First, could you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your work?
Right now, I’m pursuing a Masters of Fine Art in Printmaking at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax. I grew up in Montreal, QC, but I was actually born in Bucharest, Romania.
As far as my work is concerned, I am fascinated with crashes. They are simultaneously attractive and repulsive. This duality, or contradiction, is what really interests me, which is why I make aesthetically pleasing prints with a repulsive subject matter. I consider that our society has become desensitized to these images through constant exposure to them in the media, and yet they remain a spectacle. In my work, I combine a critique of our society’s attitude towards calamities with a sense of wonder at the beauty of destruction. Most of my prints are based on real events. I choose what I depict based on the back story as well as on its aesthetic appeal to me.
What initially drew you to combining sculpture and printmaking to create works like the Deflated Trabant?
When I made the Trabant, I had been working with crash imagery for two years already. I thought that I needed to create my own crashes, so I decided to make a paper car which I would then destroy. I also wanted to push the boundaries of printmaking and three dimensions seemed like the next logical step.
I chose a specific car: the Trabant. I grew up in Eastern Europe and although I didn’t really experience Communism, my parents did. The Trabant was the butt end of many jokes which I recall from my childhood. Essentially, this car was East Germany’s response to the VW. The Trabant was mostly made out of recycled material (Duroplast) because metal was not available in the USSR at the time. The irony is that I made a paper maquette of a paper car, so the joke is that my version is more durable. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Germans from the East crossed the border into the West in their Trabants… and then abandoned the cars in the field. The Trabant symbolizes both Communism and it’s fall, as well as freedom, which is why I considered it the perfect car to crash.
I deconstructed it, printed it, and finally reassembled it. I made several versions. The cars that you see in “Pile Up”are made from the same template as the “Deflated Trabant”. The canvas version is 3 times larger than the small paper cars, which are exactly 10% of the real car. I used the same template for the car seen in the “Legs”photograph (the car in the photograph is the same size as the “Deflated Trabant” but it’s printed on heavyweight paper).
I decided to print the Trabant on canvas because I noticed that there were no plush toy cars aside from toys based on Disney’s “Cars” movie. I don’t think this has changed. You see a lot of stuffed animals on shelves, but very few stuffed automobiles, or machinery in general. The idea of stuffed, soft, plushy machinery really tickles me. I thought of it as a car that you can crash over and over with no consequences, thus creating tension between the notions of toy and disaster. It’s ironic and humorous and I like to incorporate both of these elements in my work.
When beginning a project based in printmaking versus sculpture, or ceramics, how does your approach change in response to those mediums?
The project usually dictates the medium. Sometimes it’s the other way around but it usually starts off with an idea within a specific medium. More often than not I start off with printmaking. However, the work itself tends to lead me in unexpected directions. In the case of the Trabant, I printed it on canvas in order to make a soft car sculpture, but then I discovered that I could fit inside it. So I got inside it and I turned it into a performance! The video is available on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com
/watch?v=gOU9fEJEA2Q. As a general rule, whenever I make something big enough to fit in, I get inside it.
“Lilliputian Collisions” is a body of work which started off in ceramics. I wanted to extend my body of work to different mediums. I started slip casting in porcelain and experimenting with various ways of modifying the clay. I was trying to figure out how to incorporate crashes and I wanted to take advantage of the specific properties of ceramics: perceived fragility, durability, elegance, perceived value. The resulting crashed porcelain cars are delicate and precious, at odds with their subject matter. I then drew these cars and I later turned them into etchings. My work tends to morph from one medium into another. I always try to use each medium’s inherent qualities to the advantage of the project.