FORMERLY KNOWN AS
FORMERLY KNOWN AS MAGAZINE ISSUE FIVE
2016 Formerly Known As Magazine. All material in this magazine may not be reproduced, transmitted, or distributed in any form without the written permission of Formerly Known As. Formerly Known As Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material and to edit this material prior to publication. The articles published reflect the opinions of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers or editorial team. The rights of the artwork remain that of the artist. Formerly Known As Magazine retains the right to reproduce any submission received either in print or online, to reproduce submitted work as it appears in this magazine, and the right to reproduce the artwork in any container specific to that agreed upon by the artist. The entire content is property of Formerly Known As Magazine and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without written authorization of the publishers.
STAFF EMMA GAUDIO JULIAN TROMPETER NATALIE DELLA VALLE CAMILLE MARCOLINI-MESENGE DAISY DE MONTJOYE MILAN TESSLER SYLVANA TISHELMAN HOPE CHRISTERSON CONSTANCE CORDIER AUSTIN GRAFF ITAI MECK TAWANA MECK DEVON BERMAN
TABLE OF CONTENTS JESSICA BALDANZA.....................................6 MARK ZUBROVICH.....................................10 MICHELE AYOUB (WORDS BY NICOLE COON)......16 VIRGIL BARUCHEL.....................................18 ALEXIS GONZALEZ....................................22 MIKE CHMIL.................................................28 LIADAIN EVANS..........................................32 MONICA KIM GARZA.................................36 DELILAH ROSIER........................................42 MICKEY MACKENNA.................................46 KAT MCCRORY.............................................50 BRENDAN HUNT.........................................54
FRONT COVER: JESSICA BALDANZA TABLE OF CONTENTS: DELILAH ROSIER CONTACT PAGE: ALEXIS GONZALEZ BACK COVER: LIADIAN EVANS
JESSICA BALDANZA - 23 - TORONTO
What is your preferred photographic medium and why? Do you tend to gravitate more towards digital or film? Color or black and white? I love film's tangibility, it has an indexicality that digital can not; but I love my phone's camera for it's telling pixilation, it's immediacy, portability and subtlety. I have no affinity for digital, although I havenâ€™t given it much of a shot, and in either case I prefer color. Black and white is beautiful but it's a little too literal; if taking a photo is a tiny death, black and white just exacerbates that fact. Maybe I'm in denial. What compels you to take a particular picture? What compels you to shoot the banal, like snow banks and car windows, along with people? The subjects of my photos are often pre-meditated, friends or acquaintances Ive asked shoot, but I've also gotten some really exciting impromptu shots while out. I always have a camera on me for that reason. It would be insincere to say I know exactly what I'm looking for in a subject. While I don't deny the consistencies among my subjects, I wouldn't say I have a 'type'. It's a pretty visceral thing for me... strange is good. As for the more banal stuff, I'd like to think I'm motivated by the Whitman philosophy â€“ to reject the notion that some things are inherently interesting and others boring, beautiful or ugly. These are the settings and items that furnish parts of my daily existence. Everything is fascinating when removed from it's context, put under a microscope so to speak and given the same attention and respect as one would to a person or flower. Wolfgang Tillmans' work accomplished this in a way that I and a million other amateurs can only hope to emulate or revitalize in the context of the present day and personal experiences.
Having gone to OCAD in Toronto for your BFA and studied painting, how does your approach differ between mediums? Is there any overlap? Has going to art school for a different medium changed the way you work as an artist in the broadest sense of the word? In the year or so since leaving school, it's become clear to me that contemporary practices that are contingent upon a single medium don't make much sense. That's an opinion, not a fact. Of course, without those who are dedicated to a single medium, we may lose expertise in skill and craft. That would be a loss. Nonetheless, there's inevitable overlap. Studying painting has surely influenced my sense of color, composition and subject matter. My thesis was a collection of paintings using surveillance footage as reference material, so photos have always been engrained into my practice. In a way I'm glad I went to school for a medium that differed from those I'm focusing on right now. Gets me out of my head, there are less rules. Did art school change your relationship to your artistic output or art as a whole? Going to art school in itself had an inevitable affect, seeing as it’s where I spent most of my days for four years, but I wouldn’t say anything I’m doing now is especially influenced by what I was doing in school. Art school introduced me to things that introduced me to other things, that lead to me where I am now, and I’m far from done. It also gave me a certain resentment towards practicing art within an institution. Ironically, I needed to go to art school in order to learn that no one needs to go to art school to make art. In my particular case, I needed that environment and the people who populate it to break me from my very narrow upbringing. Does living and working in an urban environment impact your work and the way you see and take photographs? Possibly more than anything else. My work would look very different had I been raised somewhere rural or stayed in my somewhat suburban neighborhood where I grew up. I walk and take transit everywhere, which gives me ample time to observe. It’s totally voyeuristic—which is something I’m still struggling with… morally. Thoughts on Instagram? It’s a love/hate relationship. My use of Instagram oscillates between using it for vanity, self-promotion and *art*, none of which I’ve mastered, though I follow many people who apparently have. I appreciate that with every new technology comes new art forms. I appreciate the genre of photography native to Instagram: the cropped, zoomed, poor images bore out of the iphone wielding flâneur. I’m simultaneously amazed and sceptical of its universality, the seemingly infinite ways in which to utilize the platform. Instagram hosts artworks native to the medium, it also hosts children’s photos of their pet fish. This is wonderful in some respects but conflicting in others, especially when it comes to the utilization of nudity in artistic work. Probably my biggest scepticism surrounding Instagram is the unquenchable pursuit of affirmation: likes, followers, dm’s. I suppose it democratizes the process of art evaluation in some respects, but I think it also leads to a certain level of homogeneity in content. There are definite types of accounts. Is the “vote” structure of Instagram conducive to promoting unseen artworks? Or does it serve to negate the possibility of truly interesting, subversive content ever being seen? In any case, I have it for now.
What is your favorite emoji? Any of the hands. What is your favorite instagram account? @c0nspicu0 and @anhourbeforesleep Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Late bloomer. What is the last song you downloaded? It was either something by Connan Mockasin or “Memphis Soul Stew” by King Curtis. What makes you nostalgic? Old Woody Allen movies (despite recent horrific revelations). What’s your greatest fear? Debilitating, terminal illness. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Emerging” because it’s a vague term applied to far too broad a range of artists rendering it largely meaningless. “Exposure” because it's often a thinly veiled excuse for free labor.
What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of eggs on the stove lately. I have a million poorly lit (and often blurry) pictures of book pages featuring lines I wanted to record but haven’t gotten around to yet. Who were you in a past life? Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Laughing Demoness”. What last made you cry? Probably thinking about my future ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? A prosciutto and havarti panini with olive oil. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Richard Pryor. When was the last time you lied to somebody? Does lying to myself count? What is your greatest extravagance? Shooting in film. I eat out a lot.
MARK ZUBROVICH - 23 - LONG ISLAND, NY
Daydreamer, acrylic and toys from my bedroom on canvas, 12 x 17 in.
Huddle Up!, oil acrylic fabric paint and studs on canvas, 14 x 18 in. 10
Restitching Saint Denis, oil and glitter on canvas, 12 x 12 in.
Hypnogogia, oil acrylic and perler beads on canvas and bedsheets, 20 x 22 in.
