“When I got to the point that I recognized, or could say about my work that it’s multidimensional – plus add in the word experimental – I was at peace....”
More Elizabeth >> http://elizabethrileyprojects.com/
Courtney Hammond/Dashboard Co-op: How would you briefly describe yourself with regard to your art?
Elizabeth Riley: Being able to combine 2-D video media in the form of video stills, as well as other materials, and live video, has been a way for me to cross a bridge to a new time and at the same time present/offer this bridge to others through my art. As humans we live in the life of the mind and of the body, and we live inside ourselves and as a projection of ourselves in the life around us, and in an extended sense wherever the mind can go. For me the combination of materials, both material and immaterial, allows an expanded vocabulary that gives the ability to explore and push boundaries, to find new answers or responses, and to build an art practice.
When I got to the point that I recognized, or could say about my work that it’s multidimensional – plus add in the word experimental – I was at peace with the difficult thing it often is for an artist to put into words: their primary intentions.
Dash: In these multidimensional sculptures, you often use video as a base, or the focus, even if the viewer needs to search to find it. Talk to us a bit more about the importance of video usage in your work.
ER: I’ve felt myself to be a person, in some ways, unattached to history. Perhaps this is because of my specific quality of mind or perhaps because of the nature of growing up female in the era I did. Men were seen to be the makers of history and women often were excluded from this role. I carry with me the experience of much wonderful art of the past and present. This, along with stepping into the arena of video, provides new material and an open stage. Also, video itself, at least with camera in hand, is the capturing in its immediacy of the raw material of the present. There is freedom and openness in this aspect of initiating new moments.
Dash: What is your most favorite experiment of all time in the history of the world?
ER: The ever-increasing empowerment and societal change in status of women. Thanks for asking! Men are wonderful humans as well (when they are wonderful), and have accomplished incredible things, but I can’t wait to see how the world changes as women continue ever increasingly to be part of the dialogue and make new ground as decision makers.
Dash: What would you consider a failed experiment or non-success?
ER: It goes without saying that one is stimulated to new developments in work by engaging in the world, and by the amazing art, exploration, and commitment of others. Failure would be in not reaching out in the direction of all this.
Dash: How many video screens do you own?
ER: Many. Not enough.
Dash: Anything else?
ER: I was told Dash artists are encouraged to be “wild.” That’s the best, and not as common a prompt in the art world as one would expect.
"...collaboration is a sort of reckless action to relinquish some of that hard-fought control many artists protect with their lives."
More of Dave's art >> http://www.thesculpted.com/
Lee Deigaard/Dashboard Co-op: What made you decide to be an artist?
Dave Greber: In the past, I tried to be a filmmaker but I didn't like how my videos communicated within the context of other films, or even how rigidly films are consumed in a traditional theater. I'm more comfortable with how my ideas are framed within the context of fine art. Viewers can spend their own time with the work in a gallery and engage with it environmentally. Meanings are more fluid and personal; it's more like exploring "real life." Also, in a fine art setting, the viewer inherently expects that the work they are experiencing is going to expand their consciousness somehow. I love people approaching my work like that and playing with that expectation.
Dash: What's the role of collaboration in your work?
DG: For me, collaboration is a sort of reckless action to relinquish some of that hard-fought control many artists protect with their lives. To introduce an element of chance – and live by it – is fun and healthy. I need to work with people. Pretty much all of my art involves a few collaborators (formal or casual). At the very least, I have to bounce ideas off of people I trust, and take their advice, especially if they are naturally intuitive people who are not necessarily artists. I hope this keeps my level of arty-elitism relatively low.
Dash: What's a flame-haired Quaker from Philly doing in the sin-soaked den of iniquity that is New Orleans?
DG: I think you just answered your own question.
Dash: How does place and/or time inform your work?
DG: I like to be inspired by my environment like these women.
