Sunday, September 4, 2011

Interview with Chrissy Angliker

q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.

a)My name is Chrissy Angliker. I grew up in Switzerland and I live and work in Brooklyn, New York.

q) Why do you make art?

a)Making art helps me process the world around me. My surroundings are my inspiration. They are constantly changing, therefore my relationship to them always changes and I have endless inspiration that I'm working with. I use making art as a tool to make sense of it all. Art, currently in the form of painting, helps me arrive at understanding and then share with others my present philosophy. It's a constant path of exploration and questioning, new discovery and evolution.

Making art also gives me a sense of power in engaging my environment, versus succumbing to circumstance and passively living life.

q) How do you work ?

a)I have a time-lapse video on my website that documents my creation of a wall mural commissioned by AOL for their San Francisco Offices. Check it:

q) What´s your background?

a)I grew up in Switzerland. When I was sixteen I moved to a suburb of Boston to study fine art in an art high school. After that I moved to Brooklyn to study Industrial design at the Pratt Institute. I stuck around Brooklyn doing my own design and then transitioned back into painting. I do both now, but my heart is in painting.

q) What role does the artist have in society?

a)I once asked this of my mentor Juri Borodachev (RIP) when I first started working with him at age 13. I was beginning to realize how creating art consumed me, and wondered what the point of being an artist was.

This is what he said:

"In society there are people that do things that everybody understands and expects. There is the farmer that will provide with food and there is the bus driver, the garbage man, the police man etc. They have a place in society. But then there is the artist. At first glance he has no place because he seems removed. And in fact, he is. His place is at God's foot. The artist's role is to listen to the whispers of God. He takes those messages and makes it his mission to tell the people in society about them. The artist bridges the gap between society and God for a greater awareness and good."

…Now I know this sounds whack, especially if you are questioning any concrete existence of a God. But to me this is an analogy of a person that is seeking his or her position in society at the fringe of what is acceptable. If you explore the fringe there are stories to tell on the return. To me that is what an artist will contribute to society, a greater awareness and good. The artist is a translator.

q) What was a seminal experience for you ?

a)Moving from Switzerland to the States.

q) Has your practice changed over time ?

a)Yes, it is always evolving. Each piece I create is a new experience that will effect the next. Currently I work in collaboration with gravity, which creates the dripping aesthetic. I've been exploring my philosophy though developing this technique for almost three years now. My practice changes according to what I'm thinking and what I want to say with my work. Aesthetics are very important to me but first and foremost is the philosophy I'm developing through the work. When I was doing design I had form follow my design intention. In art I have aesthetics follow philosophy. Whenever my philosophy evolves it is reflected though the development of my technique. The paintings haven't stopped dripping because I'm in the middle if fleshing out my philosophy on that subject. I'm positive that they will stop dripping at one point. When they do I will know when and why.

q) What art do you most identify with ?

a)Music. I'm not extremely on top of what is rad in new music these days but what I like I like hard. Music will help me with my own art. It helps me to get in the zone of creating.

q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood ?

a)I remember a lot of my childhood. I was always outside. Switzerland was a great place to grow up in.

I climbed trees a lot. I had a little posse that I would climb with. We pretended that we were black panthers ( the animal ). I once got bit by a mole which is quite memorable.

My family would go to Maine every summer to visit our our good friends Jim and Betty. My sister and I would spend hours playing in the tide pools catching crabs and other critters. Both of us won't eat crabs because we have such fond memories of playing with them. I could go on…I had a great childhood.

q) What themes do you pursue ?

a)Below is my artist statement that explains my current philosophy and how it pertains to the development of my painting technique.

Artist Statement

The focus of this painting style lies in creating a balanced relationship between the controllable and uncontrollable. For every intentional mark, there follows a free-falling drip, challenging it. The artist is searching for a sense of grace in the transition between these two opposing elements.

The theme of this series arose from her feeling of life itself being a balance between control and chaos. As people, we have intentions, but must anticipate the intervention of outside forces beyond our power. In each subject, extreme opposites are juxtaposed: ugly versus beautiful, sorrow versus elation, order versus disorder. The drips represent the things that exist about a subject that the artist doesn't know enough about to depict. It's the things one senses are there, but doesn't want to make any assumptions about. The drips physically fill those unknown gaps.

Every living creature is made up of a unique mixture of opposites; therefore to honestly portray a subject, one must include the dark, the shadowed, in order to highlight the depth and beauty. The finished painting captures the relationship created by the artist collaborating with gravity. Together with nature she aims to create a whole, and frank representation of the subject.

q) Describe a real life experience that inspired you.

a)The death of my two mentors Juri Borodachev and André-Pierre Müller, both within a year of each other. The passing of these personally influential people made me want to deepen the commitment of being an artist and explore what they taught me in terms of their life philosophy as artists.

But overall, my surroundings and relationships are my main source of inspiration.

q) What´s your most embarrassing moment ?

a)Oh man. So in the 90's I was 11 and I was really into Nirvana just like any other super cool kid at that time. I really loved the song "Rape Me". And yes I understood english and I understood the lyrics… So I made a cassette tape with that song many times repeated on it and some other Nirvana songs.

Our family friends Jim and Betty were visiting my family in Switzerland from the States. They were in their late sixties at that time, and they were pretty damn hip and still are. So I was just about to run out of the house to go hang out with my neighbor Chriggi, when Betty stopped me and asked me if she could listen to what I was listening to on my walkman. You should have seen her face! That's that.

q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist ?

a)Hooker…just kidding. I did a lot of industrial design in the fields of furniture, product design, way-finding design, P.O.P design, some graphic design and branding. I also did art for corporations like America Online, Burton Snowboards, and other collaborations with companies of different mediums. I've done awesome odd jobs, my favorite current one being scanning bills of famous people. I know the gossip but can't tell…RAD.

q) What responses have you had to your work ?

a)I get e-mails from people that will take the time to describe how they feel about the paintings and what it makes them think. Many people identify with my exploration of the relationship between control and chaos. Those e-mails are very meaningful and encouraging to me.

q) What do you dislike about the art world ?

a)I'm still too busy getting over the design world… I'm not ready to hate on the art world.

q) What research do you do ?

a) Living it, and then thinking about it.

q) What is your dream project?

a)Painting for an upcoming show…Painting and showing in different galleries around the world so that people can see the work in person.

q) What´s the best piece of advice you have been given ?

a)Living in New York makes it sometimes hard to not get sucked into the hype and the superficial things that come and go so fast. This piece of advice is about the relationship between humans and material things. (Those damn Buddhists…)

So all these monks are hanging with their teacher and the teacher always preaches to them how it is pointless to seek inner peace through worldly goods and that one should not have and addiction or dependency to any object. But the teacher had this mug that he always drank from. None of the monks would ever touch his mug because it was clearly his. One day one of the monks had enough of all the preaching and called the teacher out on his mug. His said: yo, you totally have a relationship with that mug! You depend on it every day. The teacher responds: The reason why I can use this mug every day and you can't is because I already know it is broken."

WHAAAT!..Heavy. I try to remind myself of this when I feel myself getting too attached.

q) What couldn’t you do without?

a)Love and Art. Redbull and Guns N' Roses.

q) What makes you angry?

a)Dishonesty is lame. It's a waste of anybody's time.

q) What is your worst quality?

a)I don't like mexican food.

q) Dogs or Cats ?

a)It’s Cats all the way. I have the coolest cats, Axl and Artaud.

q) Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?

a)LSD on crack.

q) What does “ copy” mean to you ?

a)Easy Money.

q) What´s your favorite cuss word