Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interview with J Swofford

q)Please introduce yourself and tell us something about yourself and
your background.

a) My name is J Swofford. The letter J is my full first name and that is the way it appears on my birth certificate. My father's name is James Oscar Swofford III. He wanted me to be the IVth but my mother protested. They named me J as a sort of compromise. I grew up in rural Virginia in the Eastern United States as a bit of an isolated child. My family was good and caring but there were not other people nearby and I had few friends. The nearest grocery store was a half hour's drive away. My father is an artist and I grew up surrounded by art but I didn't embrace it right away. I think a part of me wanted to find my own way without feeling like I was mindlessly copying my father. I'm a contrarian at heart. I'll sometimes make a decision just to go against popular sentiment. I've lived all over the United States but I've settled for the past fifteen years in dark and rainy Portland, Oregon. Currently, in addition to shooting photos, I work at the Portland Art Museum. I also enjoy making my own fruit wine. As I write this I'm enjoying a bvit of wine I made from nectarines.

q)Talk about your art.

a) I am most in love with analog photography. I enjoy working with film and developing prints in the darkroom. Working with light and chemistry is a kind of magic. 

q) What’s the central theme of your work?

a) In everything I do I am exploring the symbolic connotations of images. In 2005 I read Carl Jung's "Man and His Symbols" and it changed my life. Since then I have been using photography to explore the unconscious mind and the Archetypes. I am fascinated with the idea that there is another intelligence hidden within my mind that is akin to all the gods, devils, angels, and demons that have ever been or ever will be.  

q) your most beautiful dream

a) Last night I dreamt that I moved to Chicago and got a job working in a ramshackle orphanage.

q) your worst nightmare

a) The first nightmare I ever had I dreamt when I was quite young, maybe four or five years old. I remember shrinking smaller and smaller. My point of view was under a faucet as a drop of water was gathering on the edge of the opening, threatening to fall as it grew larger, and a deafening sound of static grew louder and louder. I woke up yelling "no, no". So far it has been the only nightmare I've had.  

q) Best way to spend a day off?

a) When I get a day off from the museum I will often spend the day working on collage. Sometimes I like to have beer for breakfast.

q) who, what inspires you ....

a) I am greatly inspired by mythology and magic, both ancient and modern. I read a bunch of occult blogs written by contemporary witches, alchemists, and sorcerers. All the ancient Archetypes are still alive today and they probably will be forever. I am inspired by dreams and hypnogogic visions. I am inspired by the idea that, just like Joseph Campbell said, all the demons, all the angels, all the heavens and all the hells are inside me. By being quiet and learning how to listen to them they can all speak to me.

q) books that you love….

a) Carl Jung's 'Man and His Symbols' and 'Psychology and Alchemy', Joseph Heller's 'Catch-22', Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Silmarillion' and 'The Hobbit' (This is the first book I remember being read to me as a child), Grimm's Fairytales, Aesop's Fables, Bullfinch's 'Mythology', 'The Picatrix', Crowley's 'Vision and the Voice' and the 'Book of Thoth', Ursela LeGuin's 'Wizard of Earthsea', Julia Kristeva's 'Powers of Horror', Edward Weston's 'Daybooks', Minor White's 'Zone System Manual', Israel Regardie's 'Golden Dawn', 'The Lemmegaton', Agrippa's 'Three Books of Occult Philosophy', ...

q)music…artists….that you love

a) In music I tend to avoid Pop in all its forms, especially country but almost everything else I listen to all the time- classical, rock, industrial, metal, ambient noise, jazz, country, bluegrass. I love Mozart's 'Magic Flute', David Bowie, The Smith's, Joy Division, The Cure, Avalanches, RJD2, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Femi Kuti, Frank Sinatra, Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, The Minutemen, and so many more. In music I am guided by my mood. One day it will be Snoop Dogg and then next it will be Bach and then it will be Autechre.
In art all of it has something to teach me but I am especially drawn to all things ancient and Neo-Classism of the 19th Century. I also really enjoy some of the art coming out of China right now.

q) What are you really excited about right now?

a) I've been following the court case of Prince vs Cariou with great interest. Working in collage as I have been I think that case has far reaching implications for appropriated art material. I've also been studying the Tarot quite intently.

q)your current projects….

a) For the past three years, and probably into the foreseeable future, I've been working on 'The Riddle of the Echo' which is a photographic project exploring the image making capacities of the unconscious mind. I've also started to design my own tarot deck in the style of 'The Riddle of the Echo'. I am also working on a digital project with the same themes to be sold on in July 2013.

q)your future projects….

