Meet Larsen Husby!
Larsen Husby tells us more about his practice in our third artist interview for the Project 387 2016 season.
Tell us briefly about the focus of your work. What are some of the themes you are exploring these days?
I've been using maps in my art for a long time now. I love the way that maps exist between the realms of visual language and written word, and how reading a map is distinct from both of those. So I've been exploring the map as a medium, trying to get viewers to jump between these different types of looking, and by extension to see how many different ways there are of approaching one image, one text, one idea. I want these pieces to be not-maps (that is, not literal navigational tools) but to evoke maps, and cause tension in the viewer as they switch between the parts of the brain used for viewing art and for reading maps. Recently, I've started approaching the same ideas of subjectivity and context from a new direction, without using maps (which is a little daunting for me, but the challenge is why I'm doing it). I've been experimenting with reflective surfaces, such as mirrors and reflective Mylar, layering them on top of one another, and making images and text which are difficult to see but hard to ignore. It's another way to create tension in looking - are you looking at the reflective surface, or the reflection, or both?
What are you looking at, reading, or listening to right now that is influencing your work or process?
I've been listening to and reading a lot of news and commentary recently. Minnesota Public Radio, podcasts such as Codeswitch and More Perfect, articles from the New York Times and various news blogs. My work as an artist has been completely apolitical, but I'm finding myself more and more interested in the state of our society, and it's starting to creep into my practice. But I also love reading fiction, especially short stories. Jorge Luis Borges, Miranda July, George Saunders, Italo Calvino, John Cheever... There's something immensely satisfying about how much substance a short story can convey through the power of suggestion.They evoke entire worlds through a snapshot. It's what I want to do with my visual art.
What does a typical day in the studio/office look like for you?
I don't really have a typical day in the studio. I work two day jobs with varying schedules, so sometimes I have an entire day to make art and other times I have an hour to jot down some ideas. I don't have a studio, so I work from home, at a large table I built in my dining room, and sometimes also the floor and the dining table too. While I work, I like to have something playing the background, either music or the news or a podcast. I often take breaks to go for a walk through my local park, which is my favorite place in the whole city.
What's the best advice someone has given you about your work? The worst?
Recently I saw an exhibition of work by Lee Kit at the Walker Art Center called 'Hold your breath, dance slowly.' In the exhibition pamphlet, he's quoted as saying "If I can grasp something clearly then there is no need for me to make art. So I prefer to create works about things I don't really understand." What a great way of thinking about art making. Reading that was a huge relief, because it freed me from the idea that to express an idea about something, I must be an expert on it. Just keep asking questions. Also, with that outlook, it seems impossible to run out of inspiration, just as it seems impossible to understand everything.
I cannot think of the worst advice I've received, probably because I ignored it.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows/events/happenings?
Through the end of summer, I have an installation on view in a storefront window in downtown Minneapolis as part of Made Here, a project which puts Minnesota artists in public spaces.
Also, the Minneapolis Art Lending Library is an ongoing endeavor of mine. The MALL is a nonprofit which loans out original works of art to the public, free of charge. We have pop-up lending hours four times a year, where the public can browse our collection and take a piece home with them. Our next event is actually July 29th, so I'm missing it to be at Project 387!
What are you most looking forward to at Project 387?
I'm most excited about having a studio space to myself and no other obligations than art making. My current practice is pretty fragmented, with day jobs and chores and the physical limitations of working from home. So being able to spend two whole weeks making art and thinking about art and talking about art sounds like exactly what I need. Like a vacation, except it's a vacation where I'm going to work.