Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Interview with Amze Emmons

Interview Part 1:
Bret (Transmission):Do you see your works operating more as personal narrative, universal narrative, or purely fictional narrative?

Amze: Good question.. I never really conceptualized the work in terms of telling a story. It seems to exist more as a documentary collage of a moment in time or evidence of the activity of making. The things I draw again and again--tents, water bottles, jersey barriers--they all start to become characters to me; so maybe in that sense I am telling a story about the detritus we leave in our wake.

B: You successfully blur linear time with many of your paintings/ works of art. (Respond if inclined)

A: Wow, thank you. Manipulating the audience’s sense of time isn’t something I set out to do. I conceptualize the work as being a frozen moment, like a film still of larger events that are unfolding around the viewer. I think a lot about cinematic time, particularly pregnant moments just before or just after something traumatic occurs.

B: Do you see similarities between your use of visual samples (from the Sunday Times) and the use of samples in music? Would you relate more to any specific musicians and how they operate or is your goal to move beyond that?

A: There are definitely similarities between how I collect and collage source material in the making of my work and what a DJ or musician does with music samples. I would love to say that my process is somehow influenced by or related to DJ Spooky, Del, or the Books, but that would probably be overstating the point. I have
these regular activities of collecting imagery that fuels the work;
the found images then get sifted, collaged and redrawn over and over, and then I try to pull everything into the same space.

B: What influences are there in your palette?

A: I spend a lot of time thinking about color and perception in my work. I have a friend who is a neuroscientist and we have an ongoing dialogue about visual perception and the brain. I try to employ color as a kind of camouflage to draw my audience in close before they have to wrestle with the content and contradictions in the imagery. The colors themselves are culled from what I see in daily life: a window display at a dollar store on the Lower East Side, a trip to Target, a fruit vendor from a recent trip to Italy, etc. I guess the thread that connects them all is commerce and commercial goods. The sources of the palette are probably as much a nod to pop art as they are to the power of mass marketing and consumer culture.

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