Lyn Corelle by Altered Esthetics

Lyn Corelle lives in Minneapolis. They make art across a number of mediums.

Still from  Altar//Unindividual , 2018

Still from Altar//Unindividual, 2018

Tell me about your work. What are you currently working on?

Haha, I was afraid you’d ask that. I make short films, longer films, collages, and occasionally I write things too.

Let’s see, I don’t mean to do some obnoxious fake coy thing, as I really am grateful that you asked me to talk about what I do and I’m very excited about what I've been making lately. I just don’t like to say much about my work before people experience it. I hope to weave in exactly as much context as I think is necessary, and then afterwards I love talking with people and hearing about their experiences with the work and telling them about mine.

Yesterday though someone asked me a question which I had an interesting time trying to answer so maybe I’ll riff on that. Their question was if I could identify a thread that ran through all my work. I had to laugh at myself cause all I could think of to say was that I really like images, specifically photographic images, moving or still. I like looking at them and thinking about how they relate to other images they might be paired with, or other images I’ve seen throughout my life. I like thinking about how they relate to the actual experience of seeing the objects they depict.

So as I said I laughed at myself because as a filmmaker that’s a ridiculous thing to say, but I really don’t get the sense that there is that fascination at the root of most of the images we see on a daily basis. Regardless of whether or not the images are visually striking, the image itself is secondary, the focus is the narrative or the argument or the product. Which is fine if that’s what you like, but I’m a big reader so if I want a story or some theory to chew on or to dig into some unfamiliar history a book is where I turn. Images are unique and interesting and so I try to explore what makes them unique and interesting.

Collage from  Satan’s Gilded Mire , 2018

Collage from Satan’s Gilded Mire, 2018

The other main thread that I guess runs through what I do is a somewhat analogous fascination with language, with how we use language to make meaning and relate to each other and with how and when language falls apart, proves inadequate for what we hope to do with it. Worming myself into those cracks, as well as into the cracks between what is seen and what is said, is really exciting for me.

Having said all that, though, I definitely don’t take a completely abstract art for art’s sake approach. I just try to let the images and language come first, and then have the meanings or messages follow. After all, the images and words that I use come from my life, and so everything I deal with eventually ends up as grist for the mill, from the terror of environmental collapse to the joys and pains of living outside the restrictive bounds of gender as it’s conventionally imagined to the challenges of how best to support friends when they’re deep in their shit. Hopefully letting those concerns filter through more obliquely prompts people to engage in a deeper way with their own thoughts and feelings about all of that hard or wonderful stuff, rather than just making them listen to what I think.

Still from  Attainable//Unindividua l, 2018

Still from Attainable//Unindividual, 2018

So that’s me telling you about my work. As for what I’m working on, too much. I’m currently in the midst of a series of short experimental videos with what I worry are overly-obtuse names like Altar//Unindividual and Attainable//Unindividual that explore some of the terrain outlined above. I also recently made a half-hour long abstract movie with the South Carolina-based musician Persona La Ave, in which I set footage to his recent ambient album Themes From a Window. He’s a really amazing artist and I am super excited to be working on a follow-up in which we will explore some similar emotions, but with slightly more of a narrative shell wrapped around it.

I am also chipping away at a full-length film that weaves together footage and journal scraps I’ve collected over the past many years in a way that I hope will appear more straight-forward or non-fiction at first glance, but then still turn out interesting and weird, just at a different pace and in a different manner than the shorts.

Then I have a few little zine projects involving photography and collage and writing for which I’m hoping to set aside time to crank out soon.

Oh and I’m always taking and sharing photos to Instagram as a way to keep my photographic eye honed, and cause it's fun and I know there are a few people specifically who look forward to seeing them.

Untitled Instagram Photo, 2019

Untitled Instagram Photo, 2019

I’m most familiar with your recently published book, Bodybuilding Basics: A Field Guide for Young Naturalists. Could you talk more about the process behind creating the book? Is it a one-off thing or do you see yourself creating more similar projects?

Bodybuilding Basics came about when Haley Ryan had the idea to collage together images from a color collection of nature landscapes and a black-and-white bodybuilding manual. We made a few such collages together and then she graciously let me run with the idea, not with any intention but just because it was fun. Eventually though I had over 30 that I really loved, and I started thinking about collecting them together to share with friends. So I did what any person would do in that situation and wrote a series of poems and prose pieces pondering the weird world of these images and the bodybuilders who inhabited it.

