Briefly describe the work you do.
I work between video and visual art, mostly all photo-based processes. I’m interested in the intersection of landscape and culture, particularly in America, and in the idea of poetic non-fiction.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My formal training is as a studio artist but I’ve worked in community documentary and commercial production as well (a long time ago now). I move readily between different formats and media. I grew up in the country and I think that has had a huge influence on my work – the focus on landscape is a reflection of my interest in nature, although I don’t think landscape is limited to the natural world. I’m also interested in people and the things they make and arrange and think and build.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is really my computer which is easily portable. I work with found imagery – sometimes from the internet, sometimes not – as well as imagery I make myself but all of it is run through the computer at some point, through a browser or a scanner or a camera. What is most important for me is a quiet place and an electrical outlet.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
(note: not sure I answered this question as it was meant…) Like many artists, I don’t think I realized how much time would be spent on promotion and applications and all of the business of art. I don’t think I imagined that life as an artist would also mean life as a self-promoter and a self-archivist. When I was younger, my ideas about art were romantic. It’s now pretty clear that it’s a job and like any job, there are some tasks that are less enjoyable than others.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
I find the morning is my best working time – my mind is sharpest. I try to set my mornings aside but I can’t always since I teach and work at a university. I know I feel best when I have put some working time in so I try to make sure to make some progress everyday, even if it’s just a small amount.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
It has become less cautious. I’m not sure that means it’s better. I think the tone has stayed consistent but the breadth is wider. I’m more willing to dive into things that are daunting or complicated.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
The work of other artists, particularly filmmakers and writers, has a strong influence. Which in particular is always in flux. The people I am close to at any given moment are also important. I am grateful for the outside influence – maybe in that way all my work is responsive. Maybe all art is, I’m not sure.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
A park ranger – nice uniforms, relatively low stress, excellent work environment.
Lydia Moyer completed an MFA in studio practice at UNC Chapel Hill in 2005. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she worked both in commercial video post-production in New York City and taught community documentary at Appalshop, Inc., a nationally known media center in Appalachian Kentucky. She received her BFA from the New York State School of Art and Design at Alfred in 1999. She is currently as associate professor of art at the University of Virginia.
Moyer works between print and video. Her videos have been shown widely in festivals and galleries including The European Media Arts Festival in Osnabruck, Germany; The Impakt Festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands; video_dumbo in Brooklyn, NY; the PDX Festival in Portland, OR; and the Black Maria Festival in Jersey City, NJ. Her books have been included in exhibitions at Printed Matter in New York City and the Center for Book and Paper at Columbia College in Chicago.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.