Briefly describe the work you do.
My work is led by an insatiable curiosity, irrational collecting, and theft that has evolved as I’ve continued making. I often agitate my ideas through a variety of mediums, like a taste test in search of a sublime formula. I’m always searching for that self-stimulated gasp. I’m captivated by facets of contemporary culture that have created languages for themselves, speak to historical lineages, and generate objects and actions to be appropriated. Because of this fascination I have recently generated work using pilfered material related to Doomsday Preppers, self help culture, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. I also work collaboratively with my partner, Corey Dunlap. This collaborative work has allowed for larger pieces and a collision of our interests.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
My parents were immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Because of them I appreciate not only my education but also the freedom to learn about anything and everything. I have always been interested in science. It’s a broad umbrella that includes social sciences, life sciences, applied sciences, etc. In these realms there is always a search for something beyond our understanding. That desire to search has always stayed with me.
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.”
I have a traditional studio space but since I work with my partner and we share that space, I tend to not be toiling away alone in a room. I like the idea of a collaborative studio space whether I’m in a room collaborating with my partner or outside collaborating with the environment around me.
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?
I never thought that I would become a collector on the verge of hoarder. I recently did a big cross-country move and was forced to reevaluate the things I’ve amassed. My collecting also extends beyond physical objects into the digital realm. I’ve been building a digital library of essays, books, and articles along side photo documentation of work. Maybe my next role will be as an archivist and I will tackle some of the physical or digital piles.
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 work whenever I can. I utilize weekends for more labor intensive or time consuming projects. Having my partner in the studio pushes me to work more. We tend to be in the studio together.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I graduated from my undergrad recently (is 1 year ago considered recent?) so most of the shifts in my work are as a direct result of my experience at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston. My work has shifted away from any kind of commitment to a particular medium. I’ve incorporated more found materials and text over the years. I still incorporate play, satire, irony, and DIY elements into my current work. The evolution of my collaborative efforts has also made me more ambitious.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I feel like there are to many artists, writers, and filmmakers that have impacted my work. My more immediate influences are my family, friends, and my partner. My friends and community from school are some of the most intelligent and diverse people I’ve met. Their different backgrounds and interests always make me reconsider the way I look at my own work. My partner, who is also an artist, has become increasingly important as I try to grow my practice and move forward as a creative professional. He is someone who doesn’t let me get away with making bullshit work and definitely helps me follow through on projects I might otherwise doubt.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
It’s hard to imagine doing anything else. If anything I think I would be a professional tinkerer. Someone who takes things apart, fixes them, and puts them back together.
Bradley Tsalyuk is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston. He has shown throughout the United States including the 2013 CAA conference in New York City, an exhibition of touchable artwork at Public Space One in Iowa City, and the 2013 Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival in Chicago. He has contributed to multiple visual art publications including The Emergency Index, an annual collection of performance art documentation. Bradley Tsalyuk lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.