Thursday, September 15, 2011

Interview for Caters 10/11

* How do you come up with your designs, what inspires you?
There are two main forms of my work, the geometric and the organic. The geometric designs were initially inspired by the crop circles phenomenon in  England. Gradually these designs shifted towards a more organic quality, inspired by the desire to feel 'life' moving through them. These are inspired by patterns in nature, such as ripples in water or cracks in mud. When I am creating the geometric designs I follow a guide that is very strict, for it must be perfectly executed. On the other hand, when I am making the organic designs I am following a process  that mimics the formation of real life patterns. As such the organic ones when following the process will never look the same way twice. They also have the quality of 'growing' to adapt the location within which I am working.

* How much preperation does it take to create this artwork?
Conception to execution can be very quick. There have been many times that I am sketching a possible design to do while on my way to the beach. The main constraint is the tidal flow for I can only go to the beach after a low tide, preferably a very low tide for then I have the most wet sand to work with. These occur only several times a month.

* Do you have to spend time sketching designs, do you use any technology to map out the design before you get to work?
With the geometric designs I use computer programs to determine the layout (I could  get away with simply a compass and paper, but the computer offers more possibility). With the organic designs I make sketches on flash cards and go through multiple iterations as I hone in on the one I like most. Google Earth has been very helpful for locating potential beaches (for instance finding beaches that are sizeable and have a high overlook). I have even used Google Earth to place a design on a location to see how it would look

*How long does each artwork take to complete from start to finish? How long preparing and how long to recreate the design on sand?
There are designs that have been years in the developing. And there are designs that come to me as I'm on the way to the beach. I have spent hours in front of the computer reverse engineering the layout steps for a complex geometric design. And I have spent mere minutes figuring out the process for an organic design. Once on the beach I generally give myself 2 hours to work. For more ambitious designs I'll bring together friends and fans to help me

* Tlak me through your latest sand artworks? What are the designs of, where were they created?
This design is an offshoot of one I created 4 years ago that was inspired by topological maps. On this version, done in Santa Cruz, CA., I accentuated the 'valleys' to create a design that had a more dimensional quality. It has a more refined quality than the first version.

This is a line of designs that I have done with groups of people a number of times on various beaches in California. I have each person sketch out a unique flower, which I assist them in developing. I then have them recreate their flower in clusters within the working area. My role becomes that of guiding the various 'brushes' to maximize the impact of the finished design. I love this line of creation in which I guide others. Variations amongst the contributors combined with unexpected elements arising through the group give the design an even more organic feel than I could have done myself (I might be too 'perfect' or regular, creating a homogeneous feel)

the jersey design
This one was done for the Island of Jersey's Beach Art Festival. I won a coin toss to be allowed to work with an amazing beach that included many natural features- the cave, large rock outcrops, and pools of ultra blue water. I had been sketching out potential designs, mainly focusing around mehndi designs, the kind used in Henna artwork, a new area of interest for me. The features of this location informed the final design in a very beautiful way, giving me elements to work with that practically painted the piece.

*Have you ever won any competitions or awards for you work, if so which award(s)/comp and when?
I was named 'Best way to Propose' by 7x7 Magazine, a San Francisco publication! Competitions don't hold much interest for me.

*How and why did you come up with the idea to creat art on sand?
Why...Before the beach art I was making sculptures based on geometric configurations. People would ask me what they meant or would want to engage a conversation around some aspect of their meaning. For me the art was not about meaning, but I wanted to have an awareness of what else might be going on in my artwork. This led me to look into 'sacred geometry', the meaning that people have given to geometrical forms. Simultaneously the topic of Crop Circles arose in my awareness. I found myself drawn to the strangely familiar but exotic designs, wanting to know how one would go about laying them out on paper.

How...the idea came to me as I was in Hawaii. I had been on vacation and had taken with me 2 things to study/work on- a book on the symbolic meanings of geometry in cultures throughout time, and a set of reconstructions of crop circles. One day while on the beach, I was explaining various symbological aspects of geometry to a friend, creating circles and triangles and so forth, when I realized I was creating the initial elements for virtually all the crop circles I had studied. In that moment it occurred to me that I could do these designs in the sand, that their size could be virtually unlimited, and that the most perfect beach to work on was back home in San Francisco.

*What do you enjoy about creating art on sand?
So many things! For one, I get to be on the beach. You can't go wrong, for even if the design doesn't work out, its never a bad day at the beach, in the fresh air, walking barefoot in the sand. This is a far cry from my previous art form which had be working in dark locations often under black light.
There is no clean up or anything to take home or put in storage (my garage is filled with my sculptures!) The beach cleans itself (often right away!) and is ready for me when I arrive.
The art is simple and materially minimal. All I take to and bring back from the beach is my rake.
The creation process is visceral in nature. Dragging a rake through the sand involves the whole body. When I am finished I am often tired, which feels good.
It gives me the opportunity to create something with impact. For the fortunate passerby it is a moment of larger-than-life wonder. However, even for someone viewing the image on a postcard, it still provides wonderment and appreciation.

* How large are you designs, how many metres/miles do they span?
Miles!? Not yet :-) i would say that the largest have measured about 200 metres across.

* Is it disappointing to watch the sea wash away your art after spending so long creating it?
The rising tide is only a disappointment when I haven't completed the artwork- or more vexingly, when it begins eating the art before I can take a photo. However, having the sea take the art away is a part of the whole experience. Creating simply for the act of creation is a celebration and affirmation of life itself. While i do strive for good photos, the act for its own sake is the essential experience. I think this aspect of the art has an impact on the viewer and perhaps can offer a perspective on impermanence. Ultimately dealing with the impending demise of the art i have worked so hard to create has been a way to engage the issue of my own mortality. To confront and stand strong in the face of one's own death is a cathartic experience which offers a distinctly powerful lesson how full the act of living can be.

* What are people's reactions to your work, do people watch in awe?
I get a whole range, from disbelief to marvel. Its gratifying to feel the interest of people looking on from above.

* How old are you? How long have you been an artist?
I am 40. My artistic career began about 12 years ago.

*Where are you from?
I am half Ecuadorian with part Czech and part Hungarian. I am third generation San Franciscan.

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