New Orleans' spirit is sparkly and scary, exuberant and tragic: like an iridescent, drunken, psychopathic Dragoness whose only priority is to celebrate every day like it's her last. I don't think my work would look the same if I started making artwork somewhere else. But at the same time, I hope my work is not too obviously regionally specific. I'm very interested in the archetypes, universals and commonalities that all cultures share.
Dash: What are the 5 commandments of Greber?
I. Stop looking for answers. You are The Answer.
II. We all have a direct connection to the source of creation. Access it regularly through art-making and all forms of psychonautic exploration.
III. If you choose to engage in our culture, remember that most of our culture is designed to blind us of commandment #1, to restrain thought and spirit, and to turn you into one of their zombie soldiers. Don't identify your self with your culture or you will forget who you are.
IV. Culture is not your enemy. It's just a highway where ideas travel. Bad ideas are like self-reproducing sports cars. Good ideas are not as fast, aerodynamic or evolutionarily successful (like a chaste monk stumbling up the interstate). To be a successful communicator in the digital age, identify and use viral ideas like a grizzly hitchhiker. Hijack the sports car and crash it into the bridge. I dont care - i luv it.
V. Be patient and don't get discouraged. Know that you will never win, and that there is nothing to win anyway. Smile :)
Dash: Do you have any advice for young artists?
DG: Don't please people by talking down to them.
Dash: What do you see as the new frontier in art?
DG: The artistic applications of augmented reality are pretty amazing. Making art unbound by the limits of physical space, budget, or institutional support: It's like the evolved form of installation art. That's the future right there, bruh.
"It is a flaw that I shouldn't ignore but I like how I see things, so I'm gonna ride this until the wheels fall off."
Frank's Art >> www.paperfrank.com
Dashboard Co-op/Romy Maloon: Can you talk about about how art history has influenced your work? How are you positioning yourself by using iconic artists like Warhol, Herring, Basquiat?
Paper Frank: I always admired how those artist were celebrities back in that renaissance period. Basquiat and Herring were young and partied a lot and knew everyone, such as I do. its just a matter of time at this point.
Dash: You mention having poor eyesight as an influence for your painting style, can you elaborate on this?
PF: I see everything as shapes and color. I'm nearsighted, but when I draw and paint it helps me see things easier, like shapes to build a picture. It is a flaw that I shouldn't ignore but I like how I see things, so I'm gonna ride this until the wheels fall off.
Dash: What art work/installation/ideas are you working on currently?
PF: I'm currently working on a few installations for Art Basel 2013 and a collaboration project with Emory, Southwest Airlines, and Forever Family, and looking forward to this Dashboard project.
"I can often begin a project with a formed idea or an assumption, but I’ve learned to quickly drop this assumption or any specific ideas as soon as possible...."
More of Chris's Art >> www.chrisofchambers.com
Craig Cameron/Dashboard Co-op: Tell me a bit about your work, your ideas, and what inspires you to make art?
Chris Chambers: I am generally compelled to make work that interacts with manufactured objects and manufactured experiences through media artifacts. This is most often in the forms of printed books, encyclopedias, magazines, VHS recordings – usually things that contain information that is obsolete or are themselves functionally obsolete. I spent a lot of time in my adolescence involved in mediated experiences (television, films, comic books, etc.) and its sort of a world to itself. Its its own environment. I’m really drawn to this, in that these things still exist in one physical form or another, but have little to no contemporary use or appeal.
Dash: When you are working on a video do you ever run into challenges such as finding the right clip, or the right sound piece? How does that affect the concept or content within your work?
CC: Whether its video images, static images, or objects, it is very, very easy to find things that are interesting in some way, whether it's just the image itself or its cultural context or its use or manipulation within whatever mediated context it originally exists in. The difficult part comes about sticking the pieces together, finding meaningful relationships (whether formal or content-wise) between objects or images. Sometimes then it becomes a lot of gentle nudging, a lot of staring, a lot of flipping through pages, a lot of skimming through footage.