What is your favorite emoji? Fireworks What is your favorite instagram account? @Lone_eyed_bandito @_stickytv @gallerydogs Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. This emo comb-over goes great with my Legend of Zelda wristbands. What is the last song you downloaded? Hot Chip - I Feel Better What makes you nostalgic? YouTube Poop, the smell of incense, crust punk, orange creamsicles, the Poconos, Disney Vacation Planner 1992 VHS, Sailor Moon. What’s your greatest fear? Vomit. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Post-internet”. Stick that post right up yer butt. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? A decent amount of memory being taken up by 8-bar beatboxing loops. Who were you in a past life? Redneck hunting dog. What last made you cry? Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow, and a YouTube video of 2-star Michelin sushi. It looked so good. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Reuben on rye, fries instead of coleslaw. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Salvador Dali and all his French surrealist buddies. When was the last time you lied to somebody? I told my sister my favorite film of 2016 so far was Green Room, but it’s actually Zootopia. What is your greatest extravagance? Japanese takeout, marijuana, and specialty Reese's cups (trees, pumpkins, hearts, etc.), often all at the same time. What is your drink of choice? Becks. Ultimate dad beer~
Your work seems to draw from a number of sources, a colorful pastiche of biblical and pop cultural references. Could you explain how you get inspired for a piece? What moves you to include certain characters and messages, and how does the title of the piece relate to these elements? What kind of stories are you trying to tell? All of the work I make exists in the same space, the same mythology. An alternate universe or revisionist history of some kind. As a queer artist, I’m sort of following this tradition of messing with traditions. I’m taking a lot from medieval Roman Catholic imagery because that aesthetic, and the institutions built around it, are things I have to reckon with. I went to Catholic school from infancy through puberty, so I know these stories like the back of my hand. So I alter them and make them my own. It’s not necessarily important to me that the viewer follow any specific narrative when they look at my work. Though, I have several recurring characters that directly take on the roles of some of my favorite saints and martyrs. I like to compare the Catholic Church to things like comic book fandoms, and nowhere is that more evident than the laundry list of patron saints and their superpowers—I want to see them use those powers. You use a wide array of materials, like beads, small toys, studs and bed sheets encrusted into thick paint. How do you find different objects to incorporate into your work and what do they do for your art? Do they have a certain significance to you, or perhaps to your viewer? I don't often go out and buy objects for the express purpose of having them be in a painting. The stuff that finds its way onto the canvas is stuff I’ve hoarded over the years, going back to when I was a kid. The hoarder gene runs in the family. We’re like dragons. Dragons that collect Christmas decorations or science fiction books instead of treasure. My hoard tends to be small collectibles or functional objects I attach some perceived value to – a chronology of obsessions, my own or otherwise. A shoebox stuffed full of worthless 1980s baseball cards saved from a dumpster, or studs left over from the ska punk vest I made when I was seventeen. I populate my studio with this nostalgic stuff to keep me company. When this stuff hangs around long enough as you’re working, you start to form a relationship with it. It’s active in the dialogue. Embedding them into the paintings is a way to augment and elevate these little things I grow fond of. Making that object a queer object by inserting it into my queer universe. They bridge a link between the loose narrative and the concrete material, something both the viewer and the paint can react to in real time. That being said, there’s also a sort of scatological joy in squishing a bug-eyed monster toy into a blob of thick paint that defies all words.
As a recent graduate from SUNY Purchase, what has art school brought to your work? Has it improved your technique, has it changed your outlook on your work or on art as a whole? Are there any drawbacks, as an artist, having gone to art school? What are your plans, artistic or not, since graduating? In my senior year, I remember a classmate asking me in our studios at two in the morning, “Why are we paying so much to be so miserable?” That’s what art school is. It’s a turbulent gauntlet of self-discovery and self-doubt, and a whole lot of failure. I still have nightmares about cutting up hundreds of colored pieces of paper and painting the same stuffed bird over and over again. And to this day I cannot draw feet for the life of me. But at the same time going to art school offered the chance to have a community ready to engage with my work that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Without that community I don’t know if I’d have the courage to set out and work on my art seriously. The debt and scarcity of relevant jobs are drawbacks I can name for sure, as well as an inability to explore multiple mediums or disciplines while in school. But something art school was successful at was encouraging me to keep creating, which is what I intend to keep doing in some way or another. I would also love to travel, across the US and elsewhere. France is wonderful. I heard Korea’s pretty sweet too. The characters you present in your work seem to be influenced by cartoons in their appearance. Is there an additional element of cartoon influence in the alternate or fantastical realities created in your work? What are your favorite cartoons? Oh definitely. I’ve always felt a pull towards cartooning. The vision of a brighter, bouncier world where one can disregard the laws of physics and reason and be a baseball-playing dog is pretty appealing. It’s totally escapist. I’m inspired by animation the same way I’m inspired by cosplayers or furries. They’re forces that blur the line between the real and the unreal. As for cartoons, I tend to favor the ones that lived short, chaotic lives. Ren and Stimpy and Invader Zim were big influences on me because they were darker, almost hopeless in their own existence. I also love Who Framed Roger Rabbit because it brings mortality into the mix. Drawings that can die? There’s nothing scarier. You clearly have a distinct style found within your work, when did you start creating art in this way and why? When did you solidify this as your aesthetic? I think my aesthetic solidified when I decided I was going to make work for myself. My art has always had a style to it, an internal logic that drove the painting, but it took digging deeper to find why I was making work like that. It took reaching back into my past and digging around in the things that made me uncomfortable, like religious dogma or homophobia. Looking back and conquering those fears has spurred me to go back and try to reimagine other turbulent elements in my past. Recently I’ve been watching a lot of sports, something a past me would spit at as conformist or heteronormative. Reclaiming these past enemies by viewing them through a queer lens has made making work a more open experience.
Do You Think You're Special? Written by Nicole Coon
MICHELE AYOUB IS A TORONTO-BORN FILMMAKER AND ARTIST WHO EXPERIMENTS IN DOCUMENTARY, FOUND FOOTAGE COLLAGE, VIDEO ART AND INSTALLATION. WHAT FOLLOWS IS A PORTION OF A CONVERSATION AYOUB AND I HAD ON HER DOCUMENTARY PORTRAITS DARYA, PEACH AND TAIGA, A SERIES DIVIDED INTO “CHAPTERS”, SHE PREMIERED IN HER SOLO EXHIBIT JUST VISITING AT ROCKET GALLERY, TOKYO, LAST SPRING. THE SERIES IS NARRATED BY TWO CHILDREN, DARYA AND TAIGA, AS THEY MOVE THROUGH A MONTAGE OF FICTION AND REALITY AND QUESTION THE THINGS, PEOPLE, AND WORLD AROUND THEM. INSPIRED BY THE NOVELLA LE PETIT PRINCE, THE THIRD CHAPTER, PEACH, REINTRODUCES THE CHILDREN IN A FICTIONALIZED NARRATIVE THAT IS REINTERPRETED FAIRY TALE. COMPRISED OF NON-LINEAR IMAGES, ABSTRACTED VIDEOS AND A HAUNTING SOUNDSCAPE, AYOUB LEADS HER SUBJECTS WITH THE QUESTION: DO YOU THINK YOU’RE SPECIAL? AYOUB SPEAKS ABOUT HER FILMMAKING STYLE AND IDEOLOGY, THE THINGS SHE LIKES AND BELIEVES IN, AND WHY THIS CENTRAL QUESTION CONCERNING “SPECIALNESS” IS AN IMPORTANT ONE.
What is your filmmaking style? I try to move through the world with my camera as if I am an alien. I am specifically interested in documentary fiction because it amalgamates all of these random little real life moments that are documented real life into a meaningful and cohesive whole or a fictionalized story, much like John Cage’s “chance operations,” which he used to compose music that was half unplanned and then half formed by himself. It’s those moments that you don’t predict or direct that are the most visceral and profound to me. The viewer has to watch all of these moments I have strung together in a way that might not make sense to them but they have to just accept it. The unconventional narrative and experimental approach definitely inspire me. The genre of filmmaking I like combines documentary and fantastical elements. I work with my subjects in a loose storyline, which they help inform and create with me through the process of filming, while infusing a fairy tale element in the editing and subject matter. I like to do this because I think it challenges notions of reality within conventional documentary filmmaking and even within our perceptions of the self and the world. In my work I like to acknowledge that there is no truth or set reality, and there is a fiction to each reality because we fictionalize reality—as we fictionalize ourselves through a multitude of different medias. I often think that we are halfway in ourselves, halfway in our story, half way in reality. What was the process for conceptualizing and filming Darya, Taiga, and Peach? For the chapters series, I originally thought I would write a script exploring feeling special when you’re a child, the importance of wanting to feel special and how as we get older we struggle more and more with that feeling. The only concrete idea I had envisioned was to hear a young girl’s narration on wanting to be special mixed with visuals of her playing or hanging out in her house. I had recently formed a really good friendship with my landlord in Montreal and knew he had two kids aged 6 and 8. His daughter, Darya, became the perfect muse for the project and I started building ideas once I asked them if they would be
interested in being in a film. I often went over for dinner because they are a really special family so I just started bringing a bunch of cameras and would record all of our conversations. I started prompting Darya in secret interviews about wanting to be special. I also wrote a script for some of the scenes for a school project where we filmed her on the trapeze, playing piano…etc on 16mm film. When I initially asked her “Do you feel special?” and “What makes you feel special?” she was embarrassed to admit that she wanted to be special or dreamed of being a fairy and had to even spell out the words because she didn’t want to say them out loud. I thought that shame and embarrassment in admitting something about yourself, a desire to be loved or seen as special, was really interesting and something I wanted to continue to explore. I was never planning on filming her brother Taiga who was only 6 and didn’t seem interested at all in what I was doing and was more difficult to direct and make a connection with. It was only after he came along one of the shoots of Darya—where I ended up asking him to film her with my iPhone—that his interest was peaked. He ended up being so responsive and fearless with the camera that he started filming himself with his iPad, documenting everything and even filming me when I would come over. I kept encouraging him and it took off from there. With so much amazing footage, I thought it would be interesting and appropriate to explore young boys sensitivity, and the frustration when it comes to expressing oneself emotionally. I wanted to explore that angst and alienation in Taiga, and then there would be a relief in the last chapter Peach, where Darya and Taiga would come together and acknowledge each other as special. For Peach we kind of figured it out together. I would ask Darya and Taiga their opinions and advice for the story line, and how I should make the films. For a while I was just collecting as much footage as I could so that I could edit that into a story, and decide how I wanted to shape it. It was cool to have them be a part of that. creative process and direction.
