Three Questions : Three Answers

Omri Harmelin

Why do you make art?

 

It is an inner impulse, which involves a lot of fun, pain, joy and sorrow. I think this is why I started making art. Why I keep doing it? Because it’s surprises me and I like that feeling, plus I can’t imagine doing something else.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I believe artists are sensitive to the time and place that they are living in and respond throw art making. In my personal opinion in it’s best  that response shake the ground you are used to stand on, making you feel or think.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I think that was answered in the ״strange times״ question. We live a bit off course right now and it’s to soon for me to try and characterize it.

Oleg Tistol

Why do you make art?

 

Most of the children draw a lot, but when they grow up, they give it up … I never quit.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art generally makes life meaningful, and how to live without it I will never know.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I really enjoyed all the 59 years of my life.

Paulo Arraiano

Why do you make art?

 

Art act as a visual seismographer, measuring waves of social, cultural, and natural paradigms. In my own personal research, I focus on a triangle that engages both the body, landscape and technology, raising questions on climate change, biosphere, extinction, trans humanism, and Anthropocene. Also quite interested in the relationship between the limits of myth, reality, magic, spirituality, and science. In my own practice, I use both natural and synthetic elements (that, in the end, come from the same source). Organic vs digital, matter vs non-matter.  From found footage to filming or collecting objects underwater, volcanos, or different landscape scenarios, using soil, plants, and living matter combined with synthetic elements, digital imagery, or holograms, transcending material limitations and creating a dialogue or conflict in space raising questions on the issues mentioned above.

In my research, I’m looking and questioning a contemporary context that some may call 4th revolution (Klaus Schwab) referring to a new digital paradigm and transition to a moment in time with the presence of super intelligence, IA; biotech; nanotech and other elements that will transform nature, society, and reality as we know it. Since we are becoming spectators of a precise moment where science fiction is now becoming science facts. Swiping reality, scrolling through daily life we are experiencing an age of technologic and biologic exponential change and a new DNA and sensorial revolution. We may arrive at a place that we shall decide what is the machine and what is human, which has already started. Supercomputers that we call now smartphones, used as external prostheses that guide us and control our daily existence through artificial satellites leading us into a techno-dematerialization lifestyle and that in the future could integrate or not our physical body. This body, as well as landscape as a playground for atoms and molecules, will transform into a new physical and even spiritual paradigm. All this affects the biosphere, our climate our planet, our species. We are living right now with climate change, pandemic viruses, and facing questions regarding the extinction of our species or planet, using reality emulators to communicate and survive, uploading our ideas and ourselves to the cloud reaching for #digitalimmortality.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

On Raising questions… an exhibition works somehow as geographical acupuncture, bringing cells together to pay attention to a specific point a specific question or paradigm.  Using both visual and conceptual language simply makes us think and questions us about our current reality.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The natural is in crisis … Ignorance is one of the greatest dangers of humankind. It is the moment when, instead of creating borders, thinking individually, or simply ignoring what is happening with our planet, a living organism that reacts to consecutively threats, ignoring its healing power, regeneration, response, or revolution, we should rethink our condition as species.

This situation is a reflection of anthropocentrism, humankind is facing the effects of the Anthropocene, of the lack of concern with others and with this planet and, it’s a simple reaction to such continuous aggression. Nature takes over and keeps growing out there. Regenerating, taking care of itself. We are all part of this historic moment when we all have an active role in taking care of ourselves, of others, and of this incredible living being that we inhabit. Time to respect ourselves, others, species, plants, time… Time for Kairos. And, on the contrary of what has been demanded – to act – now is the time to Practice *The Art of Standing Still. Taking deeply care of yourself, others, and the ecosystem.

That is the appeal of this organism, to rethink beyond our navel, our economic system, the systems that we were culturally educated, or even forced to follow. Conditions or experiences are not discussed here, but survival. Our species is threatened as a result of its own actions to ourselves and to this planet. And we either ignore to the point of having to isolate ourselves and take drastic measures worthy of a sci-fi movie or even face the extinction of our species or we come together with this living organism and transform, stop, reconnect and alternate the paradigm in which our lives have based on.  In this period we are already facing the results of this new paradigm… the need to stop…less consumerism, being home with the ones we love, less pollution, more time to think, read, meditate, more attention and respect to our body and our immunity system, more attention to the ones we love, more respect to touch…

Lucien Dulfan

Why do you make art?

 

When I make art, paint a picture, do a sculpture, write a literary work, I am guided by INTUITION on the basis of conscious MOTIVATION.

A few words about my path, my creative experience over 65 years.

After graduating from the ART College, which received a wonderful ACADEMIC education, from 1963 to 1977, I lived like Sakya Muni, like Buddha.

I worked, became recognized as an artist. Received the biggest PRIZES, participated in the Biennale in Paris, Berlin, in Dusseldorf, had more than a hundred exhibitions in Russia and abroad.

In 1977 I found out about the conscious PASSING of a close friend of mine, twenty years older than me!

It was a SHOCK for me!

The death of my friend, one of the most educated people, he knew all European languages, made me ask myself, “Who are you? Romantic?” – And I was terrified!

I have not worked for a long time. I was thinking: “Who are you? Why do you live on the Earth?”

Just like Sakya Muni-Buddha – I’ve got the answer.

Being a Holocaust victim, I escaped death as I was born in evacuation ..

Born as Jesus (not in a stable), but in YURTA, in a distant, wonderful country – KYRGYZSTAN.

In the House of Creativity I met wonderful artists, friends from Central Asia – INTELLECTUALS, smart people, men of great depth, unencumbered by ART MARKET, ART BAZAR!