Dash: Do you find a clip or piece of a video and build from that, or do you come to a project with themes and ideas already formed and it's a laborious process of finding the piece that's just right?
CC: It's usually a building out of something I've found. I can often begin a project with a formed idea or an assumption, but I’ve learned to quickly drop this assumption or any specific ideas as soon as possible, because they tend to be hindrances beyond their initial function of beginning a sort of dialog between myself and the object or media.
Dash: Do you listen to the audio of a video when you’re looking for clips to use?
CC: The audio is actually the primary aspect that I’m paying attention to. I will sometimes choose a segment of video based on whatever is going on visually, but what will most often dictate its use is the audio.
Dash: What are you working on now? Can you give us an insight int the direction that your work is heading?
CC: I have a couple of larger projects that I’m developing for early next year, one for a group show at the Zuckerman Museum in Kennesaw in April and another with Dashboard in February. I have ideas about where my work is headed but can’t really say where it is actually headed.
"We should all try to bravely overcome the mundane."
More Zopi >> http://www.babeability.com
Beth Malone/Dashboard Co-op: You're an interdisciplinary artist; which aspects of art-making get you going the most?
Zopi Kristjanson: A good idea is like a feather. You pick it up and are all "oh, that's kinda nice," but if you really look at it from multiple angles, develop it through different media and share it with others, the idea gains weight and validity. You can create entire lil’ universes like this, expressed through music, film or via your tumblr page.
My 9th grade teacher said people are much better off when they master one thing, but whatever lady, the dilettante approach works best for me. I'm just well-versed enough in a few disciplines to provide basic instructions to people with the expertise to help me fulfill my vision. Unless I'm sketching my dog on a Sunday afternoon (which I have mastered), I need others to make the real shit happen. So with the tunes, I write the lyrics and perform, but the music is made by actual musicians.
Dash: I like looking at art-making and exhibition making as an opportunity to do research on subjects and materials that I'm incredibly curious about. What types of themes and tension points are you learning about through your work?
Zopi: Well practically speaking, I'm leaving town in three weeks for a long time and maybe forever, but am dedicated to continue working with an Atlanta-based crew. I see it as an opportunity to play with my collaborative approach. I'll have several people working on a production that I'm mostly removed from and yet will hopefully maintain my artistic intentions. It'll be severe loss of control, but that's sorta exciting for me. Surprise!
Major themes I'm into are the usual suspects: Beauty,Time and Death. Did you know that Sarcophagus literally translates to “flesh-eating?”
Also, I read about 3-D printing in a magazine and it sounds neat. For the Dash show, I plan on using this new medium to play with the idea of approaching immortality through technology.
Dash: You collaborate lots. What's your role in collaborations?
ZK: I am the impresario and also originator of the basic ideas, themes and aesthetic behind the collaborations, but the work is without a doubt completely shaped by the people I'm working with. Plus, I choose people to partner with not based solely on talent or expertise, but also for personal reasons that are related to the theme of the work. So, just working with some of the folks becomes part of the piece.
Dash: Rapping is tha shit, sis. Tell us how hard it is and why you do it?
ZK: Ma-ha-han, it ain't easy. I'm a novice a.k.a. Chicka D., but I love the struggle in trying and I’m beginning to think that’s what it's all about (plus rhyme, metaphor, story-tellin’ and delivery).
You gotta put up a good fight in spite of scary obstacles. That's why a wealthy boy from Buckhead wouldn't be able to rap. But I'm from the mean streets of Dunwoody, ya heard?
Dash: You create moments of escape for your audiences; is that on purpose? If so, why do we need to slip away for a bit?
ZK: Aside from the famous and enlightened, people are mostly repressed and fearful. So, experiencing satisfied desire through fantasy or escape, especially when there’s music, women and colored lights involved, is pretty key. We should all try to bravely overcome the mundane. Just don't shoot anyone please.
Dash: Your stage presence is confidence-soaked. Is that how you are in real life? What does performing mean for you?
