Conversations in Art: Suzy Poling & Owleyes


What is your inspiration for your new work?
Well, it depends on which project, as I have many. It’s been sort of one continuous vision of mirrors, refractive light and lava. I am pretty obsessed with seeing a volcano this year.

Where do you see your work fitting in the current art world?
I tend to really fit well with art centers and non-profit organizations that let me present my blender of mediums: sound/video/light art/stills. I worked with galleries, and I’m represented by one, but I’m into taking high art in my—and my friends’—own hands. So often, I feel like we make it up ourselves. I can fit into academia because I like to do research but I also identify with the rawness of regular life and the underground. It all kind of relates. Making an art commune in the desert would be fine for me, too.

Does your visual work connect with your music?
All of my art connects with my music. My work is a whole whether it is photography, video, painting, music or performance.

Can you name a secret artist or musician who no one knows about but should?
My favorite artists are Kamau Amu Patton, Owleyes, Carlos Gonzales, Das Institut and Na Ked from Taiwan. But they aren’t very secret. I find some obscure “at home scientists” videos online who I think are secret artists.

Any predictions for the future?
Well, I understand that a ton of things are going to shift in 2012. I’m excited! I think it’s going to be the year of weird tours, interesting travel and meaningful encounters.

How much of your work is or is not connected to your spirituality?
My relationship to the Universe and to my spiritual path is the reason why I make art. I am basically hypnotizing myself every day through the process of making work and by communicating with abstraction. Music is really important to me. Sound is amazing and so informative. And in general, my work pays homage to the strange mysteries and unique particles on this planet and how all materials relate to the cosmos and to us.

Do you feel your work communicates with the paranormal?
I really felt a distinctive presence (of many) in the beautiful massive Congress Theater in Chicago. I photographed the whole place, and eventually lived inside of it for a couple of years. I had strange experiences there, and this place later showed up on the TV show Ghost Hunters–it was found to be active. I also had a lot of experiences when I was photographing abandoned mental hospitals. But I think once you tune into the Unseen you always kind of hear, see and feel things. I feel things often. I just pay my respects, listen or be peaceful around the more violent energies.

What other materials would you like to explore?
I want to do more film and optical printing. I also want to discover more about optics and experimental video. I would like to be able to get ahold of nicely cut glass.

Do you dream a lot? If so, can you describe some good images? Do you think people share dreams?
I do dream a lot. I love dreaming. My most famous reccurring dream was about my one-eyed dwarf son, who was deaf, blind and mute. We were in full communication in our minds. I once saw him moving a roomful of floating bodies above a giant chess board. He was very pure and innocent, but very powerful. I had this intense feeling that I had to protect him from the dark man who was looming around and telling him to move the floating people. It was a pretty outstanding dream! And yes, I believe that people share dreams and that we dream in synchronicity with one another. Why not?

Tell me more about your obsession with B-movies. Can you describe your fascination with Videodrome?
I was raised on B-movies, whether it was horror or science-fiction. I am not as obsessed with Videodrome as you, James. But yes, I am totally on board with films that are about going to another place, passing into the other side, making up realities and going beyond human physical realms. My other top three films are Logan’s Run, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?, and then, of course, Carnival of Souls.


What is your inspiration for your new work?
I am pretty obsessed at the moment with the idea of healing the mind & body through the ritual practice of art, in how we shift perception and may even alter reality with our abilty to create form from other dimensions of ourselves, or even beyond the self.

Where do you see your work fitting in within the current art world?
Hmm… That’s a damn good question! I think I fit in more with artists who are exploring other realms, outside of the art world.  My work seems to attract people who are centered more on a spiritual or occult element rather than the contemporary art arenas.

Can you give us the name of one of your secret artists or musicians who no one knows about but should?
Well, for sure you are! Your work is a huge inspiration for me!

Any predictions for the future?
I think people will start to become more open to “fringe” thinking & there will be a shift in the way we as humans actually perceive reality. Or cats are going to start being worshipped again, one or the other.

How much of your work is or is not connected with your spirituality? Do you feel like art is therapy for you?
Spirituality is my art, art is my therapy. It is the only thing that gets me through one day to another. Cliché, yes, maybe, but only because it’s more true than we care to realize.

Do you feel your work communicates with the paranormal?
Well, it is in communication with something outside of me, whether it is specters, spirits, aliens or angels. I can’t say for sure. I do know, however, that it shapes the pattern of reality that I walk through.

What other materials would you like to explore?
For ages, I have wanted to move into film, as well as a more analog approach. I have been working on making an analog version of Photoshop with layers of transparencies painted to alter the collage.

Do you dream a lot? If so, can you describe some good images? Do you think people share dreams?
Dreams have actually been my major work arena as of late: abstracted emotions transmitting on the theta wavelength of the brain. Slowed down, the brain starts becoming more receptive to new information and insights. I do think we can astrally connect on this level, so it stands to reason that ESP would be much more active during this state. My goal is to have constant theta-state waking dreams.

Tell me more about your obsession with B-movies. Can you describe your fascination with Videodrome? It is one of my favorite movies, too. But, James, you really take it to the limits!
Where do I start with Videodrome? It’s a perfect modern myth for us to live by: the idea that reality is malleable, capable of being altered through thought and dictated by electromagnetic information beamed across via the TV, or, in our case, the internet. The concept of the New Flesh really resonates with me. I think it’s because it actually is an age-old longing for humans to be able to shift out of this mortal self and have the experience of spirit-in-flesh rather than just the body-dreaming-of-spirit. Max Renn becomes the Christ figure, the transformation of the body into spirit, the immortal mortal, so to speak. How rad is that?

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