Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Interview for (2007)

Andres Amador attended his first Burning Man in 1999, where he met a future collaborator, Kurt Sonderegger—then promoting his new toy, the Zuni Poi. Together with friends they began practicing and performing fire acts for events around the City under the name "Infinite Kaos." They inaugurated a weekly gathering of 'flowsters,' called 'Spin Jam' which has been going strong for six years now.

By 2000, inspired by the illusory and trancendental nature of staff dance movements Amador began to make sculptures, which got ever-larger. After a few years of intuitive arts creation he began to study 'sacred geometry', fractals, moires, optical illusions, integral psychology, form, and nature in general.

'Cubit Chandelier' 2009 17'x15'
Light Sculpture installation for Rothbury Music Festival, Michigan
comprised of strands of rotating 'Cubits'
His Light Sculpture series explores the realms of color, negative shape, and form. Ephemeral, morphing shapes of shifting colors result. They are comprised of individual strings, yet an overall unbroken form is perceived—relative ratios of color create a whole rainbow palette that shifts as a sculpture moves.

The Sand Circles series were inspired by the crop circle phenomenon in England; Amador creates large-scale works on the beach, creating a focus of contemplative thought energy, and then watches how people respond, how they interact with the formations. Done between tides, the designs are gone within several hours, sometimes eroding before completion, gone without a trace like the sand paintings of cultures around the world.

'Flower of Life' 2009
Amador did a three-year residency for Thump Radio, providing art for their music events in clubs and other venues. Over the past 5 years he has worked with many local producers as well as producers in New York, Washington D.C., Oregon, and LA.

In the area of design. Amador has worked with Red Bull, Thump Radio, Whip It, and Velocity Circus, creating custom artwork for a variety of needs from the artistically practical (not to be confused with the 'practically artistic'!) to the purely decorative or purely practical.

MR: What does the role of Artist mean to you?
My educational background is in science, a field of quantifiable measurements and theories. I got into art through the back door as I attempted to visualize my developing awareness, exploring the world around me with ever more curiosity. I mean to say that I have had to piece together what being an artist means, and fluffy answers never felt satisfactory to me. As I am coming to understand, artists (and creators of any type) are the vanguard of cultural awareness. They are the ones pushing the boundaries of perception and human experience, expanding the potential that then becomes part of the cultural pool, accessible to all. Artists give form to feeling, conveying their experience in an artwork that is a portal to their soul.

MR: What is driving force behind your creativity?
The origin of my art was movement and dance. I was working with a staff lit with fire at the ends; dancing with it brought my first real experience of 'energy' and the patterns that energy movement takes—there's no denying the energy of a heavy length of fast moving flaming wood. In attempting to represent what I was experiencing, my art started emerging.

As I developed and created, I began to see that underlying my exploration was a fascination for the essential building blocks of reality and the places where those primal forces can be removed from the everyday and experienced from a fresh perspective. Inspiration comes at me from all around—I couldn't block it out if I tried.

MR: Why should your work matter to other people?
I want to infiltrate the psyche, implant an awareness that prompts a metaphysical quest on the part of the viewer. Once I felt in my body the patterns that energy makes, I was forever altered. It led me to a broad range of disciplines, from quantum mechanics to sacred geometry. The simple patterns that would form as I spun a staff are akin to the spin of the fundamental particles that comprise reality. Of course, reality is also fractal, so there really isn't an 'ultimate' particle, there is no true reduction. But the patterns themselves permeate the entirety. These patterns have been expressed endlessly throughout history—they are the 'sacred' symbols found in every culture.

MR:What is the difference between craftsman, artist, and visionary?
The three are perhaps part of a continuum of creation and creativity. At one end is the person who is steeped in technique but does not have as large a role in the artistic nature of the creation. At the other extreme is the visionary who dreams up new possibilities but does not, or even cannot, actualize them. Artistry bridges the two realms. Or perhaps it is like the overlapping primary color circles diagram, with one circle each for craftsman, artist, and visionary. Combinations of the three produce different results. I think few people can be reduced to one circle and at the crossroads of craftsmanship, artistry, and vision, truly amazing work is created. I might place Alex Grey in that camp.

