FORMERLY KNOWN AS
FORMERLY KNOWN AS MAGAZINE Issue four
Formerly Known As Magazine started off as an idea between friends in late 2013. Uninspired by the options presented to us, we decided to create a magazine with our own needs, and those of our peers, in mind. Since the beginning our aim has been to foster not only an exchange between the young artist and the consumer, but between creators as well. Showcasing work from varied disciplines, we selected a number of inspiring artists who present their work to us during a time of shifting perspectives, expectations, and boundaries. We hope to create enjoyable discussion about serious work and to still have fun and remain playful throughout the process. We have grown immensely in the past two years, and want to thank everyone who has read or bought our magazine, and attended our events (even if you donâ€™t remember being there because you were too lit). Going into our fourth issue, this growth and support has inspired us to push our limits. Growing as people and as a magazine, the overwhelming amount of support weâ€™ve felt reflects the time and effort we put into every last detail of this issue - do you know how hard it is to decide on the right shade of pink? We are so excited to share the amazing selection of artists we have had the pleasure to work with. On behalf of our entire team, thank you to our readers and to our artists for sharing in our vision. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we do!
â€“ Natalie, Emma, and Julian
2015 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 the 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 NATALIE DELLA VALLE EMMA GAUDIO JULIAN TROMPETER DEVON BERMAN HOPE CHRISTERSON CONSTANCE CORDIER ARSHILE EGOYAN AUSTIN GRAFF CAMILLE MARCOLINI-MESENGE DAISY DE MONTJOYE MILAN TESSLER SYLVANA TISHELMAN THEA SPRING
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ONLY HUMAN LUCAS WALTERS RICHARD MUNABA SANTIAGO FLETCHER MADELYNE BECKLES HOPE CHRISTERSON OCTAVE MARSAL MATT DOOLEY NAMILIA CHRIS ADDIS KAETEN BONLI AYDA OMIDVAR LUCIA HIERRO TAU LEWIS EDWIN DE LA ROSA
6 10 14 16 20 24 26 30 34 38 42 46 48 52 58
Back Cover: Matt Dooley, Velour Front Cover: Tau Lewis, Consumption (Object Series 3) Opposite: Only Human, Pastel Sports
Tokyo Death Chop
ONLY HUMAN - 21 - TORONTO “I’m trying to figure out a good balance between humour and relatable modern subject matter. Topics that range from trivial, stupid, everyday shit to massive sociological, global or political issues. I’d like to think of myself as a conscious and morally acute person. I was raised that way. As an artist, it’s so important to channel your experience and voice your opinion. I feel as though I’m able to do that while using conceptual strategies like metaphor and irony to make my messages hit home to a youthful demographic. I think I’m striking a chord by using my style to tackle serious issues. As I mature, I’m learning the best way to do this. It’s ur boi, thanks for reading.”
What is your favourite emoji? Wave Emoji for sure.
Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Honestly can’t think of a word that pisses me off, every word has it’s context. As long as it accurately describes the artwork in question, then I’m fine.
What is your favourite Instagram account (can name up to three)? @rfisker @raymondlemstra, @YUNG_GLEESH. There’s more. It’s hard to Art or fart? pick. Art, because it usually doesn’t fuck with my olfactory senses as much tbh. Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. A competitive and zooty only child. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? What is the last song you downloaded? A savage amount of personal photos shared Playboicarti - Talk (ICYTWAT remix) between my girl and I. and Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubber Band (album) What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Bought a beer for $3.50 in change and got Strawberry. 100%. $20 back. When I tried to give it back, the bar tender wouldn’t allow me to. Not that weird, What is an overrated food trend you wish but very rare. would go away? Frozen yogurt. Very suss. What would you say is your favourite medi um? Drawing, painting, or digital? Would you If you could only wear one colour for the rest say the themes reflected in the work are specifof your life what would it be? ic to a certain medium? Navy Blue. I love experimenting with mediums; I look forward to exploring more of them. However, What makes you nostalgic? I will always have a special relationship with Mist and rainy days. They remind me of that pencil. The pencil is so fun, and although vacations to Coastal Maine USA I’d take seemingly simple, can be used with so many when I was a kid. small technical nuances. It’s the best and most comfortable method for me to get ideas out in What’s an image you’ll never forget? a clear, tangible way. Everything else comes afMy family’s faces when we heard my baby ter that. cousin was finna be born. Are you working on any new projects? What’s your favourite scent? I’ve been crazy busy recently, but I’m getting Grape Backwoods. together a solo show. Can’t give a solid date or details about content, but it’s going to be a What’s your greatest fear? multi-media show that’s stylistically cohesive That I’ll run out of good ideas. (not really thematically) taking place in Toronto. I’m also putting together a ‘zine with dooWhere do you escape to? dles of all the best viral dance moves from the My imagination. Unlimited possibilities in 90’s till now. That will go on sale in January. that motherfucker.
There’s a lot of different themes present in your work. Name some of them and explain why you are drawn to them (literally lol). Is there one theme you see unifying all of your work? A major common theme included in my work is human interaction, be it with objects or other living things. Human form is a tool that I use to communicate ideas, because there are so many natural associations that we automatically have with our bodies and ourselves. Many of my pieces are drawn from eclectic ideas and topics that range from drug use and sex, to police violence and religion. All of that is described through the active or passive presence of a distorted humanoid character. To me, there’s no necessity for narrative consistency in my work. That’s not where my signature makes an impact: where one can tell it’s me is in the approach to telling the stories. Does it reflect modern urban culture? It should. That’s where I come from, and I am proud to represent that. Are their identifiable traits of humanity in that artwork? Probably, because I’m human. I want the themes of my work to resonate with the people of my generation no matter how large a range of concepts they address. To have them recognize the use of pop culture icons and relatable topics, but still understand that the imagery is put through my filter. As far as unifying all my work, one of my main goals is to master a sense of action and movement in still images - kind of like Boccioni and the Italian Futurist’s, but not really… I’m finessing it to my own liking according to my ideals.
What aspects of popular culture (i.e. music, fashion, internet, social media) resonate with you and inform your work? Film, music, and fashion in no particular order are my core pop culture influences, and I guess Internet by association, because that’s the tool I use to consume them. Fashion is just form in my mind, and I love form especially when integrated with the human anatomy. Every person is a character waiting to be rendered, and clothes are a great way of forming identity, or at least the illusion of it. Music is everything. It’s such a valuable commodity that I think is abused like crazy. I’m a big hip-hop/rap head, which I’m sure everyone is these days. Music as a form of expression is extremely compatible with the visual art. I always make the best work when I have my music on (which is always lmao). I’d love to work in the music industry and figure out how to get paid from that. My parents are both musicians, and I was raised in that type of household, so my work and music are synonymous. One day I’ll get on my Teebs (look him up) and start making music. I definitely want my work to resonate with the urban music crowd. Film is a massive one too. I love film. I’m not pretentious about it either, at all. I’ll watch practically anything just so I can add it to my mental library. I think all the core jobs in film creation are incredibly difficult and take some serious drive and creativity. They are also a great source of influential material. It’s such a skill to be able to tell a story in images, conjure such a range of emotion from an audience, innovate technologies AND invent concepts. These are some reasons why some of my biggest idols are movie directors and writers. S/O film.
What were your favourite cartoons growing up? Is there any connection between them and your work? I didn’t really watch too much T.V when I was young. I really just started catching up when I got my own laptop when I was 14 or whatever. Regardless, some of the earliest stuff I got exposed to would be: The Miyazaki catalogue, Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion, Akira (saw that when I was around 7).
