrete idea of this series... I find it very interesting that you choose to explore a so-called “vintage” imagery through both traditional processes, such as the darkroom, and new media. Where did the inspiration come from to create these series?
You have noticed that right now I am into contemporary pop art. Further i am working on childhood memories and the past. I get to experience what was and happened in the past and i can share it with you! All of you! Everything flows into my paintings.
led „vernebelt“ - in English „fogged“ you can find it on nicole.ennemoser.com works on canvas. Some paintings are done in multiple steps. If I have troubles with my paintings, which happens sometimes, a part is hidden by different materials. Nobody knows whats under the hidden material, except me. This i do to inspire you and me. With this way, I found a way to avoid stagnancy which happens sometimes, and feel free to make more than one idea in one painting. This is a very good way for me to be in the painters
Glorification of Facts, 100x100cm, acrylic on canvas
Evening Stroke 60x140cm, oil on canvas
As you have remarked in your artist's statement, "Whenever I’m joyful or sad, feel desire or melancholia, a pure piece of paper or a glistening white canvas allures me to go on a creative journey". Art-making involves a series of inner and sometimes mysterious processes and during these years, while interviewing lots of artists, I have often been told of such therapeutic effects behind these processes... by the way, you are prolific painter, and your works seem to be filled with intense emotion: is painting like a release for you or is it emotionally draining?
away and see what happens during the conversation i have with the canvas or paper - which is finally a talk to yourself - frees me totally. "Emotional freeing" to answer it easily. It sounds like I'm crazy, and maybe it is that way, I don’t know...but what I know is, the phrase that "artists are crazy" exists… I mean for example Vincent van Gogh who cut his ear off. It could be that he was in such a deep conversation with his canvas who told him to cut his ear off so the portrait got much more interesting and finally it was just a conversation with himself. Why not!?!
Some of my works are wild, free and emotional, others are organized and composed. It’s the way i feel. To be a painter is an attitude i think and i knew it a long time ago, that i want to be an artist. Because this is the thing i want to do every day of my entire life.
It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering Cassandra Hanksif an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
I talk to my paintings or to the white canvas. No matter what mood I'm in. Sounds weird, but i really talk to my paintings loudly or quietly - what kind of colours I should use, which eyecolour the canvas likes... which part should be this or that colour. To paint right
If people like my paintings or not is not the most important thing for me. But if they like my paintings, i will give them a part of myself and 44
What Rhymes With Good? 80x60cm, oil on canvas
a little part of freedom and of course this makes me kind of proud. If some people have the same feeling with one of my paintings I caught the spirit of the time.
materials and styles - like graffiti, priming materials, different colours with different textures, gold, silver, you name it... The latest materials are not secure from my canvas. In the end I also want to say that i am totally interactive. I am not an artist just for myself, i am also including people in my works. If i have paintings in progress i am listening to suggestions, information, ideas about what people give me. Sometimes you can find varieties of messages in my paintings if you sharpen your look.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Nicole. My last question deals with your future plans: I have read that right now you are experimenting with different materials as priming materials, graffities mixed with oil... anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Yes, right now i am experimenting with different
An interview by email@example.com
Carola Perla (USA) an artist’s statement
Transience. In this case, the psychological as well as physical state of homelessness. It is the common thread that runs through both my writing and visual art work. It reflects my fascination with what constitutes home, the effects of displacement and immigration, language as a barrier, and the process by which we construct new cultural identities. This fascination arises from my own Banat Swabian and Peruvian heritage, its multiethnic contradictions and conflicted history, as well as my migratory childhood which impressed on me from a young age the feeling of “otherness”. My suspicions that I was something of an anathema, along with my sense of homelessness, manifested itself early on in a love of Roma music, alienated fictional heroines, and portrait painting, along with an obsessive preoccupation with architectural floor plans. However, it was not until my debut novel, Gibbin House (2011), that I first treated the idea of transience consciously, introducing characters during the European postwar era who face geographic and personal exile. As such, they are forced to conquer the impotence of voicelessness in foreign places and in their relationships; people being much like strange countries themselves. As to the wall-size paper installations which constitute much of my plastic art: I began creating these mixed-media works following the completion of Gibbin House, in order to transcend the inherently hermetic nature of the writing process. By publicly exposing my words, my personal artwork, and the material culture of my journey as an author (typed manuscripts, collec-ted postcards, floppy disks, discarded notes, etc.), I aimed to offer an intimate glimpse at a writer’s interior landscape. This impetus evolved organically into the sculpture ‘Off the Page’, which ele-
Illegible, unlit sideview, 2011
vates the novel’s final page to an artwork in its own right through the ephemeral combination of paper and light. When the meticulously-cut yet still dangling letters of these cascading paper sculptures are lit from behind, the effect reinfor46
nence, a commitment to direction. The sculpture’s success has since prompted me to continue exploring the relationship between the traditionally inward direction of literature and the external power of visual art. My fictional subjects serve as springboards in this symbiotic creative process. Alternately, I also employ the paper surfacefor works of poetry 'chants'. I call my poems 'chants' because they evolve from a word or phrase on which I must meditate during the process of cutting each letter freehand. The perpetual incantation organically inspires the sound or image of the next, the motif functioning as both a visual and musical building block that slowly draws in other elements. Since such poems depend on the immediacy of the physical creation, they are each a product entirely of the moment. This means that despite their graphic precision, they are each absolute and spontaneous originals. Together with integrated elements like graphite drawings, embroidery, light features, and voice recordings, these white paper blankets of poetry hang in the space like giant conversations, addressing identity, transculturation, human value, displacement, and the power of words. On occasion, I work with raw or indigenously crafted paper in place of my regular floor-to-ceiling format. Collected on my travels and much smaller in scale, these papers are already imbued with their own cultural subtext, and thus offer interesting possibilities in weaving together ideas on language, culture, and gender roles. My next book project is the novel Humboldt’s Riches. It is currently in progress, and will be a modern semiautobiographical ‘Heart of Darkness’ that leads a Romanian protagonist and her young family into Peru’s remote Apurimac region during the guerilla uprising of 1980. In keeping with my creative process, the book will be accompanied by a series of paper installations that either treat the novel’s themes and characters, or the experience of writing itself.
ces the spontaneous, oral vibrancy of language. The words themselves become transient, seemingly wanting to float off the page. At the same time, the act of cutting paper is an irreversible one, symbolizing an ironic perma-
Carola Perla 47
an interview with
Carola Perla Hello Carola, welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what are in your opinion the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
In essence, I would say that art is a human being turned inside out. Art is the product of the uniquely human impulse we have to make our inner lives visually manifest. As to contemporariness: once upon a time we seemed concerned with ideals and collective vision, these days we are more interested in fragments, perhaps, since like everything else in the universe we are on a path towards chaos. Contemporary art seems to me defined by the intensity of its uniqueness and specificity of view, the spectrum within a cracked piece of glass.
Can you tell our readers a little about your background? You hold an M.A. in German Literature and a B.A. in Art History, that you have received from Florida State University: moreover, I have read that you have traveled a lot and you lived in four different countries... how has this experience -I should say, a very stimulating experience- impacted on your art practice? Moreover, what's your point about formal training? Do you think that artists with a formal education have an advantage over self-taught artists?
Carola Perla is an award-winning Miami-based artist and author, born in 1977 to GermanPeruvian parents in Timisoara, Romania. She holds an M.A. in German Literature and a B.A. in Art History from Florida State University. In 2002, she co-founded the LatinEPR Inc. Public Relations Firm, while also contributing as a sports columnist to upscale lifestyle magazine Tendencias. She published Gibbin House, her debut novel on postwar exile, in 2011. The same year, she launched the ATELIER 1022 Studio and Fine Art Gallery in Miami's Wynwood Arts District.
I was born during Romaniaâ€™s Ceacescu Era to a German-Romanian mother and a Peruvian father, and due to politics and different family ties, we ended up globetrotting for the first ten years of my life. Before settling in Miami in the late eighties, we had lived in Lima, deep within the Amazon, in Pacific coastal desert towns, and suburban Munich. It was a migratory and impecunious existence, but my parents were constantly inventing beauty where there was none, singing, painting, building furniture, and coming up with eccentric schemes like raising catepillars in our
Her first exploration in paper art was the installation "Off the Page: An Anatomic Look at the Creation of a Novel" (2011), which combined the material culture of an author with a lighted paper sculpture depicting her novel's last page. Exhibited at ATELIER 1022 during Art Basel Miami 2011, the publicly-acclaimed installation gave rise to a series of multi-lingual paper sculptures and visual poems that address language, transience, andHanks transculturation and Cassandra 48
studio apartment for the sheer joy of setting freshly hatched butterflies free; in our house creativity was inextricable from the everyday. As such, I didn’t approach my own art work, which as a teenager included portraits, murals, architectural designs, and endless decorative handicrafts, with any academic or emotional gravity. In fact, my first major was Physical Anthropology – I was determined to become the next Birute Galdikas; my distaste for statistics ultimately steered me towards Art History. The academic perspective I gained through that study, however, along with the studio work, gave me a humbling sense of context, craft, and proportion, along with a community in which to synthesize it all. I know that had I remained an entirely selftaught artist, this would have eluded me. Which is not to say that some artists cannot succeed without formal training. In the end, I think it depends on the individual and their artistic goals. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
Mariposa, 2013 from the Konzeption Series which the artist has named “Lichtsprache” (Illuminated Language).
