Forget Good Spring 2014 Issue 15
featuring Donny Gettinger, Flux Factory, Allison Ginsberg, Tyrone et al.
Sanne Van Gent, 1 Roman Arevalo, 5 Fábio Roque, 9 Karin Karlsson, 13 Erin O’Keefe, 17 Lauren Rice, 21
Donny Gettinger, 25 Flux Factory, 33 Allison Ginsberg, Tyrone Wil iams,
When did you last die? January 5th 2014, Schiphol Airport. Wanneer ging je voor het laatst dood? 5 januari 2014, Schiphol Airport.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? My dog Noga - I need him. Wat zorgt ervoor dat je in de ochtend je bed uitkomt? Mijn hond Noga, ik heb hem nodig.
What is the most fragile part of your body? The parts Iâ€™m successfully ignoring. Wat is het meest fragiele deel van je lichaam? De delen die ik met succes negeer.
Left page: Untitled Right page: Untitleda
Top Left: Souvenir from the mountains Top Right: Untitled Bottom: Untitled
What sets you apart from everyone else? I don’t know. Frankly, I believe it’s impossible to know everybody else… so this question is difficult to answer… I live many different lives at the same time… but perhaps, that makes me precisely the same as everybody else, hmm? Wat onderscheidt je iedereen? Ik weet het niet, eerlijk gezegd denk ik dat het onmogelijk is om iedereen te kennen… Dus deze vraag is moeilijk te beantwoorden… Ik leef verschillende levens tegelijkertijd… maar misschien maakt dat me juist precies hetzelfde als iedereen?
What is missing from your life? At the moment the mountains are missing. My heart squeezes in a weird way when I think of the mountaintops in Austria. I haven’t seen them far too long. And I’m trying to find the perfect balance between the faked suggestion of randomness in my work and the intended coincidences. Better said, I’m looking for a way to make the boundary between what was created and what was originated as unclear and at the same time as explicit as possible. I’m almost there, but the last step is still missing. Wat mist er in je leven? Op dit moment mis ik de bergen, mijn hart knijpt zich op een vreemde manier samen als ik aan de bergentoppen in Oostenrijk denk, ik heb ze al te lang niet gezien. En ik ben op zoek naar de perfecte balans tussen de gesuggereerde willekeurigheid in mijn werk en de bedoelde toevalligheden. Beter gezegd; ik zoek naar een manier om de grens tussen wat gemaakt is en wat ontstaan is zo vaag mogelijk en tegelijkertijd zo nadrukkelijk mogelijk te maken. Ik ben er dichtbij maar de laatste stap mist nog.
When did you last die? I would say that I last died four years ago on the same night of my fatherâ€™s death. The loss of my father changed my view of the world, and it was then that a part of my self was re-born into manhood with new eyes on the ephemerality of experience. What gets you out of bed in the morning? There are those times when I wake up sweating or panting for air after a vivid dream. I consider my waking life to be driven by dreams, whether pleasant or nightmarish, because they often reflect my deepest concerns. In this way, my dreams at night get me out of bed in the morning.
Left page: Shift Right page: Traversal
What is the most fragile part of your body? I believe that the most fragile part of my body is my head since it is so important to me. It is where my brain and nervous system reside, and where my sense of self is provided. As an artist, my senses for perception that allow me to understand and experience the world all depend on the stability of my head, as do my memories, aspirations, my facial expressions and ability to communicate. What sets you apart from everyone else? My sensitivity and simplistic nature set me apart from others. Although I am drawn by detail, I enjoy small moments very much and prefer to listen rather than speak. In contrast with the fast-paced lifestyle of the city, I try to live compactly and grasp ideas slowly. What is missing from your life? At the present time, I am missing the kind of lifestyle and the kind of relationships that are right for me. These are things that I am working toward gradually as I try to live positively and more openly with others.
Left: Tattoo Right: Infection
What household task gives you the most trouble? I’m a disaster at ironing clothes, but what gives me even more trouble is dusting. It is horrible for me. Que tarefa doméstica dá-lhe mais problemas? Eu sou um desastre a engomar roupa. Mas o que me dá mesmo mais trouble, é limpar o pó. É horrivel para mim.