Kinda fucked me up. Evangelion too.), Pokemon, Digimon, Pink Panther, The Simpsons, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bugs Bunny, Tim Burton stuff (if that counts) , That trippy cartoon version of The Hobbit, Ren and Stimpy , XMen (TV series), Scooby Doo, Dragon Ball, Final Fantasy, and more I can’t remember. I think this stuff has a massive influence on my work and the person I am. Kids’ cartoons and books often have these weird adult themed undertones; I often try and emulate this technique. On the surface, my art can look silly and playful, but there is meaning there that a child won’t understand for years. Modern cartoons and animation are getting weirder and braver and they have different value to different age groups. I think that’s it. My work wouldn’t be the same if my parents and homies hadn’t exposed me to such rich animated and illustrated content. The cartoons/movies and the comics I was reading when I was a young G helped me become comfortable with allowing my imagination to go wild. I’m very thankful for that.
Do you dream in cartoons? I don’t really dream in cartoons. Reality is a cartoon to me. I’m not schizophrenic or anything…. What I mean is that reality is the fuel for cartoon content, and sometimes I have trouble forgetting that. As someone who aspires to contribute to the rich cartoon/ comic book history, I notice the ridiculousness of human existence (S/O The Comedian from Watchmen)...
...The world is the perfect inspiration; ask any comic, writer, or creative. Funny situations happen constantly and I find them hilarious because they have potential to be exaggerated and used for entertainment or debate. Unfortunately, I don’t think many people can realize the animated nature of daily life, and might end up thinking I’m an asshole.
What has art school brought to your work? Has it improved your technique? Has it changed your outlook on your work, on art as a whole? Art school is stressss. The main thing OCADU has contributed to my work is the ability to critique my own and others work, as well as develop stimulating concepts behind pieces. They also provide top notch facilities. Unfortunately, the institution has done zilch for my technical abilities except for a first year observational drawing course with a fantastic artist/teacher named StephenAppleby-Barr. Finally, there’s an exciting sense of competition I feel when constantly surrounded by other up and coming artists. It makes me want to go in and become the best I can be.
How much of your work is influenced by where you live? Are you influenced by your friends? I think Toronto’s art scene is great. Many might disagree with me, but there is plenty of opportunity to establish yourself here, as well as other artists doing fantastic things. I think it’s an inspiring place to live for sure. Taking it literally, the landscape itself doesn’t really do much for my work. I tend to focus on specific, micro situations that speak on larger topics. There isn’t much room for cityscapes in my stuff. There are a ton of people around me that inspire me. I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with a woman who has a great mind for conceptual art. My brain functions differently than hers, so we have some wicked conversations that lead to growth and realizations we may never have had. My day one best friends are also some polymaths with wild talent in their creative fields. We collaborate and teach each other every damn day. It’s absolutely piff. My parents also shaped how I perceive the world, there’s no adequate praise for that. A lot of the peers I’ve met over the years have made contributions to who I am today and therefore my work. I’m thankful to have such a strong creative circle. I hope all of us eat. What’s an image you’ll never forget? My nigga Samuel L. Jackson’s face when Anakin Skywalker cut his arms off in Star Wars: Episode III. That broke my heart. KICKBACK (2015) 20”-30” acrylic on canvas.
LUCAS WALTERS - 33 - BUSHWICK, BROOKLYN
What is your favourite emoji? Japanese Ogre. What is your favourite instagram account (can name up to three)? @itsalrightwerealright, @4thicksake, @kalen_hollomon Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. If I remember correctly, I was working in recording studios/ doing graffiti/starting out djing. What is the last song you downloaded? Ridin Round by Kali Uchis. What is your favourite flavor of starburst? The pink one. What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Mason jars. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Tacky shirts. What makes you nostalgic? Grape flavoured big league chewing gum. What’s your favourite scent? Churros. What’s your greatest fear? Tarantulas. Where do you escape to? Bed. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Edgy. Art or fart? Ummmm… What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? The lack of dating apps. What motivated you to start taking photographs? A lot of my photographer friends were very encouraging. Kalen Holloman recommended I get an Olympus Stylus Epic on a trip we took to Las Vegas. I became addicted! A lot of the subjects in your photos are women in various stages of undress in public places. What is it about public nudity that you find so interesting? Are there any challenges you’ve encountered while taking these kinds of photos? I love people’s reactions the most. I also like to see what we can get away with while shooting. Do you think Instagram helps you as an artist? Yep, it’s great for getting exposure.
What is your favourite emoji? Banana. Lil potassium wouldn’t hurt no phone. Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Me, in middle school, eating fried noodles after school and hanging out at the Internet café checking my Friendster. What is the last song you downloaded? Glossy X Adderall remix of Wildest Dream. What is your favourite flavor of starburst? The juicy one. What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Over-priced, free-range, organic stuff. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? I have been loving navy. Would love it in different textures. What makes you nostalgic? Listening to Nelly’s Dilemma or Destiny’s Childs’ Loose My Breath. What’s your favourite scent? Issey Miyake. What’s your greatest fear? Failing at life. Where do you escape to? The bathroom. I love bathrooms - the more spa-like, the better. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? A picture of Looney Tunes characters tattooed on some elderly guy’s butt and penis. It’s real. Weirdest thing that has happened to you recently. Funk dancing with stomach full of free pizza. Don’t do it. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Like. Art or fart? F~Art.
Print is becoming obsolete – yay or nay? I fbegan to think that print was becoming obsolete a while ago, but recently, after going to the Art Book Fair and other fairs, seeing actual, beautifully bounded, printed books really changed my opinion on this. It’s just nice to hold real objects, you dig? I actually want to make a photo magazine/book for the second half of my thesis semester. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Anywhere and everywhere. Internet. Funny real-life experiences (sometimes sad ones too). As you work in different mediums, is there a different approach you take with each? For example between video art and photography/digital art? Is there a medium you enjoy working in the most? Hmm, different mediums serve as tools to communicate, so whatever feels right—cliché, I know. I have been thinking more cinematically, been churning out more videos as of recent. Moving images are great because time is a powerful tool to tell stories. Now I just need to find a way to present videos as objects. I think that’s the next challenge I would like to tackle. Is there a unifying theme found within your work? One common thread in my work would be the exploration of relationships, both physical and emotional. I am currently working on my thesis and I am exploring the relationships between humans, technology, and nature - how we as humans have this innate desire to connect with nature, but it has been increasingly hard to connect with nature because we are constantly surrounded by technology, devices, and the Internet. So, my thesis —Windowed Vistas— is an attempt to connect with nature through digital means, since that is the millennial’s native language now. What or who in pop culture inspires you? Just finished a project with Katy Perry. No, it’s not a collaboration with her. https://vimeo.com/146579140 What are your five favourite websites? Rhizome, Creators Project, Facebook, Parishilton.com.