"So once upon a time there was a little prince. 'Why did he come here?' they said. 'Cause where he lives he doesn't want to live der. So the little prince went to the city and he saw the alien already der."
In what ways was this series inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince? I am very inspired by the character of Le Petit Prince who travels around the galaxy asking questions, revealing the flaws of “adult” figures. I am interested in exploring this theme of a fictional character who travels around in reality and questions people, in a non-judgmental, ingenious way, as if they’re an alien exploring earth curiously. I was also inspired by my own childhood, how when I was a kid I was superstitious and everything meant something. I was thinking a lot about when you’re a kid and scavenging a field looking for four leaf clovers and when you would find one it would make you feel special. Questioning why we have superstitions or religion, and why they weave into our daily lives and rituals, as well as our perception of self. When we were younger it was such small things, tangible things that could convince us we were special and that magic existed, and perhaps now those expectations have outpaced us. Le Petit Prince has been described as a “children’s story written for adults,” it makes me think that your documentaries could function in a similar way. As people, who are no longer familiar with the imagination and creativity they had as children, watch the film they reevaluate how precious and profound these moments are. Maybe make them reevaluate who we look up to and who we shrug off as “naive.” Yeah, and I’m definitely interested in documenting “unlikely subjects” or people that aren’t typically given a voice or agency in society and just viewing everyone as equally important with something unique to offer. I want to really try and challenge the voices that we view as “credible” and move towards listening to anyone we have written off, or silenced, including children. Trying to listen to them and accepting every moment and person without prejudice like a curious alien.
This ideology translates into different filming techniques or scripts, in terms of adapting to your subject or physically giving them the camera or maintaining a level of anonymity through soundscapes and audio interviews with a multitude of people. It becomes less about the social capital that the person brings and the inherent values we place on some people’s voices, allowing for a diverse range of voices to be heard. We don’t know the pre-established credibility of the voices, therefore we can hopefully realize we have something to gain from listening to each one openly. I want to build pockets of intimacy between people and I just want to commit everyday to being more honest with myself – this raw primordial self. I want to strive for a consistent grounded sense, consistent energy that you build and cultivate for yourself. That comes through in your work, especially in your documentaries. It must be hard to decide what moments to capture or select from if you are observing the world around you. It is! But the more I make documentaries and art, the more I appreciate artists who make thoughtful decisions in they’re work, whether it be in the materials, aesthetic, or specific techniques that they have chosen or mastered. I think to know that an individual has made a choice to make something and assemble it in their chosen way and the power of their specific creativity, in any capacity is special, admirable and very brave. The same goes with filmmaking, the act of editing, and choosing to make that “cut” there is really fascinating to me. It shows the unique imagination of that person and allows a viewer to briefly inhabit their interpretation of the world. Just allowing yourself to create or believe in that magic even if you know it’s been constructed. I don’t think something stops being magical because we know how it’s made.
It sounds like the idea of magic filters in to your work as a social philosophy: to be intuitive, curious and fantastical. Yeah! When I was younger my mom wrote a lot of fairytales and a sense of wonder and magic was really encouraged in my family (as everyone is in some sort of artistic medium). A sense of magic and trying to convince people to believe in magic was a starting point for these short film chapters. I think film is a powerful medium to bask in a sense of magic and nostalgia. The days before my show in Toyko, when I was premiering this series, I felt so nervous showing my own work I thought, “I don’t want to be an artist anymore.” But after hearing the reception of the people who appreciated the films, and the warmth that they felt, in turn, made me feel warm. Can you think of the people/artists who you appreciate and feel inspired by? So many people. Chris Marker, specifically his film Sans Soleil. The film is a composition of thoughts and videos he collected over ten years, which he then fictionalized by editing them together and providing a storyline through the narration of an unknown woman Theresa, thus pushing the documentary form.
is “important” is just a process of institutionalized power that has given preference to certain stories whilst ignoring all these other side stories. Foucault strengthened my own ideas about how power relations have created our notions of truth, and therefore we need to deconstruct the idea of truth and also give agency and immortalize “othered” voices. When I was three I told my mom, “Life is better than truth”; and my parents were so astounded that they got it engraved on my first iPod. Anyways, I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. Donigan Cumming is a multimedia artist who has done many personal video portraits of people living in the Housing Projects in Montreal. His work purposefully skirts between reality and fiction, and he makes a spectacle of these intimate moments, his subjects and himself as the filmmaker. He explores the “dark abject subject” human realities that we don’t want to face and feel uncomfortable watching. I explore love, imagination, and magic- characteristics in a similar way since they seem to have become abject to us as well. I also love exhausting Vimeo holes of lesser-known artists who are doing experimental work. Artists who push me to push my ideas further and take risks to churn out my best work.
Foucault inspired me with his work on “contingences” and how truth is contingent on a specific canonized history. Our literary or artistic canon and our notions of truth about ourselves, our history and what we think
"Why do cows love to do mathematics? Uhhh I don't know! You don’t know!? Okay in I don't know too! Sorry! Got to go! Bye!"
"Magic? Oh well I don’t really know anything about it but I do know we have to believe in it to do it and we have to practice it a lot and people have to believe that were doing it otherwise we cant do it."
What is your ethical approach to filmmaking especially when it is “unlikely subjects” where the judgment/bias is inherent in the viewership? Everyone has their own approach, I think it’s important to respect the person you're talking about and to make sure they approve everything that is being done. Specifically with these portraits I will try to cater my editing and filming in order to suit the specific subjects personality and comfort-level. I also think the idea of storytelling and “playing” is really important too acknowledge that nothing is “real”; any documentary and film is constructed through the entire process of filming and editing. That is why I like fictionalized pieces —they are less objectifying because everyone is “acting” and there is no truth. Documentaries that try to present everything as “true” can be problematic to me because the director’s opinion always filters into frame. I’d rather acknowledge and even emphasize my presence within the construction of these portraits. For example, it’s obvious when I am trying to direct Taiga because he’s often rebutting me or responding to my directions.
Do you think you're special? I think everyone is special in their own right, on the grounds that they are individuals with aspirations, dreams, and experiences that inform their opinions. There is no social code to abide by—just be yourself. I think today committing ourselves to being honest and genuine and admitting to feeling sad or wanting to feel special and loved can be a radical idea. You know, I might have these dreams, beliefs or desires that someone else might think are pathetic or embarrassing but they are true and shape me, and to admit that is powerful and can make you stronger within yourself. Your ideas don’t have to be “right” or “logical” based off of textbook knowledge, especially since we are acknowledging that that can be faulty, they can just be valid through your decision to let them represent who you are.
MICHELE AYOUB IS A CANADIAN ARTIST AND FILMMAKER CURRENTLY BASED BETWEEN TORONTO, TOKYO AND BEIJING. HER WORK HAS BEEN FEATURED IN CANADIAN ART, VOGUE JAPAN, EXCLAIM, NOW MAGAZINE, NOISEY AND MORE. AYOUB HAD HER FIRST SOLO EXHIBIT AT ROCKET GALLERY IN TOKYO, JAPAN, BUT HAVE SINCE EXHIBITED FOUND. A VIDEO INSTALLATION AT LITTLE SISTER GALLERY, TORONTO. VIEW THIS CHAPTER SERIES ON HER WEBSITE WWW.MICHELEAYOUB.COM AND STAY UPDATED ON HER WORK @MICHELEAYOUB. 16
VIRGIL BARUCHEL - 29 - TORONTO Your work features an array of colors, what draws you to them? Do you have a favorite color or texture for that matter? You work in varying mediums, but overall what made you decide to pursue art? Have you always been interested in art? Has your childhood shaped you as a creator of art? Who are some artistic influences? I think the reason I decided to pursue art is a need to be creative on my own terms and a realization that nothing else made me quite as happy. I grew up around art, museums and galleries. My parents’ house is filled with it. Lots of things we weren’t allowed to touch, but it didn’t feel restrictive because there was so much to look at. My favorite was a Haitian painting of a voodoo woman by Camy Rocher.