The length of planning varies, depending on the writing within the pieces. For the latest series, “Konzeption”, I spent close to a year in researching and developing the outline of the novel “Humboldt’s Riches”, which serves as the series’s inspiration and is being written concurrently. Similarly with the “Gibbin House” series, the source material was nine years in the making.
Carola is currently working on her second novel, Humboldt's Riches, a semi-autobiographical 'Heart of Darkness' set in the remote Amazon region of Apurimac during Peru's 1980 guerilla uprisings. Concurrently, the writing stages and themes of this book will be reflected in a series of paper installations, which will serve both as springboard and incubator for ensuing prose. Intended as one large cross-media project, Konzeption is a new visual approach to hypertext and the creative process.
Once decided on content, my next thought is to the kind of paper that will best serve the subject, lend the right tone and theatricality. The paper’s weight and texture, together with the poem’s theme determines the preliminary design for the piece. After that, the actual cutting is free-flowing and instinctive, done on the floor with an exacto knife and no markings on the paper save for a few piercings that mark my lines. The visual poetry I compose in situ. I’ve come to call the writing ‘poetry chants’, because each new word I carve
The introductory piece to the series, “Se Vende”, debuted in May 2013 and seeks to interpret the destruction of a Lima landmark and ancestral home through poetry, cut-paper, drawing, and voice recording. “Konzeption: Prologue” officially initiates the writing of the novel and will debut August 2013. Carola Perla’s work is currently on view at the ATELIER 1022 art studio in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. 49
inspires the sound and shape of the next. The focus involved in cutting is a sort of meditation, which reveals to me the poem’s natural course. Each letter is cut freehand to the point of almost tearing out, and rarely folds away from the paper in the same direction. This lends the work the spontenaity and movement inherent in language itself – the effect is reinforced by the back lighting that accompanies each piece. Ultimately, most installations will take me from a couple weeks to a month to cut. And now let's focus on your artistic produc-tion: I would start with Illeggible that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article... could you tell us something about your process for conceiving and in particular for making this piece?
“Illegible” is the second installation in the Gibbin House series, and combines visual poetry with a graphite portrait of a young woman. The piece represents not just the protagonist of my first novel – a young Romanian mute who must rebuild her life in postwar London – but the immigrant experience at large, the barriers of language that often render one invisible in the new environ-ment. The poem is a ‘poetry chant’ in German (which my characers speak in the book), that subtly evolves from the idea that the young woman’s face is illegible to the reality that we all fail to read one another. I drew the portrait in my early twenties, when my emotional experiences mirrored my protagonist’s. The scroll is photographic background paper. I carved the poem using a freehand block-style font I felt would evoke the novel’s historical period (as a leftie I have al-ways liked shifting from one handwriting style to another, which seems to hold true for my cutting as well.)
Se Vende, unlit, 2013
prose writing, because I wanted people to understand the vivid life and struggles that take place behind the curtain – a simple sentence within a novel will rarely give evidence to the sweat and tears its author endured to compose it. “Off the Page” was the result of my exultation and frustration of finally completing “Gibbin House” after nine long years. I wanted my novel to have another life beyond the hidden imagination and small audience of my dedicated readers. Thus, when I began contemplating my next project, “Humboldt’s Riches”, it seemed the perfect
Another work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled “Se Vende”, that it's the introductory piece to the project, "Konzeption" and I would suggest to our readers to visit http://carolaperla.com/KONZEPTIONProject.php in order to get a wider idea of this interesting work.. in the meanwhile, would you lead us through the development of this project?
Several years ago, I began creating these paper installations as a response to the insular process of 50
Prologue, from the Konzeption Series detail - 2013
opportunity to incorporate visual artwork from the onset, to take readers along on the journey of the creative process, a sort of artistic hypertext or visual art ‘blog’.
“Konzeption”, I wanted an organic and personal whimsy that reflects the Peruvian rainforest setting of the book and the semi-autobiographic story of my childhood experiences.
In my mind I had been living in postwar London and Fin de Siecle Vienna for almost a decade, so I wanted to make the introductory installation for “Konzeption” a complete departure, in style, theme, technique, and tone.
“Se Vende” is a manifestation of all of this, combining the motif of an ancestral home in Lima with a Spanish-language meditation on patrimony and folklore and a recorded voice reading of the poem. A spectral silhouette of the building hovering among the letters is my first inclusion of a figurative element in my carving, something which carries over into subsequent pieces.
The Gibbin House pieces resemble the printed page and are constrained by existing text. For 51
As you have stated once, transience lies at the center of your work and it reflects your fascination with what constitutes home, and especially the effects of displacement and immigration, that you have experienced during your life, while moving from a side of the world to another: and your debut novel, entitled Gibbin House, is an evident manifestation of these themes... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
Direct experience inevitably colors an artist’s aethetic and thematic interests, and may also determine the choice of medium and scale of his or her work. However, to what extent direct experience informs the work’s content varies from person to person, as much as personality will guide an artist’ approach, depending on how cerebral or visceral, reserved or exhibitionist, one is wont to be in general. An introvert more by circumstance than nature, I feel the constant need for exposition and personal reference. I can’t speak for what makes one a minimalist painter – I can’t fathom such economy. One of the feature of your work that absolutely fascinated me is the symbiosis that you are capable of establishing between different disciplines, and especially the fact that you have in a certain sense sublimated language as a barrier, elevating this concept to elaborate a new kind of Art: if you Page and Speling Bee go beyond the mere concept of writing and give birth to a synergy between different aspects of our perception... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?
The initial reason behind these installations was my dissatisfaction with the printed page as a complete representation of the creative process, so your question of synergy is quite valid. It makes me think about your original question regarding contemporariness. It seems to me, that with the fragmentation defining our modern experience, the blending of disciplines becomes an often essential way of expressing what this experience has become. We live in a world of virtuality and abstraction, making the visceral effect of art, in my opinion, very important. While poetry is integral in my installations, I love that the sculptural presentation of language allows it to exist on a physical plane of weight and vibrance, with its own aesthetic properties that are independent of cognizance. Serendipitously, the visual impact of poetry and sculpture combined produce something concrete which is the direct opposite of the spoken word, and yet echos the power of its effect on us. 52
Off The Page, 10ftx4.5ft, 2011 Spelling Bee, backlit - 10ftx4.5ft - 2012
Being strictly connected to the chance to create a deep interaction, your artworks are capable of communicating a wide variety of states of mind: have you ever happened to discover something that you didn't previously plan and that you didn't even think about before? I'm sort of convinced that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal hidden sides of life and nature, maybe finding such an Ariadne's Thread... what's your point?
It actually occurred on my first piece, “Off the Page”. The scroll contains the final page of my novel “Gibbin House” and was intended to punctuate a large installation composed of the mountains of material (notebooks, manuscripts, etc) that came out of my years writing the book. Placing light behind the scroll was an afterthought, and yet it gave the installation a life force. The pieces backlit in this way cast a glow that reinforces the viewer’s relationship with words, drawing them in, almost as if a voice was speaking. I think that's important to mention that in 2002, you co-founded the LatinEPR Inc. Public Relations Firm http://latinepr.com/ and I would I would take but all in all, an important one... what are in your opinion some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts?
This is a complicated debate. Since opening our own studio and gallery in Miami’s Wynwood Arts Districts, ATELIER 1022, some three years ago, we have spent a good deal of time speaking with artists, art professionals, and the public about this very subject. The ideal situation would be for artists to take their craft seriously, for business interests to promote good work rather than exploiting an artist’s financial vulnerability, and for the public, not just the elite, to engage and support the arts. Everyone must feel the benefit for the arts to both thrive in quality and be profitable. In Miami at the moment, public institutions (symphonies, art museums, film societies, etc) are making unprecedented efforts to actively encourage young professionals to support the arts via social and educational incentives. It’s a step in the right direction.