What does art do for you? Art gives me the opportunity to express myself - to express my feelings and how I see the world in general. It also gives me opportunities to try to overcome myself, and to go on doing more and better. In the background, art gives my life more sense. O que faz a arte por você? A arte dá-me a possibilidade de me exprimir, de exprimir os meus sentimentos, e como eu vejo o mundo de uma forma geral. Dá-me também oportunidades de me tentar superar, e ir fazendo mais e melhor. No fundo, a arte dá mais sentido á minha vida.
Left page: Redemption Right page: Redemption
What would you like to receive for your birthday? A trip to any country - I do not know. O que você gostaria de receber para seu aniversário? Uma viagem. Para qualquer país que eu não conheça.
Cite three living artists whom you detest. Well, this is hard; I do not really detest any artist. Normally, when I see some work I do not like, I just try not to follow that artist. For example, the Portuguese painter Paula Rego: I respect what she has accomplished, but I do not like her work. Cite três artistas vivos quem você detesta. Bem esta é dificil, eu na verdade não detesto nenhum artista. Normalmente, quando vejo algum trabalho de que não gosto, simplesmente tento não o seguir. Um exemplo, a pintora portuguesa Paula Rego, respeito o que ela tem conseguido, mas não me gosto do trabalho dela.
What do you stick up for? My family. My wife and my son, no doubt. They are always there for everything, good times and bad times. O que você defende? A minha familia. A minha mulher e o meu filho, sem dúvida. Estão sempre lá para tudo, bons momentos e maus momentos.
Top: Redemption Bottom: Redemption
What household task gives you the most trouble? All of them except cooking, I love to cook! On the one hand, I am quite a domestic person. I like to be at home or in the studio. But on the other hand, I seem to have trouble keeping my space around me neat. I have kind of a dual personality where my head is very organized (I am always on time, etc.), but my surroundings tend to be extremely messy. Most of the time, it is like a bomb went off in my studio. Vilka hushållssysslor orsakar dig mest problem? Samtliga utom matlagning, jag älskar att laga mat! Å ena sidan är jag en ganska hemkär person, jag tycker om att vara hemma eller i ateljén. Men å andra sidan har jag problem med att hålla ordning omkring mig. Jag har lite av en dubbel personlighet där mitt huvud är väldigt organiserat (jag är alltid i tid osv) men min omgivning tenderar att vara väldigt rörigt. För det mesta är det som om en bomb exploderat i min ateljé. Left page: Untitled Left: Untitled Right: Woven Drawing 1
What does art do for you? Art opened up an alternative path for me. I grew up on a farm outside a small rural community in Sweden. I don’t think I even knew what art was until I was eighteen. It was something completely new to me, but it echoed in me some way. I could not escape it. Art was something that felt, and still feels, urgent to me. Vad gör konst för dig? Konst öppnade upp en alternativ väg för mig. Jag växte upp på en gård utanför en liten ort i Sverige. Jag tror inte ens jag visste vad konst var fram till jag var arton, det var något helt nytt för mig. Men det gav eko i mig på något sätt, jag kunde inte riktigt komma undan. Konst var något som kändes, och fortfarande känns angeläget för mig.
What would you like to receive for your birthday? A bigger studio, a nice home, some financial stability, to live in the same country as my boyfriend, a pomeranian puppy. Vad vill du ha på din födelsedag? En större ateljé, ett bra hem, större ekonomisk trygghet, att bo i samma land som min pv, en valp.
Cite three living artists whom you detest. I cannot honestly think of any artist I detest. There are of course works that I don’t appreciate, but detest is such a strong word and it sounds so personal. The closest I get is slight dislike, and I don’t spend much time on art or artists I don’t like. Nämn tre levande konstnärer som du avskyr. Jag kan ärligt talat inte komma på någon konstnär som jag avskyr. Det finns naturligtvis verk som jag inte uppskattar, men avskyr är ett så starkt ord och det låter så personligt. Det närmsta jag kommer är vagt ogillande och jag ägnar inte mycket tid åt konstnärskap jag inte tycker om.