What drew me to colors and what I love about them is contrast. A blue with a yellow busting through the cracks or just about any bright color with black. I love how colors react to one another. It’s often the main thing that I think about when I paint and the painting is built organically around it.
You’ve lived in many major cities, like Toronto, New York, and Paris. Has each city had a different impact on your work, in that you adapt your work to your surroundings? How do the art communities compare between cities. The museums and galleries have had a major impact on my work. I moved to Paris about 7 years ago for a couple of years and I practically lived at the Louvre and the Pompidou. Soaking it all in and learning from what I saw. I would go to the Pompidou museum just to see a Picabia painting titled Dresseur d’animaux. Sometimes I would leave the museum staring at the ground so that I could take that painting with me in my head. That’s where I discovered Cy Twombly too. I really had to learn to like him.
One of the first exhibitions I remember was probably a Keith Haring retrospective, I must have been seven or eight. They had one of his huge painted elephants. He was probably my first influence and then when I started making things there was Francis Picabia, Basquiat, Antoine-Jean Gros, Bill Traylor and an Italian Painter named Francesco Magli who brought me, along with half the village, to his studio and pushed me to use colors. There’s Niall McClelland too. We had mutual friends and I always thought his work was great and motivating. Now I can’t keep up with who is making what anymore. I like what my friends make. It’s something about seeing things grow and evolve I think. It’s the most motivating. What was your inspiration behind the series of paintings we’ve featured Veiled Nudes? What is a veiled nude? So the veiled nudes started on the subway in New York City. I was going to school at the National Academy Museum School in the Upper East Side (aka the cheapest way to get a student visa in New York) for six months and on my subway commute from Brooklyn I would draw. I started drawing people as nudes. Not so much in a pervy way but mainly just utilizing their poses. I found it a lot more interesting then having someone actually strip naked for me to draw. The lines were cleaner and I was less distracted by what is actually in front of me. This exercise was a daily thing and I was getting pretty comfortable with it until one day a veiled woman came on to the train. All you could see were her eyes. I was torn between using her for my exercise and respecting her request to remain unseen. I never drew her. It stuck with me and ever since then I started to veil all my nudes. It became a challenge to respectfully draw a veiled nude, without objectifying the body. Giving a pose that is strong, never submissive. They were all made from imagination. The titles were also playful so that the viewer could have a more open-ended point of view or perspective. Now I’m still making them but I’m more interested in leisure. I think that there is an interesting tension in leisure. It’s about comfort and I think there is a real strength and beauty in finding comfort. The tension comes from the inability to remain comfortable and having to move into a new and maybe opposite position to counter the aches from having been comfortable for too long.
veilednudeonbeachblanketgrabbingsomethingfromoutsidetheframe (probably Felicia) oil pastel and oil stick on paper, tempered glass, Alu-frame and concrete 108 x 49 in. 2015
New York was all about the galleries. The affluence and influence of money. Both good and bad. Seeing Anish Kapoor or Richard Serra in a private space. Free. Fontana retrospectives and Matisse sculptures (the back 1 through 4) on display at both The MoMa and Neue Galerie. New York was where I discovered Henry Taylor. He’s a beast. And then there’s Toronto, I love Toronto. It’s home and full of potential. People say that the art scene is young but I don’t think it’s truly the issue. The art scene in Toronto is fucking anemic. It’s a bit of a no money no honey scenario in my opinion. But the quality of life is good and the people are lovely.
What are you thoughts on today’s art world? You can speak broadly or to the particular scene (Toronto) that you are a part of? I don’t think about the art world much. I can barely remember hot topic artists’ names. I get stuck a lot as an artist and it’s rarely the art world that gets me unstuck. So I don’t think about it too much. Are you working on any new projects? Always. I started carving into erasers and making stamps as well as painting on acetate to make multilayered paintings that create motion over the past few months. It’s starting to come together. The dollar store was good to me this winter. I don’t have anything lined up as of right now but hopefully once I start showing my dollar store carvings things will take off. (donkey
What is your favorite emoji? I like the donkey emoji even though it’s actually a horse What is your favorite instagram account? Katherine Bernhardt (@kbernhardt2014) when she goes on a Moroccan rug posting spree Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Drunk What is the last song you downloaded? J’aime tes g’noux (shame shame shame) - Henri Savaldor What makes you nostalgic? Chocolate ice cream sandwiches from Le Bilboquet in Montreal What’s your greatest fear? The end of the world Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Emerging Artist What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? A video of Benjamin Kamino starting a paper mosh pit Who were you in a past life? I think I might be the first What last made you cry? I can’t remember exactly but definitely a movie where someone young died. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Jambon Beurre If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Boris Vian When was the last time you lied to somebody? My girlfriend Carmen calls me a liar all the time but I just like making shit up What is your greatest extravagance? Making art/doing nothing What is your drink of choice? Right now I’m on a strict white wine diet flowergazingatnight (night time is the right time) oil pastel and oil stick on paper, tempered glass, Alu-frame and concrete 108 x 49 in. 2015
they said it could not be done 2016, oil pastel and acrylic on acetate, 40 x 59 in., 2016
its not a deserted island anymore, acrylic and cut out on acetate, 12 x 8 in., 2016
a dipper, a leaner and a half out the framer, oil pastel and acrylic on acetate, 120 x 74 in., 2016 20
ALEXIS GONZALEZ - 25 - UPTOWN, THE BRONX, NYC
What is your favorite emoji? Money with wings emoji What is your favorite instagram account? @Arnold_daniel, @edwindelarosa, @boogiephotographer Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. That hoe ratchet. What is the last song you downloaded? I Got A Story to Tell – Biggie Smalls What makes you nostalgic? Weather always makes me think of “this time last year”. The scent of someone I love. Photos. Certain songs. What’s your greatest fear? Getting stuck on potential—just ultimately never really amounting to shit. Also my mom dying. Also needles. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Street art/artist”, “mural”—fuck all the above. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? It’s pretty surprising that there’s absolutely nothing in my phone right now. I just cleared it out. Who were you in a past life? A mermaid, 1000%. What last made you cry? I’m a crybaby so who even knows lmao the tears all flow together in my memory. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Prosciutto on ciabatta bread with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil. A brush of olive oil on that bread. It’s ya girl. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Keith Haring. We have so many things to discuss… When was the last time you lied to somebody? You only lie when you’re afraid, and momma ain’t raise no punk. What is your greatest extravagance? Usually photo or camera stuff but lately I’ve been on one with designer shoes. I don’t even have anywhere to wear them. What is your drink of choice? Henny and Cranberry.
On your Instagram, you posted a photo talking about how you’ve adopted an “alternative lifestyle.” You said: “I don’t think I’ll see the type of success I thought I’d have when I was wasting away in college… But my life makes sense now.” Could you elaborate on this lifestyle change, what inspired it, and how it has helped you make sense of your life? In 2012, I moved 5 times in a single year. I had a dead-end job. I went through a terrible breakup with the love of my life. I was a really bitter New Yorker so fucking frustrated with struggling so hard financially just to continue living in the city I’ve spent my entire life in! Super wack times. So one day I’m kickin’ it with a homie and of all topics, graffiti comes up. And my boy was just like, “Yo, you should really get back into this. Why don’t you just try it for real?” So whatever, I got nothing to lose. I go to Scrapyard and toy off spending mad money on fancy paint, and I head uptown to the dead tracks and toy off some more painting a terrible “straight letter”. But I will never forget that feeling once I was done. To this day the scent of Montana’s brings me back to that first day. The more I got into graff and the lifestyle, the more I felt like I was taking back charge of my life. I never had money but that didn’t mean I couldn’t get what I wanted or needed—I can rack that. Just because it says “Do Not Enter” doesn’t actually mean I can’t go inside; there’s always a way. I got really into abandoned spaces and infrastructure and my perception of “fun” started changing while getting way less expensive. Engaging with my city in this different way
completely saved my relationship with it. I fell in love with New York again. It opened my mind to how much is actually out there unclaimed and for the taking, and that feeling applied to myself too, because before graffiti, I didn’t know I could be so brave or that I had so much heart. I had no idea how driven I could be towards a goal and how hard I could work. I didn’t know I was so strong and could push myself so far physically. Mentally, I was learning so much about myself and the world and it was exciting! I felt like I had a new reason to wake up every morning and look forward to the day, and for once that didn’t depend on another person, just me. I was revealed to myself in every way, and it was—it is—beautiful. What is your preferred photographic medium and why? Do you tend to gravitate more towards digital or film? Color or black and white? I love film photography. It’s just raw and imitates life. It’s tangible, you only get one opportunity to get the shot, no post production nonsense in Photoshop, what you see is what you get. Shooting with point and shoot cameras is quick and allows shit to flow organically instead of configuring all these settings for a shot like DSLR’s. I love color and black and white equally as they serve different purposes, but I’m interested in getting more into black and white so that I can develop at home and create some different images during that process.
