5 With: Emily Gastineau

February 7, 2014

Photo by Laurie Van Wieren
As of this Spring, I've been out of college for 10 years (!!!).  Time has continued to refine a lot of my beliefs about art and art-making. For instance, I've realized that many of the artists I admire most didn't come out of the womb making awesome work. Instead they are people who know how to be persistent, work hard, and keep asking questions. I think of these characteristics when I watch Emily Gastineau's art practice. She's continually digging in, trying something new, contributing to the performance community, and excited about it all. It's really inspiring to watch! I look forward to what's ahead for Emily & her work. You can stay posted on her website

Tell us about your creative projects-- what do you make or do?
I make performance. I engage with the histories of dance, performance art, and criticism. I have a body of solo work, as well as a growing body of work with my collaborator Billy Mullaney. 

What are the challenges (as you see them) of making a life doing what you love?
Nobody should be an artist if they want to be more comfortable. I think you have to be prepared to make some big sacrifices--financial, professional, social, practical, familial, ideological--and to stay interested enough in your own work that it’s worth it. Art is one of the few areas of society where profit isn’t the first priority. I'm interested in working with rather than against that, seeing what it's like to make things without value. So my challenge is to see the usual challenges--lack of money, time, other resources--not as challenges to be ameliorated, but as prompts, conditions, or openings.

What advice do you have with regards to making a living and finding satisfaction as a creative person
The resource I most want to recommend won’t make things better or easier--but it totally blew open and reconfigured the way I think about art, living-making, and satisfaction. Here it comes: Spangbergianism by Swedish choreographer Marten Spangberg. There’s a book and a blog.  

What are you most excited about with regards to your creative work?
Right now, I am excited about:
-the evening I'm curating with Billy at the White Page on March 16--Bring on the Indigo: Performance from NY & MPLS
-researching, loving and hating conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith 
-that I’m starting to see more writing by artists questioning the role of art for social justice under neoliberalism, like this one (thanks to Charles Campbell for the link.) 

How do you make it happen (financially/energetically/practically)?
I have a day job, which happens to be arts admin but is unconnected to my artistic practice. At the moment, it works for me to divide the two. I tend to work about 15 hours a week at my day job and spend 35-40 on art work, sometimes paid but often not. I keep my cost of living low, I do projects on the cheap (beg, borrow, barter, barter), and have produced a show and gone on tour for a few hundred dollars apiece. I don’t stop.

I am energized by having collaborators I trust and being part of an artistic community. I am also energized by operating independently. Most of all, I'm energized about my work and my vision for what art can become. 

[You can read more interviews over here.]


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