ZK: It’s so tricky to have any clue how you’re being perceived, but I tend to feel mostly awkward during the day, with a few moments of self-assurance here and there.
I usually create an alter-ego for the stage. It makes it so much easier to put yourself out there and give a more vulnerable, emotionally charged performance because, hey – it’s not yourself! Props to the folk-singers that can bear their hearts and true identities. That shit is scary.
Dash: Who are ya, where ya from, what ya do?
ZK: I’m Zopi Kristjanson, a.k.a ZigZagZig, born in Ottawa and raised in the A. I make tunes, videos and performance pieces with lovely ladies and a talented crew.
"I find beauty in not just the mundane, but often the dark, the unknown."
Dustin's Art >> dustinthomaschambers.com
Beth Malone/Dashboard Co-op: Do you manipulate light and subject matter to create your work or do you wait for moments of perfect storm-ness?
Dustin Chambers: I've always thought of photography as an improvisational art. In the same way that jazz musicians react and move to tempos, keys, and rhythms played by their bandmates, a photographer reacts to light, moment, and composition of a scene in the same way. To photograph a scene purely is nearly impossible. That it is being filtered through my lens presents inherent bias in my photographs, but by not physically altering scenes, the photographs can at least be purely filtered through my eye. In that sense, I’m giving a realistic sense of my personal reality.
Dash: Why photography over a time-based medium like video or narrative film?
DC: Capturing a single, perfect, all-telling moment in a photograph is much more personally rewarding. I studied film and I love film, but I’ve never been able to write a script, even a really short one. I just don’t have a mind creating fleshed-out fiction, but I like to think of myself as a collector, using my photography to collect props, characters, and scenes of my unfinished fiction.
Dash: What are you trying to capture or show the viewer through your work?
DC: I do so many different kinds of photography: journalism, editorial, commercial, fine art. Ultimately my interest lies in taking untouched reality and presenting it in a way that others might not see. I find beauty in not just the mundane, but often the dark, the unknown.
Dash: Favorite things to shoot?
DC: I think anything that I’ve never experienced before. I like weird things, situations I’d never find myself in unless I had a camera, but situations that are nonetheless completely normal to the people inhabiting them. That could be the fringes of the Vegas Strip, hair care conventions, a recording studio filled with weed smoke, desert suburbia in Utah, a civil war reenactment, a film set, or Downtown Atlanta.
Dash: People like to know what kinds of equipment our artists use. So how bout it?
DC: I’m boring. I use a Canon 5D Mark II. I want to get back into film, but isn't that what we all say? Sadly, I spend a lot of time in front of my iMac.
(Editor's Note: Dustin Chambers ain't boring.)
Dash: Who are ya, where ya from, what ya do?
DC: I am Dustin Thomas Chambers! I was born and raised in Atlanta proper and went to college at Appalachian State University. My main gig is Assistant Photo Editor/Staff Photographer at Creative Loafing. I also help direct the media production for Living Walls: The City Speaks. Aside from that I do freelance photography for The New York Times, Adult Swim, and Jezebel to name a few. I work a lot, but I love my work. So long as I keep meeting good people, seeing interesting things, and learning about the world, I’ll be doing this forever.
Dash: Anything else?
DC: Not until this year have I considered myself an artist, so while the process feels similar, the mindset is very different. And it feels good. (Editor's Note: Dope.)
“I like any space that challenges me with its benefits.”
More of Jason >> www.jasonpeters.com
Mike Black/Dashboard Co-Op: When did you decide to fully pursue art as a career?
Jason Peters: Once I applied to art college, though I still have a little way to go to fully have a full on career.
Dash: Why do you make art?
JP: Hard to say why, feels like I have too. Sometimes objects speak to me or I find them peculiar. Additionally, the space/environments I choose affect me, and give me a sense of something, but I cannot put my finger on it. To create environments that challenge perception and preconceived ideas of our surroundings and our expectations of them. I want to create work that deals with these thoughts.