What is the craziest or most dangerous situation you’ve gotten yourself into while taking a photo? A lot of it’s been pretty shady, but off the top of my head, filming my boy on a super structurally unsafe billboard with only a foot-wide catwalk left me scarred for life. I was taking pictures of dudes painting clean trains in a yard that was a fucking death trap and of course we ended up getting raided (but got away). Climbing down the cables of the Manhattan bridge for a photo was worth it but fucking terrifying, and I think just dealing with a bunch of emotionally unstable drug addicts and getting threatened with a machete at the end probably takes the cake. Could you explain how you decided on the name “thebronxisburning”? What is it about your neighborhood that inspires you and your work? Why do you think it is important to document? How has your city helped shape you into who you are today? Perhaps you could elaborate on this quote from your Instagram: “It’s moments like this that make me wonder to myself how I could ever be so sick of such a place. So wondrous and so terrible. I guess that’s how you know you’re a real New Yorker. It’ll always be bittersweet.” Well, people from all over kind of just knew me as this girl from uptown, I didn’t really realize how hard I went for the Bronx until then. So I decided to reference an old news headline from the 1970’s, focusing on showcasing imagery from uptown, and my Instagram handle was born. I wanted to put people onto some real shit, the last of Real New York. You can still see things here that you won’t see anywhere else in the city anymore. I guess I found the beauty in being neglected and underdeveloped because I’ve already seen the negative effects of gentrification everywhere else. This moment in time is a blessing; I’m holding onto the last of what’s left with everything I have,
and that’s why I take pictures. I’m not shooting for now — I’m shooting for later. As far as how my city has shaped me… well it’s sure as hell made me a survivor. You have no choice here really. You either shit or get off the pot. And I guess that’s the bittersweet part of it all right there—you’re constantly running in this rat race; and the beautiful thing is that as long as you’re a hustler you’ll never be broke, there’s a million ways to make money here, so many ways to have fun, so many different avenues of opportunities for success… there’s a lot of options in NYC. But you can’t stop; you always gotta be hungry and on your game and that’s the terrible part. Living like that sucks the life out of you. And you’re only surviving, not even prospering. It’s a constant battle to just keep what you have, forget about saving, forget about moving upward and onward in life that’s a whole other level of grind. It’s hard not to get down about it sometimes. It’s a land of opportunity but sometimes it feels like more of a trap, yet if you can make it here you really can make it anywhere. It’s a mindfuck—very love/hate—but I could never give it up for good. Could you talk a bit about the photo series you did on addicts? How did you go about finding your subjects? What did you take away from this project personally? What kind of message or meaning do you hope to convey to your audience? Honestly the curiosity was driving me literally crazy. As long as I’ve been alive I’ve seen people come and go through the old freight line. They make little cities and tear it all down and rebuild it again. I was fucking fascinated! One day in winter I was passing by on the train and saw them making a bonfire down there and that’s when made up my mind. So spring came and I put on some good sneakers (lots of needles on the ground), grabbed my cam and headed out. I asked my homeboy to come in case shit got crazy. It kinda did so that was a good call.
In retrospect the best thing I did was go there with no intentions because it left me really open to the experience. I kinda just kicked it all day listening to everyone’s story and seeing how they live… learning the code amongst addicts and thieves, learning how to get high. I left those tracks a totally different person than when I went in a few hours prior. It was fucking crazy. Seriously, they’re regular people. Granted, they are regular people that fucked up big time, but I honestly saw a piece of myself in every single last one of those men; it was such a powerful realization. It’s humbling realizing how fragile life is—it could go any direction, we could literally be anybody and do anything in the world. The decisions we make for ourselves are SO important; life is cumulative. With those realizations the footage captured there suddenly became very personal, so it took a while after much consideration before I decided to release some content. It had to be done very responsibly, in a way that wouldn’t provoke the usual subhuman reactions to addicts. I just wanted people to think about it a different way, you know? And their stories deserve to be heard, because maybe what it did for me it could do for someone else. What makes a good picture? You just know once you see it. It’s a different perspective that makes you consider things alternatively. It makes you feel something, or it makes you think. Old pictures are good off the strength of their age a lot of times. If you had to pick either people or places to shoot for the rest of your life, which would it be? People.
MIKE CHMIL - 23 - TORONTO The pieces we’ve featured in this issue are part of a series that explores “the relationship between wealth and fame, living life in a plutocrat run America”. What compelled you to depict this reality using bright colors and flat surfaces, reminiscent of children’s artwork? Has your childhood had an impact on how and why you create? The colors and flat surfaces were more so current to the time and not the specific series or concept. I will usually take an idea and figure out how to portray it with my current style of art making, rather than change it to better execute a theory. The bright colors are definitely reminiscent of my childhood. Anytime I am having trouble with a color scheme I’ll look back at old clothing, cars, graffiti, and pick and take things I enjoy. Growing up I was super interested in the process of creation, not always art, but the steps it took to make something happen. That slowly evolved into video and digital media work that more recently has lead me to contemporary art, where I hope to be for a very long time. In your work there is a strong sense of both geometric abstraction and realism, with depictions of race cars, snakes, basketballs, etc. what artistic forms inspire your work? Those three specifically are always going to have significant meaning of another form when found in a painting. It will most likely be different every time depend-
ing on the setting or series. Mostly inspired by political and economic issues within North America.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Artists? Everyday experience?
Your work was shown at The Other Side Gallery in Hunstville, Ontario. Hunstville is a small town in Northern Ontario known to most for being part of “cottage country”, what was the experience like having your work shown in a smaller town, as opposed to a large commercially driven city like Toronto?
Most or all of my inspiration comes from architecture and those who photograph it. A friend Colin Czerwinski started a magazine called Noice and it’s basically an endless supply of inspiration. People seeing the finer details of rather massive architectural projects, it’s the best. I try to keep all my ideas flowing in from other places, rather than painters. I would hate to be a bad imitation of someone else and I see that happen way too much.
The major difference is the demographic viewing the works. Up North it’s mostly older people confused as to where you put your paintings of the lake. Which is great and all but it’s hard to get the feedback or interest you’re looking for. Showing in Toronto you get those people and then every other type of person you can imagine. I feel like a white cube gallery is going to be a white cube gallery no matter where it is. What is special to you about the medium(s) you work in? What particular materials do you use to create your hyper-colored narratives? I wouldn’t say there is anything special about my choices in paint, however I really do enjoy the process of building whatever I am painting on from scratch. No store bought canvases or wood panels. Even when I’m working on a two-dimensional painting it will feel more like a sculpture due to the process of the panel.
Are you working on any new projects? In the same medium? Or are you interested in exploring other mediums, such as sculpture (which you also work in)? Currently I am focused on acrylic paintings for a show in October, but once I have enough that we’re all happy with I am going to work on a bunch of sculptural stuff. I’m really interested in merging my current style into minimalistic sculptures. Lots of ideas—I just need to get started on them.
What is your favorite emoji? F1 Car What is your favorite instagram account? @hoodclips Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Wannabe Bam Margera. What is the last song you downloaded? Aaron Cartier – YMCA What makes you nostalgic? Xzibit What’s your greatest fear? Snakes Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Chapter What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? Anything in the clock section. Who were you in a past life? Tom Penny What last made you cry? Tools If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Veal If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Ian MacKaye When was the last time you lied to somebody? Mom, daily. What is your greatest extravagance? Clothes What is your drink of choice? Thai Tea Sit Down, acrylic and pencil crayon on matte board, 16 x 20 in.