What do you stick up for? As an artist, the one thing you have to stick up for is your work because no one else will. Vad står du upp för? Är det något du måste stå upp för som konstnär så är det ditt arbete, för ingen annan kommer göra det.
Left: Triple Drawing Right: Vertial Fold
Do you think that everyone can be an artist? I think everyone starts out in life as an artist, and one can maintain that outlook regardless of what you end up doing to support yourself. That being said, it seems very easy to get distracted by situations or expectations that can wear you down and basically beat the creativity out of you. I do think that it takes a certain level of energy and optimism to be an artist â€“ we have a lot of faith in the future and in ourselves. Making art is an act of generosity and connection, so I donâ€™t think being an evil misanthrope would pave the way for a successful life as an artist. Left page: Barnacle Bill Right page: Dervish
What do people reproach you for? Being overly direct. I can lack nuance. What are you capable of refusing? Answering questions. What do you do with your money? Whatever there is goes to necessary and uninteresting things – oatmeal, socks, photo paper, cat litter and so on; but pretty often, I find myself saying – or thinking – “If I had a lot of money I would do that…It usually involves setting up a combination woodshop/printshop/darkroom/ceramics studio where there is a radio playing, sawdust on the floor, and the smell of ink, beeswax, and coffee in the air. What have you given up? Downhill skiing and worrying about bad outcomes.
Left: Cicada Right: Venus
Do you think that everyone can be an artist? I think that there is a point in everyone’s life when they have the innate capacity for divergent thinking, the precursor of creative thinking, but our education system trains it out of most of us. I wonder, too, if it’s more relevant to discuss what makes a successful artist? Anyone can make a painting and call it art - who am I to say it’s not? Being a successful artist, though, requires more than talent or even learning technical skills, more than just physically making things. Being an artist requires an insane amount of drive, ambition, as well as being critically aware of our specific point in history (and the past and future). Being an artist involves writing and researching, in addition to making. I don’t think that it takes going to school to be an artist, just most people who want to be artists need school for community, encouragement, critical feedback, and most of all, the time to work. I love Ernesto Pujol’s essay “On the Ground: Practical Observations for Regenerating Art Education” from the book Art School: Propositions for the 21st Century. In this essay, Pujol writes: “I believe artistic success should be defined as the ability to sustain art making for a lifetime, whether within the profit or non-profit sectors, remaining part of the conversation about the destiny of the country, the culture, and global citizenship. Artistic success should be about continuing to grow and produce, constructively critiquing and regenerating, because no one should be blindly tied to tools that become obsolete, to mediums that cease to be relevant to people’s lives, to theories that no longer explain who we have become as people, both mirroring the culture and providing alternatives to the culture”. What do people reproach you for? “People” is such a broad word, and “reproach” is such a strong one. Anyhow, here are a few things I’ve been criticized for (whether sincerely or in good fun) over the course of my life. In no linear order: Moving to Detroit. Believing in ghosts. Working a lot. Daydreaming. Doodling. Not drinking coffee. Liking Rothko. Watching Diners, Drive-ins and Drives. Talking too much. Not talking enough. Being impatient. Using artmaking to ask rather than answer questions. Using too much cilantro. Having cold hands. Hogging the sofa.
Left page: Pioneer
What are you capable of refusing? Most sweets, with ice cream and my brotherâ€™s homemade cupcakes being the exception. What do you do with your money? The usual, I guess. I pay rent and bills, buy studio supplies, buy books, food, wine, plants, new clothes as needed. I splurge on going to a nice restaurant with friends and family every once and a while. I spend money to travel. I try to put some of it in the bank and keep it there. What have you given up? Giving up.
