giovedì 6 agosto 2009

Interview with Tali Toledano

q) Please introduce yourself.

a)I am Tali Toledano, a contemporary artist, born in 1971, Israel. I use a technique of perforating and gluing ribbons of cloth, insulating tapes, label stickers, stickers, wall papers and other materials.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live and work in Israel.

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a)My works are graphical, flat, iconic, and poster-like. They remind, to some extent, the Pop Art language, like the collage. As of now, I deal with the issues of technology and labelling. The issues are in the centre, heroic and commemorated, as if they were the gods of our time and I am just their biographer.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)I have been attracted to art as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, I was born with it, and so the flow was natural. I have always enjoyed creating and painting throughout my childhood: in kindergarten, at school, at home, and anywhere I could express myself. I did it on paper or with paper, or with any other material.

When I started my academic studies in WIZO Canada, the college of graphical design studies, I actually became an artist.

From the beginning I understood that I enjoyed art classes more than the design classes. Since the first year of studies I already loved to be original, because what was the point of doing things that had been done already? I used to carry colorful bands of insulating tapes in my bag to class (usually the electrician uses these materials). I didn't know when would I use them, but I was certain that I would find the right moment to do so. In the second year they became highly used. I created a work in the same technique I use today, which is a gluing technique that is also called "chair", but the thing is that at that time I had not yet known anything.

I haven't completed the design studies. I have studied three years out of four.

I had to present a project and I chose not to continue my studies due to tuition fees reasons. In the year I didn't study, I worked at home and created my first works, which later on received the title of Electric Appliances and Objects. When there were ten of them, I sent pictures of them to the Israel Museum, and the museum's curator of Israeli art set an appointment for me, and afterwards paved my way to a collective exhibition in the museum. This curator actually confirmed, signaled and influenced my artistic identity.

When I work in art, I feel that this is the right and natural place for me, here there is no disturbing criticism, I am the critic of myself, my own master, I can do and create whatever comes to my mind, like a free wind. When I create something good, I know it as I look at the work and receive a feedback from it through excitement, joy, happiness, fun, heart beatings, a sense of satisfaction, fun in creating and making something that you love, and if others also love it, so much the better.

q) What are your favourite art materials and why?

a)My favourite materials today are stickers, gluing various materials, such as: cloth ribbons, insulating tapes, wall-paper, label etiquettes, and so on, which I sometime perforate and integrate together with the perforation technique. I like these materials and technique because they are clean.

I don't like getting dirty and smelling of certain creation materials for the whole day. By using the gluing technique you can create all day long without smelling or becoming dirty. But still, I don't avoid using oil, acrylic, and such other materials, but I prefer gluing and perforating. By the way, gluing is best for paper or transparent plastic material, but with cloth the grasp is not so strong, and that is why I can't always use every gluing material.
When I do use it, it is usually with the cloth ribbons (the raw material of the electrician, but wider and stronger than insulating tapes), which grasps the cloth well.

There are, of course, the future materials which I would like to use both in the future and now, like transparent raw materials together with my technique of sculpturing and positioning.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)I am usually influenced by good artists from the past, the present and the future, those who are well known in our time as well as in the past, starting from Vincent Van Gogh, through the artists of the 16th century, and up to the artists of 20th century. Among contemporary artists, every artist who presents a work of art that excites or intrigues me, gets my attention. I feel that he is good and can leave his mark in our world, even if he is not well known. There is no point in indicating names, but they belong to the group of influencing artists. There are also others who have not made it to the top, but are very good as well. These are the artists who innovate and stimulate me and the public to come to see and breath art, and it is absolutely worthwhile to be inspired by them.