Later in Moscow, in the city where the GENE POOL was still preserved, other people were living: artists, writers, musicians, I met most of them and made friends with them…

In the famous book ”FROM THE ARCHIPELAGUS TO PUBLICITY” the name of Lucien Dulfan is mentioned many times. In the section “RELIGION”, which refers to the proximity to O. Tselkov, that is to say about my interest in the Old and New Testaments, as the latest achievements of mankind for the last 3, 4 thousand years of monotheism.

MY FRIEND’S PASSING made me scream loudly! ABOUT DEMONS, DEVILS, dropping monuments!

In the Odessa Museum there is a wonderful work by Michelangelo Caravaggio “ARREST”’ or “TAKING THE CHRIST”! The culmination of the arrest of God-Man Jesus Christ. Since 1977, I have made more than 200 artworks on the theme “KISS”, “ARREST”, devoting these 200 works to my deceased friend.

My idea is “JUDAS KISS”, “ARREST” – the arrest of the innocent is underway!

Having lived in New York for 30 years, I gained a huge life experience! Received invaluable INFORMATION about art, about life. And became more aware of my MOTIVATIONS.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Did my idea suddenly find an interesting angle?

The heroes of my latest works are HOMELESS, they don’t have a roof over their heads, they live without a real-world DOME, they exist under the sky, the sun, the moon – under the Сanopy of Heaven. Defenseless, physically weak.

There is a kind of adjudgments – to put under “HOUSE ARREST”!

The real-world house is the place of DETENTION, without the right to go outside, without the right to communicate!

It turns out that people under the CROWN VIRUS, which sweep the inhabitants of the EARTH, made them live in closed HOUSES!

So they turned out to be homeless! All living humans on the EARTH are homeless!

Will the inhabitants of the Earth hang a picture on the WALL, that doesn’t EXIST? Or put sculptures on

NON-EXISTING AREAS? ..

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The time we live in? The time that belongs to a “HOMELESS DRIVER… THE CAR, THAT HE DRIVES STILL”

And the artist LIVES CONSTANTLY in “STRANGE TIME”’ – regardless of war, plague, coronavirus…TIME is ALWAYS “STRANGE” for those who are looking deep into ONESELVES!

Canvases, that are found, wood and plywood, any materials, that can be of any use for artworks – do these things GIVE A HINT to the artist what to do? How to enter a temporal TIME?

As a case in point: I have found large plywood sheets, TESLA cars were packed in it.

On the top of it there is a message “DRIVE SLOWLY” – I thought, “ISN’T IT SWEET?”

Once I saw an artist, he was sitting on the ground and he was drawing something under a spring rain. Madly [devotedly], absent-minded, he was drawing with chalks.

I asked if I may take the photo. Silence. He kept drawing. I took a photo.

That “DRIVE SLOWLY” is right on point! “This HOMELESS is my DRIVER!”

It took me six months to implement the idea of ​​a HOMELESS DRIVER!

The first big work is TRIPTYCH. Very sophisticated collage. Made of the many multicolored black-brown-bright-colored pieces of plywood, all the figures are pierced by hundreds of black pieces of wooden nails! Like a wild creature! Namely WILD! CREATURE!

On the left on the triptych – on a large plywood sheet lies our TESLA driver.

He is covered with the American flag, a dog has perched on his feet. A huge pile of hair, headphones between the hair. Above him, riders on motorcycles bailing out are carved on plywood.

There are many, many cans of beer under him. Beer cans imitation is like a DREAM of a free man! DREAM with music, half-drunk, happy, CAREFUL!

The central figure is an African … pierced by nails, (nails are the symbol of FERTILITY and JURISPRIENCE) and a PLANE with a big eye, that flies through a hole in the stomach … The figure is moving with dancing motion.

The right side of the triptych ends with a figure with a belly full of ELECTRONICS parts, they are covered with white ribs, the figure glides on the BOARD, on the top there is a huge UMBRELLA from paper drawings of female hands covered with HENNA – DESIGN from books – recommendations on how to apply HENNA to female hands, feet before a wedding.

Another work from the HOMELESS SERIES is a lying figure TATTED-UP. There’s a bucket on his head. The homeless man is sleeping, and as night DREAMS long figures, sculptures of African dreams are coming out of him.

In the image of the third magic figure of the HOMELESS, the FIRE is used! It is burned around circles!

The figure of “Leonardo da VINCI’s MAN, in the CIRCLE”

Below there is an inscription that goes from RIGHT to LEFT, as Leonardo Da Vinci wrote!

– “A HOMELESS ARTIST LUCIANO DULFANO DA VINCI!”

The collage on plywood is large in size 72 x 72 inches ….

The total number of works on plywood is about twenty. Large sizes, average 42 x 72 ” inches.

EVERYDAY! EVERY HOUR! EVERY MINUTE …. is STRANGE!

All people look closely at: life! Study! Wedding! Wealth! Fortune! Success!

They live in ORDINARY time and wait for IMPROVEMENT OF TIME! Tomorrow will be better!

They do not wait for this STRANGE TIME, they live in it! Every minute, living with MOTIVATION, with IDEA, with DREAM, with LOVE, with ANGER to injustice, to evil, to racial, national inequality!

But the artist, poet, writer, musician, composer … constantly live in STRANGE TIME!

For the first time in the world, THE WORLD RECOGNIZED ITS FRAGILITY!

Even two world wars did not hit absolutely the whole world! All five continents!

Now totally the people of the world are talking at a distance of two meters! Wearing masks! There are no wars on all five continents, only one news, one interest: CORONAVIRUS!

This powerlessness can strengthen humanity. To create a more harmonious world, more convenient for CHANGED LIFE! More serious, human, mundane MOTIVATIONS of life will appear.

