Friday, November 20, 2009

An Unfiltered Experience : An Interview with Asley John Pigford

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.

Why do you choose to work with old electronics?

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?

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.

Why do you believe interactivity is so important in art?

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.

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.

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