Thanks for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Carola. My last question deals with your future plans: what direction are you moving in creatively? I have read that you are currently working on your second novel, Humboldt's Riches... Would you disclose something of this ongoing project for our readers?
“Humboldt’s Riches” is a sort of Heart of Darkness adventure tale, set in the Peruvian Amazon during the 1980 guerilla uprisings, and is based on true events in my own life. While my installations are one aspect of my creative urges, my fiction is the outlet for what is most personal and candid. The idea for this book has lived with me for a long time, and I am eager to share it, and to explore the different auto-biographic elements in both my writing and the accompanying “Konzeption” series. This series, as I mentioned, will be more figurative, whimsical, and incorporate new materials and formats (vellum, plastic, fabric, etc), hopefully getting ever closer to presenting my inner ‘prose’ life to others - me, turned inside out.
An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org
A-Mended Conversation II, alternative view 2013
Marie Lang (USA) an artist’s statement
“I believe that art is most powerful as an expressive outlet for all that it means to be human,colorful, messy, spectacular.”
Marie Lang Marie Lang was born in Chicago and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Marie recognized at a young age that her love of art would be a lifetime passion. Her work has been described as "wordless and refreshingly primitive, without reliance on words and intellect". She began publicly exhibiting her paintings in 1983, and since then has consistently exhibited her work in art galleries throughout the Midwest, including Mars Gallery and Eclectic Junction in Chicago, Woodwalk Gallery in Wisconsin, Roy, G. Biv Gallery, Acme Gallery, and The Painted Monkey in Columbus, Ohio. Marie graduated from Ohio State University in 1989, and in 1991 she earned the credentials ATR, as a registered art therapist. She has been the feature artist on an award winning profile documentary series, which aired nationally called "D'art". Patrons living in Columbus, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and New York have collected her work. In addition to her work as an artist Marie is a mother and wife, married for 25 years. Marie Lang has also been a presenter overseas and locally, presenting workshops on creativity and faith and healing from loss and grief. after the death of her first son in 1997, she began to use art to help children heal from loss. Currently, Marie resides in Mesa, Arizona where she paints, rides horses and is writing about art as prayer. Marie can be contacted at email@example.com or on facebook 56
an interview with
Marie Lang Hello Marie, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
In my opinion a work of art is a creative act which conveys something about the artists vision or inner experience. It can be simple, or very complex, snit is an expression of our soul, even if only in a subconscious way. Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you graduated from Ohio State University in 1989, earning a BFA, in painting and ceramics: how has this experience influenced the development of your artistic practice?
As a student at OSU, I had the good fortune to have several professors, especially Alan Crocket, who being an abstract expressionist painter himself, was a wonderful influence and mentor. His critique style was one I still recall and it lead me to a practice of art making that was adventurous, authentic and risk taking.
While at OSU, I also had the opportunity to take a lot of classes in art history, which cemented my love of the expressionist painters and my personal value of art as an expressive means. The process gained from art history has been very important to me, as it also led to my work as an art therapist, through my studies of Carl Jung and others.
pline myself and get into a zone where I can give space both mentally and physically to being creative. During these uninterrupted times in my studio, which is primarily outdoors, since I live in a warm climate, I am able to play with color and shapes, and begin to proceed. I am not always sure how I will proceed visually, but usually have a general color palette or theme which I will explore. When working in a series it can be a more direct process.
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Water and Fire, that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this arCassandra Hanks
I reserve several hours uninterrupted time to disci58
Water, encaustic, oil paint, paper on wood
ticle: could you take us through your creative process when starting these pieces? By the way, I noticed that blue is a recurrent tone in these two paintings with apparent opposite titles...
process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
No, I really don't think much about the audience, I'm afraid to say. I should, I suppose, as I do like to make those looking at my paintings happy. I won't lie and say that a positive review isn't something I'd desire, and have enjoyed in the past, but when I'm painting I am quite selfish. I'm mostly looking at my own personal vision and I am also my harshest critic.
Water and Fire is a collage, using paper and cold wax, and building layers of color and texture. I am working abstractly here, which follow a time of transition in my personal life. This transition has left me with several basic core beliefs and interests as an artist, involving the use of clear direct color, strong texture, and a way of painting that is highly expressive and painterly. Themes and content vary, but these remain consistent for me as an artist in my visual language.
Making art is something highly personal to me, it's hard to describe this aspect of thinking about audience. On th topic of awards: My favorite award was getting a Grant from the Ohio Arts Council to present at an overseas focused on art as a healing in Russia. I do believe that an expectation of an award could move any artist to paint in a certain direction, as they are impressionable as any human being is for reward, money and alike.
5) Thirty years have passed since you started to exhibit your artworks: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the 59
Study in Yellow, 2013, Oil Paint on Wood
Another pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are from your Studies [*] series, as Woman Study and Study in Yellow, which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours... even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit I have to say that the first time that I happen to admire this interesting painting it suggested me the idea of an explosion of light... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?
Lately, I have been playing with colors that I would not have considered in the past. The yellow study painting is one which I considered a challenge, as yellow is not a color I work with very often and the contrast of black adds another dimension and challenge to me visually. It's also abstract with little defined object, this creates a challenge to making a piece that does not look messy or amateurish.
Woman Study, 2013, Oil Paint on Wood
is that I know my self best, in lines, shape and general image, so it's naturally what flow out visually. I think that it's important to mention that you are an experienced Art Therapist, and I would suggest our readers to visit your website at http:// marielangarttherapist.weebly.com/ . Artmaking involves a series of inner and sometimes mysterious processes and during these years, while interviewing lots of artists, I have
The woman study is one of my favorites in series of images I sent you. I love portraits. Painting people is one of my favorite subject matters. I've been asked by viewers why they all look so much like self-portraits. All I can really comment to this 60
Arizona Sunrise Abstract, 2013 Wax, Oil Paint on Canvas
often been told of such therapeutic effects behind these processes... I was wondering if you could tell us somethng about your "achievements" - if I could use this wordduring your personal experience...
Okay, where to begin. It has been one of the absolute highlights of my career to be honored by so many people, who have allowed me to witness their art, as it expresses their personal journey and pain. Art making though about the elements
Calm, 2013, Paper, Oil Paint, Wood
of art, is also about giving voice, and transcendence, it allows the artist a chance to transcend the everyday and express what words cannot. I'm sure this is the therapeutic benefit and the most interesting aspect of art to me personally. Although your work has been presented as wordless and refreshingly primitive, without reliance on words and intellect I can recognize in many pieces as Intimacy and especially in the interesting painting Horse such a deep intellectual involvement I'm sort of convinced that some informations are hidden, or even "encrypted" in our environment, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
Artist and art itself are very much like some peoples understanding of the biblical idea of angels, which are to alert to shed light on a certain aspect of nature and of ourselves. Art is an act of grace, it is both beautiful and can be profoundly ugly as it reveals our hearts, our interestsâ€Śit's not just about making something shine,
Cassandra Hanks 62
but it is shedding light on, revealing, a slowing down occurs for the artist and hopefully for the observer. artists that I happen to interview, and I have to say that even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
This is easy for me to respond to, it's the process of seeing a painting develop, as a birth. I love the color and the visceral aspects of working with paint, it's hard to explain such a simple child-like joy in the basic act of painting, is still what I enjoy the most. Gallery Openings are the least enjoyable. I can still play when art making and that makes me happy, to experience some play in a life full of serious adult responsibilities. Art and prayer often go together for me, in silence and solitude I hear God, quietly. I enjoy that, too. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Marie. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I have read that you are going to take part to a group show in the Shemer Art center and museum in Phoenix Arizona opening in Decemberâ€ŚCurrently,I am in a group show at the UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONAâ€™S LUNAR AND PLANETARY LABORATORY PRESENTS:
Horse, 2013 63
Slav Nedev (Bulgaria) an artist’s statement
I see a work of art as a kind of dream, a matter, which in its vagueness conveys what sometimes clear conceptual thinking cannot communicate. For me, the words of Francis Picabia “Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction.” are absolutely valid both as definition of my work, and as artistic credo. As an artist I have gone through various periods of interest, experimentation, and exploration of media and size. I always need to get involved emotionally and mentally with a theme, media or social, philosophical or psychological problem, in order to start exploring it through the means of art. Usually such involvement results in a series of works. Once my “visions” of a subject for that period or stage have been realized, the series is accomplished. After some time, normally years, I can return to the same theme with different tools and a different point of view. Depending on the subject I am interested in, my compositional process can be quite spontaneous and intuitive (the series The Ordeals of the Soul, 1994 and Elements, 2004 - 05) or, in contrast, executed with meticulously planned preliminary consideration and preparation of every detail (the series Remains, 1995 - 96 and Post-urban Visions, 2007 - ongoing). However, the things I am always interested in are the idea, the principle, the type, and the symbolic of the image. In this sense, even when I paint concrete objects, I am an abstract artist, as far as “abstract” means (according to C.G.Jung) to remove concrete details with the purpose of reaching a more general idea.