Noriko Okaku

Why do you make art?

 

It is searching for new languages to share ideas. For example, I am interested in visualizing invisibility – It is about suggesting various possibilities of ways of perceptions.  I imagine the thing is rather straightforward. Art is just an outcome of what I get after filtering my individualized interpretation of reality that I gained through my personal history. I believe it also happens to every person anyway. Everybody has their original interpretation filters. Making art is the law of nature. You live, so you breathe in and exhale ‘Art.’

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I believe art suggests other possibilities of perceiving the world – Sharing and exchanging the various interpretations means that art can help us to expand and reveal new viewpoints. I have read the human brain feel less stressed by being instructed what to do, so gaining more choices can be a disturbing thing for humans – as it could mean there is no definite answer. However, I want to believe knowing of we have options to choose and responsible for the autonomic decision is one of the exciting mechanisms that we can equip with as a human being, living in the society. 

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Now, we are in the time of realizing the world we were living in was highly materialistic, fast, and overwhelming. Definitely, we are evolving from going through COVID-19 pandemic experience.

Pedro Matos

Why do you make art?

 

Making art is first and foremost a personal and creative process of research, questioning, suggesting, creating, and understanding the world. Everything else is a byproduct of that process.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

In my own life it helps me to deal with everything else. For a possible audience I don’t know, but art and culture in general are part of what makes us humans and of what makes our society. The questions we ask and possibilities we create are what will shape both our physical world and also our inner experience of it. There are many kinds of art and I guess they can serve many purposes for many different people.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

A very difficult one where the whole world is trying to deal with an unprecedented pandemic and all the ripple effects it will create socially, politically and economically. It is very sad to see people dying and suffering. I have also seen a lot of kindness, altruism and innovation taking place. I hope we all can focus more on the bright side of humanity and head towards better times.

Nikita Storozhkov

Why do you make art?

 

At first, it was entertainment that I began to develop – and I’ve been doing it for ten years now. I have space graphics of unearthly origin. In my works I use ancient fonts, transforming and modernizing a long-standing culture so that our time coincides with the past. Our generation must know and remember their ancestors. We cannot forget about them.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

It’s impossible to live without art. We live for the sake of art and love – the love of life, people, animals, the Earth. Art shows that we are alive.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Renaissance, Second age.

Philip Loersch

Why do you make art?

 

To provide humanity with interesting things.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

It can change everything. Really.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

In the moment it feels like behind a mask.

Nik Ramage

Why do you make art?

 

To process the world and satisfy my hands.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can feed the inner part of people; the soul even. It can nourish the intellect and speak to the heart: it might appeal to the mind or it might be more instinctive, beyond understanding. We talk about emotions in our heart, our stomach, our gut. I don’t think that’s biologically accurate but we’re talking about our inner self. Art is a different language, a different type of information to the more structured, intellectual ways of communicating and thinking that we use elsewhere in life. If enough people react to art, it can initiate small changes in society.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We are social creatures, so ’social distancing’ has an odd effect on us. Our fellow wo/men are inadvertently malign. We are atomised, separated into small units or individuals. It is too current to be able to get an idea of what the effect will be. But right now, it’s strange.

Mykola Matsenko

Why do you make art?

 

I’m afraid that trying to explain why I’m making art might lead to abandoning this irrational occupation. So, it’s better not to dig deep lest we lose an interesting time and a livelihood.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Many people think that art exists to decorate life, that it is such a funny wallpaper on the wall. Art is not the wallpaper, it is actually the wall, or maybe even the foundation. After all, it is the culture that is the basis of civilization. And when Chronos tears down the wallpaper of material vanity, and only the “sphinxes” and “pyramids” remain, then it becomes clear from a historical distance what change art can bring to life.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We live in the best time that has ever been in the history of our civilization. The vast majority of humanity has never lived in such safety, satiety, and health.

David Baskin

Why do you make art?

 

I make art to help me find my place in the world and to help me find what I need to say.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Below is a tweet from the former US Ambassador to the United Nations. She is questioning why funding for the arts was included in the stimulus bill passed by congress amid the coronavirus crisis.
These are the items included in the stimulus bill:
$75 mill for public television/radio
$25 mil for the Kennedy Center
$75 mil for the Natl Endowment for the Arts
$75 mill for the Natl Endowment for the Humanities
How many more people could have been helped with this money?
A society gets the art it deserves. If the means of support for the arts are taken away then the influence that art has on society will be known.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Unstable. We are not only experiencing a global pandemic but also dealing with the existential threat of climate change and nuclear weapons. It’s the big things that define an era.

Hannah Hallermann

Why do you make art?

 

My job here on Earth is just to be a human being and seek to become more human day by day, through engaging in the field of art.

One aspect that fuels my work is the effect of different starting conditions in life and whom meritocracy favors. I am shocked, yet not surprised, to see how the crisis has hit the poorest among us the hardest.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I feel we placate our own morality through assumed gestures of thanks, like clapping and singing out of the window.  Instead, I would like to witness that compassion redirected towards reshaping our values and social structures, in order to actually make a difference which would truly honor these people in the long run: laws changed where they protect the unprotected, governments stopping their cutting of “nonessential” line items in times of stability, paychecks increased to accurately reflect their immense contribution to our lives and maybe even introduce the Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen Basic Income Guarantee to create a safety net in times like this.

Let the fever of this disease further transformation.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

It’s hard to say how I perceive the surreal time of the pandemic as an artist.

The virus at this point is still a wild mystery to me, and the process of trying to make sense of it is complex and sensitive. Juggling the social, economic, ethical and spiritual questions all at once is crucial in trying to gain perspective.

