The eXTra finGer

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interview with Rik Garrett

Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)My name is Rik Garrett, and I'm 29 years old. I recently moved to Chicago from Washington state, where I grew up.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A) When I was growing up, I watched my mother hone her skills as a photographer to eventually have her own portrait studio. At the age of 14 I decided that it might be interesting to learn photography since I already had a darkroom in the house. Since then I've painted, drawn, made music and a variety of other things. But I always come back to photography.

Q)How would you describe your art?

A)That's something that I've never been very good at. Normally I just explain that I focus on black and white photography. The best way I could explain my particular style would be to use words that others have said to me: antiquated, ethereal, dreamy.

Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A)I used to find a lot of inspiration in classical paintings and nightmares I was having for a long time, but I suppose I got tired of that. I like older photography, especially early glass plates and tintypes. The photography that's inspired me the most has probably been the work of the handful of Surrealist photographers.I've basically quit planning what I'm going to do and now leave a lot of things to chance and serendipity. I used to meticulously plan every photograph with notes and sketches, and while I think that worked for a lot of things it just didn't seem as sincere as it could be. The idea of improvisation seemed so much more appealing. I recently described it in musical terms - I went from making rigidly planned classical music to jazz.

Q)What are you working on now?

A)First and foremost I'm working on getting new cameras since I had all of mine stolen from my new apartment in Chicago just over a month ago. I'm planning a lot of things in little bits and pieces, but I'm not getting too far ahead of myself since I can't do much without a camera.I've been slowly working on ideas and images for a book I would like to see published before too long.

Q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recommend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

A)I check and fairly often recently, looking for new photographic equipment. Besides that, I don't check many arts related sites very often. But my friend Suzanne always seems to find interesting new things to share on her site:

Q) What programs / materials / tools do you use to create your pieces?

A)I don't use any programs. I use old cameras and black and white film. I actually enjoy working in the darkroom, something that I'm surprised to learn isn't true of all photographers. I like using my hands and creating something tangible. I enjoy having that moment where I turn on the lights and see something that I can be proud of.

Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)I would advise them to keep making work that is meaningful to them and keep doing what is enjoyable. I would advise them to be patient. I would tell them to meet a lot of people and learn from the example of those they respect. I would also suggest they seek advice from someone who has a better idea of what they're talking about.

Q) What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

A)For me, art and life are completely intertwined. I'm learning that isn't the case with everybody on this planet. It would be a mistake as an artist to assume that everyone cares about artwork.

Q) Do you think that art is a universal language - transcending all the different languages, cultures and religions etc?

A)There is a quote by William S. Burroughs that I really like, and I think it sums this up quite nicely:" It is to be remembered that all art is magical in origin-music, sculpture, writing, painting-and by magical I mean intended to produce very definite results. Writing and painting were one in cave paintings, which were formulae to ensure good hunting. Art is not an end in itself, any more than Einstein's matter-into-energy formula is an end in itself. Like all formulae, art was originally functional, intended to make things happen, the way an atom bomb happens from Einstein's formulae. Take a porcelain stove and disconnect it and put it in your living room with ivy growing over it: it may be a good-looking corpse but it isn't functional anymore. Or take a voodoo doll full of pins-authentic West Africa, $500 on 57th Street-and hang it on the wall of your duplex loft. It isn't killing enemies anymore, and the same goes for a $5,000 shrunk-down head, which a fashionable shrink bought for his consultation room."

Q) What are your artistic influences?

A)Old photographs and older paintings. The way that different chemicals erode things in different ways. The work of some of my friends and different artists that I've met. Lines from books or songs that get stuck in my head.

Q) How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)Generally very positive, but I am always surprised by the responses I get. Some people see my work as being very romantic, others have repeatedly referred to it as being 'dark'. I think that what I do is open enough that people can read a lot of different things into the same image. What one person might see as being very romantic another might see as being 'haunting', and yet another sees pure eroticism. This is very interesting to me. I think peoples' interpretations sometimes show more about the viewer than they do my artwork.

Q) Do you have many connections in the underground scene?

A)I don't really understand what this question means, so I will assume that the answer is 'no'.

Q) Tell us about a recent dream you had.

A)A few nights ago I had a dream that was a lot like an old film noir movie, only the colors were very vivid. I had to solve a mystery and question a bunch of people. Eventually I knew who did it, but I had to catch them. Very suspenseful and exciting, unlike my real life.Two nights ago I dreamt I was at a Greek restaurant ordering a falafel sandwich.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)Doing what I want to. I've been lucky so far in that I've been able to show my work and sell it without worrying about an audience or doing commissioned work. This seems rare amongst artists, but especially photographers. Of course I wouldn't mind more shows and sales, but I'm happy about what I've done so far.

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A)Generally whatever I've just finished. More often, though, it's whatever I'm about to do next.

Q) Last Books you read?

A)I sometimes get distracted easily and like to read several books at a time. Right now I'm reading Brion Gysin's "The Process" and a book called "Surrealism: Desire Unbound" (while occasionally skipping around through "Voluptuous Panic"). Before that I read Penny Rimbaud's "Shibboleth: My Revolting Life" and a couple of books by William S. Burroughs.

Q) Last records you bought?

A)John Zorn - Moonchild, Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue

Q) Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A)The galleries I am associated with have others associated with them which are completely amazing:Art@Large -
Museum of Porn in Art -

Q)Your contacts..E-mail.Links



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rik is a talentless waste of life!

11:02 AM  

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