As far as creating other similar projects, I’m not sure. Probably no more bodybuilder content for a while. I’m always making collages so definitely more collections of those at some point. One thing I would really like to do one day is write an actual kid’s book. Originally the frame around the bodybuilder images was going to be more of a children’s story, but as I was writing a drier absurdist tone took over and it seems dry humor is hit-or-miss with kids.

Making a real kid’s book, though, and actually publishing it with a real publisher who could get it out into the hands of children would be a dream. Kid’s books are powerful magic. Kids take books really seriously, they read them again and again and really interrogate what is going on within them in a way that adults don’t always do. But so many kid’s books are really bad, just bland or toxic or lacking sympathy for the ways in which kid’s lives are so constrained and difficult. So yeah, I think I could do it and do it better but that’s probably far down the line.

Spread from  Bodybuilding Basics: A Field Guide for Young Naturalists , 2018

Spread from Bodybuilding Basics: A Field Guide for Young Naturalists, 2018

Who are some of the Twin Cities artists and makers you enjoy?

Lately so many amazing people have been inspiring me to really do the thing, to take myself less seriously while taking the work more seriously in its potential to open meaningful space for reflection, joy, healing, grief, levity, confusion, or whatever. In no particular order, some of them are:

Molly Parker Stuart (Ae’s Festival Director), who codes her own abstract digital animations from scratch. I’m really not much of an animation fan so I mean it when I say her stuff is next level mind-blowing.

Haley Ryan, who makes amazing work in a ton of mediums. Her videos make my brain tingle, like I can feel new connections sprouting between different parts of my mind in real-time as I watch, so fingers crossed for more video from her in the future. She’s also mining really cool territory with her music/performance/exercise/self-help project, Sport Haley, so keep your eyes peeled for future performances.

Devohn Bland, a spectacular comedian who also works in film, poetry, music and painting. He runs the Vector 9 Variety Show and the Uproar Open Mic alongside the multi-talented Xochi de la Luna. The space they cultivate has been so energizing for me and I know for many others as well. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how tending ground from which weird communities can blossom is as much an art and a skill as putting words together or making interesting images, but one which is largely devalued and written out of histories and conversations surrounding art. This is how we end up with rooms full of dudes wanting to be the star and spending more time tearing each other down than actually doing the thing itself. It’s invigorating to see people changing that.

On that note, I have to shout out to Maret Polzine (Ae’s Assistant Festival Director), who makes really cool experimental animations as well as running Video Variant, which hosts screenings and discussions of local queer experimental videos and runs workshops for youth and adults. Showing work at Video Variant has really made me feel very strongly that making the art I want to make is worth the time, that there will be people excited to watch it and talk about it with me. In the past I’ve often fallen in a hole of feeling like only I want to see these weird slow videos where not much happens, so I either let them waste away on my hard drive or stop making them all together. So here’s to Video Variant and everyone who comes out and makes it the special community it is.

This has gotten long and I could make it much longer, but I’ll just end by saying that these are some other people doing stuff so amazing that I can’t do this interview without seizing the opportunity to point you their way: Free Music, Comrade Tripp, Material, Lynn Avery/Iceblink, Izell Pyramid, and Gisell Calderón.

Drawing of the artist by Haley Ryan

Drawing of the artist by Haley Ryan

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

Yes! On May 31st I’ll be showing an excerpt from Themes From a Window at the aforementioned Vector 9 Variety Show, hosted by Devohn Bland and Xochi de la Luna and also featuring videos by Maret Polzine and Gisell Calderón and a performance by Comrade Tripp, amazing artists you’ve definitely heard of somewhere before. On June 29th I’ll be showing a new short, Restive//Unindividual, and maybe some other stuff as part of a Video Variant showcase happening in conjunction with a screening of Screaming Queens, a film by groundbreaking trans historian Susan Stryker about the Compton’s Cafeteria riots. Needless to say, I am beyond humbled and excited to be taking part in that. Lastly, from July to September I will be doing a show of the collages from Bodybuilding Basics alongside some work by Haley Ryan at beloved Southside institution, May Day Cafe, so that’s gonna be a blast too. Until then interested readers can pick up a copy at Boneshaker Books on Franklin Ave.