Lynda Draper

Why do you make art?

 

Making Art can take you outside of yourself, there is a distortion of time and you can get lost in the moment.  It can alleviate anxiety and mediate a sense of loss and change. I work predominately with the ceramic medium for I am drawn to its tactile qualities, its ability to be adapted in so many different ways, the alchemy of the process and the surprises it can bring. There is always part of the process that is out of your control often giving rise to great expectations, wonder and sometimes disappointment.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can cross divides and bring us together, we can gain insights into other cultures, history and present -day realities. Art can provide physical and emotional comfort, contributing to our mental well- being, it can take us outside ourselves and also inform us about the world around us. The creative act is an intrinsic part of being human, thinking in alternative ways has led to new ways of being and inventions that have impacted life in both positive and negative ways.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

A time of change, part of a cycle, nature’s way. The consequence of the overexploitation of natural resources.

Samuel Jablon

Why do you make art?

 

It’s always made sense to me. 

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

It’s a relief and an outlet.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in? 

 

Chaotic.

Anders Krisar

Why do you make art?

 

It is my therapy.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

It can help one understand oneself.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Unstable.

Marina Skugareva

Why do you make art?

 

I’ve been into art environment since childhood and so art became part of my nature, whether I do it or not. I just love art, especially as an audience.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art literally affects everything in the world, it’s part of it, and everything in the world affects everything.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Good time. It could have been better or worse – but there could have been nothing at all.

Andriy Sagaidakovsky

Why do you make art?

 

It’s hard to answer. At the same time, I can’t imagine doing something else in my life.

I’ll be engaged in art so far as I’m interested in making it. I will quit as soon as it loses my interest.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art is not able to impact life and make any changes. Otherwise we would be living in a wonderful world.

Politics, that is “art”: information, fake news – this is what influences and controls our lives.

Art generally has no function. This is a personal matter of those who are engaged in making art, and those who are delighted looking at this art. A person sees what he wants to see.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Each generation lives in strange times. If you don’t notice it, then you are thoughtless. I have to admit that the perception of every strange time differs for different generations. No matter what generation you belong to, if you are bored of living, there is nothing to do with it.

Aljoscha

Why do you make art?

 

“Why?”, itself is generally teleological question and I suppose there is no possible firm answer on it. As we are the biological processes there might be an endless variety of the answers at each second. The most suitable right here right now might be: I am the artist because I am self-reflecting biological game.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Of course, any. Depending on what kind of social impact was implemented in it. I do prefer to work on art with philosophical content which could turn me into something else.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We are living in the most wonderful time ever. Because there is no other time at all.

Sergei Sviatchenko

Why do you make art?

 

It’s an opportunity to understand others through self-awareness.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

To unite people in the search for aesthetic harmony.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Changed summer time.

In winter eyes and hands.

Changing this time.

Time is peace and fear.

The sun and the night.

That time when you lied, forgave yourself and walked.

Birgit Bjerre

Why do you make art?

 

Actually I am not quite sure why. The state I get into when I do art is addictive. When I am in the “flowzone” I benefit from a greater source of inspiration which I do not quite understand. It is like when you meet a fox in the woods and you have eye contact, for a short moment everything stops and you are careful not to spoil the moment. Concentration and not thinking is treasurous. Besides, I am of course in art for the money. I am so good at what I do and it makes me feel very proud, it has taken me years to dare to say this.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can make us feel less alone. When I read books, experience art, hear a voice, I feel less alone. In that sense art is a great force, and it nourish great movements of people and make them come together as humans. It can give us political awareness and consciousness about what and who we are. Art does not have to be a tool with a certain goal or one correct reading, it can have no logic whatsoever, but sharing it can make us feel less alone.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

If the human behaviour on Earth had an age it would be middle-aged. The age when you become aware that you cannot stay young and stupid forever and that you are going to die.  Then you start exercising, but most of the damages are irreparable. You can no longer make the excuse that you do not know things, your surroundings are tired of hearing about your body issues, and your kids beg you to take care of yourself. You claim you are changing your habits, but actually you only bought running shoes. The human population of the earth is a middle-aged stupid man in bad shape. He is possessed with new gadgets and it is difficult for him to change his habits. I am afraid a pandemic will not change this. However, there is hope. I think the world is getting wiser. It is hard to detect this at the moment, but I just sense it.

Guillermo Mora

Why do you make art?

 

I’m interested in the double side of things, and therefore the double readings. Art is a medium that allows us to work perfectly with dualities, dichotomies, and contradictions.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Changing the order of things can completely change the way you understand them. That’s what art can make to life.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Borders and screens.

Fernando Moletta

Why do you make art?

 

I believe that making art is a very political act. And we must use this in a very careful, well thought out and articulate way. In this sense, I make art to express my thoughts about the current condition between chaos, euphoria and fervor that the current society lives.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

This question is very delicate. I don’t believe that art itself can change a lot, it is already inserted in a socio-economic context that is very distant from social reality, but it also has the strength to express itself in different layers and contexts.

So, I believe that art together with other social initiatives can help to change the way we think about reality, our social and economic relations. But only the real politics made in the day-to-day, in the streets that can change something.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Well, today, April 7, 2020, we are facing a global epidemic, which is a very different situation because we never imagined living locked up at home (although in the past they have already alerted us to the possibility of a new pandemic). This difficulty of living only at home is a real psychic struggle, as we are totally sociable beings who depend on each other to live in harmony.

So, in order to minimize the mental problems that may arise during this period, I believe that it is a time to live and think only in the present, because the future does not exist anymore.

