DoBeDo is happy to announce the addition of its newest contributor, Sean Vegezzi.
Sean Vegezzi (b. 1990) has mapped New York City’s landscape through photo, video, installation, and recreational practices-turned-performance-art since 2001. His first book of photographs, I Don’t Warna Grow Up, was published by Fourteen Nineteen in 2012. Since then, Vegezzi has expanded his practise to include architectural, spatial and performative interventions on the fabric of the city, such as through recent projects Scott and Joey (both 2015) – as well as curating works by artists in temporary spaces such as 15 Warren and 170 Suffolk. His most recent project, Snow Cab, was released in May 2016.
1. You are very much a born and bred New Yorker, how are you finding your recent travels away from home turf? Has it made you think about anything new in particular?
New York is very special to me, but I’ve never really acknowledged my own thoughts about how much I want to get away from it. When I was younger I was a bit scared of making my world a bit larger because I knew so many good things come from a sort of narrow, singular focus, or wearing blinders so to speak – to the point of it feeling masochistic – I knew that experiencing any kind of basic happiness or normality through something like a simple beach trip, would distract me from making the first images I made. Now that I’m almost finished with my last project to do with that work, I’m very interested in leaving New York.
2. I recently enjoyed reading the text you wrote for your new book ‘Snow Cab’. Did writing come to you before taking pictures? And how do you like to use text in your work?
I have always written. The things I write are usually very long, full of typos and overwrought, but I’m getting somewhere I think. I began playing with cameras much later on. I really like giving context to work, maybe to a fault. I enjoy allowing both images and text to be contextual support for one another. The Snow Cab text is very much a framework for the works that appear in the book, I gave a slightly different version of that text out to the close friends I had invited to see the actual Snow Cab exhibition as soon as they had walked in. Ultimately, people don’t have to read anything you hand to them, most people won’t… but I like having context present in the rare occasion that someone is interested.
3. When we met and you took me onto the roof of a skyscraper and down into a hidden part of the subway I felt the most exciting adrenaline rush that I had felt in a very long time… Do you get addicted to that rush?
I certainly know the feeling you’re talking about, but I have never been addicted to that feeling. I’m very excited by the more quiet aspects of those kinds of experiences. It’s easy to fixate on the cowboy-esque feeling inherent in those kinds of missions, but that always takes away from the research, the effort that goes into discovering such spaces, the reward of privacy and a view that was previously unseen for me. I will say that I get quite anxious if I don’t pass through every space around me in some way or another. I get even more anxious at the thought that there are spaces I’ll never get to see along my travels, places that only ‘pests’ might see or something!
4. All those pictures in your first book and the issues they raised about unexplored areas of a rapidly more sterile New York, security, youthful exploration etc. Are those things still as central to what you are doing currently?
What I find so comforting about that work – is that it continues to breathe without me meddling with it. That work becomes more and more important as time goes on. The places throughout that book are being repurposed, destroyed, sealed off or forgotten about… all while the idea of accessing them is becoming more and more difficult for countless reasons, but the images have been made. They fulfill a very fundamental objective of photography – to preserve, but they never become stagnant. With that said, the experiences that I’ve had making that work, the places that I’ve seen making that work, and the people I moved throughout those spaces with – all continue to inform things I make – whether or not those people and places are being depicted in what I’m making.
I am very interested in punctuation though, in finishing projects and placing people, places, and ideas in the past. I named that project “I Don’t Warna Grow Up” out of a joke – I was feeling quite sensitive to how much youth gets obsessed over, I had already changed so much by the time that work was finished, I could see the exit I had to make from it, I could see the limits of that kind of work and I wanted new things.
5. Who are your heroes / influences?
I’m very spooked by the idea of traditional heroes, or very direct influences – I feel like they can create an attraction to canons, and an attraction to knowing and retaining information about people other than yourself. That attraction can make me knowledgeable about their work, but take away from my own sense of self. I feel as if too much knowledge and influence can make me quite reticent about sharing my ideas, or expressing myself out of an extreme awareness of what has been done before. It sounds like I’m saying that I think looking at other peoples work is bad, but I’m really just saying that sometimes I like to be careful about how much of other peoples work I’m taking in. I’ve got those blinders on right now.
But about very basic influences, outside of the idea of looking at things that other people have made, I’m so influenced by people, whether they’re people I’m intimate with or people I’ve spoken to for a few seconds. I like meeting people that I feel are better than me, I don’t have an inferiority complex, I really want to pull something good from everybody as earnest as that sounds… and I think that’s very related to photography – finding value in anything, pulling meaning from the lowest and highest places.
