This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Abdul Mazid.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
Underneath it all is this interest in upending perception and expectation. Our society is structured in a way that begs us to differentiate, categorize, and now, to isolate. I want to blur categories and ultimately extinguish those barriers. I believe that if we look long enough the patterns and similarities come to the surface.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
I’m afraid that question is far more complex than I could ever articulate. Currently, the artist’s responsibility seems to be unprecedented. Ai Weiwei gets raked across the coals for posing as drowned Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi, while Illma Gore is assaulted by a Trump supporter and threatened to be sued for depicting Trump’s micro phallus.
What is the artist’s responsibility in real-time? I honestly don’t know! It is evolving moment by moment. I will say that an artist should always be authentic in their studio. That is where their responsibility is to themselves and the work and that alone. Once it leaves the studio, however, that’s a different story.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Jeesh, I had to log into my Myspace to get this pic. Is it art? Does it matter? To me, this was the greatest thing I ever made because it opened a universe to me that I had never considered: That the basic tools and skills for survival are innately embedded in our DNA and that everything else is just noise.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
Those who know me well know that I speak often of creating a new form of currency. The simplified version would be to create a two-part currency that has a decaying function and an accumulation portion yet functions democratically. Of course it sounds good in theory; real world implications may not be so straight forward. That’s my white whale.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Can I just link you to the artists I follow on Instagram? Seriously, there are so many brilliant artists out there who are just on the cusp of being household names. That being said, here are some badass artists who should be on everyone’s radar right now:
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: Abdul Mazid, I am, 2016, Artist’s body hair, adhesive, and canvas, 20 x 30 x 2 inches.)