Besides that, we are already living in a strange time, as modernity was formed around efficiency and dynamism impersonal in the face of imitation of mechanized rhythms. Unfortunately, there is a generalized leveling of all people, transformed into indistinct objects of the same mass expropriation of time and praxis.

After this pandemic, I hope that we can find conscious observations about the failed attempt to understand the present and project the future through the past, so that we can strip off all the obedient control characterized in self-performance.

Alex Yudzon

Why do you make art?

 

There is something magical about creativity, I make art to experience that and to share it as best I can.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art helps to broaden the dimensions of what is possible in ways that math and science can not.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I think we are living at a time of great revulsion and cautious hope. Revulsion at what we have done with the world, of where politics and economics has brought us and the impossibility of continuing down this path. On the other hand, this desperate situation has forced people to realize that external stimulation does not lead to personal fulfilment and this has begun a process of collective value reevaluation. It appears that this process is slowly gaining momentum and so there is reason for cautious hope.

Janessa Clark

Why do you make art?

 

I am fascinated and mesmerized by the wisdom of the human body and my art is a way to express that. 

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I don’t think I could endure a world bereft of art. Art making, for me, creates the only trustworthy documentation and archive of lived experience. No matter the state of isolation or detachment we have to live in, we are never truly alone when we behold art, I think that some may refer to that as grace.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in? 

 

There is something stripped down and bare about this current moment, and at the same time, the proliferation of media and information is both saturation and celebration. A dear friend has referred to our current era as living ‘in between ice ages’. I like that…we are in the thaw and reawakening to things we haven’t previously made time for. It feels ripe, stark, like the perfect moment to create, but it’s also irreverent, motley, cruel, and heartbreaking. 

Jofroi Amaral

Why do you make art?

 

When I begin to paint, I know I will fail. But that is the process. I have to accept it. There is a lot to learn from failure.

While I am painting, my whole brain and energy are focused on managing failure. Trying to handle it the best I can.

While I am painting, I try to escape aesthetic consideration. This too is a failure. The human eye has the tendency to find beauty and balance in everything. So, it is a Sisyphean task, something impossible. I do it anyway, I want to learn something about myself and others.

Anyone can understand the process of failure and learn something from it. I think failing is something generous.

Failing also means to accept being like everyone else, not being special. The quest for art is not originality or creating something new or something special. Art is doing what humans do because they are humans: Playing with paradigmatic archetypes, repeating what others have done before.

My own first vision – my own initial understanding of cubes, stones, colors, plants, life, death, and whatever-I-paint-with – clashes with the intangible reality of what stones, cubes, plants, colors, and so on, are. This incurably modifies my vision and understanding of things, just as scars do to faces. But by doing so, I learn something about the world and about myself in this world. This is what I call experience. I learn something and this modifies myself and by modifying myself, I modify the world.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

The act of painting proceeds from psychosis, it is an attempt to distort reality. While painting, one distorts the reality around oneself in order to create a place for one’s own painting in the world. And by doing so, one has an influence on it all. Acts modify paradigms. It means that paintings are visions that have the tendency to become true, they make reality more complete. They make you real. They are artifacts that become archetypes of the world.

 

How could you characterize the time we live in?

 

It’s a strange time we’re living in. For you, not me.

Erik Sommer

Why do you make art?

 

I make art because honestly, I don’t really know what else to do. I love creating, and sharing, and getting lost in the moment. For a few years in my 20s I was in a band and we would play music a lot and tour, and it was great, but I realized that after the show was over there wasn’t anything to hold onto or look at. So I started painting. I like being able to see the result of my creativity the next day or next week after I finish a piece.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art is very important. It helps us see things in a new way, and question what we might otherwise overlook or take for granted. It helps us grow as people, and learn about ourselves and the world around us. Art makes life exciting, and challenging, and sometimes scary. It can also act as a reminder to a certain place or time.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The world we live in is fast.  Everything happens quickly. Information is sent, and responses are expected immediately. We think fast, act fast, work fast, travel fast. This is why I like my cement installations so much. They are quiet, and slow, and eerie. To experience them you need to slow down and be in the moment. Hopefully they cause the viewer to reflect upon their lives and actions, and just for a brief moment help us pause, breathe, think and smile.

Victor Sydorenko

Why do you make art?

 

Art makes me unique. It’s only when I’m all by myself in the workshop, that I become unique – it pulls me out of the depression and the darkness of life. Art shapes me and makes me who I am.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art complements what we lack in life, the artist is both a romantic prophet and a critic. The artist always responds to social challenges and tries to find his own response to what is happening in society. And so it is now. It’s hard to imagine a life without movies, books, museums, especially right now.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Time is what we cannot choose. Every next generation falls into its fissures. It is impossible to escape history. Although, as Camus said: ’Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world.’

Valentin Abad

Why do you make art?

 

It’s a real need. I’m bad at explaining and talking, but I need to express myself. It is the only way I found to feel good. The relationship to the material is also important, sculpting, working with wood has also become very important. Often, I start on tedious sculptures, these creations allow me to let go that I cannot get otherwise. Leaving your mind off, letting your body, your hands take over is a jubilant feeling.
For a conclusion I would say I make art because it fills my body and my mind at the same time.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I believe art helps to express one’s self. If you are able to do it, I think you feel better. Containing feelings and emotions are destructive to the mind and body. If we (individually) feel good, I think we can do good things around us.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Well, we live in an individual time where everybody looks in their own direction. With this crisis, we all have to look the same spot. I hope it will make things change: We will start taking care of the planet, try to consume less, revalue vital jobs; however, unfortunately, I have the feeling that the powerful and the money will regain control of all this. It’s sad, but I’m a little bit resigned to all of that. The only comfort that we can find will be in local actions and outside the state system. We have to keep morale but the powers are powerful and we should manage to change the way of seeing the world for everyone and at the same time what is not won.
I hope I am wrong and that this virus could be a good electro shock for after.

