I ask Andrew Birk some important images that show the basis of his work (Not necessarily about his work). But images that are in his head when he think. Images that show the origin of his work. These images can be like explanations, metaphors, foundations, memories or intentions. Showing the roots of his work, conscious or unconscious.
Tags: Andrew Birk
How did everything start for you? What was your first approach to the arts?
Having memories that were worth remembering. Crashing my bike into a fire hydrant. The feel of the dry dirt of a baseball diamond in your finger tips. Looking for salamanders in the silt of a calm lake.
What were the first works of art that impressed you?
I started sweating and had to sit down when I first saw a Diebenkorn but now looking back thats just because reading so many books on art builds up the IRL experience to be more of an event than the work itself deserves. I remember liking Cy Twombly bc my sister absolutely hated it, and maybe only for that reason. Im remember liking Francis Bacon and then thinking it sucked when I saw it IRL. Completely vandalizing an abandoned house with pornographic drawings on the ceiling -getting caught- and my friends parents being impressed. I walked out on my first class of Post War Conceptual Art it blew my feeble brain. If I really really hate the work or idea and react in a viscerally negative way – I know that Ill love it later on. I went to a show and I remembered the overwhelming smell of plastic. I went to a show and the sun was setting through the window and the art paled in comparison. Standing still in the middle of crowds at droney concerts like the Fuck Buttons and entering into a deep place and feeling alive in a way that only good art can do.
What is the process of developing your work like?
I forget any idea that I don’t write down or put into practice immediately so I spend a ton of time taking photos and writing lists of ideas to go back into at a later date. Patience is not a virtue of mine, at least not when it comes to actual production. Now the lists have turned into sound pieces and the photos are also turning into things. I try to combine everything I can, I don’t want to separate ideas, life doesn’t work like that. I listen to the sound pieces that are my voice reading my lists and I make work while listening, trying to resuscitate those ideas. I hope one day I make a show thats as good as a browser window with a lot of tabs open full of interesting shit. Or as good as the full experience of a fashion show or a concert or a street full of traffic, like where you are not looking at or focusing on each individual thing but immersed in the overall experience.
How would you define your work outside art terms? What type of poetry or literature or cinema would it be?
I like to think of myself as some blue-collar laborer like a plumber. A lot of making art and being an artist is not romantic or glamorous, it is dirty, self-challenging, and strenuous in all ways. In all the best ways. The job doesn’t turn off, which is both amazing and totally fucked. It is hard for me to convince myself to act snobby or important because I relate to the people serving champagne more than I do to the people drinking it. I am really happy to have this perspective because it maintains some sort of base humility. I am sad to have this perspective because I have to wait in lines instead of throwing my contrived cultural weight around. Waiting in lines is just about the worst shit there is.
As an artist how do you see the world?
I don’t know how to drive properly. I never got a license. I sit in cars watching the world move by me, focusing on things like walls, stickers on cars, people, signs, the sky. I also get lost all the time, walking or otherwise, because I am always lost in the details and as such am unable to define the route. In Duke Nukem you don’t move the character forward, the character is always in the center of the screen and you move the world around it and past it. Im also thinking a lot about that poem by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken.” Like life is just a nearly endless series of yes or no, left or right, and through all those simple decisions over and over and over a grand narrative is built.
What is your definition of art?
Anything that anyone says is art.
Tags: Andrew Birk