Left: Highway of Diamonds Right: non-structure structure
Top: Fertility Goddessâ€™ Survial Kit Bottom: Tools for Better Living
Gettinger Touch Touch (after a week)
Tell us a bit about yourself and the current city you live in. I am an MFA Sculpture candidate in my last semester at Indiana University. I come from Macomb, a small town located amidst Illinois’s expansive fields of soybeans and corn. I create objects and structured environments referencing my upbringing, which explore desire and humor with a youthstricken sense of adventure. Through the incorporation of varied practices and a constantly evolving material vocabulary, I immerse the viewer in physical processes of memory, transgression and experience. I currently reside in Bloomington, IN, but the project of discussion was completed back in Macomb. What’s your city’s art community like? In Bloomington, the art scene is really driven by the University and supported by the community (most of the time). The public works are mainly community based, and there is some support for graffiti and street-based artists. The B Line Trail is one example of a project executed by local artists. Beyond public works, the city is peppered with a decent number of small galleries and exhibition opportunities for students and local artists. Not far from Bloomington is the little gem, Columbus, which is an exciting architectural treasure plopped in the middle of Indiana. For a town of 44,000, they have buildings by I.M. Pei, Richard Meier and Kevin Kennon, to name a few. How does your community react to your street art, like “Hand Shake” and “Touch Touch”? It was not publicly addressed by any means, but there was a general sense of annoyance. Being a small Midwestern town, most of the population favors wildlife paintings, Grant Wood and Thomas Kincaid. The overall lack of familiarity with street art in the community made for an exciting project. There is something exhilarating about exposing the unfamiliar to an unsuspecting audience, which, in turn, is amplified by the rush experienced in the practice of street art. I really enjoy combinations and layers that result in greater thrills, both in life and art, especially in the areas where those two terms coexist.
Boys WIll Be Boys
How does your street work relate to your city and school? I really considered location in regards to the subject. The figures were engaging in these less expected activities and poses, so when I stuck them out into the public space, I avoided the familiar missionary stomping grounds of the town â€“ they, instead, inhabited roofs, corners, dark alleys, etc. I thought the placement of these pieces in a small town where street art was not understood or appreciated was quite suitable. As for the school, it was my support system. It was definitely the place where I found encouragement for the project. It also offered an introduction to the medium of street art. I mean, I was visually aware of it from the sides of trains that constantly passed through town, but beyond that, I was oblivious to graffitiâ€™s place in the art world. Are there many people interested in this type of artistic medium? Not as far as a general small town population goes. Are there any other street artists in your city with whom you interact or collaborate with? I wish, but not really. There has been a lot of talk within the academic community, but nothing has really sprung up. I think part of it is the fact that if we were to get arrested, we would lose our academic appointments. I did develop the Mormon Missionary project with a close friend, who was also the main source of inspiration. He spent almost two years as a missionary in Germany, but his time was cut short due to a few watereddown cases of debauchery. His stories of young men grappling with this wild mix of freshly granted freedom and religious restraint related to concepts I was exploring through works based on transgression and arrested development. Through our conversations, the work became realized conceptually, and there was definitely a measurable process of give and take. With that being said, I would certainly recognize him as a collaborator. He decked himself out in his missionary gear for the drawings and several of the poses were of his own invention.
Is your art community supportive of your street art in particular? Outside of a small group of art students, there was and still is little support for street art. Graffiti/street art is generally viewed as vandalism there and the wheat pastes received a response similar to what a lewd comment about somebody’s mother on a wall might get. I am exaggerating this response somewhat, but essentially the backing group enjoyed it for its rebellious nature. It’s just a limited audience within a small town atmosphere. It seems that a lot of the time, the public thinks there’s no conceptuality to street art, which is, of course, untrue. What’s your reasoning for experimenting in this medium? I choose this medium specifically because of what it offered conceptually. Wheat pasting has that “hitting the streets” mentality that relates directly to the intended subject, Mormon Missionaries.
Boys WIll Be Boys
Factory Founded in 1994 and now settled in an old greeting card factory, Flux Factory has spent recent years formalizing its artist run practice. Emphasizing collaboration and community, Flux Factory is a prolific maze of stimulation. Artists can go to fluxfactory.com to apply for their residency programs, their twelve month silk screen residency, or check out the 2014 Open Call for the 2014 exhibition season.