RICHARD MUNABA - 23 - BALTIMORE
Abstracted Flesh, inkjet print, 2014-2015
SANTIAGO FLETCHER - 17 - PHILADELPHIA (BUT ALWAYS DC)
11:40 PM 48X48 (Catnaps Are Better On The SouthSide)
How would you sum up what you do in one sentence? Shit bob. What is your dream project? I’d love to show work overseas. Make it different though, somehow. What are the people, places, or things that influence you artistically? Everyone I keep close to me influences me. That’s why I stay around them. They all have some pretty interesting shit to say, and that always influences me. The places I hang around influence my mood and energy, and I like to think that shows on the canvas. Describe what it was like growing up in D.C.. Has living in Philly changed your outlook on the social situations you reflect on in your work? I grew up in a lot of places, not only DC. But mostly DC. I love DC the most out of anywhere I’ve lived. I’ve seen the city grow into what it is, and it’s crazy man, because shit is so different now, and having recently moved to Philly I can see it starting to happen there too. Philly is like DC, but 15-20 years behind for real (no disrespect to Philly, that’s a good thing). When did you start making art? Summer 2014 Has the recent media attention towards police brutality in the past year or so affected your psyche, and if so, how? How do you react to these issues (gun violence and police brutality) in your daily life and in your work? Yeah, well… The Feds, man. Fuck them, first off. I’ve seen too much shit the Feds have done to my friends and me, whether it was pointless citations, or pulling a gun on me for walking down an alley in broad daylight. The reason I portray them the way I do in my work isn’t because of all the recent media hype, it’s from first hand experience. What do you like and dislike about Instagram? It’s pretty cool. You make it what you want it to be, but people be blowing me. Describe your morning routine: I wake up pretty late. It’s usually like 5 other people in the room, so we like, get up, find some nice clothes to wear, go make bacon, eggs, bagels with avocado, then go outside for coffee & a cigarette. Then get the day started. You say that Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism and Realism (to an extent) are all art forms that inspire your work. What about them are you drawn to? Are there any particular artists that influence you? The freedom of it. There are no rules. Some influences of mine are Egon Schiele, Giacometti, Frank Cordes, Apt50, Greg Stone. Shout out the mentors, the last three guys.
11:00 PM 40x30
MADELYNE BECKLES - 23 - MONTREAL
MASKING IS ALWAYS MORE FUN WITH A FRIEND, Autumn Gallery, Toronto, 2015 Created in collaboration with Delilah Rosier, 23, @janquette â€˜Masking Is Always More Fun with A Friendâ€™ is a multidisciplinary exhibition centered around a long distance, co-dependent friendship, and their excessive binging and purging of material objects, information, and feelings. Madelyne Beckles and Delilah Rosier articulate the coping mechanisms they employ to navigate through the polysemy notions of over consumption and shame.
How much of your work is informed or influenced by social media, Instagram in particular? Would you say that platforms like Instagram influence your perception of yourself, perception of others? I don’t think Instagram informs my work necessarily, but it definitely has helped me form a community with artists I fucks with. I think it’s a great platform for people, especially women, to have agency over their image, and images they see on a daily basis. We are constantly drowned in mass media imagery so it’s nice to have some say over what you see. Describe a real life situation that inspired your work. Moments when I feel vulnerable are definitely a catalyst for me to make work. This summer I made a series of crying selfies that were taken after a lot of white wine spritzers and a run in with someone who broke my heart. As a student in Art History and Women’s Studies, how much of your work is influenced by your studies? Why did you not take visual arts in your undergrad? I wish I had taken studio arts in school, but I didn’t have any confidence in my abilities. However, I’m thankful for taking a theory-based degree because it helps the conceptual side of my work. It’s also made it easier to talk and write about my work.
It’s clear that a big theme in your work is feminism. How would you say feminist representation in your work differs from other artists who explore feminism? Would you say there is confusion in the discourses surrounding feminism in the art world right now? If so, in what way(s)? My work is heavily grounded in theory because of my educational background. I don’t think that makes it better than other artists who might be exploring feminism, but I have the tools to be able to talk about or defend my work in a political way. I think feminism is being co-opted by capitalism at the moment, as a way to perpetuate belief in a system that is inherently sexist, racist, and classist. I’m all for spreading the word (literally, the word) but I think as feminists, we have to remain critical of what’s being fed to us by pop media. Have audiences misunderstood your work before? Lol, probably. Have you ever overheard/received any unexpected reactions to your work? Has this changed the way you look at your own work? I think I’m just surprised when people like my work, not to be too self-deprecating. The positive reactions I’ve gotten encourage me to keep doing whatever I’m doing.
Sext, iPhone, 2014-15
‘Sext’ is a series of images that juxtaposes the term with objects depicted that would traditionally be considered the opposite of sexy. ‘Sext’ speaks to coping mechanisms the artist employs when she does not have a romantic partner, such as emotional eating and heavily rests on themes of loneliness and boredom.
What is your favourite emoji? Either the dagger or the robot What is your favourite instagram account(s)? @maxim.ds, @fkamag, @tastefulsideboob, @american.hotdogs, @vertex.gallery What is the last song you downloaded? Metallica – “Motorbreath” What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Pink What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? I will answer this with a quote I found on twitter once that really spoke to me: “COOKING TIP: shut the fuck up about bacon already you disgusting nerds” – @FoodNetwerk If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Black obviously why is that even a question? Where do you escape to? Sweet home Chicago (Club Patches)
Casey, 35mm black and white film, 2015
HOPE CHRISTERSON - 21 - CHICAGO What makes you nostalgic? Hank Williams Sr. — “Won’t You Sometimes Think of Me” What’s an image you’ll never forget? Chicago photographer Barbara Crane’s “Human Forms” series from 1965/66 What’s your favourite scent? The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range What’s your greatest fear? Being in a dark, open body of water Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. “Wait, so does this mean I have to stop wearing baggy shirts with animals on them and start caring about what boys think of me?” Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “Edgy” (Thank you, random sorority girl who went to my highschool. You are the reason I moved to Canada.) What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? I put all my apps in folders at the top of the screen so I can appreciate my background image in full glory. To me, that is the most logical and normal thing anyone could ever do, but it tends to weird people out.
How much of your photography is inspired by or a reaction to your involvement in skate culture and with Get Born? I have been practicing photography since I was around thirteen years old, which is around the same time that I became interested in skateboarding. Skateboarding has always been intertwined with other forms of “street” or “urban” culture, and while I have always loved hip hop, I definitely associate more with punk rock skateboarding. I love the “back-to-basics” minimalist style of early American “proto-punk” music, which traces back to early blues and rockabilly groups. I think this musical style is reflected in my photography though a nostalgic affinity for older formats, like black and white film, and a desire to express my subjects in the rawest, most minimal and simplistic terms. Similarly, a skateboard is just a piece of wood with wheels attached to it—its perfectly simple—but you can use it to express yourself a thousand different ways on a thousand different surfaces. I relate that to the idea that a black and white portrait, with a simple background and maybe one prop, can express a thousand different human experiences and feelings.
What makes a good picture? For me, a good picture requires an awareness of good graphic design, a simple yet impactful composition, an interesting conceptual idea or inspiration, and, finally, a bit of visual frustration. How does Instagram impact the images you make, if at all? I like to browse the popular page for compositionally interesting poses or simple yet dynamic styling that I could use to inspire my own portraits. I also like to follow different accounts with a nice, visually consistent style that I would like to inform and inspire my work in some way. Do you prefer shooting people or places? Definitely people. I think an individual person’s facial expressions and body language offer infinite possibilities in terms of expressing the human condition. I am also someone who is almost always more interested in the creative process involved in taking a photograph than the actual finished product, which is why I am so attracted to film photography. The process of shooting another person is a really interesting form of collaboration that I don’t really get out of shooting somewhere or something. Who is a photographer(s) that you admire. Barbara Crane and Andre Kertesz for their distorted black and white human forms. Cindy Sherman and Tomoko Sawada for the ways that they experiment with identity through costume.