*** In the recent years I have worked on two different series, both of them strongly related to (and even trying to foresee) problems of the contemporary society and urban environment. The one that is called Biotope is a series of digital prints made as visualizations of a large installation project representing a “city” built of trash containers. The project deals with one of the serious problems of the present-day world – the problem with the waste that has already not only pragmatic but cultural and social dimensions as well. (Please, read more at the respective place in my portfolio.) The other series Post-urban Visions shows surreal cityscapes where the once densely populated urban area for some reason has become depopulated. All artifacts are preserved but only shadows or silhouettes have remained from the inhabitants. Still in one of the paintings (in fact the first one) we see fresh green vegetation making its way through the rigid geometric frame of the windows. The life starts anew after a series move along the Utopia / Dystopia axis and questions the human condition, the urban and social disaster the humans had inflicted on themselves. 64
Biotope IX, 2010,
Fine Art Pigment Print on Paper, 70 x 88 cm dual choices, but by an enveloping control and manipulation, of mind and body? The answers of these and many other question lie not entirely in our minds,â€Ś however we should consider the present reality and tendencies and try to act in advance to prevent us from winding up in a desolate, desperate environment and facing a totally dehumanized social situation.
Both situation from a future perspective. What would the cities, dwellings, peoples and its possibilities look like? What are the questions we should be asking, and what are the answers? Is Humanity exhausting the Earthâ€™s raw materials, by which it is sustained, thus drawing the rest of the planet into its inevitable apocalyptic end? Is the City an embodiment of a collective human machine, operating not by indivi65
an interview with
Slav Nedev Hello Slav, and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
Hello and thank you for your question!... A question that probably has as many answers as there are people on this planet. However I will try to share some thoughts about it without giving a strict definition. Of course a work of art should be an outcome of certain human activity or the activity itself. But what is the difference between any other product and activity that we don’t recognize as works of art? It happened to me recently to watch a short film about a diamond cutting factory in Botswana. The guide, a company’s employee, has shown to the camera a cut diamond and a diamond simulant made of cubic zirconia and explained that both “practically look alike and yet they are not the same”. Well, it is the same with art. There is something volatile that distinguishes a true work of art from any other work. That’s why paradoxically the most important think in a visual work of art is actually invisible. Another important quality of any work of art is its authenticity – meaning that a work of art conveys (in a specific way, through vision, words, sound etc.) an authentic state of mind and somehow reaches the audience that is normally open and prepared to accept it. A “state of mind” should be taken here in a broadest sense, not only as feeling or thought or purely mental condition but rather as a synthesis of psychic and physical, of personal and collective. So, it seems Art is about communication (it always needs to reach someone) but communication of special things: experience/awareness of our own entirety (totalness?) and our unity with the world/being.
Slav Nedev in his working room
drawing courses, but you are basically a self-taught artist, so I would ask you what's your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to ask to myself is a certain kind of formal training could even stifle an artist's creativity...
Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there particular experiences that have impacted on the way you produce your artworks? As I can read in your bio, you never entered the National Art Academy in Bulgaria, your native country: you later attended private
I was born in the sixties in Sofia in a family of engineers. I need to say we had in our home a huge library with books of any kind including art albums as well as a largeHanks collection of vinyl reCassandra 66
rity of people were not very big and there was some guaranteed social minimum. Of course those who were interested knew what is going on in the world, including the Art world and with the time (in the second half of the 80’s) the things were getting looser. Considering the arts were regarded by the party as means of propaganda and therefore supported generously by the state it is easy to figure that this domain was preserved quite often for a small circle of trusted people. Even more, quite often one’s success was depending on certain persons’ goodwill. In such a time I have decided to become a free artist, which now seems quite daring to me. The above I think is not unimportant because the more I live the more I am getting convinced that one’s family and social environment are of a great importance for one’s personal and professional development. As for any particular experiences that have impacted my work, I think everything that we call one’s experience impacts one’s work. I see one’s life path as something we look for and even cause in order to get closer to our real Self and thus with the world/being. When I turn back I see that everything has happened because something else has happened and so on, an endless chain of coinci-dences. The formal training undoubtedly gives one much. However, as everything else it has both sides. It gives but it also takes. One very important question with regard to this is WHO gives us this formal training. The training as skill is something one can always learn from different sources. People do not remember their training; they remember their teachers or Masters. So, the living relationship between teacher and student is what really matters. And the masters are not necessarily in the educational institutions. I had my masters and still meet them when my situation requires this. Sometimes a simple talk with an unknown person could teach you more than a year spent in the class room.
cords. They say “A book is a window to the world” and so it is. At that time Bulgaria was one of the Eastern Bloc countries. Everything was controlled by the ruling communist party that in its turn was controlled by Moscow. The people were living in some kind of reservation and a prison in the same time. Any exchange of information with the rest of the world was difficult and sometimes even punished. The social differences between the majo-
As for stifling artists’ creativity… it depends on an artist’s personality. We have seen both – artists that have submitted to someone’s influence and artists that have remained on their way in spite of any influence. I could hardly imagine true creativity being stifled. Moreover, I think that is remarkable that when -about 25 years ago- you decided to dedicate all yourself to Art, you started to make copies of 67
Remains of Future II, 1995 Soft Pastel on Paper, 50 x 65 cm
icons, an experience that besides providing you of a material support, allowed you to learn precious lessons from the old masters... so I would like to ask you if you think that there's an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness
Yes, the icons were a certain inspiration and an extensive lesson for me; even more – they are an experience. In fact many of them look quite modern or contemporary in their expressiveness and liberty of form. It is very interesting to see how the zographs (icon-painters) have moved in the frame of canon making their own interpretations thus contributing to the visual language. Those masters didn’t regarded themselves as artists. They just were doing their job in anonymity and quite often adhering to certain rules in their everyday life in order to achieve the necessary state of mind.
Remains of Future I, 1996, Soft Pastel on Paper,
and exchange between past and present between traditional and modern. I have already said that Art is about wholeness and dichotomy as a concept results from a dualistic way of seeing things. That is probably why the theoreticians usually introduce words while artists just produce works.
I do not see any dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness. But if we want to compare these two concepts we need to define them first. If “tradition” is something relatively stable in (the course of) time and “contemporariness” denotes the quality of being in step with the (actual period of) time then these two words refer to the things in terms of time. From that point of view “present” (actual, contemporary) is not “everlasting”. However if we talk about Art I rather see a continuity a constant transition
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time 68
tions of the Post-urban Visions series have been all preliminarily drawn as large size drawings and every element of the composition carefully put on its place. This is because they have a lot of straight lines that should be organized in a perspective grid and converge in the correct vanishing points that sometimes lay far outside the canvas borders. One cannot experiment with this on the canvas. Instead everything except colors must be prepared before-hand. That helps to achieve the specific cool smooth-ness and stillness of these works. I remember even a colleague has asked me if they are handmade at all. To follow a philological approach to your works, I would start to focus on your earlier project entitled Remains, a double series that our readers have started to admire in the starting pages of this article: could you lead us through the development of this project?
