Today we are proud to present an interview we did with Kuksi that explores what we imagine is just a tiny corner of his brain. His work speaks of intricacy and delicacy, but at the same time has a heavy darkness to it. After the jump, read our interview with one of the most interesting and prolific artists we have come across this century…
Hi Kris, how are you feeling today?
Oh well, rather quite good thank you.
So you grew up in the open, rural spaces of Kansas, but your art has more of a claustrophobic feel to it that speaks of cities like New York or Tokyo. Is your sculpture a reflection of a crowded imagination or a reaction to your secluded upbringing?
For me my upbringing had nothing really to do with what I ended up having as far as interests. I think had I grown up in New York or Tokyo I would still be making the same sort of art.
What kind of “macabre” or “grotesque” things appealed to you as a child?
I was a bit of a nature lover and the designs and symmetry found in nature were just what I was tuned into. Dead animals really caught my fancy and I would even mimic the Egyptians by building shrines for them with bricks from an old barn near my grandmothers house. You could say that is where my macabre and grotesque interests came from.
Is there any music that inspired you as a teenager that still inspires you today?
Well 80’s metal was always a good time in my self-reflection and overall withdrawal from certain norms in society. But classical music bore the best of my adoration as I felt it was very in tune with nature and the symmetry and perfection in design. But electronic music gives me the feeling to push forward to new ideas and produce ‘modern’ works of art.
Give us an idea of how a Kris Kuksi piece starts. Do you find one object that inspires you, or do you envision the piece as a whole before beginning?
There is not real formula, it just happens. Whether it is from a sketch that is derived directly by the ideas brought down to me from the ultra-world or rather from the objects I have laying about in the studio.
Your work has a decaying quality to it that really appeals to us. Can you explain how death or decay plays a part in what you create?
Decay is a constant. It is a part of life, and it is natural. I do think that making art that shows the evidence of decay captures the interest of the viewer because it ultimately has to do with the removing psychological layers, change, mental re-birth, etc. We are born to die – as the old saying goes that there certainly is beauty in accepting our fate.
Your site mentions an interest in God/Goddess imagery, which is really apparent in your work on Pneumatic with your use of God or Goddess figures and cherubs. What does this focus on the iconography of belief mean in your work?
Well, vaguely I suppose it just has to do with the fact humans have to have some sort of godly reference with the means to solidify purpose and meaning. Humans are rather fragile and frightened when it comes to the emphasis in the question of what is the meaning of life. Well, perhaps there is no meaning to life and we just have to come up with some ways of defining what life should be and God certainly can provide it. Too bad we humans have to argue about all the different Gods or destroy each other because of those particular meanings. Gods and Goddesses are the reflection of what we would truly desire to be, pure, powerful and all-knowing. Too bad we are just human in end.
Your site also mentions that the greed of civilization plays a part in your inspiration, and to me your pieces bring to mind a beautiful version of the modern-day hoarding, albeit maintaining the creepiness of it. How do you feel that over-consumption is reflected in your sculpture?
As you can see in my work, there are masses of ‘stuff’ everywhere. We are a material collection and production society. The total amount of material goods we collect and what we consume in our lifetime (provided one lives in a progress civilization) is so much; it makes one wonder if it has more to do with the psychological desire to be fulfilled or happy. But product marketing certainly has trained us to believe that what we buy can provide happiness and purpose.
Do you feel that growing up in the United States, in a culture of Wal-Marts and Targets, has dictated the view of mankind portrayed by your art, or do you think it has a more global vision?
Wal-Mart is an empire in some regards. Perhaps the times of kings and kingdoms were replaced with democracy and nation unions, but in the most current of times I’ll venture to say the almighty corporations of consumerism have every bit to do with the governing of people. After all, many of our politicians are supported or even used as spokesmen for large corporations. And as we have seen in recent elections, money can buy a political seat. Yet, corporations can help to improve our lives and bring us things we need rather quickly. I would claim to strike out in the neutral gray zone between either supporting corporations or rebelling against them. Same goes for anything mankind does, there is a bit of goodness and virtue, and there is a lot of evil and demoralization happening. It’s all about balance. Let’s just try to make our journey the best it can be.
Thanks so much to Kris for the interview!