Clara 1 and 2, 35mm black and white film, 2015
OCTAVE MARSAL - 25 - LONDON
L.A.B 2, Steel, Wood, Plastic, Paper, Leather, Charcoal, 240x140x500 cm, 2014. Finalist of the Nova Award 2014 by Lowe and Partners with L.A.B
Created in collaboration with Theo De Gueltzl (@theodegueltzl), 22 Central Saint Martins, BA Fine Art 2014
Octave graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2014 with a BA in Fine Art and is currently completing a Masters Degree at the Royal College of Art in London. How did you first get the idea for the machine L.A.B 2? It started from a discussion between Theo and I. We wanted to create a tool to draw through a mechanical process which we built with our hands. Using our own hands was essential. Thus we came to the idea of “infinite drawing” and built this machine, which needs the participation of two men for it to work. The creation of this monumental installation has been a long collaboration between the two of us in every way: from original discussion to elaboration, to creation, to the exchange of our skills between us and finally to the fulfillment and realization of this project. You created the machine by hand, how did you acquire the materials to create it? We spent seven months creating the machine. And it was tedious work because we created every piece of metal, made the holes, welded them, and again filled the holes. Every day there was a new problem and we needed to find some solution. We were working step by step, day by day. The cogs are all made by hand except for the central gear cogs which were made by laser cutting into large piece of metal (which weighed forty kilograms). And what was involved in the process of making it? Every part from imagination to creation was involved in the process. We had some engineering problems, some mechanical issues, we failed sometimes, and so we had to step backwards a few times. I was able to draw on the machine only ten days before the final show. So I think the experience of creating the machine was more interesting that the final experience of drawing on the paper. It was a complete project, from imagination to concrete realization, and more than that it was a pure exchange between two young artists who have the same vision of art.
How has the architecture of your surroundings influenced your work? Architecture is the central part of my work, and this machine represents the drawings, the sketches, and the first thoughts of any architect or artist, the pensiero (as the Italians say). Also I think that drawing conditions both the perception and conception of another art: architecture. It encompasses two definitions that can be seen either contradictory or complementary. On one hand, The Perspex Column L.A.B n°1 is part of the machine, it shows a mix of architectural facades on a circular column : facades which have disappeared from modern architecture. We also wanted to oppose the drawing material, charcoal (sketch), and the etching (indelible). The movement of the machine is created by both the machine and ourselves. The Movement of the Perspex Column is made by the movement of the viewer around the machine. The two pieces are connected around the relation of architecture. You work with Theo. What drew you to one another and why did you pursue this project together? I have known Theo for 9 years now, I feel really close to him and to his perception of art. We began to do large Four Hand Drawings and we decided to work on our final project together at Central Saint Martins. We were working every day from 8 am to 10 pm. Theo was really important in motivating me when it became complicated. Our personal and artistic relationship grew during these seven months. It was an amazing experience and we will continue to work together – we developed lot of new ideas together. Is there a memorable reaction someone has had to your work? We had some amazing reactions because the two pieces L.A.B were complementary and opposite at the same time, and I think that it gave a narration, a invitation, to enter in our “ Laboratory”. More than that, I know today that these specific monumental works were trully important for my acceptance at the Royal College of Art, where collaboration is primordial.
Field glasses/ Jumelles, 30x30 each, 2012
What is the last song you downloaded? Chancha Via Circuito : Rio Arriba If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? BLUE. What’s an image you’ll never forget? The Carravagio painting in the San Luigi dei Francese Church in Rome [The Calling of Saint Matthew, The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew] . Are there any particular artists that have influenced your work? Piranesi, Boullé, Dürer, Mantegna, Tinguely, Kentridge, Claude Parent, Wright, Eliasson, Pignon Ernest, Ron Mueck, Kappor, Soto...
MATT DOOLEY - 24 - MINNEAPOLIS
What is your favourite emoji? I call it the “squirt” emoji AKA splashing water. What is your favourite instagram account (can name up to three)? @LAZYMOMNYC @STOCK____ @ALEIA._ Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Awkward and anxious What is the last song you downloaded? “Out of the Dark” by Mr. Twin Sister What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Pink Strawberry What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Bacon on everything. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Cyan along with black and white. What makes you nostalgic? Old media like film, vhs, CDs and tapes. What’s an image you’ll never forget? Berlin sunrise post nightclub. What’s your favourite scent? Plastic Vinyl What’s your greatest fear? Being a big fish in a small pond. Where do you escape to? To the past or future. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Emerging Artist Art or fart? Faaart
Why work with digital collages? Well, actually I have a very analog process with the end result being digital. I enjoy dissecting the digital in a tangible way, making it more real using IRL layers instead of a simulation on a screen. The pieces we selected are part of an ongoing series, what is your final goal for this series? What are you striving towards? What is the inspiration behind this series? The drink “Tropical Fantasy”, which shows different fruits floating over matching gradients, originally inspired the series. In addition, I aim to depict illusionary space with material being folded or crumpled. Working with still images until now, I would like to add movement by creating animated gifs. Hopefully the series evolves and doesn’t end. What is it like being an artist in Minnesota? How has growing up there shaped you creatively? Being an artist here is encouraging, although I would like to experience living in a larger city. Minnesota has a lot of support for the arts, and growing up in that atmosphere I was unaware of its uniqueness. How does a piece go from conception to final project? Tell us about your process. My practice is process oriented having one work inspire the next. I accumulate materials with certain visual properties or patterning that I imagine will look good scanned. Having an initial concept, I work with the materials playing with unexpected results. Final products may or may not be of the original concept but realized through its process. How does Instagram impact the images you make, if at all? More than influence, I think Instagram is a place where my work seems natural. (What if Instagram was a place?) It gives my work more agency with the ability for interaction regardless of physical location. Are there any colours or textures that inspire you? Gradients inspire me for experimenting with their subtleties in color perception, and I love anything checkered or gridded.
What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? I organize my apps by color. What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? I recently started an odd collection. I cut a lock of a friends hair off and stuck it to my fridge with a magnet.. now I have around 50 locks of hair from different people on my fridge.
From left: Checkers, Scanbed head, Black Hole, Digital Collage, 2015
NAN LI & EMILIA PFOHL - 26 - BERLIN What is your favourite emoji? pow What is your favourite instagram account (can name up to three)? @KimKardashian @Galore What is the last song you downloaded? Justin Bieber - Sorry What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Goji Berries / Superfood If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Bling bling What makes you nostalgic? Dior Saddlebag What’s your favourite scent? Dior Fahrenheit Where do you escape to? Watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians on my laptop.
What was the inspiration behind starting your line? And in particular what compelled the two of you to work together? How did you two meet? The first time Emilia and I worked together was in our 2nd year B.A. for a collection project in 2011. During that time we realized creatively we function almost like one person. We have the same expectations, spirit and drive, and of course there are often discussions and arguments but that just makes the decision making process and development so much more fun and faster. It’s a constant exchange of ideas and thoughts and we really push each other to our limits. It’s so rare that you meet someone with the same work ethic and ambitions for the future that it just felt right to start our own brand after college to establish our message and identity in the fashion world. Are there any particular people, places, things, or sayings that inform your design choices? For us, fashion is always about a dialogue and processing whats happening around us in society so a lot of things, people, or circumstances can inspire us. The last collection was all researched via instagram and modern celebrity activists - how they use social media not only to promote themselves but also to address other, bigger issues as well. Describe the vision behind your brand in a sentence. A pop visualization of what it means to be free in 2015. What inspired the use of three-dimensional objects in your line? It was all about that larger-than-life character and how society uses clothing not only to cover up oneself, but also to beautify and improve your physical appearance. That’s why we decided to ironically use huge inflatable shapes inspired by Rococo court gowns to play on that functional character of clothing. Why #thinkoutsidethecocks? Well obviously it’s a play on thinking outside the box and as a young label that deals with topics like feminism, girlhood, and general freedom, we thought that its a fun way to work with these slogans. What is your dream project? To do the costumes of the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. What is the most exciting thing about the fashion industry to you? Change. What is the fashion industry’s biggest flaw? Old systems, cycles and habits. You were in the VFiles show at NYFW 2015, what was this experience like? It really took our brand from a graduate collection to the next level. It was really amazing to be able to showcase during NYFW and to take part in such a big platform. Which celebrity would you like to see wearing your designs the most? Miley Cyrus What was the most important lesson you learned in fashion school, if any? Never stop questioning yourself. Always expand your horizons.
