Briefly describe the work you do.
My video and installation work focuses on performance and the mind. Each piece explores notions of self-identity within the context of the soul or psyche. In my performances, I reinterpret thoughts by mimicking its movements in time and space. I perform to not only define a mental space, but to also establish an energy that is innate to every individual conscious.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
Having always been an introspective person has affected the way I produce and think about my art.
While in graduate school, I was reflecting a lot on past and current relationships that have shaped who I am as an individual. For me, I know that there are gestures from moments in each relationship that have been quite impressionable.
And while just brushing the surface of psychoanalytic theory in one of my classes, I grew more curious about certain specifics about the functioning of the mind so much that it became motivation for Kerry, Imprecion, Sam. Lacan’s idea of the mirror stage is a concept that resonated with me. It is a way of identification; I assumed the images of my friend, mom, and significant other.
My background is also in makeup artistry. Makeup is transformative and I knew that I wanted to develop the physical identity of each character through not only make-up, but also self-crafted costumes. It was in fact how I came to figure the performance, then the text and sound.
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 think my studio practice is similar to “toiling away alone in a room”. However, I I’m very much aware when I need to change my environment so I can bring a new perspective to my work, which I’ve learned, is a huge part of making art. As much as I love being confined in my working space, I try to regularly see a variety of art. More importantly though, I always try to remain curious and active in seeking out answers to what I don’t know. I think that dictates my practice more than anything.
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 think there are a few that come to mind: actress, dancer, and writer. That’s not to say, though, that I am any one of these in real life, but I definitely have assumed the role of each of them to at least make art or inform people about my art.
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 try to do something everyday. Even if all I do is sit, think, and write for a few hours, I’m satisfied. I am more alert during the day, so that’s the best time for me to focus on art whether that’s working on my computer or sprawled out on my floor with a notebook. However, I never resist an urge to work. If anything, I at least have to write down the idea to get it out of my brain, even if it comes to me at midnight. Then, I can revisit it in the morning.
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
Five years ago I only made photographs and before that, I only drew and painted. The mediums have changed or have come together in some way, but my interests have remained pretty consistent throughout the years. Now, I make work not only with the moving image, but also through the use of textiles and make-up.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
I have always been fascinated with people and my relationships/exchanges with them. To this end, this curiosity will always impact the work I do. More specifically, I’ve grown a strong interest in the Buddhist philosophy. I can’t speak much about the Buddha as I’m still learning, but from what I have grasped, I know that his teachings have already informed my current work.
If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?
I would love to be a Fromager. The reason is simply because of my love for cheese at a very young age. I love everything about it, from the different kinds, taste, texture, smell, and process. I can only imagine that cheese making requires the same love, attention, and care that making art requires.
Rita Zambori currently resides and makes work in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA in Photography from Indiana University and an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Kerry, Imprecion, Sam has been installed in Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as screened in St. Louis, Missouri. Also this year, she will be featured with her piece in Stigmart10 Videobiennale.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.