Lions, Tigers, Mammals . . . Oh My!
If you happened into OutCentral anytime during late September and early October, you’ve probably already seen a piece or two of his work. After winning first place during the Music City Sisters’ Alphabet Art exhibit, Chasen Igleheart is back at OutCentral with more art from his Mammals collection, which is open now and concludes with a celebratory reception on December 14 from 7 – 9 p.m.. O&AN caught up with the artist to talk about his earliest artistic memories, his November/December OutCentral show and future plans.
What was your earliest artistic memory?
Drawing insects from life on fax paper in the back of my grandfather’s pickup truck. I was maybe 6 or 7 years old.
So for someone who has never experienced your art before, or any art, how would you sell it?
My work is a story and I use different mediums to illustrate that story. I am forever a drawer which led to painting then to installation and film and so on, like time. The images I depict become totems and metaphors for growing up in the South and experiencing my travels abroad during college. If art was a science, I would be a scientist.
You’ve traveled extensively. Have the stories, let’s say fairytales or fables, in other cultures influenced your work?
Yes, of course. When I was a kid I obsessed over Japanese Anime… and still kinda am. It is interesting to have a totally different cultural perspective visually portrayed all those years and see the influence the 20th century had on me. I grew up in a very rural part of Kentucky around lots of animals and horses. Everything was alive to me and when I got the chance to study in Europe, Thailand, and later Turkey and Israel, all that early personal mythology started making sense.
You submitted two pieces of work to this year’s Music City Sister’s Alphabet Art. Was this your first year?
No, I also had the pleasure of showing in last year’s Alphabet Art show. It is always a great opportunity and I am so grateful for the alternative curating of the show every year. I highly recommend any queer identifying artists to share their perspectives in the future shows.
And you won, correct?
Yes, I won first place in The Alphabet Art Juried Show! I am so honored by both OutCentral and The Music City Sisters for the opportunity. The piece that won first place is very dear to me and holds a silent but strong power. I am so pumped others experienced it too.
Do you, as the artist, hope that the work will spark conversation or dialogue? And if so, then what?
Yes, always. One reason I am so excited to show at OutCentral is due in part by the great community the space offers. It really is every walk of life and intelligent outreach with a beautiful cause. I hope my work will only add to the already established conversation there on what it means to be a human being in 2013, as well as living in a diverse community. This show is titled Mammal in hopes to relate all human beings to one another without the weight of gender, origin, race, sex, or attachments.
Looking at the handwritten note on your website, the question ‘where are the borders of my body parts’ really jumps out at me. Can you elaborate on that just a bit?
When you look at a plant, it is producing oxygen while inhaling carbon dioxide. In photosynthesis, plants use the sun to produce glucose and water. The carbon dioxide that plants need for photosynthesis comes from us every time we exhale. In other words, we are all in this together; so by “where are the borders of my body” I mean all life is made and lives off the same minerals, gases, energy and substance. Life is an extension of the planet and the atmosphere/universe we are all part of.
What’s next for Chasen? Where does 2014 look to be heading?
I am forever painting and currently working with music in film as an extension of that story. This spring I am very excited I will be featured by Gallery One downtown as their Artist Spotlight.
View Mammal at OutCentral through December 14 and then catch Igleheart’s opening as a featured artist for the First Saturday Downtown Art Crawl in 2014. Igleheart’s works will be available exclusively at Gallery One from March through May 2014.