New book alert: One Artist, One Material

Amsterdam – Does living in the digital age intensify our relationship with the material world? The success of One Artist, One Material, a regular feature section that has appeared in Frame magazine for over a decade, suggests that it does. Comprised of an interview with a maker about his or her chosen material, the Q&As first appeared in Frame 65 (May/June 2007) and is still going strong – in fact, at the time of writing, 58 further editions have appeared.

Our newest book of the same name contains 55 of those interviews, mostly written by Jane Szita. Pressures on budgets and increasing awareness of sustainability issues have led designers to take a new look at materials, opting for recycling, making and even growing their own. Handcrafted items have meanwhile found a new popularity and relevance. All of these material trends are prefigured in One Artist, One Material.

The book comes out on October 9, but it is now available for pre-sale in our web store. In the meantime, here is a preview of some of the featured artist interviews.

Portrait by Andrew Boyle


In Eunoia I and II, you move water with your mind. How do you work this magic?
In each of the two performances, I use a different commercial brainwave headset with its own software program. It comes with concentration and meditation values, plus the five common brainwave frequencies – alpha, beta, gamma, delta and theta. I basically translate these input values into sound, using the programming language Max, and the sound is then sent to speakers. The speakers are placed under bowls of water, and the sound ripples the water.


Portrait by Cristobal Palma


At what moment did you see potential in the humble clothes peg?
A friend of mine, who was doing a gallery presentation, invited several creative friends to work on pieces of the event. Although I had no restrictions, I also had no budget. Eager to work with repetition, I remembered a student project in which I’d used clothes pegs. It was a very different piece, but it taught me that pegs are self-supporting, have a distinctive structure and are cheap to work with. The gallery project – Tender – evolved from there. Here in Argentina, tender means ‘clothesline,’ and the word has become a common thread in my work. I was inspired by the tenders in historical neighbourhoods, such as those in Barcelona, where clothes-filled lines can be seen as colourful urban landscapes.


Portrait by Briana Brough


By building with sticks, you’re imitating nature.
I’m fond of saying that sticks were mankind’s first building material, and even the modern person continues to have a deep affinity for how to use them.

What do passers-by say as you’re working?
I sense in the comments a profound connection between humans and the plant world that surrounds them. Time and again, I’ve heard a well-dressed man say to his wife, ‘Listen, honey, we could live here… No, I mean it. It would be perfect for us.’


Portrait by Tessa Angus


How do you get so many feathers?
They are sent to me by a variety of sources, and I think of them as being a by-product of an existing process, a form of recycling. The pigeon’s feathers are the most straightforward. They are sent to me by a network of hundreds of racing-pigeon enthusiasts around the country. It has taken quite a few years to establish an ongoing relationship, whereby I write to them, showing what I plan to make. Then, when their birds moult, twice a year, they send me these beautiful feathers (which would otherwise be thrown away) through the post. I have kept every letter and envelope in which feathers have been sent to me, and I hope eventually to make them into an installation.


Portrait by Diego Martínez


How do you go about painting with soap bubbles?
I use a metal wand to produce the bubbles, which I then draw over the canvas. The soap mixture contains pigment, so when the bubbles burst, they leave colourful traces. You could say chemistry produces pictures.

You have said that your paintings reach more people than your conceptual art. Why is that?
People go to museums and galleries for a form-colour experience. This remains the essence of art. The painting is an incredible invention: you have a wooden frame with some canvas, you put it on the wall and immediately people begin to look at it. It’s great – and it gives you a lot of freedom.

One Artist, One Material: Fifty-five makers on their medium is available now for pre-sale. Order your copy in our web store today.

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