I mentally draw in my mind what might work and go back and forth before building anything. I want to see what I create in my mind in the flesh. I have a sense that things might work but have to get them into this world to see if they still make sense when you can interact with the thought. Dealing with the object outside of your mind, suddenly the work takes on a life of its own too. Art for me always creates more questions to follow.
Dash: What kind of artist are you – concept-driven, process-driven, or material-driven?
JP: A sadistic-masochist. Okay, that’s a little extreme, though I feel we all have a little of both in us. I usually come up with labor-intensive ideas, which in turn are limited in time for making them or deinstalling them. Once it’s over I go back out and do it again. In the end I feel I am a problem solver to take idea, material, and process and attempt to make them sing together in the tune of my choice.
Dash: How do you choose your materials, and what is it that draws to you to the ones you choose?
JP: I am drawn to multiples for sure, things that are mass produced though very particular, as one can see looking at my work over the years. Though location and surrounding effect this too. For instance, I would of never used fluorescent tubes if I have not been in Salina, Kansas where Phillips Lighting is located, and asking them for materials. Chairs came from being surrounded by them constantly and then feeling the urge to redefine their use for something else than just sitting. I try to stay open to any materials in hope to create a bigger language in which to express myself and my work.
Dash: What is your preferred material?
JP: Any material that helps with expression and excites an idea.
Dash: Do you prefer the public or gallery setting?
JP: I like any space that challenges me with its benefits, though I might lean to public areas.
Dash: Does being a Brooklyn-based artist have an effect on your work?
JP: Not really, I feel you either like the city or you do not. It does make it easier to throw things out, and since a lot of the work I do is recycled or found, once they serve their purpose they go back to the waste/consumption stream they came from.
Dash: Do you work any non-art jobs?
JP: I make a living doing design/build and fabrication of work for artists.
Dash: As a current working artist, where do you see the art world headed? What's working and what's not?
JP: I feel now that “anything goes,” there is a little bit of a turn back to the basics and less flashy spectacle.
"I've been interested in creating images that seem to have a multiplicity of time and place."
George's Art >> www.marciawoodgallery.com
Courtney Hammond/Dashboard Co-op: You’re the owner and co-creator (alongside Jessamine Starr) of the Good Food Truck, a represented artist at the Marcia Wood Gallery, a member of Sunday Southern Art Revival and a well-accomplished art handler and fabricator. How did you find your way to such a diverse background?
George Long: StarrLong is a custom fabrication business that my wife, Jessamine Starr, and I started in 1996. The recession hit Starrlong pretty hard. So we created something new, using aspects of our other business but making sure it allowed for creativity and innovation – essentially, The Good Food Truck. Then in 2002 I started a series of gallery works called "8x8s" for my first solo show with Marcia Wood. Before that, my work consisted of temporal sculptures and atmospheric installations. Around the same time, two groups called Tindel Michi and The Brothers Tummy were scheduled to have a sort of “face off” art show, a battle of the collaborative groups. But instead we starting telling stories, bad jokes, making art and becoming the Sunday Southern Art Revival.
Dash: How does this diversity of knowledge inform your work?
GL: Ideas come first then I make choices on which material, method, and venue will best facilitate the idea.
Dash: What made you decide to recently tap into digital media?
GL: It’s been a natural progression. I wanted to be able to show small movements and sequences. I've been interested in creating images that seem to have a multiplicity of time and place.
Dash: These repetitious images, are they symbolic in any way?
GL: The boys are archetypes, they represent our experience and the birds represent potential. I like to work with what I consider loaded symbols, allowing for multiple meanings.
Dash: Which do you love more and in what order – the beach, space, men in rollerblades?
GL: The beach, rollers, space, Blade, men.
"Play makes being vulnerable more palatable."
More Andre >> https://vimeo.com/andrekeichian
Craig Cameron/Dashboard Co-op: You are a fairly recent graduate of Agnes Scott College; how was your experience there and how did it help you develop as an artist?
