We were delighted to hear this week from Berlin-based artist Satch Hoyt, who visited us in 2009 for an artist residency. He recently completed a residency in Sausalito, California, and was gracious enough to share his experience with us. Here, too, are images of some of his exciting recent work.
The Headlands Art Residency was an extremely productive time for me this past fall of 2013. Headlands is located on a National Park in Sausalito, Marin County, California, directly across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Raccoons, bob cats, deer and screeching owls are daily and nocturnal companions. This environment is a far cry from Wedding, my urban neigborhood in Berlin, but I swiftly became accustomed to it albeit the no cell phone reception at times was somewhat tedious. The panoramic splendour that one is surrounded by is gob-smackingly breathtaking.
Prior to my residency I was in NYC to install Say It Loud in the groundbreaking traveling exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in contemporary Art at the Grey Art Gallery, NYU, and at the Studio Museum in Harlem curated by the ever wonderful Valerie Cassel Oliver of CAMH. In fact the exhibition premiered at CAMH. Radical Presence is the first comprehensive survey of performance art by black artists so I strongly advise all and sundry to go check it out.
Well getting back to the Headlands, I had been informed by a few of my fellow artist friends who have attended this residency on how great it actually is. But as someone who is quite reclusive with regard to my art making process I am not too deep into the en masse artist communal environment. I did quickly adapt to dinners where artists would ramble on about their practices; for myself, discourse became more engaging when cross practices were laid bare. I have always found that collaboration is not so readily invited by many visual artists. I made the transition from music into the visual arts so I am naturally more open to the possibilities of collaborative interventions.
I arrived with a clear idea that whilst on the residency I would yield a body of new works and was very fortunate to be allocated one of the larger studios by the ever gracious Holly Block.
The 15-foot ceiling simply encouraged and facilitated another space perception so I immediately dived into Flock, the large painting using the Afro Pick image. This iconic cultural symbol was revisited by me as I have previously executed works using this object, the first being The Ice Pick in 2002 which was in Open House Working In Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum. Whilst installing for Radical Presence I found an Afro pick on the sidewalk up in Harlem where I was staying with my dear friend poet and musician Latasha Nevada Diggs. This is the comb that encouraged my return.
When I arrived at Headlands one of the first things I did was to get online (yes they do have Wi-Fi up there) and ordered 40 Afro picks, which is the material I employed to execute Oakland, the wall sculpture work, very much inspired by the Black Panther legacy and quite a lot of trips over to Oakland. The first trip with fellow artist in residence Ajohn Chen was to attend one of the Oakland Poetry Slam sessions organised by my good friend and nephew of Diane Pernet, Brother Dahled Jeffries. Fellow artist activist and good friend Brett Cook also showed me around Oakland and we hung out at my studio in Headlands.
The red and blue Spinnister works (below) are the continuation of a body of work that I embarked on in December 2012 and have been working on throughout 2013. In the execution of these works on paper, I actually employ vinyl records they are greatly inspired by Celestial Vessel (commissioned by the Nasher Museum in 2009) and also by a new paper that I am writing entitled Migration of the Eternal Afro Sonic Signifier. With that, I am arguing that during the black Atlantic Middle Passage slave trauma the culture was held intact by the slaves who in fact were portals transporting or acting as guardians of a mnemonic sonic network, which as a prime example later evolved into the birth of jazz in Congo Square, New Orleans.
Lastly I decided that wanted to investigate celebrity which is also a form of incarceration hence “Barbed,” which is the velvet rope transformed into the barbed wire rope. This work will be installed on 5-foot high stanchions.
Yes indeed, the Headlands Art Residency was an extremely productive and inspiring time for me this past Fall 2013. I would like to give a shout out to The Dog House fellows at Headlands, “Todos Por La Praxis,” a Spanish collective that are doing socio/political works that interact with global communities, and the Taiwanese artist Sculptor and Tea connoisseur Ajohn Chen. And all the other alumni and Headlands staff and Cooks, way too many to mention here.
Peace N Hugz to you all, and thank you for making the Headlands experience an indelible one that i shall never ever forget.