You can follow Lyn on Facebook and Instagram at @lyncorelle

Check out Lyn’s work at these events:

Altered Esthetics News:

Are you a film/ video artist looking to show your work? Ae seeks to exhibit short-form experimental film and video art at a length 12 minutes or shorter for our Annual Film Festival. Submit your work on our Film Freeway page. The submissions deadline is 5/31 with a late deadline of 7/15.

Support our community of filmmakers by donating to and sharing our Kickstarter Campaign. We need your help to raise funds for festival operations and artist compensation by June 30. Thank you for your support!

All images courtesy of the artist.

Interview conducted by Sophie Buchmueller.

Hannah Moles by Altered Esthetics

Hannah Moles was raised in a bite-sized town of Nicholasville, Kentucky where she grew tall with artistic influences close to her. She spent many of her hours in an art studio buried in Wilmore, Kentucky. She was then smacked upside the head with the fine arts community as she was admitted to the University of Kentucky in 2013.

After acceptance into the BFA program Hannah created work, attained knowledge, and achieved her degree in December of 2017. She produces work through fibers, paint, and installation sculpture. She is presently producing work on commission, and constructing a new body of sculpture work. Through her work Hannah explores tenderness and how identity is refined and strengthened through our human connections.

Jordinne , yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 1’ x 3.5’ x 4’, 2018

Jordinne, yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 1’ x 3.5’ x 4’, 2018

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

Currently I’m exploring a new space, a new practice, but old and archived sentiments. I’m striving to interpret my hollow yearn for past connections as I compose new work. I get caught in pangs of longing for past lovers and outgrown friendships. I’m chewing on tough meat; leather even. The sculptures I’m making represent what’s expired, left over, and preserved of these people, places, and eras from my life. They emulate shells that are now abandoned, with varying levels of life still pulsing through. The practice of making these figures is a meditation to sort out why I still hold space for them.

How did you decide to become an artist?

I think the very best stuff has wriggled towards me, by acting large and loud in a way that my gut knows true. There’s certainly a learning curve there, but courage is a quality I couldn’t trade for anything. I’ve learned to dance with logic and reason, but I keep my deep yearns at the front of the line. So I dive into my creative pursuit as a remedy to a belly ache. Because my gut finds art and creation as a solace.

There was an instance in undergrad that I faced a sharp corner- would I continue following a route of education, would I be a teacher? But in the pit of my stomach I recognized that wasn’t where I was supposed to be then. So I turned on my head and began pursuing visual art with abandon!

Alexander,  yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 3.5’ x 3’ x 6’, 2018

Alexander, yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 3.5’ x 3’ x 6’, 2018

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

I believe its all more intricate and multi-dimensional than a short and sweet fragment of advice. For it to actually hold influence, I’ve found that its a repetitious exercise that I have to restate every time I walk into the studio.

I think what I hold onto the tightest today, is to act in bravery and endurance. My practice juggles quite vulnerable things, and the act of making itself is a vulnerable thing. It is pertinent to remind myself of my worth and purpose in the artist’s forum. So I follow the advice to make, and then make some more. We are so capable of proficient and poor work. We will all make poor work. But its until I proceed to make it- flush it out and turn it physical- that I can get over it and move forward in the studio and my head.

Is there any medium you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet?

I’d like to throw myself back in the woodshop! I worked within a realm of loud noises and power tools in undergrad, but when my artistic direction wasn’t yet defined. My work has adapted qualities that are very tender, sometimes fragile, and generally soft. I’d be so interested to see my practice unroll in the unbending environment of woodworking. I do hope that it would remain very tender and sometimes soft.

Charlie,  yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 1.5’ x 3’ x 3’, 2019

Charlie, yarn, wool, polyester fiber, and glue, 1.5’ x 3’ x 3’, 2019

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work? How do you market yourself?

I’ve found my most promising route to sell and freelance, is to simply show up. Of course a reputable website, business cards, and the works will prompt a follow-through. But to root into a community- attend gallery openings, engage in conversation, volunteering yourself and your time- has proven the most genuine networking method for me.