No Way, acrylic and pencil crayon on matte board, 16 x 20 in. 28
Correctional, acrylic and pencil crayon on matte board, 16 x 20 in.
Don't Cry Over, acrylic and pencil crayon on matte board, 16 x 20 in.
LIADAIN EVANS - 24 - LONDON
Dancing for data, or a date, or a dumpling, film still, 2016 As you work in video installation and film, is there anything particular to this medium that is helpful or beneficial to the desired message(s) your work conveys? How would you define the intended meaning or concept behind your work? I wouldn’t say that my work necessarily has an intended specific meaning. I started working with film/video because so much of my inspiration and references come from cinema. A lot of my work is about certain films or types of films, and those films in relation to daily life. In particular romanticism and the construction of fantasy— and video installation I think works well for this with the use of music, text and physical space. Having received a BFA, what has art school brought to your work? Has it improved your technique, has it changed your outlook on your work or on art as a whole? Are there any drawbacks, as an artist, having gone to art school? I found going to art school really beneficial to my work. Not necessarily in terms of improving technique—though this was more due to the way I used my time there, as there were so many fa-
cilities, technicians etc.— but how it changed the way I thought and made work. I had some really interesting and generous tutors, and I think the perspective they gave me on my work and the work of others was something that would have been difficult to get without going to art school. Also, having all that time and studio space and resources was really incredible—I think this is difficult to come by without the help of a university. The downside for me was that I didn’t have many peers around me whose work and or interests I had much in common with, but I don’t think that this is a drawback of having gone to art school, just possibly the particular one I was at (and personal to me). “Dancing for data, or a date, or a dumpling” is a series of videos (stills from which are featured in this issue), which depict a pair of feet, literally, dancing for a dumpling. What was the inspiration behind this project and what is your intended message to be received by your viewers? I made this piece while I was doing the residency in Chongqing, China. I was taken with things like KTV, shopping malls, China Mobile (the main
phone shop in China), dance machines etc.— recreational activities, I guess. I was also quite aware of being a group of three young female artists doing the residency, and how we might be perceived—which I think pushed me further to make work about things that could be seen as frivolous, vapid or girly. Also everyone went out in their pyjamas and slippers, which I loved. Dancing is something I’d used in my work before, and I encountered a lot of dancing in the culture while being in Chongqing. I bought this weird portable radio screen thing from a night market, which was also full of videos of synchronised dance routines with impressive Chinese landscapes in the background. I often saw older women doing synchronised dancing in the street, and people doing ballroom dancing. I had recently watched ‘Beau Travail’ by Clare Denis, and the dance scene at the end was really in my head. So all these things came together to make ‘Dancing for data, or a date, or a dumpling’. The music is a song that all the China Mobile shops have booming out of speakers on the street, on repeat constantly. The dumpling restaurant near our flat was a big part of our daily life, and they feed into the idea of gaming, which I saw a lot of as well.
Dancing for data, or a date, or a dumpling, film still, 2016 Have you ever received any unexpected reactions to your work? A few times people have been quite creeped out by my work, which I wasn’t expecting, but I liked. This year you were an International Artist in Residence at The Organhaus Gallery in Chongqing, China. How has this experience impacted your work? Has it changed your creative process, or your outlook on art as a whole for example? Describe your experience as an artist in residence to us. Doing the residency in Chongqing was incredible, first of all as it was the first time since graduating that I had that level of space and time just to make work. Keeping up my practice while also having to earn a living etc. is something I have struggled with, so being able to give up my job for three months and just make art felt amazing— although quite daunting. I think mainly it really refreshed me, and I let myself play around more,
be a bit less serious with my practice. I think before the residency I had got into a place where I really pressurised the work I was making, because I didn’t have much time to make work, which just resulted in me not making anything. It was great to meet artists that weren’t from the UK— Chinese artists of course, and then there were also artists from other places doing residencies. I realized I hadn’t really met any non-British artists before. You’re based and working in London, how does the art scene and your creative process itself differ from what you experienced during your residency in China? Is there any overlap? Could you tell us about the similarities and differences between the art scenes in London and in Chongqing? My time in Chongqing was pretty short, and I don’t really feel I was there long enough to really comment on the art scene. We were right next to the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, so we met a lot
of art students and got to have a look around the university. In comparison to my experience in the UK, it seemed quite traditional, and focused on craft and technique—we saw one class in action where everyone was weaving intricate copies of famous paintings such as Starry Night by Van Gogh. I felt like while I was there most of the work I saw was less conceptual than the majority you see in London, though not all. Also, we saw a few artists’ studios which were huge, and incredibly cheap (but of course I’m not sure they would be if they were compared to the average wage in Chongqing). One thing I particularly loved about the art scene in Chongqing was that they called the private views / exhibition openings ‘ceremonies’, and although there was free alcohol provided, the main focus was on providing a huge table of snacks, including carbonara sauce intended for spreading on bread.
My Heart Goes Sha La La La La in the Morning, film still, 2016
What is your favorite instagram account? Mmm it changes all the time, but just discovered @ripannanicolesmith and luvin’ it. Oh and @got.7s and @jbmtjr.jsyjbbyk – completely obsessed with GOT7 rn. Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Spent a lot of time in rehearsal for an opera about the holocaust. What is the last song you downloaded? ‘Just right’ by GOT7. What makes you nostalgic? Smell. What’s your greatest fear? Pretty worried about the UK leaving the EU right now. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Not one word but ‘young creatives’. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? I keep a log of my financial debts in my notes... If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Salt and vinegar crisp sandwich with white bread. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Marie Antoinette. When was the last time you lied to somebody? Today. What is your greatest extravagance? Clothes. What is your drink of choice? Dr Pepper.
MONICA KIM GARZA - 28 - ATLANTA
You have a very distinct painting style, who has inspired it? I suppose I do. It's evolved naturally through life. Caravaggio and Courbet initially inspired me the most. Describe your creative process. While I wait for paint to dry I put other paintings on rotation, and just paint like 4-6 at the same time. I toss the uglies on the floor, and come back to them whenever, or recycle them. In a previous interview you mentioned that you feel strongly about women being in control of their sexuality instead of being forced into conformity to comply with someone else's notion of such. Would you say that your images of seminude, bodacious women are a reaction to patriarchal forms of female sexuality? I don't know about feeling strongly about anything, other than my food and music... but sure. I mean, life is a cycle. Images are put out, and fought against, or embraced. Look at the art Before Christ, nudity ain't new. I'm not necessarily
reacting to a patriarch, but then again it's a cycle so I guess I am. I'm just doing me. I can't sit here and think deep about that. That wouldn't be fun. But if one wanted to read into it, I could see how one could come to these conclusions. What makes you want to paint? Are there things you see, interactions youâ€™ve witnessed? I've just fucked with it since day one. No words to describe the feeling. Not only do you paint on canvas, you put the figures that you create on clothing, predominantly shirts. Has this proven to be successful? How have people responded? I've made some screen printed shirts for fun. I only make like 20-40 each run so I can move on to something else. You have amassed a significant following on Instagram, do you think that social media is a helpful tool to master as an artist in 2016? 100%.
What is your favorite instagram account? @5BORONYC, @panajjjjang, and @hoodclips Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Weird What is the last song you downloaded? I'm a huge music lover and am always on apple music, sound cloud, 8tracks clicking away. What makes you nostalgic? The Beach Whatâ€™s your greatest fear? Failure Which art buzzword do you hate the most? WOC, POC If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? I'd be cool with Bahn Mi, or like a boiled egg, sirarcha, avocado sandwich. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Prince, Caravaggio, or Gustav Courbet What is your greatest extravagance? Food What is your drink of choice? Water/Smoothies 38
DELILAH ROSIER - 24 - TORONTO
You work in varying mediums, from collage to photo-manipulations, is there anything special to you about one particular medium over another? While my drawing practice is simultaneously frustrating and meditative, I enjoy my analogue approach to collage. With photo-manipulations, or any digital based works of mine, what I find special is appropriating the very much time-sensitive formula of popular memes for the sake of hopefully subversive and funny content. What makes a good collage? What is your artistic process when creating a collage? Juxtaposition in content and context, and seamless merging. My process involves hoarding meticulously hand-cut pieces, assembling each piece by hand, affixing it with masking tape, scanning
it, then disassembling it entirely, which allows me to reuse imagery. This method deals with ideas of reproducibility and the concept of the authentic and/or original image, and proves to be detrimental when hard drives crash and burn. Within your work there is an influence of both pop-culture and feminism. Why are these concepts important to your work as a visual artist? What is your favorite piece of pop-culture iconography at the moment? Feminism is a broad and all-encompassing term, how do you personally interpret it so that it resonates throughout your work?
throughout my work based upon my influences, perspectives and politics. To add to that, humor is a tool that I rely on in day-to-day life, whether it be to call people in, to make sense of my lived experience to others, or to inject more joy into the lives of those I love. As far as iconography goes, I try and pull my imagery directly from niche and popular reality TV via screen caps. Right now I’m watching Oxygen’s “The Prancing Elites Project” which addresses issues of class, race gender, identity, and performance. And Showtime’s “Gigolos” that speaks volumes on patriarchy, sex work and stigma.
