Based in Vancouver, Indigo is quite possibly my favourite artists working with the medium of stencils and spray paint (not to mention her talents with acrylics oils and a camera). Technically, her work is absolutely flawless, combining multi layer stencils with incredibly skilled freehand shading, as well as absolutely beautiful. The photorealistic figures she paints resonate with me through a deep sense of melancholy and just really suck me in, combining beauty of figure and movement with the chaos of the street walls. I had a chat with her to find out a bit more about the mind responsible for these images.
Desert island disks, which 5 albums couldn’t you live without?
It’s always changing. But right now – The National, Boxer. Al Green, Lay it Down. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago. Interpol, Our Love to Admire. Iron and Wine, Our Endless Numbered Days….and anything by Radiohead.
How long have you been making art, and have you always incorporated street work into that?
I’ve been making art ever since I can remember. I’ve been pursuing visual art as a career for about two years, and making street art for a little more than that.
What sort of reactions do you generally get to your work in public spaces, and what would you most like someone to feel when they walk past your pieces?
It depends on the nature of the work, whether it’s legal or illegal. I think that in both cases the work shares a similar aesthetic, but with my paste-ups I am much more interested in exploring atypical spaces, forgotten places within the urban environment, or leaving the street altogether and placing them in natural settings. I am interested in taking street art out of it’s usual context and placing it in an environment where it is less expected. If you put up art in the middle of the forest, chances are nobody is going to see it. But if someone just happens to wander by, the potential is infinitely greater for that person to have a much more visceral and personal interaction with the work.
Your works very far away aesthetically from the graffiti that often adorns public walls, is conventional graffiti something you’re inspired by or feel particularly close to?
Graffiti is something I’ve always been interested in but not something that I’ve ever done. Some of my best friends are writers, and we’ve collaborated before, we talk about art all the time, they are some of the most inspiring people I know. I think there are so many points of discussion and exploration that are relevant for almost all artists…I draw inspiration from everything around me, graffiti is no different….even more relevant as
it brings up issues of individuals utilizing and re-appropriating public visual space for their own purposes.
What other artists inspire you?
Everyone who has crossed my path has had some effect on my trajectory, big or small. I am inspired by life, by the mere act of existence, of collectively and individually becoming. But if I had to pick some names out of the inspiration hat, I would say that lately I’ve been really paying attention to Jason Jaworski’s writings and found images, Jaybo Monk’s paintings as well as his blog I WISH U SUN, and pretty much anything that Andrew Young creates. That kid is going places.
You studied contemporary dance at Simon Fraser University, how do you think this has influenced your art?
One thing that I took away from school was an awareness of the importance of critical thought, in all walks of life and all genres of creation. Not every professor encouraged me to think outside the box but the ones that did really hit home. I’ve been on a bit of a break from dance, a couple years away from training, performin, choreographing and teaching. But I have always been very interested in the body, movement and stillness and everything in between, and I think that shows in my visual art. I’ve been slowly finding my way back to incorporating dance into my life again, and developing a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary creation process. The short dance film that I’m working on right now is the first dance project that I’ve done since 2009 and it feels really good to be moving again, thinking about creation from a physical as well as a visual perspective.
You’ve got a separate Flickr for your photography, which features some really amazing photos, is this something you take as seriously as painting or more a hobby on the side?
I like to take pictures quite a bit, but I don’t do it as often as I used to. I do take it seriously, but painting is my primary means for creation at the moment.
You seem incredibly busy with both commissions and shows, has this always been an aim of yours or is it something that just happened?
A bit of both, I guess. I’ve always wanted to do shows, and commissions help me pay my rent – but there were many points throughout the past year where I’ve been doing too much of both, with not enough time to explore my ideas fully or do any street work. This year I’m trying to find a better balance. Whether or not I’ll be successful is still to be determined.
I read you were going through a bit of an artistic crisis recently, do you mind explaining a bit about that, what’s going through your head with regards to your art right now?
