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What attracted you to zip ties as a material in your smaller sculptures?
I really like making big things, I really like making installations. I also really like making very complicated things. I started making these zip tie pieces, and I started doing these drawings. I think the drawings are critical for the pieces as a whole. They play off of each other. Each drawing pairs with a sculpture, and they're sort of maps of each other. Like if you think about unfolding a box, same basic premise. That drawing is the unfolding of this sculpture in a very literal way. I think we've all seen the way tetrahedrons and those kinds of shapes unfold, and that's exactly what this is like. I'm really interested in this kind of translation between space. It's almost like this form that doesn't exist, but it exists in imagination space and this is the manifestation of that form through the lens of zip ties and O-rings and having to deal with gravity and physics; and this is the manifestation of that imaginary perfect form through the lens of architectural drawing, geometry, those kinds of things. In my mind they are the same, but they are very drastically different. For instance that sculpture is very creature-like, has an organic feeling, but this drawing is very sterile, it doesn't have that except maybe a little bit with the color, that vibrancy.
Did you always work that way, pairing the drawings and sculptures?
It took me a long time. This is one of those things that happens in the artistic practice; you come up with this idea, you start making things, and then along the way what you're trying to make changes. I was trying to make these zip tie and O-ring things be an installation, and they just weren't working at all. I tried for maybe two or three months to figure out how to make them an installation, and it just wasn't happening. The materials just didn't want to do that. But I was making these forms, and everyone was coming in and saying, oh, they look like sea creatures and alien shapes and caterpillars. And I was like, oh, I hate all of those things that you're saying. Because to me, when I look at them, I still see that perfect shape that doesn't have the zip ties all formed around it, I see that structure in there that doesn't have to deal with gravity and physics, because I fucking hate gravity and physics—such a bastard. There's something different happening here. People are seeing one thing and I'm seeing another thing; how can I bring this dialogue that I'm interested in out? And that's where the drawings came from. The drawings are the last thing I do because they're a real pain in the ass. I love the tediousness—I love all the crazy pencil lines—I use geometric constructions to make everything. They're a pain in the ass. So I don't make the final one of these until I have a shape done.
In fact, I made a pretty big one that stood up, and it just looked like a dog. And when you make abstract things, people always want to link them to something, which is fine, but I feel like the flaw is when everyone links it to the same thing—then it is just a dog. And I had actually made the drawing for it; it was a huge drawing, and I had to scrap both the sculpture and the drawing because I didn't want to make a fucking dog. That was probably a month's worth of work that went out the window. I learned, though, so that makes it worth it.
I think what I didn't like was that I had imagined it one way and it just wasn't turning out that way. And sometimes that's just the case, it's not a bad thing, but one thing that does pop up in my work a lot is this idea of secondary structures that happen because of the creation of the work. It's formed by its integration with the data, so it does have a very specific relationship to the piece, but it's this other secondary structure that forms as the piece itself tries to deal with trying to float and the space itself. So I think of the zip ties, I think of the pencil marks, and even to a certain extent I think of the rope in the fleece pieces as that kind of thing. Sometimes with the fleece pieces it really depends on how they're installed.