martedì 28 febbraio 2012

Interview with Ben Sloat

q)Introduce yourself, name,age, location.

a)I'm Ben Sloat, a multimedia artist born in New York City, now living in Cambridge, MA. I'm 34 years old.

q) Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really get into it?

a)My parents are artists in New York, so I've been exposed to art my entire life. I didn't really pursue art seriously until I finished college and decided to go to graduate school for art. That was about ten years ago.

q) Describe your ideals and how they manifest in your work.

a)Originally, my art was very much based in photography. More and more, I'm interested in how the photograph reflects culture, history, and the artist's perspectives, but I've been exploring that in multiple mediums now. The root of the word photography: "the graphics of light", is something I'm more specifically interested in now, so I've been exploring light as a character, but also how cultural items can be reproduced in numerous ways.

q) Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?

a)I always listen to music! Often with large headphones on. Most recently, the albums I listen to the most are Radiohead's "The King of Limbs remix from the the basement" and Kanye West's "My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy"

q) How would you describe your work to someone?

a)My work often takes recognizable cultural materials and modifies them to expand its embedded meaning.

q) Influences?

a)Lately I've been looking at a range of artists, from David Altmejd to Sarah Sze, Olafur Eliasson, Mark Bradford, Yayoi Kusama and Anselm Kiefer.

q) Describe your process for creating new work.

a)I've got a lot of ideas! It takes a certain amount of strategy to figure how how to achieve the ideas, but also enough flexibility for the work to change and evolve over time. Often it's a matter of seeing what the material wants to do, and simply allowing it to do that. Other times I have very specific ideas of what I would like to accomplish and I focus very intently on that.

q) What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)The world of art to me is about a large exchange of ideas, a conversation perhaps. How to communicate effectively is very important. I think it's essential to understand one's own art, how to relates to the greater art world, and what kind of conversations it hold. Then it becomes easier to share with gallerists and curators. The art world is also a very human place, it's important for the artists to get to know people in the art world as people first, the conversation and shows come afterwards.

q) What are you really excited about right now?

a)Text and materials really excite me. I'm making a number of text pieces that I feel strongly about, it's amazing to spend time with text as aesthetic symbols rather than just as language. I think of the quote by Rilke: "color is enslaved by line that becomes writing."

q) What do you love most about where you live?

a)The amount of artist talks in the area are phenomenal. In the last year I've seen: Wolfgang Tillmans, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Graham, Tomas Saraceno, William Kentridge, Sally Mann speak about their work, to name a few. Walid Raad is speaking at Harvard on Thursday, Spencer Finch soon after at RISD.

q) Best way to spend a day off?

a)With my family!

q) Upcoming shows/ projects?

a) I have work in a show opening on Monday at the Beehive, which is in the Boston Center for the Arts. There are a few group shows coming up and a number of large scale installation projects in the works!

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

a) A few good places: