I will always be surprised by how well we remember our early influences. While I have a hard time recalling some of the artists I studied in grad school, I vividly remember those I was exposed to as an enthusiastic teenager. I remember these early artists badly in the sense that I didn’t yet grasp what they were about or why, but on a purely visual level I remember them to this day: Man Ray, Adrian Piper, John Baldessari, Sophie Calle. I recall how long it took to find a Man Ray book at the local library, trying to spell his name with a group of elderly librarians. I remember diligently watching The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari because of a piece I had made with shadows and masks, and I could not for the life of me see the connection between the two. All of them, however, settled somewhere deep in my visual memory next to those I had discovered myself: Sharon Lockhart, David Hockney, Roni Horn. I remember learning about Roni Horn at an LA museum where she had installed her Still Water images in unpredictable places. I kept running across images of dark and murky water in the stairways, elevators, hallways, and balconies. I wondered what they were, and if they were art or not. I can picture myself, fifteen or sixteen with pencil and pad in hand, determinedly demanding the name of the artist. I know I succeed in finding out her name because I have remembered it ever since.
Art that escapes the art world and elopes with life.
Located in New York City, Escaping Artist is published by Alissa Guzman.