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

a)The typical day of art making is a day of total creation in a spacious studio, in which I create plastic and sculpturing works. When I am at work, I bent over the work, sometimes on the floor, at other times the work is on my lap, and I am prepared to dedicate a whole day to it. You can see pieces of glue, which you may call leftovers, glued to available objects at my home, but I would call them pieces of glue, and they are not less interesting than the pieces I cut in order to adjust into the work. Almost every leftover will find its way to the work, unless too many days have gone by and there is no point in making use of them because they were glued to undesired objects. Maybe this is the disadvantage of exposed glue.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)Yes, there are numerous goals, but I have to start from the beginning. My goal is to exhibit in Israel and abroad, preferably in Israel, mainly in museums, and also in a good gallery with a large space. To expose and be exposed. The artist's remuneration in Israel in not always good and respectable, and sometimes it even doesn't exist. It is important for me to be exposed to the public as much as possible, not just in the close artistic milieu. I want people to come and see. I want to touch the people and that they would "touch" me, that is my work, in return.

I want to do sculpturing and positioning, to pour my art into a transparent material as a frame, as affixing it in a mould or as sculpturing. On the one hand, I am interested in integrating my issues in sculpturing and achieve physically high sculpturing as much as possible, and on the other hand, sculpturing can be structural, square, or low.

Art Law – in 2001-2 I had an idea of passing an Art Law in Israel. I think that there is a need of such a law, although many would say that law and art do not go together hand in hand, since art is the ultimate symbol of freedom. I am in favor of such a law, because it is a real necessity in Israel. Art is an idea, a resource, and part of our culture, and this notion is not promoted enough in our country. In my opinion, we, the artists, the artistic mileu, and the public need it. As of now, I am not the only one who thinks so. What we mean by this law is that it would acknowledge the artist as a professional, and hence he would be entitled to basic terms of payment from the galleries or the sponsors, and they would provide the artist with a workplace for the continuation of his creation. It is well known that an artist can work on his art for months and years without any remuneration, and a late remuneration is not worth much, especially as there are works of art that are not for sale, like a heap of mud, a gathering of wood, or a "by-product" a bird drops, a kind of violent art that is not pretty, but bloody, and so on, that has some kind of a message but is not suitable to be presented in the collector's living-room.

I would like Israel to adopt the European attitude towards art, and that Israel would also be a center of art which attracts artists and publics from the country as well as tourists to watch and see good art, because we have good art that we want to expose and can be proud of. There are artists from abroad who come who exhibit in Israel, but they are few and not the great artists. There should be a greater investment on the part of the establishment, philanthropists and sponsors in all kinds of exhibition spaces: museums, galleries, and open spaces in order to attract the public and bring more money to art and culture. Generally speaking, the education in Israel doesn't include art since art is regarded as unnecessary. The young generation is much more involved in technology and High-Tech than in art. What is wide spread is the instant culture, which gets lower and lower by aiming at low and ever changing stimuli. I think art will always remain as long as there is soil under our feet. All I want is that people will see that art is not less beautiful and interesting as all other things, and it is worthwhile seeing exhibitions and support art.

I have written a poem in 2007 about the Art Law:

I'm not Vincent Van Gogh, but we are colleagues

Hello Dear Vincent…

I write to you from here and you are there…

You know, nothing has changed…

Nothing has really made a change…

Except from sunflowers in the wind and gristmills. Get some rest.

Nothing has really changed…

Nothing has really wanted to change…

Nothing. Except you.

Wow, dear Vincent, You are really so dear today.

Your death was worth more than your life,

Therefore it is painful to watch your works.

Progress came first, and it indeed promised

An unnecessary death, abandoned progress.

Nothing has really changed…

Nothing has really made a change.

The State of Israel brags of Equality of Rights

That the citizen would receive and fulfill his duties.

But this is not the case of an unknown artist.

A citizen, yes, of course.

Dear artist, your profession is not acknowledged.

And you will probably be able to buy only sugar in the store. Eat.

Military service, national security, health tax, property tax, electricity bill, water bill, telephone bill, television fee, internet, regular bills, failures and mishaps, children to feed, transportation fees, materials for exhibitions and savings. Don't be ridiculous.

And everything is expensive and unfamiliar.

Dear artist,

A hot country sends you away to a cold country

To cultivate your skills there…

You live here, but not really in your profession.

You live, but not really.

Nothing has changed…

Nothing except me who get changed

(And not always for the better).

Nothing really wants to get changed.

Except for small pretty urinals.

They are more luxurious, automatic, with accessories,

Bidet and they even talk…

I'm not Vincent Van Gogh, but I would like to be.

