[VIDEO] ABOUT THE EXHIBITION // SWOON "CICADA"
July 4th // Interviewer: Shane Allen // Art
Could you give me an explanation of the film?
This is the core of the show and for the over the last two years I've been teaching myself stop motion animation and a little bit of film stuff, basically taking the language of drawing and sculptures that have been building over the last, very many years and kind of adapting it to include time.
And so there are pretty experimental and abstract. Some of them have little narratives that kind of develop within them. But at the moment it's just kind of a sequence of abstract narratives that kind of layer on each other.
What was the push to experiment with film and animation
I was just something I was ready to do. I had been wanting to make animation really since I was a teenager, but I didn't quite have the patience and I didn't quite have the language yet. So I felt like it kind of needed to spend a lot of time really building. What was my visual language,what was my narrative language? All of these things kind of had to get built, before I could be ready to kind of form it in that way.
Most of the other pieces in the show are actually features in the film right?
So the show, it centers around the animation and film. So it's about two years of these kind of abstract pieces and everything that in this part of the show is either directly or indirectly related to that.
So like this wall of drawings are all drawings which started as these large scale drawings that you see, Then I kind of shrunk them down and built them into characters that would become part of the animation.
What piece is most significant to you?
This is a sculpture that's, that is part of the animation. This is an installation where I'm taking essentially like my animating studio and resetting it up in the gallery. I
In this room is his portraiture. The portraits have been the core of my work for many years. And so this is just kind of my process of drawing and creating portrait and then some of those portraits go on to have a life within the films.
Could you explain your history with dice Deitch Projects
So actually this very space is the first gallery that I ever really did a major installation of any kind. It was essentially my first show in 2005. It was really this just life changing epic moment. I've worked with Jeffrey and I've worked with Deitch Projects at these kind of turning points moments of my life, like multiple times.
So there was the big first installation at this gallery. There was the rafts that came down the Hudson, and then there's this project, which is another kind of turning point. Jeffery's really amazing. It's seeing those turning points and being like, “Let's do something with this. Let's let this blossom.“ So that's kind of what this moment is.
Awesome. Um, how long ago was your first, exhibition here?
It was 2005. So it was like 14 years ago. Yeah.
Do you ever, what do you have ever believed that you would have come this far? I believe where you are right now.
I mean then it was wild. it was so exciting to be here and I just felt like everything was happening on little ones, so it was incredible. I definitely wasn't even thinking about the future at that exact moment. But then when I think about all the things that I did after that, you know, all the different kinds of projects and you know, going on the raft or like working with communities after disaster or like any of the really intense kind of like deep rooted projects I took on. I definitely didn't see those coming.
When you say turning point, do you think of that in terms of your work or your life?
They kind of always go together, right? But it's certainly, it's showing up in my work in the sense that I've spent the last two years building this like narrative moving language. I never did that before, so this is very new for me. it's really a turning point.
Where the last time I was in this gallery, I built out the whole space and it was this kind of really longterm installation. And this time, everything really went into the films. So it's like you get all of these, like this intense building and this intense time moment, but it's all happening in the film rather than in the space.
Other than learning a new medium, these portraits different from your past work?
This is a series of portraits of friends. I stopped on the block printing, which was the medium that I worked with for years and years and years. just decided to kind of work on some paintings that, and they still feel very kind of printing, um, but they're starting to develop in their own direction. I just decided to do something very close to home and just like to spend some time painting my friends.
What do you think brought that change on?
Painting friends and family has always been one of the threads that weave through all of the work. And so for this job and just kind of pulling that thread out a little stronger. I would say making the animation, it's like a very quiet and reflective process. If you really have to kind of go in. It's very much driven by like peer imagination. Where as, my community based work for example, you really have to be in community. You're responsible to a lot of people. It's really like a very intensive process of being out in the world.
The animation has been kind of a way to just let the sort of like purely imaginative part of my mind, just have a little space to run around, you know? I think that the kind of drawing, the intimate portraits of friends and these kind of like, you know, just like there are things like I never would have been like nude sittings when I was working on the street because those pieces had to be so public facing. Um, and so now I'm kind of just getting to moments of letting people kind of express their, you know, intimacy and sexuality and just like a little more relaxed.