Ross Normandin interviews Scott Carter

Ross Normandin

Artist Interview:  Scott Carter

What kinds of things are you thinking about or are influencing you right now?

Currently, my art practice is influenced by my experiences and interests as a musician. Particularly, the struggle that I encounter trying to find a creative balance between both practices. In the past both my work as an artist and a musician were very separate. Because of this separation, I would go through long periods of time either pursuing one or the other. My focus with my current work is to find a way to reconcile the two practices though installation and performance. By forcing there to be a physical relationship between both creative fields my hopes are to highlight the moments where the two disciples clash and become somewhat chaotic resulting in moments of failure and sometimes unexpected success.

Has your background (where you grew up, where you’ve been) had an effect on why these things are influences in your practice?

Absolutely. The majority of my art practice utilizes ideas and techniques that I picked up while working in the fabrication and construction industries while I was pursuing my BFA in Atlanta, Georgia. During this time I was also much more active in creating music and took part in the local music scene. In 2009, I moved to Chicago to pursue my MFA in sculpture. At this time, my focus completely shifted on to my art practice and I abandoned making music for around three years. Recently, I seem to have really shifted focus and become very active in sound design and music again. These major creative shits hat I have experienced over the past 5 years have caught my interest. In some way I am attempting to be introspective and discover why I have such drastic shifts in my creative work and through my research I will hopefully come to understand how both practices subconsciously influence each other.

Since graduating from SAIC’s graduate program a few years ago, have you found your practice changing over time or shifting any way?

The major difference in my work and my approach to my practice since completing graduate school is that I have a greater willingness to experiment and take risks. That might sound counter intuitive since normally Graduate school is a place for risks or experimentation. However, in hindsight my experience was that in school I was always in a sort of unspoken defense mode, creating an environment where I always wanted to have answers for actions and be able to justify the reasons why I am doing what I am doing. In my time since school I have learned to embrace not always knowing why I make the decisions that I make in my work. For me this has been highly beneficial and allowed me to open up my practice to possibilities that I normally might have written off because I couldn’t always foresee the results and provide immediate justification for every decision.

Can you talk a little bit about some of your recent or upcoming projects?

I recently took part in a group show entitled “Imperfect Symmetry” at Columbia Colleges A and D gallery. For this exhibition, I created a 4 foot long double sided drywall bass drum that was shared by two drummers. This piece was created as part of a performance where the two drummers faced each other and played the drywall drum set and mutually destroyed the kit through the process of playing. This project was intended to highlight the imperfect nature of the construction of the drum set itself but also the inconstancies in the styles of drumming and inability to keep perfect tempo. My upcoming projects that I am working on include a exhibit of new work for Beers Contemporary at The London Art Fair in January 2014 as well as a solo exhibition with Beers Contemporary in London in February of 2014. I will be making the majority of the work on site by deconstructing the walls of both gallery spaces. In addition, I am in the process of developing a site specific project for the Kohler Art Musuem in Sheyboygan,Wisconsin as well as a solo exhibition at Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta. Both of these exhibition will take place towards the end of 2014.

Is it a challenge to deal with these different spaces? If so, have you developed any kind of strategy?

Most spaces that I have worked in present some form of challenge whether that be a physical limitation of the space or just a general difficulty in communication and planning of the exhibition. There are always guidelines and negotiating how to make a project for a space with all of its boundaries and limitations just forces me to be more flexible while attempting to maintain he integrity and ideas behind each piece. I really just think that being able to always have a contingency plan and problem solve how to make a piece work with and for each space is an important skill that I have tried to develop.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being an artist in Chicago?

Personally, I think that there is an over saturation of artists and not funding and exhibition opportunities to be able to support theses artists. The best example is that most artistic opportunities are competed over by established artists and faculty of leading art institutions in the city as well as emerging artists as students making it even more difficult for emerging artist to make a name for themselves in the city.

If you could only take one thing with you from your studio, what would it be?

My drum set currently lives in my studio so it would be my first choice!

What’s the best advice and the worst advice you’ve gotten?

Best advice: “Let the critics and curators write about your work”

Worst Advice: “Stop making sculpture and focus on creating “non-object” based work”

What’s your studio music?

Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Atlas Sound, Deerhunter, The Silver Jews, Lambchop and Helado Negro. Its all pretty relaxing and music that I enjoy hearing in the background while I work.

You can see Scott’s work here:  scottacarter.com

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