Artist and musician Ashley John Pigford visited Chester College of New England this week as part of the Visiting Artist Symposium Lecture Series. So Good staffer Jen Bailey had a chance to speak to him about his work.
Jen Bailey: How did you come into this unusual sort of work?
Ashley John Pigford: I am a designer by practice and an artist by product. I have a lot of experience in graphic design, and making money for other people. A while ago I decided to stop doing this and apply my creative process to something I cared about. So, in addition to teaching I explore my personal fascination with electronics, programming, and interaction design.
JB: Why do you choose to work with old electronics?
AJP: Because they are cheap and ubiquitous. Plus, they embody a message of reuse and rethinking everyday experiences. They are instantly engaging because people know them--they already have a relationship. This provides an entryway into the work.
JB: About how long does it take to complete a piece?
AJP: Hard to say, sometimes a year, sometimes 30 minutes. All pieces are projects that continue to evolve in materials and my own knowledge of the technology.
JB: Why do you believe interactivity is so important in art?
AJP: Because engagement is what we all seek. Multi-sensory experiences are how we perceive reality and work that provides this is engaging in ways that are greater than the sum of its sensory parts.
JB: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?
AJP: Being a father.
JB: What artists do you admire?
AJP: Tim Hawkinson, Conrad Shawcross, Troika, Greyworld; these come to mind right now.
JB: How has being a professor influenced your work?
AJP: It's more like my work influences my teaching, however teaching and creative process are deeply intertwined as an intrinsic human activity.
JB: How has music influenced your work?
AJP: Heavily. My process of making art is very equivalent to making music. Both involve phenomenon, composition, tone, and non-visual experiences. Music is an unfiltered experience, it sinks deep fast.
JB: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
AJP: Use your work to discover something you are fascinated with, then use the work to share this with other people.