Can you tell me about your practice? How do you get started on a piece of work?
As of right now, I mostly make paintings and sculptures with a wide range of materials. I think about how I spend more time with the shoes I wear, the sheets I sleep on, and the phone I use than I do with any other human being. The items we surround ourselves with are by-products of navigating contemporary life. Our belongings mirror ourselves and our socio-economic status; our desire for alleviation and pacification and our desire for acceptance and belonging. This fuels my making. While my practice feels very personal, the economies of consumption and more importantly to me, the drive behind consumption, whether it be to act out desires or to cope, is far reaching on both the micro and macro level. I see the personal, the biological, the political, and the economic to be very much intertwined. One’s body is always impact by the economy in which it exists.
In terms of how I get started, it all depends on my idea. My ideas dictate my decision making. I don’t have a set formula, or make drawings for the purposes of planning an artwork.
Who are your biggest influences?
I have so many wide ranging influences, it’s hard to know where to start. The people I have been in contact with have influenced me the most, whether that be mentors/past professors, friends, or family. Otherwise, I am drawn to the ideas of the Situationist International and the pop artists, but the artwork of Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, and Lee Bontecou probably resonate with me the most. I am envious of artists who make fiber sculpture, such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, and I love Sheila Hicks’ hand weavings. I also find the work of Bruce Nauman, Nari Ward, Bram Bogart, Judith Scott, Elizabeth Murray and so many more to be influential. I’ve also been influenced by the writings of Georges Bataille, Julia Kristeva, Maurice Merleou- Ponty, Susan Sontag, Jane Bennett, D.W Winnicott, and the Situationists.
Can you talk about the role that object plays in your practice?
I am very interested in the objects (or forms) we surround ourselves with, the relationships we have with them, as well as the place holders they become. I mentioned before, but I believe, our belongings mirror ourselves, our desires for alleviation and pacification, and our desire for acceptance and belonging. Additionally, every object has a history that speaks to the times it was born out of, whether it be the capitalist forces at play, popular culture trends, or sociological shifts. Finally, just as a child creates an attachment to a teddy bear, I believe humans create attachments and intimacies to objects in order to psychologically organize, cope, and pacify. What interests me most is the nature and cause of those relationships, the desire for intimacy, the need to cope.
Conversely, my desire to make objects or forms, whether paintings or sculpture, represents both a protest in which my body is implicated as well as the need to mend; to make things whole. In ‘Forms, Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, and Network’ Caroline Levine speaks about form as it relates to politics and art. She writes ‘it’s the work of form to make order.’ I believe that making forms or objects is a mode of ordering not just culturally, but also politically.
How important is material in your work?
Material is very important. I am drawn to various materials both for formal and conceptual reasons. Every material has a life and a history that I play a part in. My relationship to these materials creates an added layer of ideas, as I often try to transform them in ways that I find conceptually make sense. I am interested in ideas around transforming and becoming as representative of freedom and control. I also find the treatment of the material application, as well as the labor in sourcing and working with the material to be important to my process. Labor is something I consistently think about in my work.
Lastly, I am interested in the idea of appetite, whether it be used in a literal sense as related to hunger, or as related to pleasure, mental stimulation, or decadence. Material accumulation, as well as piling, stacking, or destroying even seem to be related to a sort of decadence and appetite that I find interesting.
What is your most important tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
My beach chair. I really don’t like a lot of studio furniture. I like to have a lot of open space to work and I tend to make a mess anyway, so it wouldn’t be great for furniture. I do like having my one beach chair though. I’ve had this thought, that perhaps the most patient artist would make the most interesting artwork. I think there is something to patience that no one really talks about. Especially, today when there is a very different relationship to expediency and production than ever before for artists. One could argue that the collective consciousness is overextended, overwhelmed, and overflowing. Society often consumes images, sounds, and opinions at rates not always comprehensible or digestible. Artists feel pressure to post regularly on social media, increasing the need to always have new work to post, and in turn quickening the speed of production. Amidst all of the noise, I really believe in what I call slow art. I believe in making things in very specific ways (not necessarily literally slower, but it may take a long time to get to a certain level of specificity), taking ones time to contend with ideas and develop a practice over time, and sitting with my art. It may sound trivial, but I am more inclined to sit with my art when I have my beach chair.
Can you give us a book recommendation that has been important in your practice? And tell us why it’s important.
Formless, A User’s Guide by Yve- Alain Bois and Rosalind E. Krauss is a book that has been important to my practice. This book is important because it looks at and discusses consistent trends of artists thinking about what Georges Bataille calls the ‘informe’. Not only am I interested in Georges Bataille’s ideas, but Yve- Alain Bois and Rosalind E. Krauss’ contribution to these artists and works is seemingly long over due from a historical perspective.
The more difficult art is to categorize, label, define, or name, the harder it is for the art to be marketed, sold, written about, or even canonized. However I often feel that the art that is difficult to define is often the most interesting. I regularly consider what is means to pursue the in-between as an artist. This book helped contextualize and draw attention to the long history of artists who also contended with these ideas.
All image credit: the artist