I have mentioned my father was an engineer. One field he worked very extensively in was the metal fatigue. One day I have found at home a box full of photographs documenting certain cases of his research work. The images of broken metal parts, welded details, experimental models, measuring devices or sensors wired to various mechanisms were representing a strange, motionless, dimly lit world that had certain charm as well. I could hardly resist the temptation to use these images and in fact I didn’t. Initially my idea was simply to aestheticize the remains i.e. things utilized and now useless. The method for this was to calculate and re-model the whole composition and its elements so that they fit into the golden ratio or other mathematical ratios. (Because I have supposed the Golden Ratio is a building principle of things or at least of humans or their way to perceive things.) Almost all surfaces in these works are correlated with certain coefficient. Later, some images from the trivial round were “processed” in the same way and added to the series, already subsumed under the main theme. However, in the work process, it turned out that trivial objects could carry additional and more complex meanings. The remains are things left of something else. They tell us that something has existed, something has been there and now it is gone or is not in its original integral and active state. Thus, we are led to the Transition theme and thereby directly put into the time stream. If we could imagine, what the things have been like in the beginning, how they slowly have
50 x 65 cm
do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
Well, it depends on the state I am in and the things I’d like to express. There was a time I have worked quite spontaneously letting what’s inside me to emerge and take its raw form. Sometimes I do this even now. It is kind of refreshing, relaxing, even healing and reminding that it’s “just a play”. Shaking off the seriousness for a while is always good. However with the time I have begun to plan my works very carefully. Sometimes the preparation involves mathematic calculations or lot of work with the computer. For example the composi69
changed or have been changed, what they are now and how they will gradually disappear, we could become aware of the slow course of time. On the other hand, we could see these deformed elements, this tired matter as a metaphor of the end of the industrial society along with its pretensions and its impudence. Nothing and nobody has escaped the deep quiet gloom of time, where only the Remains remain for a moment, before finally being absorbed by the eternity. Another series of yours, on which I would like to spend some words is your ongoing project entitled Topographies. I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the background in these pieces. Far from assign to the background a passive role to whom we are mostly used to consider, I daresay that the real subject of these works is the communication capacity of our environment... and I can recognize such feature in Post Urban Visions as well. I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
This is a very interesting and challenging question I’d say. And a question that probably has not a simple and clear answer. I would like to make a short digresZoom In, Schwandorf (Bayern) 01 2012, Watercolor, 30 x 40 cm
sion regarding the way the works of Art emerge or at least the way they emerge by me. I think the ideas are in us (as nuclei) but they need some time to get ripe and manifest themselves, therefore they wait patiently for the right moment to come. That’s why quite often an artist could be enchanted by an image or a vision that somehow corresponds to an idea but is not necessarily conscious. This image in a way pulls out (from a person) the idea and sucks it in the image. That’s part of the magic we call Art – the incarnation of an idea through a process where an unconscious (unborn) content takes form and Cassandra Hanks
Zoom In Schwandorf (Bayern) 05 2012, Watercolor, 30 x 40 cm 70
Zoom In Schwandorf (Bayern) 07 2012, Watercolor, 30 x 40 cm
– in fact tries even today – to make oneself comfortable. An interaction between man and environment has taken place. Man, it seems to me, is imperfect or incomplete. Man has begun to create their own environment culminating in the emergence of the city and landscape design. The artificial environment created by the man should compensate man’s imperfection and serve their needs.
In short the Topographies deal with the interaction between man and environment and the Post-urban Visions – with the artificial world the man has created for them and eventually with its ultimate stage. However both series try to see things like processes and not just like static moments. Because if we understand a process or perceive it intuitively we could foresee the outcome to some extent.
becomes conscious, i.e. Born. So, there are messages in everything, including our surroundings but we see only what we are ready to see. Initially there was the environment. The environment is a result of millions of years of interaction of natural physical forces and materials. There is nothing casual in it and every square centimeter has been carefully “processed” in conformity with the universal laws. In a sense it is perfect. And it offered place to life.
Our inner Nature projects constantly into the environment producing the above mentioned interaction and the artist being sensitive and open “listens to” and captures any actual tendencies and then gives them way and reflects on them. So we can admit one of artist’s roles is again to discover and convey new knowledge or rather intuitions about the complex social-environmental system we live in.
Then the man came on the stage and has tried 71
Post-urban Vision No. 1, 2007,
Post-urban Vision No. 2, 2008,
Oil on Canvas, 100 x 130 cm
Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm
As we can see, among the other, in Post-urban Visions , you draw for inspiration from real contexts and your pieces are capable of establishing a deep involvement with the viewers, and I would go as far as to state that this is an evolution and a consequence of your earlier practice of letting unconscious contents to manifest themselves spontaneously... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal
experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
First I’d like to thank you for the nice words and the good evaluation of my work. As for the personal experience, yes, I am convinced it is absolutely indispensable part of the creative process. In fact everything we become aware of is our experience, be it “real”, i.e. happening outside us or psychic, i.e. only in our mind. We can imagine two persons in a situation, seeing, hearing “the same” but these two persons will derive quite different own experiences therefrom because their minds and bodies are different. I’d even say “I am my experience”. So, the personal experience is an attribute to any human, hence a must for any creative process at all. And I couldn't do without mentioning Biotope, which I have to admit that is one of my favourite project of yours... Moreover, while trying to realize the Biotope project and the related huge art installation in Sofia you have experienced quite a lot of issues... would you like to tell us more about this? By the way, I would catch this occasion to ask your point about a sustainable relationship between Art
Post-urban Vision No. 3, 2008, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm
Biotope XI, 2010, Fine Art Print on Paper, size - variable
and business... and I do not refer just to "bu$iness", but actually all the remaining "business"...
been shown at numerous venues including abroad. More about it could be found at http://biotope.bg/en.
In short Biotope is a project for a large installation in urban space representing a city made of trash containers. It should be built on an area of more than 1000 sq.m. in the central part of Sofia right in front of the former Tsar’s Palace (now National Art Gallery) and remain there for about 2 weeks. It should have its own “streets” and “squares” allowing people to walk in and about it. The idea for this installation has emerged at the end of 2007 and since then visualizations of the project has
In 2012 I and a group of friends and supporters have founded Biotope Association in order to facilitate the realization of the project. In this association we have an architect, a legal advisor, an engineer as well as other professionals that work together on the project, which I personally find amazing and challenging. Also, we have found our business and NGO partners. Lot of work has been done, including the preparation of the necessary papers as technical and architectural drawings 73
Full Moon, Sofia, June 21, 2010, 07:00, 2011 Fine Art Print on Paper, size – variable
etc. just to find out that the municipality has issued unexpectedly a prohibition for making of any type of events on that place. To be honest they offered me some other places in the city but unfortunately they are not suitable. So, it seems, we need to wait now and in the meantime try to convince the administration or look for another proper place. To answer your question about “business”, here in Bulgaria we do not have any legal frame regulating the art-business relations, so everything is a matter of personalities and personal relations. I have knocked on many doors of companies that manage the waste and most of them showed no interest. Finally I found the right person that was excited about the project and did the possible to help. In general I think the business still cannot identify the potential of art as means of communication and even profit. I do not speak about the attitude of the public administration here. This is another and very frustrating question.
Biotope XII, 2010, Fine Art Pigment Print on Paper, size - variable capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
During these years your artworks have been widely exhibited in all of the major galleries and museums in Bulgaria as well as in the USA, Switzerland, Denmark, France, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, and the Netherlands: you have been moreover awarded in many occasions, and in 2012 you have received the Certificate of Honor from Nepal Academy of Fine Arts... it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are
I am not quite sure what do you mean with “the expectation of an award” mean – the expectation as such or the attempt to get the award. In the first case the artist has made their work freely and, thinking it deserves to be awarded, expects. This does not affect an artists’ work but could be quite exhausting and often disappoinCassandra Hanks 74
Zoom In Schwandorf (Bayern) 05, 2012, Watercolor, 30 x 40 cm
ting. In the second case, we could suppose the artist tries to foresee the judgment of the jury and to adapt their work respectively. Well, it depends again on the approach. Trying to adapt may be a challenge but to a certain point, from which on it may become loss of identity. I think in any case it is better to stay closer to oneself. Make your proposal and if it works OK; if not, just let go.
Biotope V, 2010, Fine Art Print on Paper, size - variable
all. It just makes no sense. The intention to “say” something to someone and the presupposition of this someone lay in the foundation of any work of art. However I do not think about the audience while I am making my works. Trying to please so many tastes is just impossible. The artist is supposed only to communicate the abovementioned authentic state of mind that in best case should be cleaned from personal elements. Personal should be only the artist’s style.
As for the feedback, yes, for me it is of significant importance. I think we’ll agree, Art is about communication, conveying from one person (artist) to others (audience). If there is no one to perceive a work of art, there won’t be art at 75
A Place Called Nowhere,
1997 Oil on Canvas 145x115cm
1997,Oil on Canvas,145x115cm
During these years your earned a wide experience as graphic designer, and Passing through Nowhere is an example of the synergy between these appa-rently different kind of medias: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts? By the way, maybe because I have a scientific back-ground, but I’m sort of convinced that soon or later new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between Art and Science....I will dare to say that Art and Science are going to assimilate one to each other... what’s your point about this?
and its idea by giving it two more dimensions – depth and time. This became for me the reason to get familiar with the computer and various applications. As this happened in the distant 1998, now I think this is probably one of the first suchlike experiments in Bulgaria. Needless to say the computers at that time were ridiculous compared to today’s machines. The clip was made on an AMD K6-2 266 MHz processor with 256MB RAM. One second thereof needed ages to render. To get back to your question, yes I am inclined to agree that the synergy between different disciplines offers opportunities that are otherwise unthinkable. In fact the technique has been always inseparable from any human activity. It changes the way one conceives their projects because one thinks, so to say, in the frame of their means. The new Cassandra Hanks
Passing through Nowhere was an attempt to expand a 2D work of art (more precisely a triptych) 76
Emergence (Upwards) 1997 Oil on Canvas145x115cm
means and new media are deeply connected to the respective zeitgeist and quite often could render expressions of tendencies or phenomena that haven’t existed before.
look like. However I hope the traditional forms and media won’t disappear because that would be a great loss. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Slav. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I have some scientific background too and had never feared the exact sciences. On the contrary, I have always regarded them as a kind of art. Now it comes to me that art is not a field but the way one acts in their field. It is possible to have an “artist” that is incapable to make art and a physicist that is true artist (while evolving a theory, for example). So it has to do with one’s attitude and talents rather than with the subject as such.