“Factory” sounds very cold and banal. Describe the atmosphere at Flux Factory, what’s it like to walk inside? When you step into Flux, you’re stepping into a turn-of-the-century building that’s been modified, added to, and rearranged by a century of industry. It’s a labyrinth. We say the building has three floors, but in actuality, there are many half-floor and passageways that take you underground and onto the roof via several stairways or a hidden fire escape. When we moved in five years ago, we took out all the conveyor belts (except for the one in our gallery, which still works). Since that move-in, hundreds of artists have been lovingly modifying and augmenting Flux, improving and improvising fixes. There are layers of artist-made wallpapers, collages, chandeliers and hidden scenes built into the nooks. It’s fantastic. If you step into Flux while we’re having our monthly potluck dinner, you’ll step into a cozy kitchen filled with food and drinks. What sets Flux Factory apart from other residencies? Flux is many things at once: a collectively-run non-profit, an art-making collective, and a residency program. The lines between all of these (sometimes contradictory) structures are completely blurred, resulting in an experience that’s simultaneously exhilarating, confounding, frustrating, and rewarding. When we formalized the residency program five years ago, we quickly learned that we have to work hard to communicate the expectations of participation in Flux, which is far from the alonein-your-studio residency cliché. We’re prolific - hosting over 75 public events each year. These are organized by residents, staff, and former residents. Residents and staff collectively organize these public programs, and collectively review applications from artists who’d like to be part of our shows/enter the residency program.
What are you looking for in residency applicants? When you’re a resident at Flux, you’re there to focus both on your work and take responsibility for Flux the non-profit, collective, and community. We’re a prolific and expansive collective, which is incredible, but it’s also a lot of work and requires a lot of patience. We all find ourselves expanding our limits - from doing chores and learning how to fix the sink to coordinating large collaborative projects and artworks. We’re looking for cultural producers who will take on those challenges with enthusiasm and a sense of humor. Flux isn’t for everyone, but if you like it, you’ll love it. Last year, we accepted only about 7% of applicants, so it’s an extremely competitive process. But once you’re in residence at Flux, you’re always welcome to return. At any time, we have one or two Fluxers in residence who have been a resident at least once before. Tell us about some upcoming projects or events that you’re really excited about. This year, on August 1st, will be our 20th birthday. I can’t wait - we’ll be having an enormous celebration, full artworks, ephemera, Fluxy nostalgia, and a 24-hour banquet. We’re hoping that anyone who’s ever been part of Flux EVER will come for the biggest reunion in Fluxstory. I’m also excited about the show that a curator in residence Chris Stiegler is putting together in April. He’s the second of our NEA-funded curators-in-residence. Chris is taking a break from his work at The Institute for American Art, and has some tricks up his sleeve for his April show here at Flux.
In its twentieth year of operation, how has Flux Factory changed since its founding? This is a huge question. I’ve only been involved since 2006, so I’ve just seen a piece of Fluxstory. One answer is that Fluxers have been constantly challenging each other to grow, improve, and reflect - I think that’s built into any successful collaborative process. This kind of change is happening a little bit each day. In the big picture, we’ve made changes with each building move - becoming a non-profit, formally beginning our gallery at Flux II, and formally beginning our residency program when we moved into Flux III. But each of these changes really just formalized something that was already happening, and began happening organically. Is there any growth or change you hope to see realized in the near or not-so-near future? As I said, we’re constantly growing, and I know that will continue. We’ve survived 20 years on an enormous amount of dedication and willpower, and a minuscule budget. I’d love to see that grow! How can people support Flux Factory? We love when people show support by donating - there’s a link on our website for that. Those donations go a very long way. If you’re in NYC during our annual auction, that’s always a ton of fun. Otherwise, we love having volunteers come by! Is there anything else you want to share with our readers? Feel free to come by if you’re in NYC - we’ll be happy to show you around. In addition to all of our shows, workshops and events, we host Flux Thursday on the 2nd Thursday of each month. It’s a marvelous potluck dinner party. Together with 30-70 others, we cook, eat at 8:00pm, and head down to the gallery for performances, talk, and who-knows-what.
