Not Random Art - Page 51

Hello Emily and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

I think as artists we worry about our identity too much. We want to be known as artists and don’t want people to question that. Me, I’m more focused on the identity of the people that I paint. I’m a heavy figure and portrait artist, my identity isn’t important. The reason I’m painting people with extreme body mod and who do human suspension is because they have changed the way the look in a matter that reflects their own identity. They go beyond social norms to create an identity that they are happy with. They strive for an outer beauty that is so different from our own perspective and that’s what makes them so strong and beautiful. The average public has so many stereotypes for these people because they look different and it confuses people that they choose to look that way. I want the people I paint to really shine through, it’s their identity that I want to make into an icon.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistic as well as life background? What inspired you to be in this artistic point in your life when you are now?

My parents have tattoos and they would always take me when they would get new ones. If I remember right, I was either five or six when they first took me into tattoo shops. I’ve probably seen more art on skin than on walls. I was always around body art and modifications so it was normal but I knew that there was a more extreme side to it, there is with everything. I wanted to get to know the people who had split tongues, horn implants, inked eyes, etc, because they seemed interesting and also because it’s a type of body art that I know my parents would think was crazy. So if they thought it was crazy than the average public must think it’s super crazy.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about your identity as a participant of the visual culture?

Judith slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi is one of my favorite paintings, Caravaggio’s version is also good but Gentileschi’s is more brutal. There’s more truth and emotion behind it and that also goes back to her violent past. Her and Caravaggio’s work are similar and they both used the same practices and those techniques are what I also use. I’m traditional trained has an artist, so I use to be a very heavy caravaggisti. You know, dark backgrounds and these semi-lite figures. Although some of my pieces don’t reflect that know I still paint in the traditional manner using an under layer, starting with my darks and then finally adding light

What is the role of technique in your practice? You mentioned that your work is charged with local pure substance elements, both ancient and contemporary, and in theological and Genealogical materials.... In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating? .

I have a pretty strict work ethic so I do follow a number of steps when creating my work. First and foremost I meet with my models personally. I want to get to know them before I use them. My art revolves around the people I met and I want to be able to have their personality in the painting. They need to have life. After the photo process, I edit everything in Photoshop. This is important for the painting itself because I figure out all my compositional limits and also what colors I’m going to be using. I’ve had people say before that my work looks more like a photoshopped illustration than a painting. Well, in many cases it is. I’m taking a photoshopped image that I created then physically painting it. I have to say, those two steps are my most important.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

For my suspension pieces I strive to have an emotion and intellectual connection. Human Suspension is surrounded by ritual. Many use it as a therapeutically method. Thus, outsiders are not welcomed so I’m always honored when I’m allowed to witness it. I was entranced by how the body reacted, the pulling of the flesh and the tension between the hooks. Yet, the mind is relaxed and emotions are either pushed aside or explode, it all depends on how the person wants his/her ritual to influence. Mind over matter does not being to describe it.

From there I sketch my plan on to a blank canvas (always making changes and additions to the new layout). Once I am happy with that I start to add colour. My fine lines are all executed without masking; using a small brush, even hand, and steadfast concentration. Then I apply layer upon layer of colour until I achieve beautiful unyielding saturation and impeccable print-like quality.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

The emotional and intellectual relationship of my work always begin as two very seperate things. At first glance, my art may seem frivolously aesthetic .The colours are vibrant, and deliciously arresting. But then you look a little closer, even through the simplicity of the block colour and basic lines of geometry and pattern, there is always a story within… and that is when the emotional and intellectual perception of my art merge and the true beauty is discovered.

olted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray” by Joan Jonas was one of the first performance installations that really made a huge impact on me. I was living in Paris during this time, in the early 90s, with a lot of influences from different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.