I’d like to thank you for the conversation too. The questions were really interesting and exciting. As for my future plans, right now there is nothing concrete in the near months. I will try further to realize the Biotope project and parallel to this will continue to work on my ongoing series of works. When there are enough works I probably will show them to the audience.
Anyway, I think that in the future Art and Science will interact more and more closely and am curious what the resulting works of art and science would 77
Troy Hourie (Canada / USA) an artist’s statement
I am a scenographer working as both a performance designer and installation artist. Trained in art history, architecture and theatre design, I have merged these disciplines to an artistic practice that focuses on the relationship of the body to three-dimensional space as it interacts with technology. My current work revolves around the themes of wonder, immersion, spectatorship and intermediality. In search of building a visceral experience for the viewer, my work speculates that evoking elements of wonder, chance and discovery in the creative process can lead to an engaged and thoughtful participation by its viewer. Scenographic space, for me, has always embraced the notion of ‘constructed realities’, whether it is a maquette for theatre, a cabinet of wonder or a gallery installation. The layering of physical and digital spaces with the body works like a three-dimensional collage to immerse the spectator into a reflective position where the mind is more receptive to abstract thought and experiences. Much of my work captures moments from my own dreams and nightmares or is inspired by images in texts and music that evoke a strong emotive response. Because my work is a reflection of my own preoccupations, I consciously attempt to insert myself as the creator in some form into the process. The convoluted nature of dreaming permits a process of image building where narratives are not formed in a linear fashion but through an organic exploration. Images are first created, then deconstructed and rebuilt aspiring to conjure unique contemplation for the spectator from what remains. Troy Hourie
an interview with
Troy Hourie Hello Troy, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?
A work of art is the creative process and/or artifact produced by an individual or collective striving to render an expression that reflects on the world around them. This can be technical, emotive, theoretical or abstract in nature. I am equally awed by a Dutch Masterâ€™s painting of a cool daylight streaming through an open window onto the hands a woman sewing, as I am by a James Turrell installation illuminated by unseen bright neon light diffusing the edges of space. An artist must remain inquisitive through the continual practice of exploring various mediums and tools as a means of building an artistic practice. The evolution of a body of work is formed by innovations and discoveries made through this kind of personal contemplation. I would speculate that contemporary art is simply something produced today. The media and tools available to artists have changed over time but artists have always reflected on the world around them. I believe that art, like theatre, exists in relationship to its viewer.
background? Besides a Master of Fine Arts, Scenic Design, you hold a MA of Master of Arts, Scenography, that you have recently received from the Central School for Speech and Drama, University of London. How have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point of view?
As a spectator, the work I am drawn to evokes wonder or some sort of emotive response. Art has the ability to transport us elsewhere and I enjoy being absorbed into a work when an artist provides the opportunity to ruminate on musings beyond what my mind normally expects. So as an artist, I attempt to not define meaning for the observer but to build work that provokes the viewer to participate in his or her own reflective journey. The role of the artist becomes that of the provocateur, as someone searching for new or hidden value in things unnoticed in the world.
Masters study should be undertaken by students to refine their craft. I sought to attain both my masters degrees as mechanisms to transition my creative practice into new mediums. My undergraduate degree had been a modernist training in architecture and it was during this formative time that I developed an interest in Cassandra Hanks Alfredo Garcia
Would you like to tell us something about your 80
I began to devise stage sets that could be viewed as sculptural installations, situating the audience within theatrical space to engage directly with the narrative being performed. Encouraged by my colleagues, I had contemplated building my own independent art practice for several years. So my partner and I decided to live abroad for one year and we decided it was time for me to finally take the opportunity to bridge into the visual arts. I attended Central School of Speech and Drama in London to redefine myself. The program was vigorous and focused on practice-based research. I was introduced to new technology, methodologies and theory that have helped me to refine my artistic processes in exploring wonder, spectatorship and intermediality. Though some masters training can be stifling, a student can overcome this by remaining confident and focusing on personal growth. I have seen that getting lost in the pleasing of others defeats many people. I entered both masters programs with personal objectives set beforehand and left satisfied the body of work I produced. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
As I have only recently begun forging my way into a new discipline, I am still forming a praxis. My studies at CSSD allowed me to build a foundation to build a practice on. In my thesis project, Resonances of Wonder and the Immersive Experience, I re-imagined the creative process by exploring the possibilities of designing scenographic work with the intention of evoking wonder. It re-examined the relationships between the artist, the viewer and the object by repositioning them to discover new methods of constructing meaning. I proposed that in employing an active imagination it may possible to stimulate resonances through an embodied experience. I was particularly interested in re-imagining the inherent properties of historical devices such as wunderkammers and cabinets of curiosity now interpreted through the embodiment
theatre. My MFA in Scenic Design provided me with the time to develop a new creative process based on interpreting text and/or music. The degree was practical, hands on and driven by the idea of a collaborative spirit. I have been a professional stage designer for over sixteen years, primarily based in New York. I thrived on the intense creative lifestyle that NYC provided and enjoyed being surrounded by such talent. As a performance designer, I have created many ‘constructed realities’ on stage and have always been interested in methods of skewing what is ‘real’. It was through the experimental productions we produced at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, that I was able to realize the possibilities of environmental or immersive design. 81
of digital media. The artworks I developed so far, I would consider initial investigations into ideas that have provided some insight into how to work with various technologies to enrich the viewer experience. Through a process of ‘play’ (where new software and hardware provided tools for discovery), I examine narratives derived from childhood experiences, dreams, literature and music in an attempt to evoke wonder. The process of building the artwork resembles a stream of consciousness, allowing for random discoveries, disregarding the logical in search of forming a new constructed reality. The art pieces I have produced are moments that I see as parts of bigger installation projects that I am devising. I hope to build a body of work that is composed of smaller projects like the Lost in Montreal, which was completed in a week, alongside larger installations that may take years to evolve the physical and digital spaces.
inspired by the people and places that ‘live in-between, below and hidden within the shadows of the city’. These media based visions would be installed into miniature shoebox theatres. This project seemed to merge many of my own interests into one experience. Participants were instructed to ‘get lost’ in Montreal and document intriguing moments through sketches, photography and video. My journey began at the Place des Arts in Centreville which is an arts complex in the middle of the bustling downtown core. To my surprise, once I was surrounded by the brutalist architecture of the plaza, sounds and activity diminished. I was amazed to find a series of glass cube skylights that had trees growing on top of them and then was approached by a construction worker who wore a safety helmet ornamented with devil horns. It all felt very surreal and transported me my very own Wonderland. As I travelled on, I was thrilled to discover a stainless steel wall that
Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with Lost in Montreal, that our readers can admire in these pages and that I would suggest them to view directly at your website http://troyhourie.com/lost-in-montreal : would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
This work was created as part of the Arcade Workshop presented by 2boys.tv at Playwrights Montreal. I came across a call for participants to work with Aaron and Stephen in a workshop they were providing in conceiving of ‘fictional realities’ 82
rations that artists can established together: especially because they reveals a symbiosis between apparently different approaches to art... and I can't help without mention Peter Tabor who once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?