MY PUSSY MY CHOICE
All images from 2015
CHRIS ADDIS - 22 - MONTREAL
“The Brainwaves Bench was conceived from an urge to make something out of the foil faced bubble wrap that’s sold for insulating purposes. I’ve always thought it to be a very lovely material and making some sort of chair out of it seemed like a practical way to introduce it into the home. It’s neat stuff because it’s as cushiony as foam but has a layer of protective metal skin so it doesn’t have to be covered. Folding it creates a structural volume without a lot of mass, and the carriage bolts keeping the bench together are also a small aesthetic nod to traditional upholstery buttons. Cramming books and stuff into the folds just seemed like the next logical thing to do, and it helps stiffen up the structure a bit too.”
What is your favourite emoji? I dont really use emojis. I do this text one pretty often though :3 What is your favourite instagram account (can name up to three)? @lesmeuble, @floriangadsby & @loveinstanoodles Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. I was twelve so probably overconfident and bad at sports. What is the last song you downloaded? Easy Lovers by Piero Piccioni What is your favourite flavor of starburst? The pink ones. What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Those Copper Branch restaurants. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? purple What makes you nostalgic? Pretty girls and big Italian meals. What’s an image you’ll never forget? The dead baby scene in Trainspotting. What’s your favourite scent? Basil or rosemary. What’s your greatest fear? Insanity or disfigurement. Where do you escape to? My laptop. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? “juxtaposition” Art or fart? fart :p
What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? Probably the background. It’s currently a picture of a sculpture by Tony Matelli called Lost & Sick. It’s basically three boy scouts puking in the woods and its my absolute favorite. What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? I was walking down the street when this man stepped out onto the sidewalk without looking and my hand mid-swing grazed his junk then somehow we held hands for like two seconds. it was intimate and I think we both kind of liked it. You’re working in Fattal in St-Henri in Montreal, what is like living there? Describe your living situation. Luxurious. I don’t have any furniture and the floors are made of concrete so I can make a real big mess. What is your favourite creation so far? It’s a big comfy chair I’m working on at the moment. its going to be made out of foam and will come in lots of different colors. What is your dream project? Designing an observatory. How long have you worked in design? 5 years so far. A theme in your work is semi-functional art and design – what does this mean? I make small experiments and I like to frame them as useable objects. I always consider manufacturability and a hypothetical consumer. I think interaction is necessary but I might substitute practicality and convenience for the sake of preserving a fundamental idea. You say your work focuses on sustainability (in addition to mono-materiality and modularity); in what way is your work sustainable? Re-use of materials and disassembly are key. I don’t like using adhesives, and I prefer it when things can come apart completely. By keeping things one material, it makes recycling or discarding them much simpler. It can be a good criterion to set because it emphasizes new avenues for material exploration. “The Twin Penetration Briefs prototype was developed as a means of addressing the shortcomings of both the strap on and the double sided dildo. The combination of the two devices allows both users to give and receive simultaneously while opting for a more hands-free approach. The design is unisex and can be used for scissoring, pegging and ass to ass action.”
KAETEN BONLI - 23 - MONTREAL “These pieces are taken from two very different moments in my art practice, but for me represent complimentary aspects of my approach to portraiture. Both play with distortion as a means to penetrate the subject, revealing a sense of their projected selves. Where one piece takes literal representation of the subject and intensifies it to absurdity, the other disguises the portrait in abstraction, leaving only traces of its memory. Portraiture is a tool for me to reconcile my own narcissism and reclaim a lost sense of agency over my lived identity.” What is your favourite emoji? Blue Heart (~cold love~) Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Too polite. What is the last song you downloaded? Make It Up by Tirzah What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Pink duh What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Hating on kale. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Dusty Rose What makes you nostalgic? Old songs that remind me of my sister. What’s an image you’ll never forget? Seeing family members cry. What’s your favourite scent? Hard boiled eggs. What’s your greatest fear? Getting rolled up in a carpet and failure. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? I’ve honestly lost track. Art or fart? ART. jesus What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? All my nudes are stashed away in a highsecurity vault. Weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? Growing love handles
Describe your artistic process. I’m a really neurotic person and my creative process has always been really slow and precise. I’ve never been an intuitive, spontaneous painter, and constantly rely on a rigorously premeditated formula to get my creative points across. Because a lot of why I make art has to do with confronting internal dialogue and critical theory, most pieces start out as a written text. I don’t keep a journal, so I compile all of my personal rantings and conceptual framework in word documents on my comp. After writing what usually amounts to pages of text, I usually read through and try to identify certain nuances of language I’ve used and begin translating these into visual concepts. The paintings themselves usually take on completely unexpected results despite their meticulous conception, and I think watching this happen is where I really learn the most about art making. Are you working on any new projects? For the first time in forever (I’m still recovering from a rather drawn-out creative block), I can actually say I have a few new projects in the works that I’m really excited about. I’m in the process of starting a new series of paintings, drawing from a lot of past themes of identity and intimacy, but with a more multidisciplinary approach. I think having experienced this kind of latent creative period over the past year has been important in giving me a bit of room to mature. I think I approach art making a lot differently now than I used to and have more confidence to create work outside of a rigid process. What is your ultimate artistic aspiration (dream project)? I’d really love to get to a point in my career where I can lead the art direction for huge-budget industrial projects. I think collaborating with an architect to design urban spaces or domestic interiors would be a total dream. Or collaborating with a fashion designer on a collection. My aspirations are shifting constantly, so just having the financial flexibility to explore any kind of creative production is the ultimate goal. Did growing up in Saskatchewan influence you creatively? Does Montreal? I have a really complex relationship with my Saskatchewan upbringing. The traces left on me by that place inform my practice immeasurably. I often describe how I didn’t really become a full person until I moved to Montreal, and looking back on who I was when I lived in Saskatoon brings a lot of mixed feelings. In one sense, I think I was a really wholesome, sincere person, and yet I have to acknowledge that so many aspects of my true nature were heavily suppressed due to being in the closet. Naturally, I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years resenting my roots and distancing myself as much as possible from them, despite the fact that it was in reality a very loving, comfortable upbringing. It’s taken a while for me to acknowledge how this has affected my adult life and creative identity, and I see it becoming more and more relevant to the thematic development of my practice. Right now for example I’m finishing a series of commissioned paintings that comment on a fear of sincerity and the insecurities associated with confronting your roots.
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 going to art school? I hate to sell Concordia short of the credit it probably deserves, but I really think my actual education there falls minor in comparison to the experience I gained connecting with the creative communities outside of the institution itself. I had a really positive experience with my undergrad and can identify aspects of my practice that were enriched by the resources provided by the studio arts program, but I think I was just still a little naive and didn’t quite know myself well enough to take full advantage of these resources. I entered Concordia immediately after finishing high school and maintained a very conservative work ethic through most of my undergrad. I think art school should be about experimenting and learning how to create with radical subjectivity, and it’s hard to do that when you’re appealing to the imposed standards of an institutional education system and trying to get a perfect GPA. I was very safe in art school and later noticed that those of my peers who were giving zero fucks and nearly failing their classes were actually producing the best work. I wish I could have been more fearless back then. What do you think about today’s art world? What difficulties would you say arise in navigating it as a young artist? I think an aspect that’s most interesting about the art world right now is where it intersects with the social politics that are now at the forefront of public conversation. With these issues and the fact that the world now functions through social media, creative industries are slowly becoming more and more democratic and self-aware. The very privilege that dictates the standards of artistic merit are finally being called out, and yet it’s still easy for the art world to situate itself in a realm removed from political engagement. It’s difficult as an emerging artist to navigate through a white, capitalist, sexist art market when your moral and creative integrity relies on your ability to oppose these oppressive systems. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to pursue a career I’m passionate about, and I think part of the new challenge for young queer creatives is learning how to check your privilege while pursuing a practice that makes you happy (and pays lol).