William York

Why do you make art?

 

It’s more of a natural instinct these days. I never think about why I make art anymore, Its ingrained in my psyche.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can save lives through offering a sense of purpose, meaning and direction.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Turbulent.

Richie Culver

Why do you make art?

 

I make art so I can eat and live. 

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can make people think and then think again. 

 

How would you characterize the time we live in? 

 

Strange times.

Vasiliy Ryabchenko

Why do you make art?

 

To figure myself out.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

First, art has to change myself and for the better.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The best.

Einar Falur Ingolfsson

Why do you make art?

 

It is a strong drive or urge which I always find hard to explain. And I cannot escape. On one hand it is a need to reflect on life, experiences and one’s emotions. On the other hand it is like the need to talk and explain oneself; ideas, experiences, feelings. The urge is there.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Artists often see things – and the world – in a clearer and more uninhabited way than other people. It is part of their practice to understand and often explain, in their personal way. Therefore artists are often the most important and most interesting social commentators, on our life and existence. But does the public generally listen? – That’s another question.

But society without art would be no society – simply a workstation, catering to the bodily needs, not to the spirit. Art makes life fuller, deeper, on many levels. It supports and breeds humanity.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Strange times, strange times. It is hard to escape clichés looking for words to describe the times we are living – that’s one reason I am looking for how artists deal with the unique experience, now and in the future. I let my work talk for me.

Kenny Scharf

Why do you make art?

 

What I have to do, what I’ve always done, it is who I am. 

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

To uplift, to inspire, to educate and to warn. 

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Frightening.

Gene Kiegel

Why do you make art?

 

Some time in my early twenties, I came across an interesting idea: you don’t have to chase a career that makes money, you have to chase what you love. Once you understand what you love, you will dedicate your life to mastering that craft and knowledge. At some point, people will recognize your passion and they will pay you for that knowledge. I’ve been on that path ever since. Everything I’ve done has been an investment into my personal growth — honing my skills, gaining knowledge and widening my own horizons.

When it comes to art I never compromise. That is a very difficult commitment and a statement to make, because life is all about balance. So, if you give everything to one thing, that means something else has to suffer. Every choice has its consequences. Staying true and honest to yourself is probably the hardest challenge a person can undergo, even though it seems like it would be the simplest thing to do.

Growing up in the USSR made me very skeptical about politics and religion. As much as I loved watching sports as a kid, I eventually came to the conclusion that it’s a huge waste of time for me and I would much rather enjoy the rush I get from creating something and seeing it come to life. Ever since I discovered the act of creation and the sense of fulfilment it gives you, I found that not much else in life gives me such a rush. I would say art is similar to a drug addiction. The level of dopamine you get from a successful outcome is addictive. Also, speaking generally, the world as we know it is very biased. All of knowledge—including science and history—is often taken for fact; it’s rarely being questioned or challenged. That is not how we are educated in schools. Parents instill the same fears and stigmas onto their children as their parents did and so on. Social values, taxes, laws and so on are being passed on and built on for generations. If you start questioning the communal values you will soon find yourself alienated from the general population and our brainwashed mass media system.

For me, art is an escape from that reality. It is the only thing that keeps me sane. It offers me the time to reflect, to meditate, to learn. Art is my religion, church, therapy, sports, or whatever it is that other people find refuge in. Of course, ever since I became a father, the priorities have shifted dramatically. However, art is still and forever will be my destination, my retreat.

It took me years and I’m still trying to understand why I was attracted to certain things, what my interests where, why my art has the same “signature” look from the first time I ever picked up the pencil. In the course of my art works over the last few years, my practice has started to bridge the gaps between first recollections of my childhood doodles, lucid dreaming in my college years, and questions and discoveries about the universe and our place in it. It’s an ongoing journey and art is a general vessel that allows me to do just that.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I think art indirectly forces an introspective reaction. It forces you to think, to feel, to discover. Similar to phycologists using Rorschach’s charts to understand more about the person by what they see in them, art allows for self-reflection in a social environment.  The artists often find inspiration or clues / messages in the nature / environment/ social atmosphere that they process and regurgitate through their creations.  Art is the reflection of the times, the mood, the feeling, and the state of mind the artist is in. I think of any artistic medium as a tool to channel the energy that resulted in its creation. The simplest way to explain this is to think of a singer performing a song. It’s not necessarily the words of the song, but rather the contagious energy of the singer and his ability to channel it to the audience that makes a performance.

Art in all forms allows us to escape our systematic reality and be able to think and function outside of it. That’s what makes us human: our ability to dream, to visualize, to create.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We live in an extremely fast paced cultural moment. We’ve created tools and machinery that we thought would give us more free time and in fact had an opposite effect. The productivity bars, timelines, and expectations keep growing, leaving us with less and less time to ourselves. The luxury of spending time in social activities, the enriching experiences of human interactions are becoming more and more scarce. It’s still there but it’s changing towards a completely virtual experience. There is a definite trend towards the separation of our physical being versus a virtual presence. The geographical borders and cultural differences are blending, races are merging, we are finally, in a sense, becoming one. And the internet has not only become our storage vault of information and history, but provided us with an escape into a virtual world as we continue to destroy the physical one we live in.

We are afraid of viruses, yet we behave exactly like one. The Corona pandemic, that we are in the midst of at the time of this writing, has forced humanity towards further physical confinement and virtual life. The simple magic of the lived experiences our predecessors once shared may forever become an unattainable history, one which we may never find our way back to. Pretty soon, we will all be sitting at home in our virtual worlds, walking on virtual streets and buying virtual clothing of familiar brands.

