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 Derek Weisberg.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
We are all here with a limited time and capacity and we all exist with the knowledge that one day that bell will ring and our last breath will expire. How do we operate and move though life knowing this? With this awareness, how do we strive toward achievements and growth on all levels of our being? How do we move though “the mud,” as Beckett says, or “the funk of life,” as Dr. Cornell West calls it? And, how do we do this as elegantly, beautifully, kind, invested, and responsible as possible?
Life can be lonely, hard, complicated, and ugly. How do we wrestle with pain, longing, dysfunction, fragility, and vulnerability? How do we find truths in the face of these hardships and realities? How do we cope with human atrocities and extreme injustice, from local and personal relationships to the grandest of scale?
Art provides a unique opportunity and experience to communicate powers beyond ourselves; it can traverse time, place, gender, race. It has the ability to touch the core and reach the deepest places of our existence. Through my art I attempt to tackle these questions and to kiss these truths.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
To be as honest to his/her voice and to communicate those truths (at that time) as best as possible in whatever material, or medium, is appropriate.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Well I don’t have a child and I can’t keep a plant alive so I can’t add pictures of those things. The idea of “greatest” is a difficult one for me. But I will include a link to a video I made with friend and frequent collaborator, Shaun Roberts. It’s a video piece which was a great surprise, different from my normal practice and something which I like a lot:
Derek Weisberg and Shaun Roberts, Life Mask, His Face Was Only A Memory of His Former Face, 2015
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
There is no never. If there is a work that I really want to make, I will find a way to make it. I don’t and won’t ever have a reason why I will never make something. However, I would like to mention a challenging large-scale project which I would like to make: It is an epic-like dance/performance working with a choreographer, dancers, and musicians. I would like be involved on all aspects of creating the piece but primarily create stage props/sculptures as part of the performance. But I can’t say this will never happen, because I’m confident that if I really feel it is important to make this work, I will.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
Doesn’t the internet know about everybody? Theses are friends whose work and practice I admire:
Mike Lay: http://padlaversusmoij.tumblr.com
Erin Riley: http://erinmriley.com/home.html
Brett Amory: http://brettamory.com
Lucien Shapiro: http://lucienshapiro.com
Stephen De Staebler: http://www.stephendestaebler.com
Maria Moyer: http://www.mariamoyer.com
OOOPPS, did you say 3???
—The ArtSlant Team
ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated artist profiles. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission—from our magazine to our residency and prize. Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your watchlist.
(All images: Courtesy of the artist)