Collaboration is an intrinsic component to building theatre. The creation of an environment where ideas are openly shared, the individual ego merges into a collective energy which this fosters everyone to attain their best. I seek out opportunities to work with others whose work inspires me. I see collaboration as a tool that allows me to continually grow and explore. Roberta Uno at the Ford Foundation introduced me to the work of 2boys.tv. During a meeting, I was describing to Roberta my interest in pursuing a new artistic path where I could explore the relationship of the body to digital media. She recalled an installation that 2boys.tv performed in Montreal and believed we were like-minded. Aaron Pollard and Stephen Lawson of 2boys.tv have produced a wide repertoire of epic multimedia cabaret works, performances, and video/art installations.
distorted the reflections of people passing by in
The creation of my Lost in Montreal project brought together the talents of three individual artists. Each of us brings an expertise focused in a particular
a working class neighborhood and on a street called Rue Workman, I found a store called St. Henri Uniforms. Like a contemporary wunderkammer, the supplier had on display various trade uniforms in a series of four storefront windows. This collection of dreamlike images became the source of inspiration for a video installation in a shoebox where I embodied character of a construction worker in a uniform with helmet mounted rabbit ears to explore the wondrous place that is Montreal. As you have remarked, Lost in Montreal was created with the collaboration of Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard as part of the Arcade Workshop, based on a 2boys.tv ongoing, roaming urban installation project called BOUTIQUE ARCADE... By the way, I personally find absolutely fascinating collabo83
discipline but all would consider themselves a performer, a director, a media artist and a scenographer. In this circumstance, the 2boys.tv duo shared a methodology they had conceived and allowed myself as a participant in the workshop to adapt or interpret it in my own creative way. When I returned from my journey, Stephen and Aaron were intrigued by the notion of being lost in wonderland and the unique perspective of their city I provided. When Stephen saw the construction worker with the devil horns, he imagined that I might don a pair of rabbit ears instead. After a rather thrilling exchange of ideas, there was sort of an â€˜a haâ€? moment where the concept of the work evolved into a plan that I would costume myself as a construction worker with rabbit ears and traverse my path again, embodying the character of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
been a long tradition of visual artists being engaged by theatres to design for performance, but there have been few theatre designers who have bridged the gap into the visual arts. As a spatial designer, I have worked in many scales and mediums, which have naturally lead me into an interest in building performance based installation artworks.
Another piece of yours on which I would like to mention is Sickert Allusion Cabinet, a work that I like very much: as a performance designer and new media artist, while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?
The Sickert Allusions Cabinet was an experiment in merging historical devices of wonder with modern technology to conjure the spirit found in Walter Sickertâ€™s nostalgic Music Hall paintings. I was initially drawn to these paintings due to their inherent theatricality but in researching his artistic process, I discovered an intricate layering of perceptual playfulness. In reflecting on past practices of image building, I saw an opportunity Cassandra Hanks Alfredo Garcia
I think this idea of a synergy between disciplines is what motivated me to want to be working both as a scenographer and an installation artist. There has 84
story told in the painting. A projected video of collaged images portrayed — my hand painting textures, fragments of the original painting and reflected imagery from mirrors — evoking Sickert’s process. A lone chair positioned Sickert in the theatre and images of spectators in the galleries encouraged the viewer of the cabinet to immerse themselves as a member in the audience. One of the features of your works that has mostly impacted on me is the skillful ability to reinvent these processes through merging the use historical devices of wonder with modern technology: I’m sort of convinced that soon or later new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between Art and Technology....I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what’s your opinion about this?
I concur that media art is fostering a merging of art and technology. I believe this is already happening. Many universities are investing large amounts of money to foster partnerships between the sciences/engineering and design and performance programs. My experience working with video designers, animators and technicians is that the advancements in technology are developing much more quickly than artists are able to incorporate
to invigorate my own practice. Sickert uses the reflective surfaces of mirrors in the theatres as tools to playfully reposition the viewer’s perception of space. Conceiving a cabinet that would not merely reproduce but allude to Sickert’s painting demanded an imaginative engagement with the “spirit” with which it was created. It was helpful to learn that the song, The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery inspired Sickert to creating the painting of the Gallery of the Old Bedford Music Hall. An analysis of composition of Sickert’s painting helped to suggest ideas for the interior of the glass cabinet. The architectural forms of the theatre became fragmented, translucent planes which produced a sculptural void upon which layers of projected imagery brought to life the 85
them into their creative practices. My work with Augmented Stage in Utrecht clarified for me that if artists can sit in the same room to collaborate with software developers, the possibilities for new discoveries can multiply for both disciplines. In theatre I have been frustrated with the integration of video in performance. It often exists as a separate element and its relationship to the scenography and the human being can be forced or artificial. This is one of the core reasons I have desired to work with technology in my artworks. The application of contemporary technology in art presents its own allure, but, I am also inspired by examining the historical use of cabinets of curiosity, wunderkammers and early theatrical mechanisms in the building of an visceral experience. Advanced technology has become so infused our everyday lives that the search to be innovative or unique as an artist has become a formidable challenge. This merging of histori-cal and contemporary technology in my work has refreshed my imagination and presents exciting opportunities.. Being strictly connected to the chance to create a deep interaction, your artworks are capable of communicating a wide variety of states of mind: have you ever happened to discover something that you didn't previously plan and that you didn't even think about before? I'm sort of convinced that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal hidden sides of life and nature... Would you like to tell us your opinion about this?
A friend of mine viewed the Sickert Allusions Cabinet and commented that they preferred to look at the back of the cabinet. I initially thought this was because of the brightness the light source of the projector from the front irritated them but came to learn that it was because the projections on the back of the sculptural glass pieces were less literal and provided more room for interpretation. This has clarified for me that as I create work, I should abandon the intention of a â€˜frontâ€™ view and take advantage of the opportunity to allow the viewer to explore the work from all directions. During some experimentation in a studio with the text of Beckettâ€™s Ill Seen Ill Said, we were attempting to connect projections with the body and a piece of lace. We had initially focused a light fixture on the lace itself but were amazed when we turned it off. We discovered that when the body made a gesture that moved a live
feed camera or the lace, the camera picked up the light beam from the projector and created a dynamic moving image. This liveness achieved through layering various media provides great potential for both the creative process and viewer experience. This also reaffirmed a principle I learned from the work of scenographer, Josef Svoboda; there is magic in emptiness that is brought to life by light and projection. Your work has been exhibited and presented internationally at museums and theatres in New York, Toronto, London and Prague and extensively across the United States, and moreover in 2005 you received a Ford Foundation Artist Grant... I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
It is gratifying to receive recognition from your peers but it has never been my intention to design with that goal in mind. I am often surprised by the selections of my work that have received attention. The Drama Desk nomination was my first award early in my career, and was for one of only two naturalistic designs I have produced. Stylistically, I approach my theatre work with an abstract hand and I attempt to produce innovative work on every project I create. So though I was thrilled for the nomination, it confirmed for me that not all of us define exceptional work in the same manner. I was very fortunate to find the collaborators I worked with at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. It was there that I began to creative what I termed â€˜environmentalâ€™ where the position of the audience was integrated into the staged reality, creating one immersive experience where the viewer is transported into the world of the play. I began to observe potential in repositioning the spectator from their normal passive role into an actively engaged participant. This seemed to produce a magical relationship between the creator and the viewer. I carry this same intrigue with my relationship as the creator to those viewing my work in my current visual arts practice. I do not preconceive what reaction a viewer should produce, but am simply interested in their engagement or lack there of in the piece. 87
As everyone has different life experiences, each individual is going to find resonance in different things. I find the idea of documenting the audience experience and then returning a work to re-envision how the evolves an intriguing prospect. This is something I would like to build into my process for a couple of my upcoming larger installations. Just wondering if you would like to answer to artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? Well, actually ain't
I have always enjoyed observing the audience or viewer of my work. When I first began working in New York, I would have a group of a dozen or so friends come to every opening and it was of great joy to me to share with them my creative work. I found satisfaction in then receiving feedback and discussing aspects of the production they embraced or questioned. The â€˜environmentalâ€™ productions we did in Harlem became a sort of physical playground for me where experiment with the position of the spectator. One of my favorite reactions was during an intimate moment I shared with a wealthy woman in the audience for Marat/Sade. She was a regular patron and knew I was the resident set designer. She was enclosed in a caged environment, surrounded by the performers playing the inmates of an insane asylum. I watched as she observed obscene, vivid depictions of the depravity that existed during the French Revolution. She became aware that I was watching her as she sat nervously in her seat. Every time we reached eye contact, I smiled and she dismissed me. Then at one point she was sprayed with a hose, which eventually allowed her to embrace the experience. She smiled at me as she shook her head. I do not know whether this struggle gave her any sort of enlightenment, but I was pleased that I was able to contribute to such a unique experience for her. Marat/Sade was designed as an immersive installation and to this day is the show I believe I was most able to express my own vision. I knew
Cassandra Hanks Alfredo Garcia 88
then, that by finding work that excites me, I am inspired to challenge the spectator to engage. I will continue to search for opportunities to produce this kind of visceral interaction in my art. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Troy: nothing has left to say than asking you about your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
It is my intention to reduce my performance design practice in order to be able to focus on developing installation work. This coming year, I am designing a production of Ariadne auf Naxos for Francesca Zambello at the Glimmerglass Festival in July. I have also been invited to three artist residencies over the next twelve months. In December I will attend a themed residency with Soi Fischer at Artscape in Toronto, in March/April, a residency at ARTErra in Portugal and in September/October, I will be in residence at Arteles in Finland. I will be using two of the residencies to develop an installation Apparitions, which is a continuation of the intermedial experimentation I completed in a residency at Augmented Stage in Utrecht last year. In it, I explore the esoteric nature of the opera Turn of the Screw and plan develop an installation with three different â€˜momentsâ€™ where the position of the spectator is explored in relationship to both physical and digital environments. For the third residency I am creating a new work. Please watch my website for further updates. (http://troyhourie.com/)
An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org
(Uruguay) an artistâ€™s statement
I have been alwaysa person very sensitive to various forms of art and my interest and ambition is and was the achievement and the union of purity with the beauty a valid way to get to the truth. From my point of view harmony rhythm variety, full grandeur were matters that should necessarily be in an artistic expression a bit confused with the current contemporary art where concepts and truth standards as liquids are left to be objective for artists. My intuition and my technical and scientific training led me to the study of geometry and classical and sacred mathematics to find these concepts standards and indisputable truths. For this very ambitious path is drawn to the beauty and purity really felt as experience using the exact language and mathematics undisputed geometry and artistic contemplancion The platonic solids , ideas and representation of Kepler , the concepts and ideas of Fraire Luca Pacioli in the ancient discipline Transparent Corporation , the number aureus were instructions given to the great artists of the Renaissance and have roots in much ancient knowledge in different cultures and countries These notions Geometricas and math lend wonderfully compliant with treatment by modern information technology and feel that could make advances in theory and practice The modern expression through the software and hardware 2 and 3D are the ideal way to advance the way we conceded the old and due study and master but constantly evolving so I need a collective effort to realize it fully. In my work I try to make each image is complete for that conjoin all the elements of harmony proportion rhythm light shimmer color range and this should be enough to expose one and only in an exhibition in a large size 3 times that of a normal person or very small as postmarked by the world spinning . My hope is that sharing my work captivates a group of people around the world who contribute their time and expertise online development of these polyhedra and exact knowledge in all areas of human endeavor. The overviews are wonderful polyhedra are present in all areas of science and life and enabling technology advances rapidly dominate ( 3d printing 3d software design and other emerging permanently ) and the old road geometry demands it .