As for art, music, photography, and the like, this trend towards the digital has been taking a dramatic toll for some time now. Due to the economic and social systems, there is no room for traditional artisans to create timeless masterpieces. It’s just economically non-viable for survival. Artists of all genres are in constant search for new ways to apply their creativity under limited time and budget.

The one thing I truly hope for, is that this pandemic may actually force the artists to take back the power and shed the rains of the present art world system of art fairs and art advisors.  We need to cut out the middlemen—these people who know nothing about art, yet are the ones driving the art market and selling to the even less educated art buyer. They’ve created an “art bubble” system, catering to the wealthy so they can profit from it. Most of the art that is sold in the current art-fairs and bazaar system or shown in the museum has a single intent: attract the general population to see it so the organizers and the middlemen can profit from it. The system has nothing to do with educating people about art or encouraging introspection. It’s all about numbers and lowest common denominator.  Most of it resonates on the superficial reaction level: bright colors, words, skulls, butterflies and whatever else is simple to understand for a non-artist. In fact, the more vague the concept, and the more rudimentary the execution, the easier it would be to sell to the naïve wealthy buyer under the guidance of a seasoned art advisor. I actually have a whole series on this subject, mocking the art world. It is called “Just Pretend You Get It,” and consists of verbal description of the art currently hanging on the gallery walls: “Commissioned Vandalism,” one reads; “Another Skull Drawing,” or “Painted Photograph.”

I dream of a future where art is judged and valued by the artists and their own collections, and where artists aren’t looked upon as people who live outside of society, but rather are embraced and supported as a vital element of such. It really kills my soul every time a corporation or a wealthy client bargains for every penny and completely overlooks the art and artist’s intent as a whole. They get so caught up in the system that they don’t even realize how they are hurting humanity as a whole. I am so tired of seeing fads go towards buying art based on gender, race, location and so on.  This favoritism towards a specific group does not bring equality, it is simply another form of racism/ sexism and inequality – it doesn’t solve anything, it just makes art secondary and fuels more segregation than its proclaiming to abolish. Art is art. It doesn’t matter who made it, as the work should ultimately cause enough introspection to cause a global change in the way we think and the values we choose. Art, in any shape of form, is the key to our continued survival.

Roxanne Jackson

Why do you make art?

 

Because it keeps me (relatively) sane.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I don’t have lofty expectations about what art can or should do, because it is all so different. Moreover, us humans, who look at / interpret and perhaps even admire art, are all coming from different experiences. However, I do think of this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson when thinking about art:

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

One way I would summarize the time we are living in is a Mashup. We are all connected, as this virus has blatantly revealed. We are everything all the time.

Jochen Mühlenbrink

Why do you make art?

 

The essence of art is beyond defining, understanding and knowing to me. There is always remaining something, that is incomprehensible and untouchable. By the time I will give you a proper answer to this, I might not have the inevitably force to make art anymore. Maybe a have a real job instead (laughs), but then, nobody wants to know why. By the way, I care more about the how then the what.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

It is impossible to instrumentalize the art. Art is impractible, an autonomous and magical playground, it is concerned with the foreign in our lives and helps us to deal with the stranger in everyone of us. Uncertain is where it leads to, but it is certainly open-minding. Thinking the other way, staying flexible and courageous towards the unknown. And not to forget, art is a vehicle for hope. Dealing with life and treating our planet – we can do better.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

No time, to really think about that, sorry.

Alejandro Leonhardt

Why do you make art?

 

Because I couldn’t have done anything else. It was a primary impulse. I couldn’t avoid it. It is this attitude that allowed me to be aware every moment and symbolically rethink daily living.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I believe art allows us to change the perspective of our relationship with what exists; questioning what we assume to be real, is its ideological condition. Something like an expressive lure that activates its questioning power through social interaction.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Like the boiling of neoliberalism: greed over needs, the economy over lives.

Stepan Ryabchenko

Why do you make art?

 

In making art I perceive secrets.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can show how endless a person’s imagination is. Creating his own world, the artist proves the existence of the One who has created this incredible Universe and the man whom he gifted the opportunity to become like Him.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

A Time of Changes.

Yuko Soi

Why do you make art?

 

I meet the emotions and the scenes that cannot be expressed in word.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

When you have no room in mind in a really difficult time, you don’t see art. When a person feels sad, he wants to be considerate of the person’s feelings with art.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

When there are restrictions and you can’t do what you want, I think it’s time to find out what’s important to yourself.

Tom McFarland

Why do you make art?

 

I started working with my hands and using tools when I was a kid. Otherwise, I would have ended up making holes in my pockets.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

When I come to work, I have my rituals, like putting on my crocs and dickies, and that’s when I decide if I’m going to paint or not.  It’s my job –I start with the wall, build the framework, then add the surface. I create these paintings.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

In these times, it’s like all of us are in bubble wrap, each separated in our own compartment.  As the wrap is twisted and popped, everyone feels pushed, poked, or stabbed in the back.  We don’t know why, how long it will last, or how long the healing will take. We all feel that our connections are damaged. My work gives me a reason to push forward and move on.

Victoria Keddie

Why do you make art?

 

I suppose it’s that the language is so inherent in the ways I see and communicate with the world. Or inherent in the world as I look to explore and engage it. It’s something that functions as an existence beyond what’s socially prescribed.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I’d restate my answer to question №1 here.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Seemingly upended. Continuous. Claustrophobic when faced with the present and uncertain futures. Lost in the expansive nostalgia of “past.”

