giovedì 2 aprile 2009

Interview with Sean Samoheyl

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hello I'm Sean Samoheyl

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live and work at Twin Oaks community which

is a worker owned farm collective where I make rope,

work in forestry, work in hay, garden and other

farm tasks. As well as make art and put on performances

with improvisation and puppet shows.

q) How would you describe your work to

someone who has never seen it?

a)My work consists of carved wooden figures

varying in sizes from 4 inches high to 11 inches high

and I also work larger in wood using chainsaws.

The pieces are often painted or treated with some

fiber element. The puppetry is made from chip board

and articulated with brads as hinges. I perform

using a small theater mounted on my chest like

an accordion. The work is usually funny and I

try to deal with serious issues too.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when

did you realize you were an artist?

a)I wanted to go to art school. I was following

a lot of the skateboarders who made their own

graphics and graffiti artists from the 80's. I realized

I was an artist when I moved to Twin Oaks farm

and started selling things through a gallery.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)Wood. Wool. Metal. Pen and paper.Things

that have a long rich history. I like drawing these

days a lot with pencil and paper or colored pens

or colored pencils. I have worked in welding too

which I like but don't do as much these days.

Mostly, I'm parenting in my free time

now and doing puppetry.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)It's weird to say, but maybe Myspace. Magazines

like ANP Quarterly. Kids in art school. But also The

Nabis, David Park, The artists at Cinders Gallery.

Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, Karel Appel, Misaki Kawai,

Jim Drain, Munch, Cecily Brown, Edgar Tolson,

George Condo, Mike Kelly, Skateboarding,

Tarkovsky films, Dana Schutz, Jules de Balincourt,

De Kooning, Joan Brown, Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith,

Joan Mitchell, Barry McGee, Chris Johanson,

Kathe Kollewitz, Keegan McKargue, John Currin,

Franz West. Punk music from the 90's and 80's.

Cartoons. Farm equipment. Inventions and inventors.

Miranda July. Peter Doig.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)Fretting and pacing and then being super focused

and not stopping for hours until the work is finished.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to

achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)I want to create a junk room of sculptures made

from all manner of appliances. I want to perform on

David Letterman on TV. I want to meet my favorite

artists and have conversations with them. I want to do

trades with my favorite artists.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in

art interest you?

a)There's too many to mention. Many are listed above.

I'm very interested in the underground as well as the

super successful. I'm interested in the super inflated

art market and how stars are made and why. I'm also

interested in the cast aside or forgotten groups of artists.

Particularly from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Women's groups

and artists who challenged the system in a powerful way.

The Black Panthers' art, feminist groups, labor oriented

groups. People who gave art away, and those who made

tons of money. Damien Hirst for example. But also Banksy.

Outsiders. I think the money aspect is funny. It's a

symbol of the priorities we have or the collectors and

gallerists who generate the interest and hype. I'm interested

in fairs, and blogs. The Black Mountain school in NC.

Joseph Albers, Twombly, Harmony Korine, Matt Leines,

it goes on and on! Taylor McKimens! I couldn't remember

his name. He's good. Nina Bovasso's good too.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)1 day to 1 week or it always remains unfinished and

has to remain that way forever because sometimes I

like it better that way.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally

attached to them?

a)I really enjoy selling work. I'm seldom attached to a work.

Sometimes though if it's in my home long enough and I

develop a relationship with that work the way a collector

might. I start to sort of see it like another person's work

even if I sort of think it sucks.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some

things you're listening to now?

a)Music is so huge to me. I listen to my wife's music a

lot. " Super Daughter", Also New Young Pony Club,

Fugazi, The Make Up, Iron and Wine, No Age, Pelican Ossman,

Sonic Youth, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, The Rachels,

Eric Satie. A super long list.

q) Books?

a)I'm sort of embarrassed to say I'm reading Harry

Potter now. I'm in the 4th book. I'm also reading

some Kenneth Koch poetry and Frank O'hara. I like Rilke,

Nabokov, and Raymon Carver.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding

creativity or the creative process?

a)I have a spiritual practice. I ask the creator

for guidance.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing)

when you're not creating?

a)I'm not sure I understand the question. I often take

breaks when I'm creating and listen to the radio.

I like interviews with artists and film makers. I listen

to a lot of radio. NPR, BBC. I also enjoy going skateboarding

for a break when I can to think about the things I want

to make or am in the process of making. When I'm creating

though, I guess I enjoy creating. Carving wood, drawing,

performing, goofing off.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that

you are particularly excited about?

a)I just found out I'm performing some time at Hope

Gallery in L.A. California. I also have a puppet show

next week in Charlottesville, VA at the Twisted Branch

Tea House. I will be doing a gallery show at ADA gallery

in Richmond where I will install a small drive-in theater

with small cars and project my films onto a small screen.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how?

What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)Magazines like Artforum and Beautiful/Decay and ANP,

Art Papers, all of which I subscribe to. I like Parkett and

Cabinet too. Fader, I read the New Yorker obsessively as

well as the New York Times, The Guardian Weekly, the

Economist, Utne Reader, Artforum's blog, ANP's blog

is awesome! Miranda July's blog, Alec Soth used to have

a photo blog, Art in the Age of Reproduction, Zoe Strauss

is rad, Aaron Cohen's occasional photo blog, I like

Loyal Gallery in Sweden. I like surfing all over for new links.

I always follow links on artists pages and blogs. I love

trivia, doing NYT crossword puzzles and reading all the

info on the answers. I love wikipedia.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer,

and answer it.

a)Why do you obsess so much about information

in the art world? I want to learn as much as possible

to be able to talk on any level with gallerists, curators and

writers, directors, dancers, carnies, hobos, professors,

entrepreneurs, apiarists, gardeners, foresters, machinists,

engineers, architects, historians. I want to become or be

a polymath. Or maybe a polyglot.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Study, work hard. But be informed. Ignorance is

annoying. Also be nice to other artists. Have interests,

the best art is informed by all sorts of other interesting

things. The poet Wallace Stevens was an insurance man.

Sophia Coppola wanted to design clothes. Goethe wanted

to be an architect. Schopenhauer wanted to play the

violin. Duchamp with chess. Cartier Bresson wanted to

be a painter. Find other interests other than art I guess.

For me, it's everything. With a focus on skateboarding.

q) Where can we see more of your work online?

a) facebook, under Sean Samoheyl. Cinders Gallery used to

have some of my work on their site I think they still do. Molte Grazie.

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