I just finished editing the interview I did with photo-derivative-and-house-hold-object artist Kate SteciwÂ (who also has work up at Foxy Production right now) for toomer labzda’s year one show and interview series.
Because so much of our lunch-talk was trimmed down out of necessity for the series, I am sharing below one segment I particularly loved and was unable to include. It is about the responsibility and the nature of image-making as an artist or not. It also touches on why I stopped (for now) making art.
KS:Â Sometimes I’ll make something, and I don’t even know that it’s an art object. It’s something I’ve maybe created using the mindset of a re-toucher.Â I feel like increasingly, those lines are being blurred and crossed. I mean they’ve always been crossed, where medium is the message and all that stuff. I think right now it’s more pertinent because we are all so bombarded with data that we can’t really escape. The advertising graphic impulse.
I make art that I wouldn’t necessarily want in my house. But it’s what I feel like I need to make, and what I feel like my voice is. Actually my taste in art is very austere, muted, simple. But my art is more my own voice in cultural criticism. I don’t make art that I would buy.
SQ:Â That’s very interesting because that’s what I realize I was doing, when I stopped. I realize I was just making decorative objects, as opposed to art.
KS:Â I mean, once they enter the commercial sphere, they all become decorative objects. That territory is very inconsistent.
SQ: For me it just started to feel very shallow. I thought my drawings were very aesthetically pleasing, but it felt so unchallenging. Also at that age I was probably too young to figure out how to navigate that.
KS:Â It’s hard to navigate in general. Whether you think you’re just making an aesthetic decorative object or not, we’re so imbued in this world of decorative language. Like working with these stock images, or this ephemera that are used in certain ways.
It’s just so much harder than I thought it would be. They mold themselves into their contexts so quickly, as if they wanted to beâ€¦they had such a strong images. Greuys actually wrote a great essay on this: the weak image, the messianic image. These things act on us in such an intense way that I think it’s very hard to subvert it.