As mentioned in our preview (here & here), Colin & Sas Christian are set to open their show “Inner Space” this week at the Opera Gallery in London. Opening on February 4th, the show will feature Colin’s signature large scale anime-inspired sculptures and Sas’ paintings of luminous and iconic doe-eyed femme fatales as the US-based husband and wife duo return to their home country.
Although they work in different mediums, one can see their work shares a common thread through their experiences together, as well as the fact that their work spaces are right next to each other leading to mutual sharing of ideas and criticisms. They talked about this artistic relationship and many other things as we got together for some questions and answers leading up to the show.
Full interview after the jump…
Arrested Motion (AM): How would you describe your newest body of work? How did you come up with the title “Inner Space,” and was there a specific message you wanted to convey to your audience?
Colin Christian (Colin): It came about in a mutual discussion of our pieces and what we were trying to express, mine with the physical interpretations and Sas’ with the emotive, it’s just the way we see things and together we form a single relatively cohesive unit. I have been studying micro photography, single cell organisms and the abundant life in the very deep sea so the title was a no-brainer for me and I wanted to convey a sense of looking at ourselves with eyes that are not our own.
Sas Christian (Sas): We wanted to create a show with both sides of what we consider “Inner Space” to be. For myself that’s about the workings of the mind such as ecstasy, depression, and dream states. The doll figures, the colors, the settings and the light effects representing neural pathways/knowledge can be interpreted using your own associations with these certain things but can also be interpreted using a dream dictionary. For some the meanings can be quite hidden, but others are obvious. Miss Kitty is about happy pussy, need I say more?
AM: It must be incredible to be able to create art next to each other. You must bounce ideas and critiques between the two of you pretty frequently but is there a collaborative or interactive nature between your works as well especially since you have been doing joint shows or are they completely separate?
Colin: I think it’s fair to say that we have now reached the stage where working closely with each other is the only way for each of us and we greatly respect each others opinion. When you doubt yourself as an artist, it is always great to have a partner on which to support yourself when uncertainty looms over everything you do and feel. As for myself, I will often ask Sas for advice on sculpture because she has a knack for seeing mistakes that I miss and also brings a female opinion which is essential for what I’m trying to achieve. It’s difficult sometimes to balance overt sexuality without drifting into perceived chauvinism, and as I consider myself pro- female this is an area where Sas’ advice counts most. I’m about the “big sweeps” and Sas is about the little details. I like that people see our shows as a joint enterprise.
Sas: There most definitely is an interactive nature between our work, although we haven’t had many opportunities to collaborate yet. It feels very natural for us to work in this way, both showing together with our own view of life and what we want to project in our art. Our works are distinct from each other and yet I think you can tell that there’s also a similarity due to our shared view of life and tastes. Colin and I have been together a long time and since we work right next door to each other, I count on his advice and support. He often helps me when I’ve lost my way and get bogged down with irrelevant things and brings me back to what I wanted to say in the first place. He can do this as he shares my vision. We both want the other to produce the best work we can.
AM: Most fans of your work are familiar with Hotbox Inc – the business you started that specialized in custom made latex clothing before you were able to concentrate on your own art full time. We can see some of that experience influencing the work of Colin, but can you both elaborate on if and how that time with Hotbox has affected your art currently?
Colin: Hotbox sprang from an interest in fetishistic imagery and the look of the fabric which I find endlessly fascinating. It was a way to get to where I am now creatively. A major part of this subculture deals with strong females which I incorporate into my work
Sas: Hotbox was an interesting and tough business and it taught me a lot about the fashion industry, as well as supplying me with an endless wardrobe of couture rubber. I think what it really highlighted for me is that this wasn’t what I wanted to do and indeed my personality was at odds with the real need that a fashion designer should be a social being who enjoys being in busy people-oriented environments. I’m actually rather low key and much better suited to the infinite hours spent alone painting, listening to audio books with my dogs and withthe knowledge that Colin is right next door. The actual rubber fabric hasn’t featured much in my paintings so far, but there is a prevailing strength in my women.
AM: Can you give us an idea of your creative process? Planned in detail step-by-step, spontaneous, or somewhere in between?
Colin: For me the basic concept forms very quickly. I very rarely do a sketch, and if I do, it’s of the simplest stick figure variety or a “wavy line” which represents what I’m trying to get across. What takes the most time is the fabrication and sometimes engineering of the piece. There is a lot of trial and error with materials too and I’m constantly exploring new techniques and materials. However, it’s in the paint stage that I can be spontaneous. The designs or paint jobs are thought of right on the spot, being dictated by the solid form and the color schemes that are imagined most often in my dreams. This is my favorite part of the process – when I can see it all come together.
Sas: Ideas come to me in a flash, and I will often write them down descriptively rather than sketch them out. It may seem unorthodox, but I find that sketching an idea too intensively actually kills it for me. Until I’m ready to get started on a painting, I don’t like to dwell on it too much. I also like to keep my options open and not tie myself into a particular color scheme so that I’m able to have the leeway to just go with what feels right. I work in glazes and scrumbles, and this can be very time consuming so it’s very important that I stay emotionally and mentally connected to it and keeping my options open helps me achieve this.
AM: Any other shows or projects that you can share with us that we can look forward to for the rest of 2010.
Colin: Well, it’s going to be a busy year this year. Of course, I’m showing with Sas at Opera Gallery (London) in February. I’m part of a group show at the Dirty Show, Hi-Fructose 5th Anniversary Show, and Corey Helford Gallery & Nathan Spoors’ “Suggestivism” show.
Sas: It’s a busy year coming up. I have my two-person show with Colin at Opera Gallery (London) which is so exciting as that is where Colin and I hail from. I’m also in group shows: Hi-Fructose 5th Anniversary Show, Corey Helford & Nathan Spoors’ “Suggestivism”, and Aunia Kahns “Lowbrow Tarot Project” where I have been asked to create The Star.
AM: Thanks for taking the time to share with us and our readers and best of luck with the show. We’ll see you there!