Who are some of the Twin Cities artists you enjoy?

Alonzo Pantoja; https://alonzopantoja.com
Hannah Brown; http://hbrownillustration.tumblr.com
Lauren Roche; https://laurenroche.bigcartel.com

If I were to follow you around to see art in the Twin Cities, which places would we go? What would we see?

In what season do you plan to follow me? I’m a sunbird, and I really gravitate to the heat and rays. So I think my place here in MN is a very funny thing!

But- given a radiant day- I would probably take you on a bike ride!  And we would listen to all the right music and blind ourselves by the sun, and it might make us cry. We would pit stop for coffee at Five Watt Coffee Co, and continue to breeze around Lake Bde Maka Ska. We might nap and roast in the sun. Hopefully you remembered your book, because we love reading. Then we would uproot, snag a six pack of Hamm’s at Hum’s Liquor, and go cook dinner at my house!

For inquiries related to Hannah’s work, email hmoles@ymail.com and follow Hannah on Instagram at @honeyslider_ .

Image of the artist

Image of the artist

Altered Esthetics News:

Ae seeks to exhibit short-form experimental film and video art at a length 12 minutes or shorter for our sixth annual Film Festival. The deadline for submissions is May 31. Learn more and submit your entry on our Film Freeway page. Feel free to email if you have any questions about the submission process by sending a message to aefilmfest@gmail.com.

We are also seeking donations to support this event. 100% of your tax-deductible gift to Ae goes directly to the festival’s operating costs and paying participating artists.

All images courtesy of the artist.

Interview written by Sarah Kuenzler, edited by Sarah Kass.

Emily Swanberg by Altered Esthetics

Emily Swanberg is a Minneapolis, MN based sculptor whose work is influenced by the environments, materials, and processes inherent in architecture and systematic design. In 2016, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Bethel University. Her work has been included in various exhibitions, including the 2018 Masters Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland. Swanberg is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota.

Block 0: 1-2,  cinder block, cast aluminum cinder block made from single-use sand mold, cast iron cinder block made from same sand mold, 8” x 8” x 32”, 2017

Block 0: 1-2, cinder block, cast aluminum cinder block made from single-use sand mold, cast iron cinder block made from same sand mold, 8” x 8” x 32”, 2017

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

My work examines the ways sites are marked, unmarked, and distinguished from surrounding areas. With emphasis on both the planned meticulousness and the precarious jury-rigging of the construction process, the sculptures observe and absorb the tendencies of built architectural and utilitarian structures. The materials of these structures exist as relics of a place, witnessing the complete action timeline of the site. I am interested in the shift that occurs when those materials are translated and re-materialized in a new context under new pretenses. In this translation, I aim to investigate what it means to mark a site with a structure and how the physicality of structure functions beyond what it marks. Employing altered building processes and re-fabricated materials, my work fetishizes and dissects the intimacy of building labor and the ways it links to systems of power and authority. The objects forcedly slow down and frustrate the building process, questioning how constructive labor functions within larger society.

My previous work was also very materials focused, considering ideas of national power and identity. But my current practice feels much more intimate. I tend to and care for my materials in a way that feels almost sentimental in nature. Ideas and relationships are much subtler, softer. My hand and my labor have become infinitely more important than they have been in the past.

[ STRUCTURE X]  (study), sawdust studs and fiberglass insulation bricks, 8’ x 8’ x 3.5”, 2019

[STRUCTURE X] (study), sawdust studs and fiberglass insulation bricks, 8’ x 8’ x 3.5”, 2019

A process which I’ve noticed in your recent work is the use of casting. Can you talk a bit about cast objects and repetition and how those elements inform your new work? 

I think I initially fell into casting because of how demanding and process heavy it is. My work has become focused on labor lately-- considering systems of building labor as well as my own labor. It therefore feels important that the objects I create demonstrate the labor that I put into them. I like the way that casting requires so much behind-the-scenes work and that it can capture that effort in a really tactile way, even when the final object presents as fairly pristine. For my current project, casting has held even more weight because it has allowed me to dissect and reform even the most basic building units. Namely, I've been packing sawdust into 8-foot long molds to mold back into lumber again. After literally breaking down the wood into its messiest form, using a mold allows me to put it back together with my own hands. The resulting lumber holds the same material as the original but has structurally become something completely different. For this project that is so rooted in dissecting systems of assembly, it made sense for me to disassemble and reassemble in this way as much as I could.