6. Is romance alive in 2016?
I don’t know what romance is. I think that really beautiful things can happen in 2016, things get really basic and hot when the world unravels.
7. Do vs. Be?
Be. Do is something you can drop in on now and again without really being anything.
DoBeDo is happy to announce the addition of its newest contributor, Frank Lebon.
Frank Lebon is an artist and filmmaker based in London.
He works across animation, photography, drawing and film; with a speciality in analogue processes. Having recently finished his studies in graphics and then film at London College of Communication, he has now started working on both commissioned projects (mostly working with musicians or fashion brands) and his own projects. He also is the main organiser behind ‘Reely and Truly’ the DoBeDo-organised bi-annual film event.
1. Please describe what you do and the different roles drawing, photos, animation and film play in the spectrum of your work.
I guess I make images, if they are drawn, photos, animated… Whatever it is, it’s all image making. Whether I’m doing it for someone else or for myself that’s what I do. I try to blur the line between processes within my work, I’m not sure if this is because I’m still young and haven’t settled into a particular way of doing it yet or if it is just my way of working.
2. You are a young man of 22, what would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years?
To be honest I don’t really know, I definitely have a deep motivation to do the work I do but not sure what my goal is. I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can survive off the work I do already, I definitely hope that continues but my future usually extends to the completion of the next project I want to make…
I hope in 10 years I still have the freedom I have now, but with the stability and respect to be able to make whatever it is I want!!
3. You have been filmed and photographed all your life, has being the subject for so long affected the way you make your own photos and films?
If it has I would say it’s had the reverse effect, so far unless it’s a little self-portrait (drawing) I tend to never appear within my work (physically) although the work I do for myself most of the time is about me even if I don’t visually appear in it. I don’t think this is because I have been the subject of others work but more because that’s what comes naturally.
One way it has definitely effected the way I shoot is how I deal with my subject, it helps to know what it’s like to be in the subjects position. Though saying that, the majority of my subjects are unaware of me even shooting them in the first place!
4. Since you were little I imagined you would become a musician of some kind because you were very musical! It seems that that rhythm and musical energy has gone into your film and animation work, would you agree?
That’s really interesting, I couldn’t agree more. Music is such a big part of what I like to do. I definitely approach most edits whether musically related or not with rhythm. I have always found it hard to give reason to the work I do, music is so important as I believe it creates the perfect validation, you don’t have to have a reason behind why you made a tune – it can just exist as something great; for me this is the same for visuals created to/for and with music. When image and sound work in harmony it is such a great feeling. Music is also a huge source of inspiration and collaboration for me.
5. Could you define what motivates your work?
I think other people making things I like is a big motivation, more than just inspiration it actually motivates me to do more. Also I think I have a bit of an issue with needing to prove myself, you (my brother) and dad both make really amazing images and I think are very well respected for it, this puts me in an odd position; firstly a very privileged one, growing up living one-on-one with dad is enough inspiration for a lifetime and having an older brother who has done it all already for me to learn from and ask advice is priceless. Secondly though it has put me in a constant state of feeling unworthy and battling to try and prove to you two, myself and everyone one else looking in that I am meant to be here.
Guilt comes hand in hand with privilege, I think the trick is to just not worry about it and keep on doing what I’m doing but most importantly to be forever grateful for it all!
6. Do you have any heroes / influences?
There are too many filmmakers, artists and musicians to name! I should probably mention Pablo Ferro and Saul Bass for opening up a realm of abstract graphics within a commercial world of moving image.
My main influences as earlier mentioned are probably you and dad, though there are many others that I know intimately such as Dick Jewel and Barry Kamen. Barry was a very special one for me, not only am I a huge fan of his work but the way he lived and approached his work was such an eye opener, and will inform the way I approach my work and life forever.
7. Do vs. Be?
Hopefully for doing the do enough I can just be. It’s scary but definitely my true goal. So I have to go with be.
DoBeDo contributor Sean Vegezzi is releasing his latest book, ‘Snow Cab’.
‘Snow Cab‘ catalogues an eponymous installation of works by Vegezzi made between 15 and 22 November 2015, which evolved as an immediate, frenzied and searching response following the Paris terror attacks of November 2015. Installed within a vacated retail unit within Lower Manhattan, the works of Snow Cab actively blend and respond to the inert postconsumer space they inhabit, a space in which subsequent to their exhibition the works were left, in situ.
Included within the publication is a presentation of the installation, works and two texts written by the artist for the show.
47 colour plates with two texts by the artist
Published in May 2016 by Loose Joints