an interview with
Roberto Gra単a Hello Roberto and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual intriductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
The definition of a work of art is a personal opinion and subjective on a human creation. For me a work of art is what the ancients called a masterpiece sublime. Understanding by sublime achievement of maximum beauty overflowing indefinable reason and human feeling producing a spell of aesthetic pleasure experienced irrational but strongly Would you like to tell us something about your background?
In my background it is my natural inclination toward the geometric harmonic as the visual in my daily activities Are there particular experiences that have influenced you in creating?
In certain difficult times of my life I felt I should express myself artistically through images. I chose half polyhedra half unconsciously and sometimes I consciously think my volumes are my personal mandalas
In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
By the way, how has your technical and scientific training impacted on the way you produce your artworks?
My work attempts to provide it with maximum notion of certainty. It comes from the structural balance, harmony, rhythm and proportion using geometry and math concepts that I consider undisputed universal validity. From the technical point of view my creations are volumes equations instead of numbers and operations they applied, the sum subtraction multiplication and division.
My mind works well on scientific and rational way and I have my training facility and research in technical tasks, and that allows me to manage my creative energies voluntarily. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your works?
And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
The process is to design and create 3D volumes then combine them mathematically illuminate rotate until you are satisfied with the end result.
Time is a relative concept and the work is Cassandra Hanks
dodecahedron and icosahedron , and volume are the expressions of the triangle, square and pentagon : 3, 4 and 5. The geometric self-generation cycle of the ISOCAEDRO and through the conjugation of divine PHI ratio ( proportion considered divine in ancient seed ) falls within one DODECAHEDRON. The layout of the dodecahedron automatically gives rise to a CUBE inside. The projection of the diagonals of the faces of the cube are two tetrahedrons interlocked with the ends in opposite directions. The internal volume of the Tetrahedrons OCTAEDRO which also defines its interior angles are defined geometric points of a new Isocaedro repeating the Genesis of cosmic volumes as metaphor perfectly possible. In short computer 3d creation is literally a constant volumetric equation of phi.Then I define this object as crystal to display the interior shapes and lit with different colored lights. Caption 2
always on the mind of the artist in permanent metamorphosis along with everything else being impossible to define and set limits. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your recent and interesting work UNIVERSO, that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?
This work is my main and most important work is the starting point for all my other works. Geometric and mathematically represents the genesis of cosmic volumes ( old theory of universal origins present in all culcultures) There are five volumes that are considered most essential for being the only ones with all edges and all its angles equal. They are the tetrahedron , octahedron , cube
the number aureus and search for the sublime as transformative sense of personality. The old theory is that essential numbers shapes and act as interface between the upper and lower kingdom. This road runs parallel to the idea of the mystical experience in all civilizations I have been very impressed with your words, and I appreciate the way you search for harmony in such intellectual way...
The use and development of intellect and reason is a way to maximize the sovereignty of the will on the intuition and passion without annulling. And since I've got a scientific background as well, I would like to ask you: do you think that nowadays there still exists a dichotomy between art and technology?
I correct your statement "there" that just are opinions and as always personal and subjective it is undisputed that all horizons both art and science are expanding and evolving technologies enable people to do new things new. There are those who believe that only art is intuitive and passionate irrational and the rational mind and exclude intellectual but science and technology are changing the equation leading to the rational in the art allow-
I would mention the starting lines of your artist's statement, where you state that your main interest is "the achievement and the union of purity with the beauty a valid way to get to the truth"...
There are many historical signs indicate this path through the architecture and art of all civilizations, they all share the geometry and 94
ing the sovereign will arise using creative energies dominating them.
The site is still under construction should include him even more works and my prospects, so it is important to know the opinion of your readers through my personal mail that would be very useful and interesting.
By the way, I would go as far as to say that in a way Science is assimilating Art and viceversa... what's your point about this?
Science always assimilates Art and vice versa but both come with joining time in the future in a single point.
In these last years we have seen a great usage of digital technology, in order to achieve outcomes that was hard to get with traditional techniques: the massifi-cation art that is good, it is also true that the results are more simple but always exceeds invention inventor 3d printers are an example.
I would suggest to our readers to visit your personal website at http://polyhedron3d.blogspot.it/ to have a wider idea of your works with digital graphics...
Do your think that an excess of such techni-ques could lead to a betrayal of reality?
We always try to betray the fact, some say that we are successful because we create reality. The techniques are techniques and exes will continue to exist but what is the reality is that a difficult question for a mathematician. Digitals tehnologies help an artist to produce, but also and especially to conceive an artwork...
No doubt this technology is a major leap for mankind and possible increases with time and the related amount of work I would like to ask you if in your opinion perso-nal experience is an absolutely indes-pensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be discon-nected from direct experience?
Naturally personal history marks the creative process. Nothing is disconnected from anything everything is an integrated whole. By the way, today modern computer aided technologies -as computer graphics - have made possible to create in few steps what just a couple of decades ago requested a lot of work...and a lot of money, indeed. But I'm sort of convinced that the real quantum leap of this recent years is not just a matter of technology, or better: technology has extended the possibility of conceiving such pieces... what's your point about this?
Right well and there are things that were not only impossible but also unthinkable without technology... In fact technology made it possible to conceive large and previously unseen works by artists never before seen and achieved chaining conception to completion, giving birth to reality shapes and bold and incredible figures It's quite obvious that feedbacks and espe-cially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist...
By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience?
It is very important because the feedback can improve and enrich me and correct me in my process of creating
All incentives are valid in all activities some people give more importance to some and others to others, but I think we should not exclude any of them.
Do you ever think to whom Cassandra Hankswill enjoy your 96
that we all possess asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since -even though it might sound the simpler one- I receive the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
The design and successful completion of the conceived .. Bear in mind that the work is an equation-based volumetric geometry and mathematics Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Roberto. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
That technology involves really a revolution 3d concepts and tasks. I'm in it and I consider it more a collective than individual so I would create a stream, a style, a group, or some many people who work with a single goal. I'd love to write internationally expressing their ideas and opinions and I appreciate this opportunity units that I got to express to your audience
Art when you conceive your pieces?
My work's dirigo everyone because we are equipped to feel the beauty, purity and truth. In this interview I'm trying to explain the technical basis of my creations but my goal is to stimulate the feeling of sublimity that 97
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