Nothing has changed…

Nothing really wants to get changed…

A little hole, a little law, which would protect the artist's rights

And would be able to right dozens of wrongs and arrange the world.

A law that is called the Art Law!

Which would acknowledge art as a proper profession,

With all expected rights.

No, you re not doing him any favors.

And you won't let him live in debt.

To be an artist in the State of Israel,

Is a privilege one has to get for granted.

Art is a profession with a soul

That takes energy like any other work.

We really don't play games,

But our lives are a game someone plays with.

You are born with art, but they don't get it.

This identity is connected to the soul.

Nothing has been changed.

Nothing doesn’t make any change.

Nothing really wants to get changed.

Dear Vincent,

I tell you,

Don't hasten to come down, wait a little, a little more,

So that you can inherit your works.

A little law, one law, and you are a king!

And I'm not Vincent Van Gogh, but now I would like to be!

· Dedicated to dear Vincent Van Gogh

All rights reserved to ©Tali Toledano

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)Any trend, development, or a contemporary artist, from the past or the future, in whose art there is some element of curiosity, originality, courage, vision, innovation, idea, love, exclusivity, which invigorates in me sensations of excitement, amazement, questioning, insight or understanding, attracts me to look at it in joy and interest. It opens to me a door that I'd better go through. Contemporary art has some significant markers that influence the artistic way and are integrated in our artistic history and culture. Artists are definitely influenced by them and draw their inspiration from them, and so do I. Being human and humanity causes the productivity and continuity of creation as an eternal element in our global culture. I don't think it is important to indicate names that influence me. Anyway I won't remember all of them, and therefore it is better not to mention any of them. I'm usually influenced by the best, the outstanding ones, and probably those who reached publicity. This is how it works.

It is difficult to surprise, to stimulate, or to excite me today, as if all has been done already. But eventually I don't think it is like that. If we think that way, art will die. In the same way that mankind and technology progress, there are new possibilities in art that one can use in order to create new, innovative art.

It is good to know that there are numerous good creators in the artistic milieu, which is still productive, fertilizing and kicking. Furthermore, there is another advantage that works for us in the global arena, which is the option of greater and greater exposure that brings audience from all over the world due to technology and the means at our disposal in all the possible media, from television and up to the internet. This technology brings me to correspond with you and to see the works of other artists. The global village brought us together, and in this proximity we discover one another right now.

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

a)It depends on the size of the work, the idea, how much time I dedicate to it, and also things that are not in my control. A work of 100X70 cm would take me about a month, and maybe even three months. It all depends on the complexity of the idea, the subjectmatter, and so on. The work "Took Took Bakbook" took me about six months. This is a two-sides work of 4.35X1.45 m. The work has been created while I was working in another job for a living.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a)Today, yes, although with a slight pain, but definitely with joy as well, because this is another opportunity for exposure and a celebration as someone loved your work enough to pay for it with his money.

In the past, and to some extent even today, I had difficulties in selling a piece of work, and I was not happy to do so, not in any price anyway. There are obviously pieces of work that you get attached to and love more than others, but what is the point of having them. If they are not exposed they don't have any beauty. On the contrary, the right thing to do is to let go of the work, which I call sometimes a child, as the fruit of creation. When it is completed, it has to do what it was meant to be in the first place, that is to go out to the world and attract audiences and be exposed to the public. Any other decision would be egotistical. It would be wrong to decide to leave the work with me. We have to share beauty, the work of art, the message, and so on. Like many other talented people, a singer, an actors, a watchmaker, a baker, a mechanic, or any other professional, who have some sort of talent, his mission is to make others happy or help others with his skills. In any case, today I can take a picture of the work, and it is even desired to make room for new energy of revival in the studio, or in the workplace.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a)Yes, absolutely, music is part of my day of creation, and it accompanies me at my work. I use to listen to music in the music player and create. Sometimes music motivates me and brings me into a certain rhythm or mood. Sometimes it just keeps me company, as I and the creation feel isolated from people and the outside world sometimes, and it is good to listen to music and enjoy what it has to offer. I love all kinds of music, including world music, any trend, with or without lyrics, whether it is jumpy, quiet, different, unique, or varied. I change it all the time, sometimes go back to the past, and then to the future again. I am open to all sorts of music, and music opens me to everything. I develop an empathy and sympathy to everything that invigorates me at the moment, and is right for me at that moment. Therefore, I can't say I prefer a certain singer or a band, I listen to everything.