Husband (2013) Oil on canvas 42” x 60”
Andreja4ever (2015) Acrylic on wood, 22” x 30”
AYDA OMIDVAR - 21 - MONTREAL What is your favourite emoji? The lil’ snowboarder. What is your favourite instagram account (can name up to three)? @aida.sol Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Can anyone remember that far back??? What is the last song you downloaded? Until the Morning by Thievery Corporation. What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Pink. What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Sweet potato fries, they taste like soggy cardboard. Even though this isn’t really a trend and people seem pretty set on keeping them around, I will never understand why these are an option. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Pink yo. What makes you nostalgic? Persian rugs. They were central to my childhood.
What’s an image you’ll never forget? Back in Vancouver I saw a man getting off the bus with his arms full of grocery bags. One of them tore and his groceries dropped all over the stairs of the bus and onto the street. I think this happened about eight years ago but I’ll never forget it. What’s your favourite scent? Sandalwood and vanilla :’) What’s your greatest fear? Losing any member of my family. Where do you escape to? The Saint Lawrence River.
Do you work in any other media? Does your work in other media inspire your collages (or vice versa)? I sometimes take photos. I could say that my collages somehow influence them, but I think it’s just the way I like seeing things that come out in both, not one influencing the other. What type of imagery do you usually use in your collages? In what types of magazines/platforms do you search for images? My collages look a lot like my dreams. I rarely see an actual face when I’m dreaming and that shows in my work because images of faces I use are either distorted or cut off. Art or architecture magazines are best because art is the main focus, versus marketing a brand like it would be for fashion magazines. But sometimes I’ll find gems in unexpected places... like a gardening magazine. Does your environment affect your art? Does Montreal inspire your creativity? Environment plays a huge part in inspiration. I started making collages in my first year in Montreal and haven’t really been able to stop.
Which art buzzword do you hate the most? Aesthetic. Art or fart? Art. What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? The amount of dog pictures I have saved.
What is your approach to art? It’s messy and it’s chaotic, but it brings an insane feeling of peace. Why do you make art? I don’t think I’ve ever had an option not to.
What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? I went on what I thought was a yoga retreat and we ended up having to lie on our backs, blindfolded, and sing to our wombs while imagining our mothers.
LUCIA HIERRO - 28 - THE BRONX What is your favourite emoji?
What is your favourite instagram account(s)? @Manrepeller, @Keyvoxig, @FuckJerry. Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Insecure 17 year old waitress with a penchant for the arts. What is the last song you downloaded? Mutemath “Used To”. What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Tropical or regular… Alright, cherry. What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? Food truck vendors that coopt Latino staples like empanadas and rename them HandPockets. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? Practically, it would be black. But for kicks I would love to be the lady in red.
Da’Fuck, Felt, 5’x6’, 2012-13
When did you start making art? Was there a particular event that inspired you or have you always been interested in creating? I’d like to think I was always creative. My family was like the Dominican Partridge Family. My dad is a well-known Dominican merengue artist. My mother has an amazing singing voice. Both of my brothers are musicians, ones a bass player and the other is a producer/piano player. I play a little guitar. I just decided I liked drawing more than I liked making music. My brother Chris (producer) and I used to watch cartoons like Batman the animated series and draw. I started getting into it just to show him how well I could draw. I really started creating more when I moved to the Dominican Republic 8th through 10th grade… It was a way for me to express how displaced I felt. Your work is greatly influenced by the city of New York. Where in the city did you grow up and where do you live now, and how do these communities inspire you and your art? I was born in Washington Heights, which is on the northern tip of Manhattan. I was raised in Inwood, but these communities sort of spill into each other. Kind of both Inwood and Washington Heights. I live in the Bronx now, and my studio is in the South Bronx. I’d say that these communities are home, they’re more than just an inspiration. They sort of pour out of me. My memories are a crazy image bank of these communities. My art is very much about art and how the world out my window comingles with that history on a daily basis.
You say that as a bilingual female artist you are required to work across multiple medias in the same way that you work across gender and culture on a daily basis - can you elaborate on that? When I was in undergrad, my mentor George Parrino used to say, “all of you come to art school to learn to draw lips”. He was right… It took me a while to realize I didn’t want to be burdened with a particular kind of art that required me to illustrate my personal views. When I tried doing that, it immediately backfired because it flattened out my narrative. So I took sound performance, and explored familiar sounds, ideas that I couldn’t really concretize. This kind of opened up the idea of object making for me. It resonated with how layered I am as an individual. After 6 years of academia, going back and forth from formal to informal settings, I became aware of how often I code switched. I couldn’t imagine a single medium in art that could convey this reality - it certainly wasn’t just painting. What is a quintessential image of the New York Dominican community for you? Mom and pop shops, hair salons and dollar stores. What is the weirdest thing to happen to you recently? There’s this person in the Bronx that puts up these small poster board signs with religious messages. They show up in random locations pinned up to trees or zip tied to fences. I was walking up to my studio from the train, which is like 4 miles from my neighbourhood, and there on a tree is one of these little poster boards. My boyfriend and I have been trying to track down who does em - just for kicks. We speculate who could be doing it: is it an old lady, man, teen?! Do they know I’m looking for them?! Haven’t seen em anywhere else.
What makes you nostalgic? A lot. Simon and Garfunkel, my dad used to always play 1960’s music when I was a kid… He lives in the Dominican Republic and it makes me miss him. What’s an image you’ll never forget? My mother smiling. She has a good one. Such a silly goose. What’s your favourite scent? Coffee. What’s your greatest fear? That someone might figure out my greatest fear and use it against me. Where do you escape to? Movie land. Which art buzzword do you hate the most? POST anything. Art or fart? Fart What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? Amount of unread emails, random Wikipedia searches of celebrities, Kim Kardashian game.
Yolo: In memoriam, Digital Print on Jacquard Tricot Felt, Felt 4’x3’, 2013
We found out about you in an interview in the New York Times article about the art show “Macabre Suite” in the South Bronx. What was the party like? You said that you came uninvited – did you sneak in? How? A friend knew someone that worked the list at the door, so I hopped on his plus one. When I got there I wasn’t on the list… my friends and I had come from a Museo del Barrio party which sold tickets to benefit the museum… That party was a totally different vibe from the Macabre Suite thing… Anyhow, we were already dressed up and knew enough names to drop that the girl just sort of waved us in. The party was dark in every sense of the word. The majority of those attending were young white people… I mention this because this does not properly represent the Bronx demographic AT ALL… Top shelf booze, celebs prancing in and out of VIP areas divided by dark velvet curtains, tasteless art… The whole thing was odd. I’m trying to write a long essay on the experience because I really think displacement is a serious issue New Yorkers – specifically black and brown communities – are facing more and more. In the interview, you said that the show felt like “Bronx-on-a-platter”. Could you tell us more about this, and about the juxtaposition of an exclusive art party taking place in the South Bronx? Have you seen this happen elsewhere?
