Interview: Artist Posie Currin

Editor Shenyah Webb, Interview, October 30th, 2013

...uncover unknowns that families keep safe...

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Posie Currin is an artist whose work covers a broad spectrum of mediums including film, sound, photography, installation and social sculpture. The methodologies in Currin’s current art practice take liberties with chance, and embark on a kind of journey that has the potential to create new perspectives and understandings both mentally, physically and physiologically. While her ideas may reference existentialism, occult practices and metaphysical formulas she believes that there are greater achievements of understanding within the work that allows the viewer to question one’s understanding of humanness.

This interview was conducted by Nailed Contributing Editor, Shenyah Klaras via email.

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artist posie currin nailedNAILED MAGAZINE: Although you work in so many different mediums, they all seem to be similar in regards to the process. You’ve described your work as ”an aleatoric process bringing you closer to a kind of alchemical journey which is embedded in the artworks themselves.” I am particularly intrigued by this aleatoric process, can you begin by expanding on this?

 

POSIE CURRIN: My work investigates various philosophies and esoteric concepts based on uncovering truths not unlike an archeologist that displays the work as an installation for the viewer to experience. These truths are personal, universal and physiological and are explored through a variety of mediums during the performance and act of the art making process. “Chance operations” is not a new concept but it is one that I continually practice in my artwork.

NAILED: I would love to hear about the project you are currently working on and how your methods of process intertwine?

CURRIN: I’m currently working on a documentary film bringing my grandfather’s ashes back to his birthplace of Birmingham, England. While this project may start in video it may also take on other mediums and forms such as sculpture, photography and text as I continue to explore, listen and share in the creative and emotional journey.

artist posie currin nailed interview

NAILED: Where are you now with this new project? Is the piece purely about the process or will you plan an exhibition presenting the experience?

CURRIN: I’m currently sifting through the media I have collected and revisiting audio clips, listening to stories and memories shared. I’m not sure how this project will manifest and take shape but I do see this project leading to an exhibition working in mediums of video, sound, painting, sculpture and a performance.

artist posie currin photographNAILED: What motivated you to be so inspired on this journey with your Grandfathers ashes?

CURRIN: The motivation behind this project was to try and uncover unknowns that families keep safe. To be able to trace the lines and connections to the very origins of a beginning and for me that was returning with my mother and her sisters to bring my Grandfather home. One really interesting part that was revealed to me was that home doesn’t always look the same way as you once remembered and sometime the memory is stronger than the reality.

artist posie currin photographNAILED: It’s fascinating how memories can sometimes seem more vivid than truth. I believe our memories take a place in molding us into what we are in the present. Sometimes, when we feed the sad moments in life we can easily become victims and when we focus on the happiest of moments, we feel full. The older I get, the more I wonder if some of my memories are even truth. As you pull together this project, have you questioned any of your memories as being truth? Have you uncovered truths that have helped you fill in any blanks to your identity?

artist posie currin photographCURRIN: As past reaches into present and future unfolds past, there is now, the moment that lays bare against the questions of truth, like the veil of Isis whispering upon our sensibilities of real. Stories are the very essence of how we connect and share moments happy or sad, truth or fiction.

Is it not that one may actually play more into the ideologies of being victim to the subsidiaries of happiness that then brings one to sadness? Perhaps we could also say, when presented with sad moments one becomes ever present of the veneer of ego, not unlike a river rock, washed over by the weight of flow that then brings shine, glimmer and a renewed sense or awareness of happiness.

artist posie currin photographOf course what sticks with you most are high peaks of emotional experiences, happy or sad. I don’t see these as separate or different but sewn together, planted in darkness, both reaching for light for growth for warmth. In darkness we see light, we see hope. One is constantly uncovering truths, is that not living? Blanks in Identity are moments in life.

NAILED: That’s very beautiful, thank you for being so straight and open, it’s refreshing. When I was first introduced to your work, I was told about your excursions to Limbe, Haiti for the “Mural Art Project.” Can you expand on your experience with this project?

posie currin photographs haitiCURRIN: Along with my art practice, I do a variety of collaborative art projects. Some of these manifest through my belief that art has the power to change lives in a positive way. I love teaching art and working with youth, so last spring I developed an art program under Noramise Helping Hands and returned to Haiti in the summer of 2012 to work with the youth in Limbe. My first experience there was shortly after the earthquake in 2010 where I helped the rebuilding efforts. In Limbe, I held daily art workshops for 40 youth where we developed, designed, and created a series of murals in the city center.

NAILED: It takes certain strength to witness trials the children face and not become too attached. Did you have any methods of not emotionally taking on the struggles you were witnessing on a daily basis?

CURRIN: Life for Haitian’s is very, very challenging and this is no exception for youth. The roles of responsibility for boys and girls begin early and with limited food, health care, and water resources there is a constant sense of underlying anxiety. I was there in July and the heat was beyond intense. I have never felt heat where you feel like you are suffocating! The beauty is bountiful though and each night after a long sun-held day my team and I would climb up the old wooden ladder to the roof where we would let the hours of heat release from our bodies, gazing out over a history that would make even the strongest of souls weep for forgiveness.

My life was changed upon my first volunteer experience and continues to be humbled by the positive connections and dreams of the youth that I have had the amazing opportunity to collaborate and share in art making with.

There is nothing more inspiring then the dreams and visions of youth and it was during this amazing art project that the founder of the organization decided to change her mission to focus on youth at the Educational Center. I continue to work with the nonprofit organization as a board member helping to raise funds and support the vision of founder of Rosedanie Cadet who’s dream to empower Haitians is no easy feat.

artist posie currin haiti

NAILED: It certainly is inspiring what you contributed to the children in Haiti. The world needs more strong empowering artists like you. Discovering your art form has been like discovering the process, which is something I very much resonate with. For one final question, when was the last time you Nailed it?

CURRIN: I participate with this collaborative art group called Paintallica. We make all the work for the show on site and usually in about three days, which includes sculptures (large scale chainsaw wood carvings), paintings and drawings. I would have to say this was the last time I NAILED IT!

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Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. She is originally from Detroit; she studied Psychology at Michigan State University, and later finished in Industrial Design with an Art Therapy minor at The College of Creative Studies. She lives and works in Portland with her husband and son. She is a visual artist, and musician under the name Lithopedion. Her self-titled EP was released in 2013.