5 Minutes with New Media Artist Jessica Angel

Jessica Angel - Pyragraph

Jessica Angel is a guest artist from Colombia who is currently on a residency at 516 ARTS in Albuquerque for Digital Latin America.

She is creating a large-scale, eye-popping, immersive installation in the front entrance of the gallery, using the 25-foot-high wall, working with a team of assistants.

In this piece, she asks, “How can we make a visual immersion into cyberspace? What kind of imagery can evoke this ethereal place filled up with information? Would this be a paradise-like space full of light and color? Or, would this place instead be polluted and excessive, just as some parts of our real planet are? Can we fantasize that we are as teeny as a living megabyte, sightseeing through the superhighways of information?”

In anticipation of the imminent opening events and symposium for Digital Latin America in Albuquerque on June 7 and 8, I talked with Jessica as she worked on her installation at 516 ARTS.

Teresa Buscemi: How would you describe your art practice?

Jessica Angel: I like the process most, and I give it the most attention. It begins with really basic sketches and doodling that are enhanced onto a larger scale. Most of these sketches are inspired by reading, finding authors and ideas that are similar to mine.

I’ve been looking at work by the Brazilian artist who goes by the name assume vivid astro focus.

I have been focusing on the space as a subject matter and as a tool to do my work. My major focus in the past years has been the development of large-scale, space-transforming mural installations that take over walls, ceiling and floors. I’m mostly using hand-cut adhesive vinyl and paper prints to achieve these installations and I gather interns and volunteers to work with me to go through the process and effort that it takes to achieve this kind of work. Still, I find this hard work to be as interesting and joyful as the final result.

What is your background as an artist?

I come from a drawing and painting background. My shift in medium has to do with the ideas and research that inform my practice, as well as the use of space and perspective. I always aimed with my drawings and painting to create an emotional effect on the viewer and I have found that taking images onto the scale of architectural spaces provide that effect that I seek.

How does environment affect your work?

My work is based on ideas, so cultural environment doesn’t affect it that much. I see cultural environment as global rather than local, which is why my work is related to the internet and the global network. Architecturally speaking, environment is everything. My pieces adapt to architectural spaces and they are always made to fit a specific space.

I have this crazy idea to install in outer space—like inside a space station.

What are some sources of inspiration?

I’ve been looking at work by the Brazilian artist who goes by the name assume vivid astro focus, and art from the Renaissance period in which there was a prevalent use of perspective. I like how 16th century mural paintings would take over architectural spaces like the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. Science fiction and futuristic architecture are present in my ideas, and the work of Archigram has been a major influence in my work. I also read French philosophers like Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. Specifically for the work I’m doing nowadays, I’m looking into Paul Virilio and Pierre Levy.

What is your ideal or dream installation space?

I have this crazy idea to install in outer space—like inside a space station. It relates to my recent ideas and interests of astronomy and the point where art and science meet. Another dream idea would be to take over every room of a building and create a narrative between the spaces. I would also love to take over a whole subway system and use the trains as the means of communication between each station.

For more information about Jessica Angel, visit www.jessicaangelarts.com.

Digital Latin America will be on view at 516 ARTS at 516 Central Ave SW in downtown Albuquerque from June 7 to August 30, 2014.

The Opening Reception & Block Party will be Saturday, June 7, 5-9pm.

Hear Jessica Angel speak at the Digital Latin America Symposium in the session on Interactivity in Digital Art on Saturday, June 7 at 1:30pm.

Photo by Suzanne Sbarge.

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