q) Books?

a)Unfortunately, I don't read books today; maybe once in a while I happen to read a book. As a little girl I used to read a lot and I liked it very much. I love fantasies and daydreaming, and it was only natural for me to dive into the stories in books. I even want to write a book one day, or rather, a children's picture book with my works as the illustrations. There are some beginnings which have not been completed. I hope to get back to it one day when I am more relaxed and free. In the meantime I can say that I always enjoy learning and reading in the internet all sorts of things that interest me. I used to read materials that had to do with spiritualism, dreams, fantasy, and the world of mystery.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)The natural creative process in my works is guided by my internal truth and what happens around me. It is important for me to create out of love or curiosity to the subject, otherwise it won't be good.

I'm influencd by everything that I see and hear in the world every day, all the time. But I bring myself and wrap the subjects with beauty in order to bring the spectator closer to the work. Competition is harsh and strong nowadays, and we are exposed to stimuli and contents that are brought up in the modern world and compete on the audience's attention, while modern technology makes it more difficult. Things can be more difficult at times in the plastic art, because it seems two-dimensional and still, and therefore I recommend using technology in the artist's work. It may work for you along the slogan: if you can beat them, join them. It is needless to mention that technology brought about good and innovative things as well, like digital artists, video artists, and technological art. The competition on the public's attention is in all fields and possible media, and the public doesn't hasten to get interested in every new invention that comes out to the world, as the public is bombarded by information in the internet, the computer, television, on-line and printed journalism, except for his human environment of family and friends. I try to bring another aspect that the audience can't be exposed to by technology, trying to attract his interest. Challenging, isn't it?

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)When I'm not creating, I enjoy doing nothing, I enjoy surfing in the internet, watch a few series on television, listen to music, sometimes I write poetry, I go shopping, I love going to the beach, and walking. I formulate ideas of patents, but unfortunately I don't put all the necessary energy in order to make them come true.

In the past I used to accumulate articles and important contents in all fields I'm interested in and arouse some kind of studying, understanding, or a memory for future application, or just nice objects in their design or artistic qualities, and file them.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a)I don't have a specific exhibition at the near future, but it can change. I hope I will find a good and respectful place to expose my art, preferably abroad. I waited a long time with exposure, and I hope I'll find the right and good place. As far as projects are concerned, there are ideas all the time, which I hope to carry out.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries, do you prefer?

a)Yes, but not enough. I'm sure I scarcely cover a small part of the contemporary artistic arena. When I do, I follow artists and galleries in the internet, periodicals, and a little on television. I'm not going to indicate them by names, because they are numerous, and I certainly will not mention all of them. I think it is important to be exposed to the global arena and be aware of what goes on in order not to create what has been done already on the one hand, and get an inspiration from another good works of art. Finally, I am curious and happy to know that art is alive and still fertilizes our global culture.

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


-Who are you?

-I am a human being with no titles, who aspires for good to be in our world.

I want to love and be loved.

When you peel all the outside covers of a person, the core that remains is his heart, which is his basis and it a lot. I would like to know how I function as a human being, whether I'm a good visitor in this world. Do we know how to host one another? We already know the answers to these questions. A lot can be done to improve our world, and I can say about myself that I try, but not enough. But I would like to have a better world, a spiritual world with soil under our feet, knowing that the air we breathe is our oxygen like the land that belongs to all of us. Everything refers to the most beautiful creations on earth and beyond it, and we should keep it for the future.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)You have to have a goal, determination, courage, perseverance, originality, innovation. All these are needed for success, assuming that you have the talent. You have to aspire to be the best you can, and a bit of luck is also desirable. Don't be afraid, dare do things, take advantage of the freedom of art. If you believe in yourself, others will do so too. You have to give the impression that no matter what, you will go on with who you are, and it will come out some day. If art is essential for you, people will feel it and want to see it.

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