BoyzRedux, Digital Print on Jacquard Tricot Felt, Felt, 3’x4’, 2014
I think the main thing that should be understood is that this was a real estate party disguised as an art party. Lucien Smith was the scapegoat. These developers felt it was necessary to “rebrand” the Bronx as a cool, up and coming neighbourhood to consider taking over. The Bronx is already rich in history and culture - like most brilliant people/movements, it’s never been given its proper credit. The party was jarring not so much because it was a juxtaposition of exclusivity (trust me, try and befriend a local graffiti artist and you’ll be treated just as coldly as you would walking into the whitest, most hostile gallery in Chelsea) but it was mainly that these developers felt they had to bring people in this way, through a back door with a velvet rope. They’ve been saying that locals/local youth were there by the twentyfold, but honestly they could be counted on one hand. Not to mention this is a historical building I was standing in, and it was about to be demolished. This has already happened in Brooklyn, the Lower East Side, and Chelsea. The Bronx has a strong history of activism, and I doubt it’ll go down the way these developers plan.
Me and Bae, Digital Print on Jacquard Tricot Felt, Felt, 3’x4’, 2014-2015
Matisse Peace, 3’x4’, Digital Print on Jacquard Tricot Felt, Felt, 2013
TAU LEWIS - 22 - TORONTO Currently living and working in Toronto, Canada, Tau Lewis is a 22-yearold self-taught sculptor, and mixed media artist. Tau explores the recreation, and preservation of physical life through themes of mental health, feminist satire, and her self-image as a young woman of colour. It’s clear that a big theme in your work is feminism, how would you say that your feminist representation through your work differs from other artists who identify as feminist? Would you say there is confusion in the discourses surrounding feminism in the art world right now? If so, in what way(s)? We’re people. For the most part, everything that we create or do is a branch off of our existence, our tree. We grow in different places, at different rates, some in conditions that are harsher than others. We grow in different seasons, we’re different colours. The feminist artwork that I see, for the most part, is reflective of experience. I’m a biracial female who’s still in the very early stages of creating artwork, let alone feminist artwork. Last year I was focused on making art that was about women. Now, in 2015, I’m making artwork that is more reflective of my being. So, this year, I’m making work that is about women of colour. How our feminist identities communicate in our artwork is tightly intertwined with our experiences, surroundings, and upbringing. It’s completely dependent on all these factors, and that’s not a bad thing - but it is selfish. I’d like to, in 2016, break through some of the barriers that are created out of my experience. I think that as feminists, as artists, as women, we need to start moving into each other’s channels. There needs to be more fluidity in our interactions in art. We’re not going anywhere if we can only talk on our own experiences. We need to investigate each other’s work. There needs to be more exploration, especially among young artists who identify as feminists. There definitely is, on so many levels. Feminism, across the board, and especially in the context of the art world, is not intersectional enough. The massive amount of twenty somethings and teens that have been brought into awareness about feminism, were still brought there by a cis-gendered, skinny, white feminist trend. I’m a cis-gendered, light skinned black woman. I’m privileged in areas where darker skinned, gay, trans, disabled, financially poorer women are not. There are women in the art world who wear the feminist title proudly, and do not check their privilege. It’s okay to make work that’s based off of your experience, but if you’re going to call yourself a feminist, check your privilege - ask yourself if you’re intersectional. Make yourself aware and educate yourself. I have a hard time sympathizing with women who claim to be feminist, yet are unaware of what their privilege means in the context of feminist art. So, if you ask me, that’s directly where the confusion in the discourse about feminism happens in the art world. We’re all working towards something, but it’s crucial that we think about, and try to understand one woman’s experience, and why she identifies as feminist, beside another woman’s - maybe a woman of lesser privilege. You’ve got to consider that in the feminist discourse.
You say that your work plays on themes of feminist satire, what do you mean by this? By using satire, would you say that humour is a useful tool in art (and feminism) for accessibility? Who are some funny females? I’ve used satire as a vehicle to throw ideas at people, who, without the help of satire, might not have been interested in or comfortable with the discussion. I’ve used satire in my object series to talk about female objectification, the sexual consumption and dissection of the black female body, and the hilarity and obscenity of our obsession as a society with female objects. I don’t get to choose how people interact with my art, but I like to present something that’s enticing visually, stimulating, and at the same time has a certain level of morbidity. The object series has been called ethereal, ambient, and calming. These are all descriptive of a very surface, visual perception of the work, which ironically has a grotesque, somewhat violent narrative. I use satire heavily in my vlog series “Lonely Winter”. The videos satirize those “feminine” problems that are prepackaged for first world women to believe in and relate to. They were all created during bouts of depression, and they represent a manic, superficial, hyper-real, and exaggerated version of myself. They correlate, I think, to themes of mental health and self-image as well as feminist satire. I think it is useful, yes, but only to a degree. It’s useful as long as your underlying messages are honest, and it’s useful as long as you’re underlying message is being respected and taken with a degree of seriousness. Of course, a lot of that is dependent on your viewer and their ability to grasp whatever it is you’re saying, and also your ability as an artist to communicate those ideas through satire. I’m not an expert on this, I’m still perfecting this myself. Judy Chicago, her sculptures and ceramics are some of the most exciting and visually stimulating (in my opinion) contemporary feminist artworks. “The Dinner Party” is probably her most widely known, famous installation; it’s still considered one of the biggest, heaviest contemporary feminist artworks. It’s a satire critiquing the male-only circle of Christ’s last meal. Suzy Lake, who I discovered at the AGO last winter, her work is playful, but there’s a hint of satire in how she presents her ideas about aging and gender. Her work is very performative, very self-involved and satisfying. What are your favourite instagram accounts? @truthstudycentre, @daltmejd, @thenationalgalleryofcanada, @jvkc_ , @sierranallo, and @l.a.timpa.
Titles: Object series 2, Object series 3 (consumption). Mediums: Object series 2: polyurethane resin, epoxy resin, chalk pastel. Object series 3 (consumption): polyurethane resin, plaster, epoxy resin, gesso, chalk pastel.
Have you ever overheard/received any unexpected reactions to your work? Has this changed the way you look at your own work? I try to really prepare myself before I show new things. People have a lot of questions, and when you’re showing something like Object, which is really provocative and has tongues and labias sticking out of it, you have to be ready for confusion, embarrassed reactions, and some hate. The first time I showed Object (the first series of sculptures) at the Brockton Collective in Toronto, I stood beside my work in a room that was full of paintings and photography. As I spoke to a girl about my sculptures, her boyfriend came up and interrupted, saying that no one was going to buy my work because it was off-putting, weird, and looked like it belonged in a gallery. That’s one of the top 5 nicest things a heterosexual white male has ever said about me or my work, so if you’re out there, thank you. I had another person (again, a heterosexual white male) take one look at my work and say in a condescending tone, “wow, you must be a big fan of Petra Collins”, to which I replied, “yes I do appreciate Petra Collins”. In my head, I knew that Petra Collins was probably the only feminist identified artist he was aware of, and while I appreciate Petra as a person and as an artist, I don’t appreciate you accrediting my feminist expression as a lower-class woman of colour to her artwork or her existence. I’ve also had the sad experience that 90% of artists have had, where they overhear someone say, “I could make that.” I’m not going to get into why that statement is so stupid. I’ve also gotten “She def 3d printed that.” Again, just no haha. But the most interesting interaction I overheard someone have with my artwork was with a mixed media sculpture installation I did recently called “Piece of Work”, which was shown at a group show featuring mostly white women. Women of colour were not really represented in this show, and most of the work was photographic. “Piece of Work,” was provocative, sensitive, and about the black female experience and narrative. A friend of mine (who’s also biracial) stood and talked about it with another woman of colour. The woman apparently said she hated it, and asked who even did it. My friend pointed me out, and the woman changed her mind. She said that because it was me (a woman of colour) who created it, she loved it. I do learn things from feedback. I think every artist should be able to learn things about their work based on other people’s reactions. Sometimes we don’t see things in our work that other people do. Sometimes we create things for reasons that we’re unaware of. I’m so fascinated by that. People’s reactions, for the most part, are really positive and encouraging. Sometimes someone will really like my work, and say something like “this is so cool, I really want to know why you made this.” Positive, negative, and unexpected reactions, for the most part, make me want to improve the way I articulate my ideas in my work and in conversation about the work. You are an autodidact sculptor, how did that happen? How did you get your hands on resin for the first time? What made you choose to work with this material to create your sculptures? Is there something special to you about resin and if so what? I’m very impulsive; I jumped straight out of high school into two miserable years studying journalism at Ryerson. It was an impulsive, overnight decision. I don’t think I even knew what journalism was. I was a very skilled writer and let myself be convinced that it would be stupid not to pursue that. While studying at Ryerson, I worked as a cleaning lady. One of my clients was Chloe Wise, who was 21 at the time, and who I was really inspired by. She had a lot more than I did, but I admired her and her talent so much. Every time she gave me advice, I took it more seriously than I probably would’ve taken advice from my mom or family. After dropping out of Ryerson, I took a one year design program at George Brown and was even more depressed. I’ve always struggled in school, but at this point I was disappointed in myself. I was frustrated with my inability to cope with being in school, and at the same time my mother was going through ongoing cancer treatments...