MR:To what extent do you intentionally try to accurately portray yourself in your work?
To understand my work is to understand me. I am not working with playful abstractions but with my actual, 'serious' reflections on the nature of existence. The desire to accurately portray myself keeps me from doing something trivial...

MR: What was your religious/spiritual upbringing like?
I was raised Catholic, most of my family is Jewish, I have native South American lineage, and I grew up in the New Age center of the world, the San Francisco Bay Area. I am the result of the combination of a loose 'traditional' religious upbringing with a potpourri of spiritual ideas.

In the end spirituality to me comes down to the question "What is it to live a meaningful life?" The blender I grew up in allowed me to experience a wide range of thoughts with an open mind, finally settling upon my art as a way to express and later embody the ideas that "the world" began channeling through me.

MR: How does your work effect Consciousness, and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
Ken Wilber has been tremendously influential in my awareness of the nature of evolution and of the evolution of consciousness. His work permitted me to forgive myself for past mistakes. The adage 'live and learn' sums it up quite eloquently. Evolution is the process of using the past to move beyond where you are right now.

The first artworks I produced that could be sold—the postcard prints of my beach paintings— I created with the intention that they would adorn fridges and cubicle walls, be sent through the mail, generally be in places where many people would have the opportunity to view them, so that the symbols would enter the minds of all who saw them. If all I did was give someone a moment of wonderment, I'm happy. If I managed to get someone to say 'what's going on here, what does this mean?' even better!

MR: Have your dreams inspired you? If so, how have they influenced your work?
My dreams have not played a (consciously) large role for me. Instead I have moments of lucidity where I have been able to see years into the future and know that the impact of a particular line of inquiry would be soul-satisfying.

For the beach work I had a moment on the beach during which I was showing a friend about sacred geometry principles, realized that I was creating the initial stages for crop circle designs (which I had been studying at the time), and had an AHA! moment in which I saw the possibilities. All that remained at the point was to actualize the vision, and look forward to the process itself directing me.

MR: How long does it take you on average to complete a piece of work, and do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
The Playa Paintings pieces are made within two hours, during low tide. The design process however can be spread out over a long span of time. I have designs that go back several years that I revisit from time to time with a new eye. Sometimes I have new skills that make previously daunting designs much easier to make. Sometimes I create a design on computer and do it the very next day at the beach. I enjoy that rapidity of process from concept to completion, it gets the design through my system right away to clear space for the next place the process will go.

My "Light Sculptures" are a different story. Preparing the structures is a labor intensive process. I have a piece that is three years in the making as I amass the materials required. But perhaps I'll never make it, for the process has revealed and made possible art pieces that the initial impetus never foresaw.

MR:What were you like as a child?
I was generally quiet and highly inquisitive. I would spend hours entertaining myself playing with legos and construction toys. When I became aware of my mom's struggle as a single parent, I became very serious and studious and left 'arty' behavior behind until I was in my late 20's.

MR: Where would you like to go that you've never been?
There are so many places! Deep under the ocean, into space, the bamboo forests of China, the mountains of the Himalayas, the ancient structures of the Mayans. This is a long list!

MR:Name one/some of your heroes.
Jack Black is a current role model. He shows me what is possible when you love wholeheartedly what you do and bring your unique personality to the endeavor. Plus he doesn't take himself too seriously, which is another huge lesson for me.

MR:What's your personal mantra?
I think my driving mantra has been "justify yourself." While I am opening myself to the notion that the universe wants me here and wants me to succeed (in whatever way that means!), I am still under the sway of an old notion that says I need to prove my existence and make it worthwhile. That 'mantra' serves me, as it has allowed for vision and action and drive. The next step is to feel worthwhile without the accomplishments. I think that as I accomplish more, the need for accomplishment will fade. May that not diminish my drive.

Michael Robinson

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