When staring at a new piece of artwork, I always wonder if the artist had a super clear vision or mental rendering of what the final piece would look like before they starting on it. The thing I found most interesting about paper artist and engineer Matthew Shlian is that his art derives solely upon curiosity.
“Alot of times i’ll have an idea for a piece, but I can’t see what it will look like finished. And that’s important. If I can see what it looks like in it’s final stage, then I really don’t want to make it. Because then it would just be like filling out a form.”
Shlian’s newest series to be released to the Ghostly Store, is presented in four distinct moments– like snapshots in the process of pattern creation.
“There is a term called apophenia, which means seeing patterns where none exist. I think I may have it. This series was made using patterns, but specifically patterns that are dissected and subsequently reconstructed–it is neither an aperiodic nor an asymmetrical tile. It is not completely chaotic–there are moments where the underlying structure is visible–but overall the pattern would be non repeating in the whole, thus non fractal based.” – Shlian
Shlian was kind enough to asnwer of few questions I sent over, giving some insight into his inspiration and life behind his incredible work.
NA :: Do any artist(s) in particular come to mind as being a recurring source of inspiration?
Shlian :: Brian Eno, Matthew Goulish and Goat Island, El-P, Daniel Libeskind, Dondi White, Christian Marclay, Ren Weschler, Buckminster Fuller, George Hrycun, Edward R. Tufte, Charles and Ray Eames, Marian Bantjes, Thea Augustina Eck.
NA :: Do you remember what made you become so drawn towards working with paper?
Shlian :: Paper is not an intimidating medium, it is not precious and there is an immediacy to it. You just take a sheet and begin folding or cutting. I’ve always had an affinity for geometry and using paper pushed me to think dimensionally in new ways.
NA :: Can you provide any insight as to what type of paper you usually work with?
Shlian :: I use a lot of different papers in my work depending on the project. I have been using an acid free archival paper from Neenah paper called Fox River Coronado. I use 100# text and 10pt cover weights. I use a lot of Tyvek in my work as well. You can get it in various weights and it is super durable.
NA :: Is there one project in particular that sticks out among the others? Which one are you most proud of?
Shlian :: I am working with a team of Scientists on a National Science Foundation Grant at the University of Michigan. We fold things on the micro and Nano scale. We are beginning to publish papers on our research and I’m beyond excited to share the things we’ve been building. There is so much potential for what we can do with folding.
NA :: What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen recently?
Shlian :: I got to hold a meteorite a few days ago and that was pretty inspiring.
NA :: What other forms of art do you find yourself getting lost in?
Shlian :: I’ve been a drummer all my life- I grew up playing in bands. I can easily see the connection between sound and the visual arts. At the Ghostly Show at the ADC last year I was talking with Mike Cina, Andy Gilmore and Sougwen Chung and it turned out we all were involved in music besides doing visual art. Sougwen had Sepalcure, Mike Dj’ed and I think Andy played Banjo or mandolin or something. I suggested that we should start a band together and try to get ghostly to put out our album…Probably not going to happen.
Had a blast with the film camera during SXSW this year. Here are some of my favorite shots from the weekend.
Photo via Kanoa Zimmerman
“Deep Listening is a philosophy and practice developed by Pauline Oliveros that distinguishes the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary selective nature of listening. The result of the practice cultivates appreciation of sounds on a heightened level, expanding the potential for connection and interaction with one’s environment, technology and performance with others in music and related arts.”
“This mixtape is a collection of some of my favourite instrumental and ambient music that I’ve come across in the past few years. I usually reserve a lot of this stuff for periods when I’m feeling especially stressed and strung out. As I’m sure is the case with a lot of people who enjoy this kind of music, I always find that binging on ambient music helps me to relax and retreat into my own mind and process whatever thoughts that I have endlessly rattling around in my head. I also tried to sequence all these songs in way that would work best for the kind of music that it is and the kind of energy each song has as to not be completely boring. I hope you enjoy these recordings as much as I do and attach your own memories and meaning to each of them.”
I rolled into this mix tape while streaming Foxes in Fiction’s Soundcloud. I was sunk deep in about 7 minutes into it, and as soon as I heard the Balam Acab track at 33:00, I knew I had to share right away. The mix is so wonderfully healing. Enjoy.
1. Memoryhouse – Minor White
2. RxRy – Baulkn Slihts
3. Bradford Cox & Locket Pundt – Urbana Library of Electronic Music
4. Gas – Untitled #4
5. Casino Versus Japan – Untitled
6. Foxes in Fiction – Static Cults
7. Benoit Pioulard – I Emptied My Lungs Into The Dirigible.
8. Balam Acab – Big Boy
9. The Sight Below – Dour
10. K.C. Accidental – Residential Love Song
I am blown away by this music video that Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling, a.k.a Becky & Joe, created for Tame Impala’s track Feels Like We Only Go Backwards. The video is a compilation of over 1000 separate plasticine collages, all individually made by hand.
“We had the idea to create an abstract journey set during the split second when two people’s eyes meet for the first time.”
There is a really great interview over at YCN that provides some insight to the minds of these crazy creative geniuses. Here are a couple of questions from the interview:
YCN: Where did the idea come from?
Becky Sloan: We decided to create something psychedelic to compliment Tame Impala’s music. We had the idea to create an abstract journey set during the split second when two people’s eyes meet for the first time. As we wanted it to be set inside someone’s head, we looked at a lot of MRI brain scans for inspiration, as well as looped animations by artists such as Al Jarnow.
YCN: What made you choose plasticine as a medium?
JP: We wanted to create something unique looking, and had never really worked with plasticine before. Our aim was to focus on using it in a new way, avoiding the obvious Wallace & Gromit approach. The good thing about plasticine is the fact you can smudge, mix and even melt it into certain shapes. This creates a very acid-y, psychedelic look without using loads of digital effects.
Just finished with a fun little project for Hari Mari that will be placed in the 2013 SXSW Interactive Guide. Hari Mari is a Texas-based flip flop company that donates $3 towards fighting pediatric cancer with every pair purchased. Cool group of people with a great mission. Check out their site to find out more about what they do: harimari.com
I’ve been getting lost in Soundcloud lately. I’m especially feeling the dreamlike, deep house mixes from Viperflo. Perfect headphone music to work to. This mix starts off slow, but every piece of it is amazing. Do yourself a favor…hit play, turn up the volume and just open a new tab in your browser. You won’t want to shut this one off. Enjoy.
Before moving to TX, I was fortunate enough to have been handed a 1979 Nikon EM as a gift from my grandmother. Until last weekend, it has just been collecting dust on a shelf, along with its original owner’s manual and a couple of other loose documents it came with. I brought it down from the shelf as if it were a piece of ancient machinery, not even knowing how to load or unload the thing. After watching a couple of videos and reading through the owner’s manual, Charmie and I planned a little photo shoot around the house. I bought her Neil Krug’s Pulp Art Book for Christmas so we have both been wanting to experiment with photography for several weeks now. I couldn’t be happier with the way these turned out. The results are something I’ve been trying to achieve with digital images for some time now. I love the darkness and natural graininess that film produces. It doesn’t hurt that I have a beautiful subject to focus on either. I’m looking forward to many more explorations with this camera in the future.