Meet a NYFA Artist: Kwabena Slaughter

Meet a NYFA Artist: Kwabena Slaughter

NYFA speaks with 2008 Photography Fellow Kwabena Slaughter.

Hi Kwabena, what are you working on and/or what’s coming up for you?

KS: I’m working on a new piece. It will be shot in a photo studio. I’m building a set and designing a new camera dolly for the shoot. Also, I have a show in Connecticut in January 2010, at which I’ll be showing work already made.

NYFA: What is your favorite season? Do the weather and seasons affect your work?

KS: I prefer the summer. I work a day job so the summer always allows me more extended periods of focused time in the studio.

NYFA: What kind of music do you listen to?

KS: Folk Music, like the Harry Smith collection. World Music, such as Ali Farka Toure.

NYFA: What place or location have you gained inspiration from?

KS: New York. I love the old places of Manhattan like John Street and the small streets around South Street Seaport. The cramped nature of the city allows you to see so much life and activity in a narrow view.

NYFA: What is your favorite thing that anyone has said or written about your work?

KS: For an exhibition at the Studio Museum the catalogue essay was written (by Kabui Olujimi) in the form of a cookbook recipe, “In early works, he was known to traverse the terrain of time, passing ceaselessly through the human form. The seemingly common gesture of open arms changes from one moment to the next, from a child’s wish for wings, to the measurement of a man’s heart, to the epoch of a dance alone in a nightclub.”

NYFA: How do you feel about the industry in which your work operates? Anything you would you change?

KS: I would like to see artists apply their craft in disciplines outside of those currently defined as the artist’s territory. I think artists have something to offer the design, fashion, architecture, and intellectual research fields. Before the time of Modernism artists were more involved in creation as a whole, and not just the creation of fine art.

NYFA: What skill or technique do you wish you could master?

KS: Engineering. Fundraising. Business leadership. Vectorworks. PHP and Mysql. Welding.

NYFA: How has the Fellowship affected you?

KS: With the NYFA fellowship I was able to make a huge leap in terms of the scale of my work. All of my pieces were limited to 5ft long. In order to use my new photographic technique to its fullest I needed to make longer images. With the NYFA fellowship I was able to make work ten times as long.

For more information on Kwabena Slaughter visit his website.

Amy Aronoff
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