The intersection of pop culture and feminism is integral to my practice, and to my understanding of the world. My personal interpretation of feminism is one that is pragmatic, experiential and intersectional. I think it is able to be read 42
You attended OCAD, has going to art school changed the way you interact with art, both your own and that of others? Has it been helpful to your practice? I graduated from The Criticism and Curatorial Practice program at OCAD U, so my academic career has for the most part taken the form of written works, as I kept my visual practice separate. For the completion of my undergrad I wrote a thesis that I called Sissy Those Subversions: Disidentifications and Institutionalized Performativity where I looked at how marginalized artists enact and/or navigate disidentification through the means of performance, performativity and appropriation. The examination of the concepts I brought forth in my thesis have proven to be fruitful in my current visual practice, in looking at the works of others and with my agenda of blurring the binary between so called high and low art in an academic art institution. We featured your work in Issue Four as part of friend and fellow artist Madelyne Beckles spread, as the two of you collaborated on a multidisciplinary exhibition centered on your long distance, co-dependent friendship. In a collaborative artistic process, how does this differ from your personal practice? What are some difficulties? What is simplified? How do you come to a balance of your respective visions? Masking Is Always More Fun With A Friend came about very naturally. Madelyne and I share very similar aesthetics, politics and senses of humor, which rendered the process a great joy for us both. We made sure to include pieces that were made collaboratively and independently, but didn't feel a need to differentiate the two for our audience, aside from what was obvious given our lived experiences. We look forward to future collaborations, and to creating work with our dearest friends. Madelyne is an amazing friend, artist and influence.
Have you ever overheard/received any unexpected reactions to your work? Has this changed the way you look at your own work? Once while working at the now defunct Academy Cafe an ex AGO curator came in with his kids. I had a few collages up for sale. The guy read them to filth and said they looked too much like Robert Rauschenberg’s new work, I took that as a compliment, given that I hadn't seen Rauschenberg’s latest stuff at the time, but still didn't reveal to the guy that I had made them. I also had an experience at OCAD U where a collage of mine was read by the professor as problematic AF, yet the conversation stopped there. I took the piece to an amazing professor of mine, Andrea Fatona, who emailed a jpeg of the image to other profs and solicited interpretations. This act in and of itself was one that helped to shift my opinion and experience of the institution; it proved to me that the reading of a work ought not to be dogmatic, but an inclusive and continual dialogue. Do you find that your experience as a young artist living and working in Toronto/Canada limiting in terms of international exposure? Is Instagram a useful tool in gaining exposure? We as artists are so privileged to make work and exist in this niche art world bubble where we all speak the same language. I think it is so important to open up the conversation and to facilitate accessible spaces for people of color, indigenous people, queers, women and marginalized people to work collaboratively and, in turn, learn from each other—if the work be exposed internationally or not. Having said that, sliding into the DMs is always encouraged, and I am forever grateful for the gram—and for memes for all their disidentificatory glory. Also gotta love those starter pack memes. :)
What is your favorite emoji? (The hands one) What is your favorite instagram account? @lettucedogmemes @sensualmemes @epicrealitytv Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Lil punk art gal read as emo What is the last song you downloaded? Chance The Rapper, Blessings (Explicit version) What makes you nostalgic? The Kids In the Hall
What’s your greatest fear? The walking unwoke Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Unpacking” What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? A vault of videos ripped from reality TV pertaining to inside jokes and simple directions to places in the city I’ve lived my whole life. Who were you in a past life? Michelle Visage What last made you cry? Watching Rihanna cry during her concert in Dublin.
If you were a sandwich, whatsandwich would you be? Tomato, bocconcini, nitrate laden lunch meat. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? Cardi B. When was the last time you lied to somebody? When I tell patrons at my bar that all I got from my degree was a pile of debt. What is your greatest extravagance? Macdonald special, large king, red What is your drink of choice? $2 tall can.
MICKEY MACKENNA - 23 - TORONTO
itâ€™s about time you quit making a worm outta me, steel and dragonskin, 60 in., 2015
Sentience Seeps In, steel, pigmented polyester resin, unfired clay, 32 x 27 in. (base) x 39 in. (height), 2015
Silent Observer, painted steel and melamine foam, 54 x 40 in., 2014 46
What is your favorite emoji? Little smiling sun guy Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Too much eyeliner and Rufus Wainwright What is the last song you downloaded? No Romance by Tirzah What makes you nostalgic? The smell of a campfire :) What’s your greatest fear? Sharks. I have a totally irrational fear of them. It used to be worse but I’ve got it mostly under control now, haha.
Who were you in a past life? Probably some hardworking farmer with lots of time to sit and think. What last made you cry? Oh man I’m an easy cry. I went to the ballet this week and shed a couple tears it was so beautiful. When was the last time you lied to somebody? No idea I’m a shit liar so I only lie when I really have to! What is your drink of choice? I love a tequila and soda.
What would you say your creative process is like? What inspires you to start a new piece? Do you tend to start with the shape, the color or the material for a work? Do you draw your ideas out first?
I feel like I’ve been influenced by the nature of other artists’ relationship to their materials perhaps more than any aesthetic admiration. For example, Joseph Beuys’ work has for sure shaped the way I work. He sinks into and adheres ethos in each material choice. These ethos begin to speak to one another in combination and I think that really excited me early on. In terms of art history I really admire the work of the Mono-Ha movement from mid sixties Japan. I like how quiet a lot of that work is. I like to deal with balance because of the stillness it encourages.
Oftentimes it’s the form that comes first. The shape of a piece serves to resolve a kind of emotional unrest. Drawing is a big part of it too. Sometimes I end up liking the drawing better than the finished sculptural work. I find I go through phases of deep attachment to different materials. This is usually because of some sort of alignment I find between myself or a situation and the given material. For instance I have so much empathy for foam. It’s so vulnerable. Sometimes a material just understands something better than I can express it and then I work towards serving the material well enough so that it can do the talking for me. Where do you get the materials for your sculptures? Are they found, bought? A combination of both. I love a good scavenge. With found materials you inherit their narrative and it’s nice to coproduce with that narrative. I spend a lot of time in hardware stores sourcing material as well as back alleys and construction sites. Who are your favorite artists? Do you find that they have a major influence on your work? How would you situate your work in terms of genre and/or history?
What would be the unifying theme found within your work, if any? I think perhaps I’m most interested in surface detail and the anthropological information that it holds. What compelled you to pursue sculptural work as a medium? In the past, have you worked or continue to work in other mediums? When did you form a connection with sculptural work? I never really made a choice to be a sculptor, it’s just the way my brain seems to work and the arena that my ideas make the most sense in. I danced competitively most of my life and I feel like that could have something to do with it. Lately I’ve been painting and drawing a lot more. Drawing has been feeling really intuitive and so I’m just going with it. It’s never good to hold your rules too tightly.
to live amongst plants, aluminum, hydrocal, polyeurethane foam, 75 in. (height) x 5 x 6 in. (base), 2015
KAT MCCRORY - 20 - RICHMOND, VA
where have you been, acrylic and sand on panel board, 50 x 72 in., 2015/2016
where have you been, acrylic and sand on panel board, 50 x 72 in., 2015/2016
You are studying painting and printmaking at VCUarts, how has your experience as student influenced your work? A topic you recently started working on found within new series of paintings covering unwanted (or) rough sex and romance. How do you convey this particular affect (of unwanted or rough sex and the emotions that accompany such) onto the canvas? I mean just by being surrounded by so many other influential amazing artists has made me become better at creating and thinking. I have been through a lot and most of that is represented in my work. I never lie in my work; everything is purely based on how I feel or what I have experienced. And unwanted sex or romance is how I feel. In the painting XO I first wanted to paint some ideal romantic love, but as I was painting I had no idea what I was doing because I had never truly felt that way—I just made myself believe I had because it is what I want, to be in love, an unconditional love, but is there such thing? So I just made it how I felt which at the time was stuck, heavy, and unwanted.