Jesu Moratiel

Why do you make art?

 

I don’t really know, is something very instinctive. I think there is something magic in bringing to the world things you would like to exist, but doesn’t exist until you make them happen. It’s like an external impulse, a way of empty myself in a moral and spiritual way. To take out all my good and bad vibras. Now I don’t know to make any other thing, is like a drug, I need it to feel myself useful.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

None. It just makes life better. It has the power of making life something desirable.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Another new and liquid era.

Robert Lazzarini

Why do you make art?

 

Ultimately, making art is a way for me to cope with the transiency of things – to put a set of ideas into physical form.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

The greatest thing about art is that it inherently has no rules. It can present new and abstract ways of thinking about the world.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

There is a lot of uncertainty – which of course is one of the substrates that change is built upon.

Nicolas Vionnet

Why do you make art?

 

When I was a child I spent a lot of time in the studio of my grandmother. She had dropped out from school in the 1950s and had studied painting in Paris. Spending time with her in the studio was one of the principal reasons why I became an artist. At the age of seventeen, I got seriously involved in Graffiti. I worked late into the night and traveled through the country with the only aim to paint as much as possible. From this point on it was clear to me that I would always want to deal with art. So I first graduated from the Academy of Art and Design in Basel and soon after I received my Master’s degree at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. While in the early years I mainly focused on painting I nowadays work almost exclusively on site-specific installations and objects.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

After all these years I still find it exceptionally difficult to define what art is and what effect it has on our lives. It’s probably much easier to make statements about what art is not. However, an important and recurring element in art is the break or the irritation. Art often does not show what we actually expect. That’s why art makes us rediscover things that we may not have seen before.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We live in a world in which growth and development is above everything. I am glad that the crisis is leading us to question and pause for a moment…and to focus on the things that really matter.

Alexander Roitburd

Why do you make art?

 

I do art because it is my way of life.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

For the most part, the basic functions of art have been lost today – sacred, documentary, critical, analytical, didactic, linguistic, provocative and further down the list. Even decorative. However, in my opinion, art continues to exist as a practice, driven by the principle of pleasure. However, I don’t believe that art today is able to make changes in life, but it is trying to simulate its potential. I wish it the best of luck.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The time in which we live is characterized by the word “fucked up”. But do not despair. “Fucked up” was before us and will be after us. Otherwise, it would be boring.

Khairullah Rahim

Why do you make art?

 

I make art because I am trying to make sense of things around me. Observations and feelings from my own lived experiences play a pivotal role in my art making process. However, we all know that many of these answers only grant us short term comfort and relief only to inevitably raise even more questions eventually, and that drives me.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I strongly feel that art can and has been pivotal in providing vehicle to trigger action towards solving basic human issues. From sparking discourses on dire issues to providing basic needs such as entertainment and leisure as coping mechanisms, art has been central in many problem solving approaches especially now.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The time we live in right now is in great turmoil. Shit has hit the roof.

Paul Cooley

Why do you make art?

 

I make art because I am a painter who is on a journey lol, I don’t know. I think I have to make it. I can’t see a world where I give up on this burning inside

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art if practiced and taken seriously can provide a safe, quiet and unique space to “be” and to work through thoughts, ideas, issues, or problems of the mind.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I think that we are in a renaissance period. At least here in NYC the amount of good work being made is great; And it feels like only just the beginning.
It’s an exciting time with the internet too because artists don’t just have an audience but also ability to connect with other artists worldwide for support,
critique, friendship, etc. This has already been going on for years via Instagram – so artists are unified!
We have a network we can lean on each other get through things or accomplish goals and we all grow together. It’s cool.
A lot of uncertainty and stuff right now sure, but that can be exciting too!

Jakub Hubalek

Why do you make art?

 

Because I love to paint, love to draw something… I love it… it’s simple.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art is a culture and art can consider interesting questions, life can be more interesting.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

We live in the Internet era, everything is connected as never before.

lom-of-LaMa

Why do you make art?

 

In art, love and fiction we can free ourselves from the limitation of the body by a shared state of mind.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art can offer new perceptions of the social past, present and future both for the individual and for a society.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

Always on the edge of change.

Felix Schramm

Why do you make art?

 

I practice art in order to observe things from new perspectives.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

Art cannot change the world, but it can change the way we look at things. Through art the imagination of the viewer is sharpened and the imagination is the prerequisite for man to think and develop new visions.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I believe the world we live in is more complex than we could have ever imagined. Due to the scientific and technical control of our environment we are exposed to great dangers of which we are still not sufficiently aware of the consequences. Some art puts its finger in this wound. At the same time art creates a free space that helps to develop new models for the humanity and the environment.

Vasiliy Tsagolov

Why do you make art?

 

Probably because I do it better than anything else. On the other hand, I am still fascinated by the process. There are things that can only be understood in this way.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

In people’s lives, if it is possible to change something, it is only the external. In my life, there are many things and I would like to believe that the changes are for the better.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

I think you will not envy us. How many more of all these tests should be! I would prefer the greenhouse conditions.

Giulio Malinverni

Why do you make art?

 

I was born in a family of restorers of ancient paintings, my father is also a painter, therefore follow the environment artistic in which I have lived has stimulated me to make art since childhood.

 

What changes can art make to life?

 

I can’t say it because it’s always been a habit for me. I don’t think there can be life without art.

 

How would you characterize the time we live in?

 

The time in which we live, this pandemic, is certainly a historical period that will certainly bring changes to society. What intrigues me above all is the contribution that art can make, which has always been an effective means of communication for people. I hope it brings a strong “Renaissance” message which we have a great need for.