Would you like to introduce yourself? ehhhh What are your ideal studio conditions? I have a love/hate relationship with clutter. I am by nature cluttered in most aspects of my life. Organization has never been my strong suit, and my studio is always devolving into disorder. It’s partially that I am bad about putting things back after I use them, but it’s also that I just like to see things out around me. This is kind off-topic, but I’ve been thinking a lot about talismans lately. It’s important for me to be around objects and their auras. I have to keep my paint tubes out, I like to have images strewn everywhere, and I tend to invite (too) many objects into my life and studio. (But at least this tendency has somewhat improved since moving to New York!). I often listen to the radio or podcasts when painting. Water is good to have; tea is better; seltzer is best. I used to drink coffee all day, but I’ve been trying to be better about going to sleep earlier, so now I drink (a lot) when I wake up, but don’t usually have coffee in the studio. I always have a wall clock in my studios to try to keep myself on task. I tend to keep most of my books at home, and bring one or two at a time to the studio. Maybe in an ideal world, I would have two of every book. Do you paint in a classic standing, easel position? Or on the wall/ floor? I sometimes paint on the floor or flat on a table, but these days I usually work vertically. As an aside: before grad school, I was making tiny little paintings, like 11 inches max, often much smaller. I would paint them while holding them in my left hand. I really loved that way of working, there was an intimacy that I miss, but it doesn’t work with my paintings today.
How often do you work in your studio? Do you view being an artist as a job that requires a daily effort even when you don’t feel like it? This is a tricky question for me to answer, as I don’t have a set schedule that I adhere to. In school, I liked to go to the studio around 5 pm and work there until 3 or 4 am. Unfortunately, that isn’t easy to do in the real world. Beyond painting, it’s important to go to the studio, and just sit and look and think for long periods of time. But it’s also important for me to remember to do things outside the studio to help my practice: going to museums and galleries and libraries and walks. I’m trying to be more aware of what I need at a given time, whether that is actually painting or reading or finding inspiration in other ways. Where/how do you store all your paintings? Haha, I need to work on a better storage system. I’ve got paintings laying around everywhere. Do you work on multiple paintings at a time? Yes, always. Where do you work and how does that affect your art practice? I’ve been working for a painter in Long Island City since school ended. It’s fun to work for an artist, seeing how they manage their own practices, little tricks they have, etc. They are also more accommodating in terms of the necessary oddities of an artist’s schedule. I was working part-time in an office over the summer, and I also did some art handling this autumn.
How was the transition between making work at school to making work on your own? I took a break from school halfway though college. At that point, I had taken one drawing and one painting class, and I was just coming to terms with the idea of becoming an artist. I felt like I was way behind - I was in classes with kids that had picked up oil paint when they were like 10 - and I wanted to figure some things out on my own. I moved down to Richmond, VA, where the rent was so cheap that I was able to rent an extra bedroom to use as a studio. It was a weird year for me. I spent a lot of time alone, both exploring the city and in the studio. But it was a really good use of my time - I began to understand at that point how to have a studio practice. I think it also helped that I went to a fairly alternative college, where students were often left to their own devices in terms of figuring things out. You said you mostly call and response paint. How do you start a painting? Does a blank canvas intimidate you? Actually, Iâ€™m most intimidated by a painting after working on it once, where it still seems wide open with a lot of possibilities. I get excited by blank canvases, and when a painting seems like it is traveling on a highway with a specific destination, not stopped at an intersection. Although I start with ideas/images/palettes, I assume paintings will take on a different trajectory than what I begin with, and see that as a large part of my process. What I mean by call and response: I love the immediacy of painting. How laying down one color can change everything. I think thereâ€™s a point where the painting begins to assert dominance, where it indicates what needs to happen. At that point, I try to reply to the painting in kind - I think of it as a dance between me and the painting.
