Briefly describe the work you do.
Through the use of humor and play, my work examines the intersections between domestic life and the culture in which that life resides.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
I spent the first six years of my life growing up on a farm in Iowa. When I was six or seven, I moved to South Texas. I remember being in awe of the bright colors, the hand painted signs, and the ever present piñatas of the borderland, all of which seemed extremely foreign to me. Especially now after having lived in Boston for the last three and a half years, I realize how big of an impact Texas had on my creative practice.
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 work is dependent on the space in which I have to make it. I am currently working out of coffee shops, my friends’ homes, and on my dining room table. This means that my current work is usually small and easy to transport.
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?
Trickster, shaman, and satirist are roles of the artist that I have been considering lately. I will say that if I would have known five years ago that I would have a significant body of work consisting of human bodies with cat heads, I would have been completely perplexed.
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 have a couple of hours to spare. This is usually in the morning or early afternoon as I’m much more creative after I’ve just woken up.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
There has always been a sense of humor and play in my work. This is also evident in my illustrations and paintings. Since earning my MFA, I have focused more on collage and sculpture. That isn’t to say that I don’t see myself coming back to drawing and painting in the future.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
When I was twenty three, I went to a Flaming Lips concert in Austin, Texas that basically helped create a palette of inspiration that I have drawn from ever since. After having earned a BFA from The University of Texas-Pan American, and my MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, my inspirations have understandably expanded. There are artists, movies, musicians and books that I tend to fixate on for periods of time before moving onto something else. Currently, I am looking at a lot of John Baldessari. I am also obsessed with the movie, Elf. Aside from all of these shifting sources, my wife Sofia is a constant inspiration that never falters.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
In a way, I consider the work that I do now as a sort of weird anthropology. If I wasn’t making my own work, I imagine that I might be studying the bone carvings of some 30,000 year old cave dweller.
Carl Vestweber lives and works in Boston, MA. He received his MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. He received his BFA from The University of Texas-Pan American. He is currently working on a series of “cat collages” and has compiled his first collection of these works in a book entitled Cat Collage by Carl Vestweber ,which is available for purchase on his website.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.