giovedì 17 aprile 2008

Interview with Aili Schmeltz

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)Hello! My name is Aili.. I am a sculptress/installation artist/ draughtswoman living in a fabulous vintage camper by the beach in Los Angeles. I am a Capricorn, hiker, gardener, builder, night owl and optimist.

q) Had you always planned on being an artist [or had you other hopes]?

a)Yes, strangely, I have known from an early age that I had the curse (or blessing depending on the day) of being an artist. Someday I would love to get my childhood bedroom walls xrayed to reveal the constant drawing and painted over layers could be like an archeological dig. Recently my Mother showed me an “All About Me” book that I made in the 2nd grade.. when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I answered “Artit” (yes, that is an intentional mis-spelling) and if that didn’t work out my second choice was to be a “Super Star!”

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)My work varies in media depending on the ideas that I am working with.. I have always loved drawing and in a sense so much of my sculptural work I consider three dimensional drawings. The materials of my sculptures and installations are very historical and conceptually specific to 1960s and 70s suburban era inspired by do it yourself string art kits, vinyl furniture, plastics and “ugly” patterned fabrics.. I am also a huge fan of Tool Dip. In drawing, I work with media such as paint markers, gouche and pencil on paper and mylar.

q) How would you describe your style?

a)Hmm.. If I had to pin it down I would say that my style is colourfully ironic.

q) Do you go through any certain processes while trying to produce your work?

a)I am constantly reading, watching movies and sketching.. then get in the studio and sort it out. I have built a vacuum form machine and have been experimenting with that for the last few years.. I have my sights set on attempting to build a home made three dimensional printer this summer, we’ll see. I think of making art as a record of experience, I try to build on what has been learned in previous pieces then add a challenge or an unknown element.

q) What are you working on at present?

a)There is always about a dozen projects going on at one time in my studio.. right now I am developing 3 sculptures, a large drawing, a wallpaper mural installation piece and 2 smaller works on paper.

q) What about recent sources of inspirations?

a)The environmental history, politics and social studies of the Los Angeles region, Natural History museums, geodes, caves, geometry (those damn polyhedrons!), 60s and 70s interiors, Scandinavian design, geology, The Salton Sea, The Center for Land Use Interpretation, land slides and glaciers.

q) What are some of your obsessions?

a)Traveling, Google Images, the beach, collecting music, the gym, the sauna, plants and taking photos of little plastic animals in bizarre settings.

q) Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?

a)I would love to show overseas and more in LA and NY. I would also like to put together some collaborative, fun projects in strange places.

q) If people would like to contact you, how would you like to be contacted?

a)Email is the best way to get ahold of me.

q) Do you have any suggestions or advice for artists that are just starting out?

a)Be humble, honest, laugh and stay curious.
q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)This varies from day to day.. right now I am really into Tomas Saraceno, Matti Suuronen, Leslie Shows, Shirley Sze and Paul Lincoln.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)A book about the Los Angeles River, The Land of Sunshine; An Environmental History of Los Angeles, The Salton Sea; Yesterday and Today (a 1960’s promotional book), The Ecology of Fear, The Devil in the White City (about the Chicago Worlds Fair), National Geographic, Dwell and Make Magazine. I always keep contemporary art and architecture books close at hand in my studio as well as Prescription for Nutritional Healing and The Only Astrology Book You will Ever Need (for kicks).

q) To what weaknesses are you most indulgent?

a)Vodka and dark chocolate.

q)….your contacts…

My email address is

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