Andre Keichian: My experience at Agnes Scott was wonderful. There, I was able to consider the issues so pertinent to my artwork through a liberal arts education –blending critical questions from the humanities with my studio practice. The art department was comprised of a faculty of five women, all of whom were inspirational teachers. The department was small, but theoretically strong, and it fostered the conceptual basis of my art. Because it was small, I had to learn to be a resourceful artist.
Dash: I understand you create work based on identity, issues that are personal through a playful means, and I’m wondering if you could expand upon that notion of playfulness in your work. Is it tool of access or means to create work, to get you where you need to be, or does it carry more meaning within the context of your work?
AK: The playful element of my work permeates both the content and process of my art making. I like to use play in conjunction with the more serious aspects of identity that I explore in my aesthetics. Play makes being vulnerable more palatable. It also renders intense experience more accessible. In particular, I think play is integral to queer life. Queers know how to live in and relish the ludic, as a form of survival.
Dash: Your video and performative work has a communal or collaborative point of view, do you try to make work about your identity or a larger societal identity? Does it transition from one the other?
AK: For me, my work has been radically influenced by feminist performance art and installation. So I find my identity, and really any identity, to be inextricably bound up with larger sociopolitical contexts. Working collaboratively only strengthens the connection that exists between the individual and collective. In the past, my art has been pushed both formally and conceptually through collaboration with others in my artistic and social communities. Presently, collaboration takes form through installation.
Dash: Do you ever come across situations where you have difficulty defining the line between you and your work?
AK: Because I expose myself, my body, and my history, I do often feel vulnerable in my artistic practice. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But the aesthetic medium, often through video, creates a place of distance that enables me to do things that I otherwise wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in person. I like the indeterminacy of being exposed and, at the same time, being distanced from my art. The mediums I choose afford me a safe place to explore myself as an abstraction.
Dash: Do you reach into your past for themes, subjects, and inspiration? Do you make work based on things you’re experience now, or is it a combination of both?
AK: I think that our lives are an ongoing palimpsest. So I often feel the weight of my personal history as motivation for ideation and for the conceptual framework that often precedes my studio practice. I use my art as a process that helps me to aestheticize my own negotiation of where I am, where I have been, and where I would like to go.
Dash: With a given project or piece of art, do you know if its going to be a video, performance, or body of photographs? Does you start with one and maybe see ,through trial and error, that another format would address it better?
AK: For the past five years, I’ve been formally committed to exploring video. That has taken the form of video as performance, as improvisation, and as one-take documentation. Lately, I’ve been more focused on installation—on thinking of how to expand video beyond its conventions. So this phase has been incredibly “trial and error.” And I’ve found it to be fascinating how much I’ve been able to transform my practice through giving myself over to repeatedly trying to capture what I’ve done in the video as a photograph rendered with my own brushstrokes of silver-gelatin emulsion.
"...performance came to mind as a replacement for my former use of machines."
More Martha >> http://www.marthawhittington.com/
Dashboard Co-op/Craig Cameron: Tell us about yourself, where you’re from, and how you came to Atlanta.
Martha Whittington: I was born in Gainesville, Florida. My family were corporate gypsies, moving every few years following the electronics industry. I lived in Philadelphia for a few years after graduate school, but then returned to Georgia due to an illness in my family (a Southern daughter's duty).
Dash: Tell us a bit about your work and how your work changed or progressed over the course of your career to this point?
MW: During graduate school at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, my work moved from purely formal and processed-based installations to kinetic, immersive environments using the technology of the time (old school analog). I learned that when you motorize something, everyone thinks it's great. During my working artist project exhibition preparation, I decided to challenge myself, remove the machines, and see whether the work could stand alone and manipulate and activate the space without the use of motors. In investigating the industrial revolution when labor transitioned from hand crafts to machines, performance came to mind as a replacement for my former use of machines.
