Ask the Artist #4
Q: Your work usually has violent/morbid overtones, with nasty things always about to happen or having just happened, but it’s all self-referential…what have you got against yourself? Or is this some form of reverse voodoo? Or does somebody need a hug? (stereotype of the artist as depressive/self destructive, angst ridden loner…is this why you work in multiples? So you are not alone?)
Lots of lil’ questions shot out in concession…RAT-A-TAT-TAT.
I will answer them in order.
I agree with you on the violence and morbidity, but I must disagree with you on “nasty things [are] always about to happen or have just happened.” Most of the time, yes. Sometimes, no. I’m thinking of Jurassic Measures (where the “nasty” is self-protective), Five O’Clock Nancy, and Reductum Absurdum from the Slim Shady series.
Yes, the pieces all wear my face and the work is most certainly self-referential. Is this because I have something against myself? Hmm…well, I am prone to bouts of unhealthy self-hate, but the work is more like epileptic fits of frustration directed toward external forces that relentlessly insist that I (and everyone) be a certain way. To employ an overused colloquialism, a square peg being made to fit into a round hole. For me, the work is about being malleable, but the control or power of this not always being within one’s own agency. I use myself ‘cuz it’s cheaper than hiring a model, ‘cuz I can give myself permission to use my likeness in any way I want, and ‘cuz I’m a narcissist.
It is not so much a “form of reverse voodoo” as it is an exorcism (which explains the episodes of screaming, thrashing, head spinning, and gallons of green bile projectiled out of my mouth on occasion when I’m in the studio).
“Somebody” always needs a hug – don’t we all? Personally, I would like to be hugged by Canada Council.
I work in multiples because there are way too many tangents worth exploring to make only one of something. Like alternate universes, the pieces are alternate identities, alternate situations. Wanting to make more of me so I wasn’t alone wasn’t a conscious consideration, but hey, who doesn’t want their own, personal cult following of beings created in their own image?
Good questions – any more out there? The queue is officially empty now – don’t be shy.