XO, acrylic and sand on canvas, 36 x 48 in., 2015/2016
By using jarring colours and texture (dark browns and sand) that look like bodily functions and fluids what kind of affect do you hope to elicit from those viewing your work? I think color and texture are so important in art because it sets off emotions for people to feel and understand the art. And it interests me how people feel so many things for even one color. But I don’t really hope to get any particular affect from the viewer, I just hope they feel something, and create their own personal meaning in relation to it. You told us that you love the use of color in painting and how different colors have an effect on how we perceive. Are there any colors or textures that inspire you? Are there any that you avoid or stay away from? I am trying to think of all the perfect answers for these questions. But I ask most of the same questions myself and still don’t have a perfect answer. Because I don’t quite know what colors mean to different people and sometimes the same color in a different setting can have a huge effect, why is that? Everything around me inspires me everyday to create things, just seeing the color blue in a leaf inspires me. But the colors in my paintings don’t come from inspirations as much as they come from how I feel in that particular moment. I try not to think about it too much I just grab a color and go.
Hookup culture in college is a strong theme in this particular series, do you feel as though social media has changed or proliferated this culture? In the same vein, has social media changed the way you interact with art both as a viewer and a creator? College hookups can be gross and weird if you think about it. You don't really know the other person and where they have been before you, but people hook up with strangers all the time right? So its okay right? I definitely think social media has made hook up culture more normal because you see everyone doing it and people are always interested in who is hooking up with who. Social media has influenced art in a direction to be about something political instead of just making art. Social media has definitely changed the way I interact with art, it makes me feel more immersed in it all, mostly with how Instagram has become an art in itself. And Instagram definitely inspires me and in a way challenges me to be creative or different.
As this series of paintings on hookup culture and college is ongoing, what direction do you see it taking, or what is your ideal end result with it as you continue the rest of your degree? I don’t really have a plan, I never do. I more so do things in the moment, and so I have no idea where this will go. What inspired you or compelled you to start working on this series in the first place? I had no idea where my art was going or who I was in the art world until my boyfriend cheated on me. I got asked to be in an art show in DC and decided to make my work about how I felt and it turned out great. Not saying all my work was geared towards being upset with my boyfriend, but something changed inside me where that one small thing that happened turned on all these other emotions in my brain. And I wanted to make work.
What are some artistic, historical, or conceptual inspirations that guide your work? So many things inspire my work. I am really inspired by Helen Frankenthaler, Kim Dorland, and Dana Schutz with their ideas and use of color. I am inspired by people around me all the time with things they mention, their skin tones, or their overall being. Mostly, I have been inspired by my painting class at VCU and by my teacher Sally Bowering. She really pushed me without even having to try. And I learned a lot about art and myself. Have you ever overheard/received any unexpected reactions to your work? Has this changed the way you look at your own work? The most interesting thing to me was when I had an art show in DC. I had the piece Invasive hanging on the wall and people kept taking snaps and Instagram pictures of it, but what they were taking a picture of was the bright pink vagina mark. We have grown so much as people and as a society over the years but what hasn’t grown is our immaturity. It reminded me of when Kara Walker made the huge sugar sculpture of a woman, The Sugar Sphinx and all people posted were the “inappropriate” parts, no one was really interested in the art or in the history. What is your favorite emoji? The punch! What is your favourite instagram account? Any Kirsten Dunst account, @mxrunko Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. My only goal was to be Paris Hiltons BFF What is the last song you downloaded? Idk probably something by the Black Eyed Peas What makes you nostalgic? (Not to be cheesy) But looking at the stars at night because it reminds me when I used to look at them with this boy I love. What’s your greatest fear? Sharks What last made you cry? Tbh, when I asked my dad for lip injections and he said no. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Questions like these always make me think too hard and make me forget who I am. What is your drink of choice? WARM MILK, but just always milk
invasive, acrylic and sand on canvas, 30 x 40 in., 2015/2016 52
BRENDAN HUNT - 22 - WEAVERVILLE, NC
What is your favorite emoji? ^_^ What is your favorite Instagram account? @stephen.shore, @samyoukilis, @benoit_paille Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. George Lucas ruined my childhood. What is the last song you downloaded? Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly What makes you nostalgic? Mrs. Meyer’s What’s your greatest fear? Heights Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Interesting” What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? Hungry Shark Hi-Score: 33,360,819 Who were you in a past life? Neville Longbottom. What last made you cry? Orlando. If you were a sandwich, what sandwich would you be? Crispy chicken wrap with bacon, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles, and chipotle sauce. Pressed. If you could have a drink with anyone in history, who would it be? William Eggleston. When was the last time you lied to somebody? March. What is your greatest extravagance? Photography. What is your drink of choice? Gin and tonic
Your work has a clear delineation in the series where they originate. What makes a good series of images for you? What makes you choose the number and subject matter of a series of images? Do you have a particular vision when you begin shooting, or do you let the vision evolve as you go through your artistic process? I think a good series requires a sort of visual grammar which maintains a structure throughout the images. Without structure, each image would operate independently of one-another and would void the idea of the series. For me, this structure develops during the latter stages of a project. The beginning stages have to be loose because I hate being pinned down and compartmentalized with concrete ideas; this mode is simply too academic, restrictive, and not fun at all. It also limits my imagination. I work with an ever-developing idea and weave all the images together when I feel the material is sufficient. Sequencing is the final stage and is not premeditated whatsoever. The number of images is normally determined by how much time I can dedicate to the work. There are about thirty images in this series which were created over a year-long period whilst balancing courses, personal life, the future, etc. During undergrad, my classmates and I would typically finalize series consisting of twenty or thirty images every semester, so I had more time with this work to be selective during the editing process. A lot off material was cut, but this allowed the structure to be more refined from one image to the next. This series was your thesis at Bard, explain your thesis and what you were trying to convey and represent? There is a long statement on my website, but here’s a summary: Formally, I was exploring the intersection of the external and internal worlds as mediated by the camera and how this collision could be visually conveyed. I was interested in the interpretation of facts and how to evolve objective documents into transcendental documents within a given context; a state of mind. I called this autoreportage. Personally, this work was made during a dark period of my life. I was an anxiety-ridden mess and wasn’t the best friend. I was becoming a stranger to myself and I didn’t know how to explain it, but I knew how to define it. I chose the fluency of the photographic process to be my method of communication. In hindsight, I realize it was necessary for the work to be made during that time in my life. It was therapeutic, cathartic.
You were born in the Bronx, grew up in Vermont, and recently lived in Annandale-on-Hudson to attend Bard College over the past four years, has the shift in landscape (literal and figurative) influenced your artistic output? Literally, no. Where I grew up wasn’t too different from Bard. I was already accustomed to semi-rural living and small communities, but the figurative shift was extremely dramatic. Bard allowed me to expand my mind and introduced many amazing thinkers into my life who sculpted me into the man I am today, for better or worse. I think this work pays tribute to both the pits and summits of my college experience. What is your preferred photographic medium and why? Do you tend to gravitate more towards digital or film? Color or black and white? Cameras are just tools and there are certain tools for certain jobs. I’ve used both film and digital cameras of varying formats to produce images of different shapes and sizes, but I’m slowly divorcing myself from the digital process because there is a certain anxiety associated with the immediacy of the product. The images in this series are digital and colored with intention; the color operates on an emotional plane rather than something superficial and happenstance. The palette enhances what is already there. This method was inspired by John Szarkowski’s essay in “William Eggleston’s Guide”. Do you think photo sharing platforms like Instagram have changed the artistic landscape for photographers in the ways they are able to present their work? Would you say the rise in popularity of apps like Instagram is helpful or a hindrance when producing images? Definitely, and it’s complicated. We are so overloaded with visual information and it seems as if no one has time to look at pictures anymore. Today, anyone can be a photographer and anyone can be seen. This fact democratizes the medium, which is good for many reasons, but also presents new challenges to photographers who wish to define themselves from the masses. These challenges may manifest themselves as questions and I think photography is capable of producing answers. So, although it may be more difficult to own the identity of a photographer amidst social media culture, apps such as Instagram offer an opportunity to further explore the medium and produce work which is both relevant to the times and to the self. What makes a good picture? There are a lot of variables which go into making a good picture and it would be impossible to describe them all with one answer. I think the most potent component of any artist’s arsenal is a combination of a mission and an obsession.
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FKA MAG ISSUE FIVE FALL 2016