Has the accidental played a role in your work? The painter who is in the studio next-door once told me she hears me saying, “Oopsies” to myself constantly. I can’t think of a specific event where an accident changed a piece for me, but I see it in tandem with the idea of a call and response painting. What is your biggest struggle in the studio? If I can go to the studio and immediately start to mix paint, chances are I’m in good shape. But I grapple with that more than anything else. It’s easy for me to get in the zone once I begin painting, but making myself sit down and start has always been a challenge. I can putz around for hours. Is there anything that you feel isn’t really taught to artists in school that is an important skill to have? I have pretty bad photoshopping skills. I would be a lot more marketable job-wise if I took the time to get good at that. Although, it seems like a lot of people do leave school knowing how to work that stuff. Max Liebermann wrote that, “The specifically painterly content [Gehalt] of a picture is greater the lesser the interest in the depicted object itself; the more completely the subject-matter [Inhalt] of the picture has been absorbed into painterly form, the greater the painter.” I feel like this quote pertains a lot to the way you paint. Do you feel any connection with this? Absolutely. I’m less concerned with the object and more interested in what I associate with it, however vague and murky those affinities might be. I’m interested in what cannot be verbalized or what I might not even be initially cognizant of. Metaphoric or symbolic associations are contextual - I don’t expect people to react the same way to what I make, but that’s kind of the fun of it. Pitcher (Day) and Pitcher (Night) are a really great example of nothing being stable, everything always changing. I also think it displays a
domestic object and the unknown of the cosmos showing the alien in the daily. I think it is so successful because the viewer isn’t used to seeing a painting of a pitcher at night. It caught me off guard. Is this a reaction you would like your viewer to have? Yes, it’s probably my ultimate goal. I want my paintings to be surprising, each in their own way. That’s the point of a painting, as I see it: to give someone an experience they haven’t encountered before, to suggest another way of perceiving a known object or space, or to slow down attention to bring awareness to a moment that might be mundane but also worthy of stopping and reflecting on. What became of your childhood dreams?* One dream was to become a ballerina, which I was definitely not physically cut out for, but I was absolutely taken with the romantic femininity and austere elegance of the ballet. Toe shoes and going en pointe were, to me, the height of sophistication. I was an obsessive reader as a kid, and I also wanted to be an author. However, I was never a good writer. I would sit down to write a story and get anxious about my lack of ideas and would never actually put anything to paper. I knew I wasn’t a writer, and I think I just hoped skills would just develop without effort as I got older, like growing boobs. I never had any dreams of becoming an artist. I liked going to museums and looking, and I would make things, but I didn’t seriously make work until college. I think I always did picture myself in some sort of less-mainstream work. I remember having a conversation with a friend in middle school about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and she said she assumed she would just become a bureaucrat, and I thought that was the saddest thing in the world. This is tangential: I was always the shortest kid in my class, and in sixth grade, my parents took me to an endocrinologist, to determine if I should get hormone injections to stave off puberty for a little while and get an extra inch or two in before my growth spurt. (I think the doctor said at most I would be 4’9”.) I became obsessed with the idea of reaching five
feet, and despite the fact that my parents decided against the injections, I somehow made it to exactly sixty inches and then promptly stopped growing. Maybe thatâ€™s my number one childhood dream that was fulfilled. Who are some artists you are looking at? Lately Iâ€™ve been looking at a lot of Shaker gift drawings and Japanese tsujighana textiles.
Tyrone Wil iams is from and currently lives in Northampton, England. He is in his final year of studying photography in Leicestershire.
I’ve been following your photos since about 2012. Your photographs always make me feel in love. Are you in love? Does love give you a reason to take photos? I try to bring beauty out in a lot of my photographs. I want the viewer to see beauty as I do, which can be anywhere. I think this is linked to love, in a way, because I am trying to make a connection to my subjects, which allows the viewer to feel something. I’m inviting the viewer to see the love of the life around me. When did you last die?* Summer 2013. What kind of camera(s) do you use? I only use 35mm point and shoot cameras, which work perfectly for the way I shoot. Your photos appear so accidentally perfect and it makes me think you planned them or set them up in some way, but I also don’t think that’s true at all. Are you just constantly taking photos? In some photos of you, you have a camera around your neck. Is that how I would most likely find you if we met on the street? Yes, I’m pretty much always taking photos. I try to look for photos in any situation, so photography and my life go hand in hand. Ninety percent of the time I have my camera with me, so yes, you most likely would encounter me that way. Are there any photos too personal to share? Most of my photos are all quite personal to me because they are photos of my daily life, people close to me, and the places I often go. There’s definitely a part of my life that photography doesn’t touch--some moments are just for me.