A lot of it was to do with the previous answer. I felt uninspired, unmotivated, dissatisfied with everything that I’d been working on, not happy with continuing to work in photorealism, feeling like I needed more substance, more depth, that things needed to get weirder, that something needed to change but I wasn’t sure what. It was the first time all year that I wasn’t prepping for any shows or projects and I finally had time to think about where I was going in life and art and the realization that I needed to make some big changes in how I was approaching and executing the work – well, when you have no separation between life and art then if something is wrong with the art then it very quickly affects the rest of your life and I spent about a month and a half feeling frustrated and depressed and painting over almost-finished pieces in my studio.
After new years things turned around, it seemed like the energy cleared inside my head a bit. I’ve been working with vintage wood boxes and salvaged photos as reference images, creating an ongoing series called Other People’s Memories. And really, I haven’t had a whole lot of time since 2011 began to mope around feeling sorry for myself. There’s work to be done and nobody else is going to do it but me. Of course I’m still thinking about a
lot of the issues that came up a few months ago, but they don’t seem to be quite as overwhelming at the moment.
At the top of you’re blog you’ve got an Andre Breton quote, “Leave the substance for the shadow. Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future. Set off on the roads.” We’re a big fan of quotes here, can you explain what these words mean to you? Have you got any more good quotes for us?
For me the willingness to take risks is one of the most important things in life and in art. I started this blog as I was in the process of quitting my last day job, planning my first trip to paint overseas, and making the decision to be a full time artist. It was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but ultimately one of the most fulfilling as well.
Other quotes that resonate with me:
“You cannot try to do things. You simply must do things.” -Ray Bradbury
“The life of an artist requires an unshakable commitment that comes from
beyond desire, which comes from the survival instinct.” -Nina Meledandri
“It is useless to advise solitude for everyone; one must be strong enough to
endure it and to work alone.” -Paul Gauguin
“Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe
when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous
structure of reality.” -Albert Einstein
You’re currently gearing up for a project called ‘A Word Of Art’, can you explain what this is for those that aren’t in the know? What inspired you to become a part of it?
A WORD OF ART is actually an organization in Cape Town, South Africa that is hosting a residency series for international and local artists. Ricky Lee Gordon who runs AWOA invited me to take part. I’ve been wanting to visit Cape Town ever since I worked with Faith47 in Vancouver in April, and was already planning on being there for 10 days with Six Oranges to take part in a documentary they are shooting – so it made sense to me to try and be there for a longer trip.
I’m headed down there for about 6 weeks, during which time I’ll be making art for a gallery exhibit, painting murals outside, and doing some workshop stuff with local youth and kids with AWOA’s sister organization Write on Africa. My friend David Shillinglaw from London will be in residence at the same time as me, and we’ve got some potential collaborations in the works. All in all it should be a super fun time.
What other projects have you got going on at the minute, and what’s planned for 2011?
2011 has already been a crazy year and it’s just getting started. In a week my first big curatorial project will begin – called Unintended Calculations,i t features Augustine Kofie (LA) Jerry Inscoe (PDX) Remi/Rough (LDN) andScott Sueme (VAN) in a group exhibit at Becker Galleries and two collaborative mural installations at Moda Hotel here in Vancouver. I’m also working on artwork for a commissioned poster design for Bikehugger’s BUILT: Make and Tell, happening at SXSW in March. In April I’m off to Cape Town, followed by a paint jam in Blackpool, UK. In August I’m curating a show at Ayden Gallery here in Vancouver, and this time around I’ll be exhibiting my own work as well. October will find me in Bristol for a duo show with Liliwenn, with a trip to her hometown of Brest, France afterwards to paint a couple of walls for Crimes of Minds. After that I stay home for a bit and then hopefully end up in Miami for Basel in December.
Cheers for the time Indi! Any last words?
Sleep is overrated.
Check out more of Indi on the following links:
online store: http://www.cargoh.com/store/indigo
Check out the following photographers:
Shafiur Rahmanl: http://www.sixoranges.net
Fred Fraser: http://www.fredfraser.com
Ian Cox: http://www.wallkandy.wordpress.com
Ron Pirdy: http://www.ronpurdy.com/