Briefly describe the work you do.
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 effectively my phone, my laptop, my sketchbook. The development of my practice is far removed from the romanticized artist’s studio, and I imagine this to be true of many contemporary artists. I think that the majority of my work is developed by taking notes on my phone or sketchbook of things that I am interested in, and then workshopping performances in my living room using my computer’s camera.I think that all things feed into an art practice – yes, it’s the museums you go to, and the work you look at, but it’s also posts on Facebook, your feed on Instagram, and so on. I think artists have been expanding out of the studio into the “outside,” non-art world for decades now. I believe that many artists, myself included, are now making their practice in a more “virtual” or non-physical setting. Sketchbooks and laptops are effectively the same thing – technologies for storing and looking at visual and/or textual information. The contemporary studio, at least mine, exists mostly in journals, sketchbooks, notes, texts, image posts, etc., and takes up very little physical space. The only time my work is ever brought out into the physical world is when I’m workshopping movements or building objects (this is done in whatever room I have remaining in my apartment: typically a 5’x5’ living room, or a 4’x4’ kitchen, depending on what I’m making). I’m not saying that non-physical artist studios are replacing physical ones, but I do think that contemporary makers use a blend of the two in their creation of artwork.
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 honestly never anticipated the amount of reading I would be doing! I think that school has really disciplined me into keeping a theoretical and research background in my work, and to continue to look at other artists while reading contemporary theory. It’s a blessing. I read a lot when I was a kid but some time during my teens I lost interest in books. It’s been a slow start, but I’ve rediscovered my love for reading, both for work and for pleasure. Artists are scholars too, and in reading about the work and processes of others, I am given glimpses into myself as a maker. Art history is so interesting and so compelling, and there is so much to learn. I think my desire for learning is reflected by the way my art is made. In the same way that my work is a conversation between myself and other, I want to be engaged in the current (interesting) conversations going on in the art world. That’s very exciting for me.
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 that I am almost always, in some way, working. I have the blessing of attending art school, with class projects keeping me very busy. Any time that I don’t spend in school, I’m either working on a project, sketching, reading, looking at the work of others, writing, and so on. I have a manic drive to immerse myself in my work because I feel like it is all I really have, or at least, all I really want. I obviously make time to relax; this manifests itself in seeing friends, spending time with family, and so on. The brain is muscle and you need to give it a break too. But I genuinely enjoy the speed at which all things come. I keep myself on my feet in terms of my practice because I know I have to keep moving in order to grow.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
Luis Mejico is an artist based in Chicago. Attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on the Walter Massey Full Tuition Merit Scholarship, he works in performance and sculpture. He has performed and exhibited work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Links Hall, Zhou Brothers Art Center, The Oak Park Art League, Water Street Studios, Openlands Lakeshore Preserve, Things are Better in Space Gallery, Student Union Galleries at SAIC, THE WALK Fashion Festival at SAIC, ARTBASH 2014 at SAIC, and Marwen Art Gallery, among others. He is currently seeking his BFA at SAIC (2017).