Material choice also seems to play a large role within your practice. How does the filtering of material effect your palette [color, texture, etc]?

I tend to use pretty traditional building materials-- lumber, concrete, drywall, insulation, etc. Everything is naturally pretty pale, sometimes warmer in tone, if not completely neutral. My palette tends to be a bit calmer, softer when I leave those raw materials exposed. I appreciate when these traditionally very strong and structural materials feel more intimate and accessible in that way. I also like things to feel touched or touchable. Making objects feel visually tactile opens up the material for a person as well.  

Sawhorse , silica sand studs, sandblasted sawhorse brackets, 28” x 16” x 32”, 2018

Sawhorse, silica sand studs, sandblasted sawhorse brackets, 28” x 16” x 32”, 2018

How did you decide to become an artist?

I don’t remember ever deciding to become an artist. My father has been gifting me tool sets ever since I was 5 years old. As my collection grew, I eventually got to a point where using those tools felt like the only thing to do. Over time, working has become increasingly central to my everyday life. So I guess I’m an artist now.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

My undergrad mentor, Ken Steinbach, once told me to learn the proper way to use a new material and then to completely ignore it. I’ve learned that knowing the way materials are prescriptively used offers a great deal of insight into how that material holds and persists. But for me, pushing it beyond those prescriptions to a place that feels more true to a concept or structure always leads to a better result. I’m constantly referring back to that advice, trusting that I’m allowed to do whatever I want.

Wall (Dundee) and Broch Bricks , sawdust, paste, concrete, hand-carved lumber, dimensions variable, 2018

Wall (Dundee) and Broch Bricks, sawdust, paste, concrete, hand-carved lumber, dimensions variable, 2018

Is there any medium you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet?

I did a bit of printmaking in undergrad but really only scratched the surface of what’s possible with that medium. I’d like to try using printmaking methods to create 2-dimensional prints from 3- dimensional objects. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there to experiment with and portray objects in another way.

Who are some of the Twin Cities artists you enjoy?

There are so many excellent artist in the Twin Cities. Some of my current favorites are Eric William Carroll (http://www.ericwilliamcarroll.com/), Brittany Kieler (http://www.brittanykieler.com/), and Emmett Ramstad (http://www.emmettramstad.com/).

Pallet , silica sand, 40” x 48” x 5.5” 2019

Pallet, silica sand, 40” x 48” x 5.5” 2019

If I were to follow you around to see art in the Twin Cities, which places would we go? What would we see?

Because my studio is in the UMN Regis Center for Art, I frequent the University of Minnesota galleries most often. Working at the Katherine E. Nash gallery offers me an insider look at the larger exhibitions alongside briefer shows and student pop-ups. Off campus, I like visiting smaller Minneapolis venues like Yeah Maybe, Hair + Nails, and Q.arma, which offer a more casual setting for checking out new and experimental work. Mia and the Walker are Minneapolis must-sees, of course, when in a formal art-viewing mood.

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

The vast majority of my time is currently dedicated to preparing for my cohort’s graduate thesis show.

The House | The Yard will be on view at the University of Minnesota’s Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Regis Center for Art from April 9 -27, 2019. There will be a public program and reception on Saturday, April 13 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm.

More information here: https://cla.umn.edu/art/galleries/katherine-e-nash-gallery

Image of the artist

Image of the artist

For more of Emily’s work, check out http://emilyswanberg.com/.

Follow Emily on Instagram at @emily.swanberg and Twitter at @easwanberg.

Be sure to visit the Katherine E. Nash Gallery to see new work by Emily:

April 9-27, 2019

with a public program and reception on Saturday, April 13 from 5:30 - 9:00 pm.

Altered Esthetics News:

Our sixth annual Film Festival is open for submissions! Learn more and submit your entry on our Film Freeway page. We are also seeking donations to support this event. 100% of your tax-deductible gift to Ae goes directly to the festival’s operating costs and paying participating artists.

All images courtesy of the artist.

Interview written by Donny Gettinger and edited by Sarah Kass.