... I don’t think I ever gave myself space to deal with that, and it showed in my performance. It was during that year though, that in my moments of procrastination I started experimenting with resins (mostly epoxy, the high-gloss finish stuff that you normally get at the hardware store) and started actively sculpting. It was also during that year that I was asked to do my first two exhibitions. So, even though I failed one hundred percent of my program, I felt a victory. For the first time in a long time, I felt alleviated from my depressive feeling. Being self-taught is a big part of my identity as an artist. I may go back to school, I might not. I’d sort of rather do residencies and take single classes where I feel like I’d benefit, I’m not sure. I’m a very handy person, I like to build things. I like to get dirty, and get that from my mom who’s a self-taught landscaper. If there is something that I want to make, I will find a way to make it. The use of resin in my work came from my desire to create work that was translucent, dream-like, and aesthetically different from conventional forms of 3D work. Resin is a really tactile, hard medium. I like that about it’s character. I love experimenting with how it can be manipulated in its liquid form to resemble water, or how it can be cast into a mold to create a hard, solid object. Learning to use resin was, and continues to be, a complete mess. I just recently locked down a studio space, so until super recently I’ve been working out of my apartment. Before that, my mom’s kitchen. Needless to say I ruin a lot in the process of resin and plaster casting, but working in conditions that aren’t ideal just drives me, it forces me to be creative and inventive about the way I produce. What was your motivation behind creating your series “Object”? The object series was always experimental. I have almost no foresight into how my work is going to look in its final stage. The process is really fluid, and because I’m still learning what it is I do, my vision often changes throughout the process. But it’s always been about creating literal, satirical objects. In the first installation of the Object series, I made life-sized, fully functional objects...
... I made a “Vagina Lamp” out of a mannequin’s lower half, and epoxy resin. I also made a female coat rack, with plastic hooks for breasts. Since then it’s evolved quite a bit as I’ve been involving real women in my process, and using castings of women in the work. My objective with the series continues to be about showcasing the hilarity and morbidity of the female object. Your work is also rooted in themes of mental health? How so? How does being a woman in 2015 affect one’s mental health ? The theme of mental health translates more in some of the introspective photography and video work than it probably does in my sculptural work. “Confronting”, a series of self-portraits I took where I covered myself in different shades of paint, was about my interaction with my own depression. I include my body in a lot of my sculptural work. Sometimes I record the process in a video series called “Selfie”. This process is more about evoking a feeling, as a lot of the time, while I work, I’m struggling with depression. Involving my body and using myself in my work is therapeutic, and it’s also a documentation of where I am physically and mentally at that stage. So, the theme of mental health is more about my process, but it does also translate heavily in my vlog series “Lonely winter”, and in some of my stop motion animation videos. I’m not really sure how to answer that, aside from us all losing chunks of our brains everyday to social media and developing 5 second attention spans…I can say that it’s not easy being aware. The more aware you are of what’s going on around you - so long as you’re not a sociopath - the harder it can be for you to function. Having a brain, being intelligent, being aware – it’s a blessing and a curse. I don’t think being a woman in 2015 has any affect on one’s mental health, per say. I do think, though, that in our post-internet world, one has the ability to sit down, to learn, to think. One has the ability to become aware of what’s going on in all these different channels around them. While being empowering, that can be difficult.
EDWIN DE LA ROSA - 31 - THE BRONX What is your favourite emoji?
What is your favourite instagram account(s)? @90s_interlude, @albeesquare87, @Mikeirak Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Very Fucking Good What is the last song you downloaded? I Wanna Be Adored - Stone Roses What is your favourite flavor of starburst? Regular coffee What is an overrated food trend you wish would go away? I’m not sure but there need to be more chopped cheese. If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life what would it be? navy blue What makes you nostalgic? A little bit of everything. Music, photos, food, an ex girlfriends name. What’s an image you’ll never forget? 9-11. Me and the homie watched it go down from the 17th floor balcony a mile away. What’s your favourite scent? Melissa’s What’s your greatest fear? Not having my camera on me when something crazy is going down. That shit stays on my mind for a while. Where do you escape to? The Bronx Which art buzzword do you hate the most? I’m not sure. I just had to look it up online. Art or fart? Art What is the most surprising thing we would find if we looked at your phone? An offensive photo or two. What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you recently? Jail.
“Describe your 2005 self in a sentence. Very Fucking Good.” How does being a BMX rider influence your photography? The fact that we’re riding all around the city looking for spots to ride. And in that process we’re seeing life happen in all of these hoods, cause some of the best spots are in the shittest parts of nyc. Sometimes I’m seeing things that a lot of people will never see cause there’s no reason for a regular person to be out in the cuts, out in Brownsville, east New York, south Bronx and all that. I just like to have my camera so I can ride and shoot stuff out there while I’m at it. What makes a good picture? When it makes you feel some type of way when you look at it. Did your upbringing influence you creatively at all? If so, how? For sure, nyc is the best. Ever since I was a little kid riding around exploring the town. Seeing all type of wild shit. Soaking it all in. Honestly nyc gets me hyped to take photos, sometimes when I go away to different city I’m not really excited to shoot anything. But when I’m in ny, I’m shooting. It’s just something about it, the way it looks, the way it feels. Like you can tell right away when a photo is taken in New York. I’m sorry I just really love New York, all of it. I get offended when people move here and just stay in the lower or in the burg. New York is big and beautiful. Get out there and check shit out. Jump on the L train and get off at Sutter Ave in Brownsville and go see some real ny shit. Go to the south Bronx. City island. Get in the train and get Lost. Me and the homie snowman would walk around for hours just checking shit out, bullshitting, seeing life.
Would you ever leave New York? Yeah I’d like to leave for a little bit, switch it up go out west to Seattle. Beautiful city. If you had to choose would you give up your camera or never ride a bike again? I’ll give the bike up. I need that camera. Plus I would rather walk when I’m shooting photos. Tell us more about your experience being a BMX rider in New York. It’s been great. I’ve got to learn the city pretty fucking good. I’ve seen a lot of crazy shit. Rode some amazing spots that are gone now. Made some really good friends. Had a lot of good times at Union sq. me and the homies made nyc style the most copied in bmx. I know of some really good pizza spots. So if you need the plug on the spots holla at me I got you. Where are your favourite spots to hang out in New York? Maxfish, L&b’s, pepa’s, city island. Describe a classic New York scene that you feel represents your day-to-day life best. Going to the corner store and copping a loosie. What compels you to take a picture of something or someone? Something offensive.
“What compels you to take a picture of something or someone? Something offensive.”
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