Breaking away from his usual incarnations of sleek and sexy sci-fi inspired women, Colin Christian delves into a dark time in his life and emerges with a radically different set of works from those we have come to adore from him. His sold-out show at Stephen Romano Gallery, "Trypophobia", is a pure emotion inducing thrill-ride that challenges our perception of beauty and fear, and one's personal acceptance or rejection of both.
I had the privilege to interview Colin for the show and the accompanied catalog. If you weren't fortunate to be present for the exhibit, photos of the works as well my conversation with the artist are posted below the cut.
SDG How did the exhibit’s title “TRYPOPHOBIA” originate, and was there a particular meaning you wanted to convey to your audience?
CC After seeing the response to 'Teeth' I researched the subject intensively, I went through thousands of comments to try and find what had triggered such a visceral response, and the more I checked, I realized that I too 'suffered' somewhat from the condition, so I decided to confront it directly, to tap into my own discomfort and see what happened.
CC For most of my art career I have specialized in optimistic futurism, an idealized cartoon future where we finally got our shit together, our worries were over apart from how sexy our spacesuits should be, but the past several years of news events seemed to make those ideas not only too idealistic but actually pointless, it felt fake to carry on in that way, simply put, I was not happy. So instead I tapped into how I really felt, with a punk attitude of "I don't give a shit" as far as how the work would be received, and to my genuine surprise the response was very positive. The word ' corruption' kept ringing in my ears and the work reflects that. It's that idea of something rotten underneath the facade, something to be picked at, squeezed out, removed..... I felt a weird sense of relief in creating Teeth, I think though that it triggered a physical response in the viewer, I kept reading things like " it's horrible, but I can't look away", an impulse to physically interact with the piece, to alter it, very strange.
CC Yes, very much so. Normally a show would take anything from six months to a year to prepare, but as the subject matter was a polar opposite from my usual fare, I decided to attack the work in a different way as well, so the construction lacks my usual finesse, I wanted something more urgent, looser in technique than I normally do, it has taken some getting used to, I am constantly resisting the urge to keep refining each piece until it's perfect, here, I'm looking for the opposite of perfection.
CC I watched a lot of Cronenberg movies, and way too many Botfly and Jigger removal videos on YouTube, I tried to capture that gut instinct to want to look away.
CC Only as a side note. The sexuality in most of my work is also accompanied with a sense of fun, a giggle, and I didn't feel that was appropriate for this show. But I did use the triggers of what is attractive, and tried to twist them into something more uncomfortable.
CC I found it difficult to break my old habits, techniques, the way I see things, that way has bought me some level of success, and with this work there is a level of challenge in finding an audience, I mean, who want to look at something that makes them feel possibly nauseated or repulsed? For some it goes way beyond that gut reaction into something very physical, itchy skin, hives, possibly anger? But I would feel a cheat for not doing it. I was determined to show how I felt. I wanted to deconstruct what I had done before, to strip back the layers to hopefully see another truth? I don't know how people will react, and perhaps for the first time, I will not care, and for that reason alone I wanted to do this work.
|Colin Christian "Trypophobia" photography by S.D. Gliner|
"Colin Christian: Trypophobia"
► Through February 28th