Dash: Your work brings attention to the methodical means of process and labor, when did your fascination or appreciation for that begin?
MW: Having been raised in an upper middle class family, in my rebellious nature I sought out jobs below our "social standing" rather as an act of defiance. I have painted creasote onto fences in the burning sun, cleaned toilets at Epcot, cut three acres of grass with a weed whacker, and much more. Hard physical labor which seems endless is nonetheless meditative and challenging, almost devoid of intellectual analysis. This is the fascination.
Dash: How do you maintain an active studio practice?
MW: In between naps.
Dash: Where do you draw inspiration from?
MW: I will notice something like an object, a tool or a device that I had not noticed before. I will research it and will find out everything about it. I will find a story, a history, or an antiquated manual on how to make something. Right now I am using a 1940 boy's book by Popular Mechanics. In this way, I find simple yet intricate ways to make things.
“I embrace play. There's a 'letting go' in my practice with materials”
More of Kevin's Art >> hello.kevinbyrd.com/
Craig Cameron/Dashboard Co-op: Tell us about yourself, your work and how to came to start creating artwork.
Kevin Byrd: I went to school for architecture, and have done design and art direction for much of professional career. A passing trip through Marfa, Texas exposed me to the work of Donald Judd, John Chamberlain, and Dan Flavin. Their ideas about site-specific art, materials, and production methods ignited my imagination and passion for art. Their influence ultimately became a leaping-off point to exploration in emerging production methods around laser-cutting and 3-D printing.
Dash: I’m interested in learning about the materials you use. How did you came to discover them and are they connected to your background?
KB: I've been working with a number of different types of plastics, acrylic and urethane lately, but wood, other household elements, and industrial materials are definitely at the core. I came across urethane through knowing and working with industrial designers. It's primarily used in industrial roto-molding. Moving between mediums has always fascinated me too. I think you can learn something from working in one medium that can then inform another. This multidisciplinary approach comes from my time in design and architecture.
Dash: Your works seems to be material driven and about your experiences using and those elements. How does this play into your overall endeavors or artistic intent?
KB: I generally avoid metaphor. Material is the narrative. It's pictorial. My curiosity in industrial materials, geometry, and construction details have informed much of my work.
Dash: Your work is minimal and clean. Is this an aesthetic choice or does it play a larger role in what you are intending to convey?
KB: In reduction there's a truth uncovered. It's probably my modernist background at work :)
Dash: I’m interested in learning how much control you relinquish with your work to allow for experimentation.
KB: I embrace play. There's a "letting go" in my practice with materials, where absolute author control is given away. You become open to the material having its own say-so. The serendipitous nature of this process creates work that has unexpected results. Much of it fails. I try to embrace these failures and iterate. For me, pursuing art has meant un-learning design, freeing oneself from utility and precision and planning in many cases. Knowing when to let go, and having the fearlessness to try something new is difficult, but ultimately I find it pushes the work forward.
Dash: Can you discuss your interest or perspective on creating in a collaborative atmosphere?
KB: I bring the same openness to collaboration as I do to my art making. There's a peace you must commit to – that working with other great minds can lead to unexpected results. Sometimes it's not pretty, but sometimes it's greater than you could have ever imagined. I let go of my ego, and become open to learning through others, responding to their insight and work. I try to release preconceived outcomes. It's hard, but I'm learning. Someone mentioned to me once that when artists collaborate, there's a new artist that's created that may be blend of identities or it may be a new identity all together. I think that rings true.
"I have a strong opinion because I care so much. I'm a blue collar girl from Detroit"
More of Lindsey's Art >> www.lindseyawolkowicz.com
Erica Wilson/Dashboard Co-Op: Drawings vs. objects?
