Sundry's work is so beautiful, he uses all of his materials to his advantage. I love collages on different surfaces, especially wood. Sundry uses wood, and glass, and windows even! I think you should take the time to read this fairly long but excellent interview with Sundry Sullen, who is also--in fact--excellent with words.
(Born in Fallbrook, CA, USA / Currently living in) Seattle, WA, USA
Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: A constant dialogue and discovery of truth and love.
Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I enjoy anything with age, from old computer parts, to vintage magazines and news papers, to old cabinets and vintage house hold objects. Anything that shows the quality of having lived in the world for a long period of time. The progression of decay and discoloration that happens is fascinating and beautiful. The human touch is where it all resides for me. I also love the smell.
Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I've been creating with physical elements for about 2 years now, and on the computer for about 4 years. I think I did things a little backwards. I started using the computer as a tool to express myself, after I had learned Photoshop and Illustrator. But I was never totally satisfied with the quality of the computer, and I felt the need to get away from it, physically and mentally. So, one night, I sat down in my garage with a stack of old magazines, scissors, glue and some wood. It changed my life and opened a whole new world for me to explore. I still use the computer for other reasons, but I have found that touching the objects I'm working with brings me closer to life. I prefer the aspect of getting dirty, sifting through garbage to make beauty and find understanding, and get out what's built up inside.
I like to think of the process as having the same nature as an orgasm. Not that the effect is totally blissful, though it can be at times, but more in the sense that it's something inside that needs to come out. And when it does, it feels so much better. The amazing part is that the result is never what I precisely intended, nor anticipated, and only partially what I imagined. It's always different, which is something I've been learning to embrace. It's like there is this intimate and open dialogue I've found with my work. It's become a loop; speaking with this intangible force, and sure enough it speaks back. It's infinite in nature. I keep wondering what would happen to me if I just stopped for a while. Would it try to force its way out in some other form? But then again this questioning can be so endless, and the answers always seem to lie within the process, and the journey.
Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I work as a Graphic Designer to make my income. Making money has become this big struggle. It's not that I can't make enough money doing Graphic Design. But what about this thing called art? It doesn't have much of a place in our westernized capitalist culture, unless someone with a lot of money wants to buy it for their nice house. Praise the art star!
I see this disconnect happening, where art has become a luxury, and I suppose it is to a certain extent, when you compare it to the need for food and shelter. But I think the idea of it being a luxury largely comes from the fact that the collective value for the process is being lost. Lost in a mix of endless piles of material objects that are consumed and thrown to waste at an ever accelerated rate. Discard and replace is what we do. Over and over. Where are we going so fast? Why do we feel the need to continually have these objects that are so short lived? We are consumed by consuming, buying empty objects in the search for completeness. The sad truth is that even though we are all working so hard every day to chase the latest object of desire, it never really completes us. But it can't go on like this forever. The world's resources are finite, and we are running around like they're infinite. So it goes. So I go, pick up a few pieces of that old stuff no one wants any more, to find new value in them. And seriously, they don't make anything like they used to. We are however at a point where this style of living is reaching a sort of climax, and this fact alone is opening up more and more of us to a waking up, and a kind of collective shifting seems to be happening. I can feel it in the air. I can hear it our words. I am not alone. I know there are artists out there who find truth and value in their process, and are not getting lost in the art world frenzy. Hopefully those artists will spread and be seen.
One thing I've done to move toward what I believe in, is co-found the WAFA Collective, with my good friend Vincent Pacheco. Our hope is to bring together a community of artists, to inspire one another. To have the sense of family and community restored, where we can belong and continue to give value to what we believe in. To have an open dialogue about everything we experience, and the free exchange of ideas, knowledge and tools. And within all of that, to pay for itself to stay alive, and keep us alive.
Q: Do you have any formal art training?
Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Working with my hands and with words.
Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I don't have a single piece I love the most. I think I'm happiest when I know the piece was created out of pure love, and I was openly aware of that experience in the moment of creation.
Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: There are many different reasons for each of these great individuals/groups and why I admire their unique quality and touch.
Tim Hawkinson, Andy Goldsworthy, Egon Schiele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, Jack Kerouac, the Dadaists, Tauba Auerbach, Boogie, Mike Brodi, Chris Jordan, Eduardo Recife, Blu, Matt Leines, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Mogwai, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, The Beautiful Losers: Mike Mills, Margaret Killgallen, Geoff McFetridge, Harmony Korine, and Ed Templeton. My friends, Brandon Wilson, Myron Campbell, and one of my biggest influences, Vincent Pacheco. To name a few.