Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Art Factory of Amanda

She’d happily eat Yoko Ono’s grapefruit with Dali but Amanda Charchian would be much happier making things; sculptures, photographs, films, collages, paintings and installations, will do.

interview: Yasmine Ganley photos: Eliot Lee Hazel

Yasmine Ganley: Who are you and what do you do? Amanda Charchian: My name is Amanda Charchian and I am an artist. I mostly make sculptures and photographs but sometimes films, collages, paintings, and installations. I am 24-years-old and I live in Los Angeles, California. What is the first thing you remember, ever? Drowning in a pool. Do you have an early inspiration that led you into the world of creativity? I realised I wanted to do more installation based sculpture when I attended a show in 2005 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA called Ecstasy: In and About Altered States. Each installation aimed to transform the consciousness of the viewer. I was an escapist 17-year-old at the time and those artists were trying to provide a transcendental experience that took you away from where you were. I was always attracted to the extraordinary life of heightened senses. Until age six, I could see double, often triple of anything if I tilted my head because I had a lazy eye. My brain developed under kaleidoscopic vision. Who was your first mentor? Marlena Donahue was my art theory, cultural studies, and philosophy teacher at Otis College of Art and Design. I related to her more than any other critical thinking woman I have ever met. In her class, I wrote a 30 page thesis on the topic of alienation and that meeting of intellectual and emotional examination of my own work and the life that led to creating it was an immensely powerful experience and shaped the artist I am now. How old were you when you first fell in love? I was 15, he was 19. I saw him at a concert and I just walked up to him and told him he was beautiful. It was a dreamy sort of love much like that film The Dreamers by Bertolucci. Lots of holed up time in his apartment lying around philosophising about films, smoking joints and drinking wine, running baths and listening to records; typical sensual activities you do with a lover. We were obsessed with each other until he moved to Europe to start the modeling contract he had been putting off. He came back eventually and we are still very close friends. How would you describe your personal aesthetic? 

Experimental, surreal, thoughtful yet intuitive. How would you describe your creative, working process? Fast! I try to go from vision to creation as quickly as possible. I am a fast-paced person though usually my attention is on many things at once. Like right now I am self-publishing a photography book, working on an exhibition of sculpture in London, starting to weld a new one, curating an exhibition of international female photographers, wrapping up a collaboration and answering interviews. I like to be busy being creative and learning new things about the world and the people in them. Tell us about the recent sculpture exhibition? My most recent sculpture was shown at the inaugural launch of The Tappan Collective with other NYC, LA, and London based artists. It was sold to a lovely woman and will be installed in a gothic cathedral in London soon. What was your last dream about? I’m writing this in the middle of the night so I will get back to you in the morning. Have you ever had a reading by a psychic? Oh Yes! My current boyfriend was predicted to come and totally change my life at the exact time he came around again. He described what he looked like, his life circumstance and the immense love between us that would be carried over from lifetimes ago. She said I was a priestess and he was my servant but we could not be together because of class differences. Favorite line from a song? “I want to die without no fear, I want to die rejoicing.” Prayer of Death, by Entrance. You are a New York City cab driver eavesdropping on a backseat conversation, between who? Bob Dylan and John Lennon; “Give the anarchist a cigarette.” You serve breakfast for three guests at your home, who are the guests and what do you serve them? Dali would eat Yoko Ono’s ‘Grapefruit,’ Meret Oppenheim would eat Dali’s ‘Aphrodisiac Telephone’ and Yoko would eat Meret’s ‘Breakfast In Fur’. You and ten of your friends are given a private concert, who is playing? Robert Johnson, Nina Simone and Tsegue Maryam Guebrou (an Ethiopian nun living in Israel playing divine piano), Marika Papagika (a Greek singer from the 20s), Jelly Roll Morton (some say the inventor of Jazz), Jimi Hendrix. This is more like a festival than a concert! Favorite place in the world? The island of Sardegna, Italy. I visited last summer with my friends for a secretive music festival. We explored Nuargue ruins, ancient crystal caves that were once water temples, visited very old trees, and swam in the sea. It is infused with ancient magic. Digital or analog? Shoot analog, scan digital. Favorite place to watch a sunset? Kauai. Classic car or motorbike? My favorite car ever is a 1961 Jaguar E-Type. I love classic Porche Speedsters from 1957. Favorite movie? I have a lot but I think The Holy Mountain by Jodorowsky will always be one I can watch over and over because of the incredible symbolism and complex message. First thing you do in the morning? Make a latte for Guy and I, jot down ideas, answer emails, then Kundalini yoga.