venerdì 6 febbraio 2009

Interview with Maia Palileo

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hello, my name is Maia Palileo.

q)Where do you live and work?

a)Brooklyn, NY

q)How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a)I make paintings, sculptures, and installations based on my Filipino family. A couple years ago, I converted my studio into my grandparents’ living room from Fort Wayne Indiana that was a mix of hand made things like cardboard and contact paper wood panelling and Styrofoam bricks, replicated and existing artwork and bric-a-brac. From there, I started painting based on old family photographs, then made a cast of a couch with life size figures from the paintings, and am now painting again.

q)How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)I took a photography class in high school and thought I wanted to be a photographer. When I got to college, the school didn’t offer photography, so I ended up in a drawing class. My mom died in the spring of my second year of college and then my best friend killed himself that same summer. When I went back to school the next fall, I spent almost all of my time, even cutting classes, in the studio. It was the only way I could handle what I was going through. It wasn’t until I went to graduate school seven years later that I came to the realization that this was not only what I want to do with my life, but that it’s what I need to do. I feel like I don’t have a choice.

q)What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)I like making things up, like thinking about how can I make that out of regular, household things, or how can I use a traditional material and make it look nothing like what it actually is (for sculpture, that is). I’m not a huge fan of traditional sculpture materials. As far as painting, I like to find a way to make marks that are indirect like painting on a piece of paper and then transferring it onto another paper or using carbon paper to draw instead of directly drawing onto the paper. It feels less predictable and less perfect. I was also using house paint for a while, but am now trying out gouache.

q)What/who influences you most?

a)Memory and loss.

q)Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)It usually takes me at least three hours to start to feel like I’m doing something. After the first three hours, I succumb to my day and begin to get focused on whatever I’m working on. I try not to take my computer to the studio unless I need it for the work because I get distracted by the internet. I recently got a printer that is also a copy machine, so I’ve been using it to enlarge collages and drawings a lot and using carbon paper to transfer those images onto the paintings.

q)Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)My main goal is to be honest in the work, always. And then I want to share it with the world.

q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)Some of my favourites are Louise Bourgois, Kiki Smith, Eva Hesse, Sally Mann, Mamma Andersson, Peter Doig, Kerry James Marshall, Shigeko Kubota, Ann Liv Young, Ryan Trecartin, Kara Walker, wooden santos/religious imagery, folk art, performance and experimental theatre.

q)How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)It depends on what it is, I spent over six months making my grandparents living room, sculptures take forever too, but not six months, maybe a few weeks on each piece, but they’re usually all being worked on at the same time. Painting is different, I make a lot of crappy paintings for a few months and then finally figure out how to make the paintings I want to make and then work manically and fairly quickly once the connection happens.

q)Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a)Yes! Let me know if you’re interested!

q)Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a)I listen to music while I’m working until I get sick of the music on my ipod. Most played recently are Jenny Lewis, Feist, Electrelane, and Joan as Policewoman.


a)I used to spend hours in the art library in grad school when I felt like I couldn’t do any work in the studio. I just re-read some of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, I love how dark and sad they are. One book from the library that I was obsessed with for a while was a book about Puerto Rican santos. They were so amazing to me, how the wood was worn and the layers of paint always looked like they were rotting off, and how artisans from different colonized countries, including the Philippines, took the Santo and made it their own.

q)What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)No theories, really, I just think that it is necessary and essential not only in my life, but also in the world. Especially art because it doesn’t require words or explanations.

q)What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)If I’m not working at my job, I like to hang around my house, see movies, and harass my cats and girlfriend.

q)Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a)I just took down an installation in a window gallery where I got to combine parts of the installation of my grandparents’ living room with sculptures of life-size family members and a paper couch. The gallery was in an area where you wouldn’t expect to see art, it was sort of like a public art installation, so I liked that it was removed from the typical places one would find art. It was also cool to combine two different works in a way that made a different piece.

Also, my girlfriend is an actor/performer and we are planning on collaborating soon. I don’t know what it will be, but I’m so excited! It will most likely explore gender and sexuality, things I don’t normally address in my work.

q)Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)Yes, I try to get out to galleries, performances, and museums but not often enough…I subscribe to the following magazines: Bomb, Art Forum, Art in America, and will be featured in this month’s issue of Contemporary Art Philippines.

q)Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a)Yes, I will make my way to the Philippines soon.

q)Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Just be honest.

q)Where can we see more of your work online?


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