Interview with Bix Archer
Bix Archer is a Junior at Yale College Majoring in Humanities and Art. She is from San Francisco, California and works primarily in paint, prints and fabric
Do you make things?
What things do you make?
I make paintings, I make prints. I sew some things. I think that about covers it.
Why do make those things? I’m going to edit this… heavily.
I make them because I feel drawn to do so.
Do you like making things
I do like making things, yes.
How is it different to work on a painting from, for example a print?
I think that the way I think about process and time and ability to manipulate and change things differs depending on the medium, so with a painting I’ll often start out with some sort of loose sketch to figure out some basic idea of what I’m making but that really changes as the process goes along, with layering things and seeing how the paint is working, how the colors are working together, it evolves as it goes. Whereas in printing, while there is a similar process of layering and adapting along the way it’s much more in set stages. If I’m making a screenprint that’s going to be a four color separation I’ll need to map out before hand what each layer will be and then at each stage mix the color and the way I work, the color for each next layer kind of depends on how the colors before have worked and I might start with two separations that I know I’ll be using and create others as I go so while there’s still some change and adaptation, there’s a more concrete base because those things aren’t changeable. And in printmaking, because it is much more mechanical and technical a lot of what I end up doing is dictated by how the medium itself reacts. So if I expose a screen and part of the exposure doesn’t work or when I’m printing part of the screen gets blocked up and doesn’t print then I have to figure out how to work with that and incorporate those mistakes, whereas in painting it’s more likely that I can wait for something to dry and paint it over.
Why should people paint?
Is that like, in general?
I mean, yeah…
Well I guess that implicitly it asks why do you paint. But also, why should people paint?
I don’t think there’s a set rule of why someone should, because I think everyone who paints has a different reason for why they do. But generally, I suppose it’s a good thing to have some form of expression and something to engage your in and engage your eyes and engage your mind in.
What is your favorite fabric?
My favorite fabric to work with and my favorite fabric in generally are different, some more luxurious fabrics are much harder to actually sew with… I do love a good linen, a nice cashmere, but when I work with fabric I mainly work with cheap cottons.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever found
It’s a good question… that’s difficult… I’ve found a lot of things. I was with my mom once, I don’t remember if it was at a yard sale or if it was in a box that someone had thrown out, and I found somebody’s wedding album and their honeymoon to some motel in the Yosemite Valley which was kind of crazy. There was also a period of time in middle school when I found a whole bunch of watches in succession, I found like three watches.
What’s the last thing you read?
The label on the spice container at Miya’s Sushi.
Was it engaging?
I was just looking to see if there was MSG in it. But there wasn’t.
What do you think of the internet
I have mixed feelings about the internet. I think it provides a lot of access and communication across spaces and between people and communities that would be difficult to access otherwise. And access to art and literature, particularly visual art, and exposure to imagery. And I like how there are communities that can be formed across vast distances and regardless of geographical location and you can have a community that transcends that space. But at the same time, I think it works to create greater feelings of isolation in some ways. And looking at studies about how social media can make people feel worse about themselves.
What would you do tomorrow if there was no capitalism?
Umm…celebrate with my friends…(laughs) hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon and criticize in the evening.
Do you keep a journal?
Because, I find that writing things down lets me remember them better, but also I find keeping a journal to be a really helpful way to ground myself in my emotions and in my thinking. Just to keep an active log of how I’m feeling in the moment and recognizing that that can change but having that record to refer back to can be really helpful and really validating particularly when trying to identify patterns of emotion or behavior for myself, specifically in regards to relationships or interactions with other people. It’s a nice way to have a record of my mind that is not in my mind, but is on the page.
What’s your favorite flavor of gatorade
Limon y pepino
It’s so good. It’s very hard to find though.
Do you have any questions for me?
Do you think that the internet isolates people?
I do. I think the internet as it exists now functions on radically different terms than it once did and it’s hard to identify what’s the technology and what’s the way we manage it, but I guess that’s always the case. I firmly believe that pretty much any technology will bend to the powers that be and that nothing is insulted from power dynamics. And if think if you look at our culture we were trending towards atomization before the internet. I think the internet is an embodiment of a lot of contradictions: hyperconnectivity, hyperisolation, hypercontextual, hyper decontextualizing.
I concure… What is this interview for?
It’s for class, Interactive Web Design
Is there anything you’d like to retract?
I don’t think so. I probably could have had a better answer to “Why should we paint?”
It engages the body.
If you could have any snack right now what would it be?
What’s it like living with twelve people? It’s twelve right?
There’s eleven of us. Living with eleven people is not all that bad because for the most part we’re in different places. Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming but mostly it’s jovial, in a really nice way. And it’s to know you’re rarely ever completely alone in the house. It’s nice to have another presence in a big space. Even if you’re in different places.
How will you take care of your mouse problem?
We’re taking care of it with lots of traps. And these little sonic wave machines called “Dreamalls” that emit a very high pitched noise to scare the mice away.
Do you like wave pools, in water parks?
Yes, but I was once in one with my brother and he nearly drowned so I feel guilty for enjoying them when he was traumatized by them.