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 Christopher Tavares Silva.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
I use the languages of visual art and sound because I’m attracted to their poetic and transformative potentials, and though I enjoy weaving in literal references and representations of things, I’m equally if not more interested in the ways that the pure physical energies of sound, color, and form communicate. It’s precisely because audio/visual languages operate more viscerally and strangely than words, that I continue to experiment with them.
A more specific goal of mine is ensuring that my work achieves a certain quality of tone. If there is a potential that some combinations of ideas, colors, shapes, and sounds can achieve a resonance which promotes healing, softening, and rejuvenation in my fellow humans, then that resonance is what I’m seeking to communicate. The concepts I am preoccupied with naturally emerge during my process, though I am less interested in the viewer having a definitive idea of what they are looking at, than I am in trying to make them feel that they are having a sublime/spiritual/heart opening and nourishing experience. I like to think that in addition to whatever else the work might be communicating, each piece is another way of giving my love to the world.
I also know that it’s quite likely that I’m insane, so I try avoid the pitfalls of taking myself too seriously. If I can make life a little more soulful, beautiful, fun, and funky for a bunch of people, then that will be great. If I can make work which encourages the disintegration and reformation of our dysfunctional and oppressive political systems, even better. For a bit more, my general artist statement is sort of a living document and can be found in its current form here.
Open Source, 2017, Reclaimed wood, paint
What is an artist’s responsibility?
There are already too many things in the world with dogmas attached to them and art feels like a pursuit which should be absolutely free of that. Having said that, I appreciate artists who exhibit an impulse to make work which seeks to add more love, justice, and beauty to our world, and though I remain puzzled by what the most effective way to do that is, it is also a personal goal of mine.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Colony Collapse: 1983, Reclaimed wood sculpture, with video mapping and audio soundtrack. Collaboration with Brian Steckel. Exhibited at Linda Warren Projects, September 8–November 4.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
There’s this piece I’ve been wanting to create which would instantly eliminate injustice from the world but I’m having an unbelievably hard time figuring out how to get a hold of the right divine powers to work with.
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
I’m a huge fan of the stop-motionstudio animations of Selina Trepp.
Max Sansing’s work is gorgeous.
I really enjoy watching the progression of Robert Hardgrave’s work. I like most of it, and absolutely love some of it, but what I admire most is his refusal to sit content in any one mode for too long. He’s not relying on any kind of formulas and is a true adventurer.
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: Colony Collapse (Reprise), 2016, Mixed-media installation with LED lighting and original soundtrack.)