Lindsey Wolkowicz: The drawing is the core of everything; of my process it's the thing that has developed the most. It has time, energy, education. But there are things that drawing can't do. When I was younger I was trying to make the drawings do everything – then they’d fall apart. The expectations of these drawing exceed their capacity – as drawings. They’d then smash into bits; they would become overloaded, bloated, cement; they stopped breathing because there was just too much weighing on them.
This is where the objects come in. I feel confident at making objects, but also a bit naive. They are less graceful than my drawings. This allows me to have some innocence and some play, allowing the child to come out. The drawings have just gone too far for me to be innocent or naive about them. I'm too educated about it. I have too many rules, too high of expectations. My relationship to drawing is too complicated to just let it be fun or play. Whereas I feel that I know less about making objects so it can have that openness to it. It can fuck up and that's okay…. the drawing isn't allowed to fuck up anymore.
Dash: Now the work with Dillion (Dillon Paul), the performance work?
LW: Coming from a performance background - you're taught to send everything outward. You're taught to consider your audiences' experience before you're taught to consider your own. You’re creating an experience for them that is generally multidimensional. There is sound and space and movements; it's not a singular experience.
As a painter you're taught to grab everything and pull it inward into your own little space and resolve it all by yourself, without input from anybody. Yes, you have conversations with others but it's still your job to resolve it. Ultimately, with performance, even if you are on the stage alone, there are these other components - a collaborative element is a must
Whether we like it or not, as painters, we are self-satisfying. Yes, we do consider the audience when resolving particular issues –does this do what I need it to? Is it translatable? Is it clear and concise? Is it whatever? But once we hang it on the clean white wall in a gallery we are saying, “This is resolved, talk amongst yourselves."
A performer is out there performing and they are getting whatever back at the exact same time they are executing. With Dillion, I'm a stubborn ass and I am very much a formalist in a lot of ways. There are a lot of rules in my work, I love rules. The moment something moves outside of what I feel is successful I'm a hawk about it, circling looking for the solution.
Dillion's process is often a mirror of mine – she is seeing the same thing but from a very different perspective and it's healthy for me. I respect it. She can help me be grounded in so many ways, and she is one of the few that can. We have a similar history in the way we think about and approach the work but we do have different ways of approaching the same ideas. This performance with Dillion has allowed me to make work that I otherwise couldn't make on my own. It has allowed me to take the figure outside of my work and it becomes something that I couldn't necessarily control in the same way.
The lack of control has been a relief. There are surprises; things I wouldn't do in a million years if I was in control.
Dash: In the drawings I recognize the feet. I have seen those feet in your performance stills.
LW: In the drawings, Dillion has been the primary figure for years. She has Rodan feet – strong feet. She is incredibly feminine yet the musculature of her figure from dancing allows a certain amount of androgyny. It's this very strong body that is feminine - but it's not about being a woman, or a woman's body. I create the environments and she reacts to them. Dillion's approach to performance is often about the mechanics the engineering of it. Can I put weight on this? How much? Strength vs subtly; it's an experiment constantly finding boundaries.
Dash: So how do all of these approaches come into play with your overall process?
LW: When I make things, they come about in groups. Different facets of the same thought in a way they are meant to be together. It's not always possible but I take a thought, an idea, to a place of conclusion then I'm done with it. Then there is a gathering time and a new texture or thought that I need to follow to its conclusion. It's a new relationship and you take it all the way through. I do like that feeling of I've seen it all the way through, I'm done. I like the feeling of being done. It keeps me from feeling like I'm recycling ideas - I feel satisfied I can let this go and move on to the next thing.
Dash: Art school, Yay or nay?
LW: If you choose to go to art school, be ready. You're making a choice to engage in something that has long history, social and critical history. If you want to step in the ring, bring your gloves and be ready to fight. But in the same sense if you choose not to step in the ring, I'm not going to hit you. Next to my family, my work is the most valuable thing in my life, so you want to throw around that you have education about art, then be ready to go - bring it!
Dash: If you could be an intimate object for one day what would it be?
LW: A rock 'n' roll guitar or ... no wait, a SPOON!