Photo: Johanna de Verdier
Interview with Sebastian Sochan
1. Are your works alive, in the sense that they own elements which are familiar to us humans, like fragility and humbleness?
Fragility and humbleness are key qualities to my works. By making the work fragile, I want to makes us more aware of our own bodies in relation to the space, the work and also the “body” of the work itself: the materials used, processes, aesthetics, forms and decision-making.
When making my works I allow for the trace of the hand to be left behind and be visible so that the viewer can identify how the sculpture was possibly made, what materials were used and how the object came into being. I think it’s a way for the work to be conversational and more inviting, easier to understand and be of close proximity to the viewer, both physically and mentally. That’s why my work is often ephemeral, small, clunky, awkwardly positioned, easy to crack, unstable - for me, fragility and humbleness are aspects that allow the work to be alive, autonomous and not fall into pretending to be something that it’s not.
2. What are you currently working on?
Currently I’ve been experimenting with new textile paintings, combining paint and thread on clear PVC canvas. Normally when painting you start with the background and work on top of it but for PVC you start with the foreground first and work backwards to keep the piece shiny and glossy. I’ve then been using the sewing machine as a tool to draw on the PVC with different stitch marks. I got this idea while I was making new editions of rugs during lockdown. For that I use a tufting gun on a canvas frame - the gun shoots and cuts the yarn for you so the process is also like drawing. I find drawing to be the medium where I’m completely free so I’ve been thinking of ways to make drawings differently.
3. Do you listen to music while working?
Yes! I always have to have my headphones in and let the melodies and lyrics take me places to experiment with my work. It’s a way to suspend my mind and not think so much about my work so that it become completely gestural, free and autonomous. All my titles are actually from lyrics from songs I listened to while making that specific piece of work. Often those songs are not in English so when translated, the words are more beautiful and poetic.
4. Which artists (or other people) are you inspired by?
My favourite artists that engage with materials are Karla Black, Anne Hardy, Tai Shani and Julien Creuzet. I really love art books such as Vitamin C and Vitamin T – all about ceramics and textiles and there are loads of artists there! Recently I’ve also been heavily engaging with LGBTQI+ media like Canada’s Drag Race, Pose and Euphoria - I want to explore queerness more in my work so I think I take huge inspirations from drag queens, the art of makeup and queer fashion.
5. What is your favourite place to see art?
My favourite place to see art is going to physical exhibitions because you can’t replicate that experience with a book or through photos. I really love entering a quiet gallery and surrendering my mind and body to the show. The last exhibitions I saw was France-Lise McGurn at Simon Lee Gallery and Rendered Reality at KCCUK with Shinuk Suh and Joonhong Min. I really loved the way the artists engaged with the space and navigated me around. Ever since lockdown, I have been more engaged in viewing works online and platforms such as Instagram are really helpful in finding artists that are similar to your tastes!
6. What is the best part of being an artist?
I think the best part about being an artist is that you are your own boss and can follow your passion and heart for what you truly want to do. You can choose what you want your mind to focus on and what to create.
7. Are there any ongoing projects or upcoming (online) exhibitions where we can see your art?
I am currently working on completing a new sculpture for a show called 8x6 at Anderson Gallery. The show was supposed to be back in April but due to the pandemic it was postponed until further notice so the future of that is unknown but it’s always good to have the work finished. I’m also working on developing new rugs and continuing my textile paintings so keep an eye out on my Instagram as I always post new work there.