Sep 5, 2009

Interview: Edwin Ushiro via Erratic Phenomena

Amanda Erlanson just posted this insightful interview with Edwin Ushiro. The interview took place as he was working on pieces for the upcoming solo exhibition and is a great dialogue and view into Ushiro's stories and process.

Read on:

In anticipation of the show, Edwin invited me over to chat about his work, rather than replying to my questions via email. As a result, the interview is rather lengthy and a bit strange… and occasionally takes detours into unmapped territory.

When I arrived, Edwin was in the midst of the stage of his process where he applies transfers to a thick sheet of clear vinyl with a layer of matte varnish in between. The painting he was working on is one of himself and his little brother as children, heads together as they watch a tiny green chameleon that is perched on a leaf. As we begin, Edwin is bent over the vinyl, with the image face-up, rolling air bubbles out from between the vinyl and the transfer paper.

Edwin Ushiro: Sorry it’s taking me a while to get this together. I think I mounted it wrong, so I got more air bubbles than I normally would get.

Amanda: That’s OK. It’s interesting watching you do it.

Edwin: It’s fun watching me push air bubbles out? We should make this a documentary. I can do this for hours. (laughter)

The thing that’s challenging at this stage is that when you have the ink under here – and between the ink and the vinyl is this matte varnish – it actually loosens up the ink and kind of lifts it off the transfer paper, so if I squeeze too hard, I can destroy this whole piece… and actually did, here. But that’s part of the fun, that I’m never in control of this whole medium. After maybe two years of doing it this way, I still haven’t mastered it, because there are too many points in creating this that I can totally mess up. And I have. That’s when it’s not fun. But when you can overcome it and not mess up too much, that’s when it’s really cool and you can pat yourself on the back a little bit. Which lasts only for like, two seconds. Until you realize, “Hey, I’m not even done yet.”

Amanda: So how many versions of this one have you done so far?

Edwin: Actually this is the lucky one. This one I just did once, and if I don’t mess up here, I feel pretty confident that I’m in the clear right now. Because I knew exactly how I saw it in my head – so it’s that whole process of trying to communicate it as best you can, from what’s inside your head to what you see in front of you. On this one I did it all right.

For the FULL interview please visit:

Join us for "Softly Encompassing the Womb" Saturday Sept 12th. Details here.

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