a) For a while I've been kicking around the idea of illustrating the Mansions of the Moon and the Astrological Decans using live models. I'm still researching this idea so I've not gotten started on it yet.

q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a) You can see more of my work on my own website,, although I am often slow to update it. My work is also featured on as well as (I am also interviewed on this one). I have a page,, my handle is unconsciouseye. I also have a page of my work at

q) Final words?

a) Final words... what can I say. I want to thank everyone who looks at my work, especially those to whom it speaks. I am always open to feedback and would love to hear from all of you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Interview with Hadas Hinkis

q)For the people who don't know your work - how would you describe it ?

a) I make head-pieces, masks, and decor. I make pictures and videos of people in surrealistic physical situations.

q)What are the key themes running through your practice?

a) The human body. Colors and patterns. Limitations. extensions. Flat versus three-dimensional.

q)Your favorite place on earth?

a) Haven’t been there yet! Probably in the middle of a rain-forest, somewhere without humans.

q)What influences your work?

Drag queens. Pop culture. Materials that I come across. The flow and feeling of emotions in the body. Everyday experiences of connectedness to my surroundings.

q)What music are you into right now?

a) Ken’s radio show on WFMU, an American free-form radio station. He plays all kinds of weird stuff, surprising and engaging. They also have lots of other shows for any kind of mood, fun to listen to while working in the studio.

q)Describe your thought & design process...

Its pretty simple: I get a “download”, an idea just pops into my head all perfect and amazing. Then I need to somehow bring it into the material realm, which is a challenge...

q)Which emerging artists are you looking forward to seeing more of?

a) Madame Peripetie in Fashion photography, Sharon Eyal in Choreography, Lena Dunham in writing for film and television. And a lot more that I’ve seen and admired, and will kick myself later for forgetting to mention.

q)Favorite place on the internet?

a) Network Awesome. They curate daily programs with films, music, documentaries, old television moments- the great and the terrible!

q)Do you have any upcoming projects/exhibitions we should know about?

q)Tell us something we don't know - but should...

Wall paper glue + water + those annoying supermarket advertisements you get in the mail= papermache. Cheap and useful material for all kinds of 3d creations.

q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a) On my facebook account, I upload more sketches and unfinished ideas. There I go by Hellza Papadopoulos.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Interview with Carsten Kruse

q)For the people who don't know your work - how would you describe it ?

a)I mainly paint all kind of objects in public places all over Germany very colourful, for example houses, trams or cars. Sometimes I have a permission to do this by the city, sometimes not. But I´m not what you would call a Graffiti-artist. All my work is handmade with brushes and roles. Nothing is improvised. The base of the perfect result is a draft, which I apply free-hand 1:1 on the wall. I never use templates. Sometimes, I make lots of big blobs on wood in my studio and copy them on the wall. Sometimes I´m childish and develop crazy fishes or frogs with very special characters. Fishes from mars? Sometimes my mood is more funny, sometimes my attitude is more provocative.
The trash of my public work, like brushes or empty cans is the basic material for my work on canvas, thus the artistic cycle is perfectly closed.
For more than twenty years, I´ve been drip-painting my so called monsters in all sizes on wood. They´re very mysterious to me and develop with me.

q)What are the key themes running through your practice?

a)The key theme of my work is colour. I try to transform sterile and conservative public places into something funny, happy and positive. I fight for the freedom of facades. I´m against white and grey walls and I´m looking for the facade-design of tomorrow.

q)Your favorite place on earth?

a)My bed

q)What influences your work?

a)When I started painting  my monsters twenty years ago, I was mainly influenced by Jackson Pollock. Nowadays I´m open for all kind of mural art and street art, but not influenced directly. My work is very influenced by music, I think. I listen to crazy stuff all the time.

q)What music are you into right now?

a)I´m totally into Free Jazz and Noise….especially musicians like Peter Brötzmann,
    Jooklo duo, John Wiese as well as Merzbow. Currently my favorite instrument is the sax. I love chaos in music. I`m not a big fan of structures and melodies.

q)Describe your thought & design process...

a)When I see a certain object, I can see immediately the painted result in front of me.

q)Which emerging artists are you looking forward to seeing more of?

a)The stuff of Toys Art Gallery in Los Angeles is great

q)Favorite place on the internet?

a) …you can find rare and hard to find records there

q)Do you have any upcoming projects/exhibitions we should know about?

a)Of course I have, but they`re secret until it`s published.

q)Tell us something we don't know - but should...

a)I am ectotherm like a lizard, I only start moving when the sun is shining on me J

q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?