ABSTRACTION + MINIMALISM
February 2018

I enjoyed this short interview with VSCO.co (who have been an amazing support to me lately) so much so that I wanted to repost it here.. despite a couple of after-market alterations it remains as originally published @ http://vsco.co/monochrome/journal/abstraction-and-minimalism


VSCO — Please tell us a little about yourself and the role of creativity in your life.

R.A.SZY — I'm a thirty-something art-school-drop-out. Occasional poster designer. Currently trying not to slip between the cracks in London, UK.

Creativity itself is something of a lifeline to me. It's my own much needed aesthetic echo chamber in a city of visual noise. I abandoned the idea of working in design as a day job and now keep it as an activity closer to a meditation practice. Something I engage with for primarily personal reasons, creating more for the cathartic, transient process of creation itself.

V — Why do you often choose to create in black and white over color?

R.A.SZY — It's been a gradual tide of influence, but I've always gravitated towards black and white in some way. I have a 'secret' film degree, which got me obsessed with 1920s German Expressionism and the morphology of light and shadow. The gradients of VOID that exaggerate or draw attention to the shape of visual elements, the borders around people and objects, the interstitial spaces between tangible structures — a lot can be said in this language of apparent emptiness.

V — What are the different medias you work in?

R.A.SZY — For my poster and zine work, I use a mix of analogue and digital medias, encompassing ink splatters, clouds of spray-paint, concrete poetry inspired typewriting, scribbled illustrations, and a HEAVY use of solvent-prints and physical tearing and cutting-up. I go through a variety of paper stocks and layers of transparencies in various stages of distortion, and I thrive on the unpredictable ritualistic process of hand-printing and physically manipulatingthe elements. On the digital side I work similarly, using scanner distortion, data-bending, glitching, etc. Often the final image doesn't make all these stages apparent, but they haunt the final work somehow.

V — Specific experimental projects are apparent on your VSCO (such as the photos with the painted over photos or the images that are blurred). Can you please tell us more about a couple of these series and what prompted you to be working with certain effects?

R.A.SZY — The painted photographs come from a project filed away in my 'To Be Continued' drawer. At the time I was working on an exhibition of found photographs, and unearthing frozen photographic moments of forgotten lives felt like an evocation or conjuring, echoing Derrida's concept of Hauntology (the idea that the present is literally haunted by history, and it’s evolution in pop-culture to the idea that analogue mediums act as a sort of transmitter of organic memory, prone to decay and manipulation).

I was thinking a lot about Victorian Spiritualism and spirit photography and looking for a way to express a quality similar to those ectoplasmic forms emanating from trance-states. My use of blur was another aspect of this expression of transience and memory woven into the image.

V — What are important elements that run through your poster design?

R.A.SZY — I'd say my style is very much defined by the dueling elements of abstraction and minimalism... or rather, my attempt to keep a balance between the noisier elements of distortion and the calmer unfolding of 'empty space'. Maintaining a balance between these two aspects of my creative mind, without letting either one overwhelm the other, can be a bit of a struggle, but in a way that struggle itself is the most important element.

V — What is currently in the works for you?

R.A.SZY — Without tempting fate, a few gestating projects are going to be re-birthed: primarily an independent publishing imprint for newspaper format photography editions and a compilation book of a few years of cut-up typewriting. I'm really eager to explore book design more in general.

Most excitingly, I'm planning to buy a house in an as yet undisclosed location in Sweden. The goal is to open a studio/gallery where I will, eventually, be able to invite artists to come and use the space and surrounding forest landscape for residencies and collaborations.


V — Please share one piece of advice for a young creator based on your own experience.

R.A.SZY — I'm going to have to say something seemingly simple like DON'T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT. Like really go crazy, experiment wildly, and allow the esoteric nature of the process to justify itself. Don't worry too much about the end result or making sense... screw everything up... fall in love with the deconstruction/reconstruction of your own influences.