Now after over two decades of immense work, Scott Radke and long-time friend Kasra Ghanbari (CEO and Co-Founder of 44FLOOD), are set to release through a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, ANTUMBRAE: A Book Of Art 1995-2015. Scott's first ever art book, a 10"x10", 144+ page, hardcover publication presenting 20 years of works with symbology and iconography based analysis.
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Samuel D. Gliner | Scott Radke | Kasra Ghanbari
SDG How did the book’s title “ANTUMBRAE” originate, and was there a specific meaning you wanted to express to your audience?
KG I wanted a word that would address the core of the art and book, the central place from which it stems, the one unifying conclusion or belief about Scott’s artworks as a whole that begins to tell the tale of how and why they move us and what they have to show us. ANTUMBRAE came up in conversation with a friend that I do my research with. It felt right and wasn’t too strange of a word to use. It’s a word that comes from the study of light and shadow, specifically shadow, ANTUMBRAE being shadow that’s not quite shadow but shadow that somehow glistens and itself seems to illuminate shadow for us. It blurs the line between the collectively accepted “real” and the metaphysical, which I love. When I step back from my own relationship with Scott’s art over the last 15 years, I think it describes his art and the places it takes us beautifully.
SDG After a twenty year span of creating art, what made this moment the optimal time to release the book, and what were the turn of events that made this happen?
SR Kasra pushing me to do it! I never would have attempted anything like this on my own. He's always good for putting a spark under my ass- even though in the end he will be doing the heavy work when it comes to the book.
KG Over the last three years, I’ve gotten a lot of experience putting art books together through an artist collective I helped start called 44FLOOD. I made a few art books based on gallery shows, one with menton3 called KATABASIS, and another with menton3 and David Stoupakis called THE KINDLY ONES. I’m really proud of those books, the research and the areas that we explored in conjunction with the beautiful artworks that were created for the gallery shows.
What really brought me to a point where I wanted to go full in on making my own art books from start to finish were the two volumes of the huge, theme-driven anthology called TOME that I Curated and Edited at 44FLOOD. They’re 200 page, 12x18” monsters with a music CD and over 80 contributors each. For TOME Volume 2, the theme was MELANCHOLIA, and I spent months researching the subject before diving in. By the time it came to the design and lay out of the book, it felt empowering to have all that research and experience available in trying to bring it all together. The same research, analysis, writing, selection, placement, and design can now go towards distilling 20 years of Scott’s art for his first book.
SDG How has the friendship and rapport, between the both of you, help shape the book to its current vision, and did you always see eye-to-eye along the way?
SR We have talked about it off and on for years. I am more into my current work and always try to stay with this moment or look forward. It’s good to go back into my history, I guess, and without Kasra I never would. To me, it’s like reading an old diary and can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s important to show the whole story from then until now.
KG Our 15 years of friendship have given us a lot of trust and respect for one another. Scott has shown me both in spades, no matter how uncomfortable or confusing anything with the approach may have first made him.
SDG The book is in a large, distinctive 10"x10" format. What was the reasoning and benefits behind this decision?
KG I wanted it to be large, to have the space to show off the work in full or in detail, but not so large that it would just be way too expensive to print or for anyone to support on our Kickstarter campaign to make it. Shipping books is expensive! And the larger they are, the heavier they are and the more expensive it is to ship, let alone get it to people safely. But mostly, I loved the idea of a square book for Scott’s art. I didn’t want a normal portrait or landscape dimension to overly dictate what was shown. The square shape felt more like a blank, unbiased template from which to present everything.
I flew out to see Scott a few weeks before we launched the Kickstarter ready to make my case for a square book, and when I asked him about the book he basically said, “How about square?” before I’d said anything. We both think it’ll feel real good in your hands as you go through it.
SDG The uniqueness of the work is not just in the sculptures themselves, but in the “mise-en-scène” of the photography. Can you talk about the process and rituals involved and possibly how it will translate into the book?
SR I have always documented my work, and the photography part just took on its own thing. In the past, it was more just to have a record, but now it’s become where I feel the work is complete. It puts the character in its own place rather than on a wall or in empty space, gives it a home. The only real ritual is finishing the sculpture and waiting for the right conditions and finding the space that fits. Winter can be challenging, for sure. My photography has changed quite a bit over the years, so it will be interesting to see it combined together.
KG The photography, the images that Scott has captured, are the beginning and end to why we can approach the book like we are and hopefully make something that’s a little more than just an art book with page after page of isolated images. Most of the sculptures, a single sculpture, have over 200 photos from which to make choices. So this means that the research and selection part of the book is going to make us go insane. It’ll be the single hardest part about making the book and will constantly test whether we’re staying on point with truly analyzing, contextualizing, and presenting specific images that drive home the book’s main themes. It’s the “scared shitless” part of the project.
SDG The creations are far more than mere anthropomorphic fairy folk and forest dwellers, as they radiate a much deeper and endearing presence. Is there a narrative behind the work that weaves them together?
SR Nothing solid, just free flowing emotion or whatever it is. To stop and explain exactly what or why just stops me- almost completely. If there is any real talent I have, it all lies within the ability to let things flow out of me… bad, good, sad, happy- no reservations. I could label things as coming from this thought or that or blame it on some personal issue, but it’s always more than that and less than that.
SDG Your sculptures have inspired me ever since I first saw your work for The Birthday Massacre's music video, “Blue”. Since then you have worked on other remarkable film projects such as Mother Corn and Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. How have these projects affected your creative visions, and are similar cinematic projects something you are motivated to do more of?
SR It's always nice to see them become more alive- something beyond my own ability. It would be nice to have more control over a film and have it as I would see it, but it's always fun to see another person's vision for them. I'd love to participate more in film.
SDG Though you work in multiple mediums, in the last few years you have predominantly focused on sculpture. What was the reasoning behind this, and are there other mediums you would like to explore going forward?
SR Whenever I change or something new sticks, it just comes along on its own. I feel most productive with what I am doing now, so I stick with it. I don't have a problem dropping things all together and moving on.
Thank you both for your time and the countless amount of inspiration you provide.