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How did you find photography? When my cousins and I used to inline skate years ago, we used to take snaps of each other using disposable cameras. We never took this too seriously. A few years later I remember experimenting with a digital point and shoot just around my house, and then eventually taking walks into the woods nearby to take some pictures. I never really stopped taking pictures from then on. What has been your relationship to photography throughout your life? I’ve always been interested in the creative world throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I found photography that I felt I could fully express myself. I’ve had other passions throughout my life, but I love the freedom that photography offers. Untitled
What other passions have you had? Before photography, I used to dance for four years, and a long long time ago, I also used to be involved in athletics and inline skating (haha). At one point, I was just as passionate about them as photography, but always felt I wanted to try other things. What do people reproach you for?* My forgetfulness.
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Your photos remind me a lot of painting because I think they are often about the relationships of the objects in the photo. Every once and awhile, you give us a lead into the world outside of the photo. How do you want the viewer to look at your photographs? I want the viewer to see the object as it really is, but sometimes I want to show them a certain subject in particular surroundings, complimenting the information being shown around the subject. I want the viewer to look and see what everything in the photograph creates. Does taking photos keep you interested in the world around you? Most definitely. Being engaged in photography helps you see things from different perspectives. Exploring new places is fascinating when the world is your palette. What makes you want to photograph a person? I often photograph people I’m quite close to. Whoever it may be, I’m drawn to something that they are doing or how they are placed within a certain surrounding. Can you describe the circumstances around the photo of the older woman with a red purse? I was on the way back from my local shop and saw this woman standing outside a house. She was presumably waiting for someone to answer the door. I instantly wanted to take a picture, but I wanted to get directly behind her, so I walked a bit faster until my camera and I were composed. With a shopping bag hanging from my wrist, I took the shot. This all happened very quickly as I didn’t know for how long she was going to stand there. When I walked off, I looked back and she was still standing there. I never saw her face.
I think a lot of your photos are smirking (Hitler, chairs in the pizza place, shoe in the door, caution waterfall, wow 99p brooms). Do you find humor in these images? Yes, these types of images I find visually appealing, but the reality of them makes them humorous. I donâ€™t often look for these types of images, but sometimes I just have to take a shot! What makes you laugh? Everything silly.
How do you edit images? What constitutes a good image to you? Do you think bad images are equally as good? Sometimes, I crop an image if I only want to show a certain thing in the photograph. I might like the image as a whole, but sometimes Iâ€™m more drawn to something particular. Other times, I might tweak or enhance an image when it comes to brightness and colours. I think a good image is very subjective, but I think the person behind the camera has to be clear on what they are trying to show to a certain extent. However, on the other hand, an image could be completely accidental but still give off something special.
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In your 1+1 series: Are the pairs planned out and sought after? Or does that come later? How do you pair them up? I think I see here the same quality of an accidental perfection. This process, for me, comes after everything. When I have the time to take all my photos in, I often look back at old photos and then begin selecting photos I like. I try to find some kind of connection that bridges two photos together. Sometimes, the connection is very clear and it’s almost obvious that they’re a match, but some I have to look a little harder. Creating diptychs to me is separate from taking the photographs because I’m trying to create from a selection of photos I’ve already taken. I’ve never purposely tried to go and take photographs for diptychs. Is there a perfect photograph in your mind that you can’t seem to realize? I think a lot of photographs out there are perfect in their own way. What does art do for you?* It allows me to keep in tune with myself. Is photography your mark of life or a way to document your life? Up until recently, it has always just been a way to document my life, but I have now realized I want it to be a part of my life. I guess, I got to the point where I know photography is something I want to do and to keep pursuing. What do you stick up for?* Patterned socks.
*Question stolen from Sophie Calle
Community article: Don y Get inger by Tara Mahadevan Residency article: Flux by Stephanie Pierson Studio vis t:Allison Ginsberg by Kylie Gava Feature Interview: Tyrone Wil iams by Kylie Gava Mini Interview Questions Stolen from Sophie Cal e