Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Alex Ito.
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
How do you describe your own art practice?
My work seeks to locate moments of violence and alienation within the visual languages of everyday life. It models those forms, taking on the framework of design, architecture, furniture and more to create a familiar space with a sinister shadow. The work can become an invitation or a barrier to unfold moments of empathy, pathos and intimacy with the bodies and spaces we occupy.
What was your first experience with art?
I grew up doing graffiti when I was a kid. I never really thought about art beyond that immediate impulse until I got an internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles when I was a teenager. Two exhibitions I saw that changed the way I engage with art and my environment were “Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas” in 2007 and “Dan Graham: Beyond” in 2009 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. These shows helped me explore ideas of language, the public and action within one’s practice.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
There isn’t a particular thing that inspires me to wake up and make work. I think what pushes me is an energy of frustration and discontent. The world is cruel and generous- it takes away as much as it gives. I don’t find beauty in that but I do find that fickle crystal of Being to be a driving force to engage with my anxieties and fears.
What do you need in order to create your work?
Noise. Working in a city is important to me. I can’t work in serene environments like the countryside or in a cottage by a lake. My practice doesn’t function as an escape for me but as a mode of engaging with the world I inhabit. The condensed noise of people, buildings, commerce, divisions, love and pain allows me to see the world with a little more honesty.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve currently working on a series of collaged photographs with sculptural interventions on the surface.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
“Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?” by Judith Butler.
“Islands of Decolonial Love” Stories and Songs” by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.