Artist Kirsten Kay Thoen talks to us about spiritual art, mediation and the inspiration behind her light sculpture.
THE UNLIMITED - What is your process and what helps you get into your zone?
Kirsten Kay Thoen - Meditation is a part of my process, daily grounding in this urban complex of New York City is major. It is a way to also try to tap back into these experiences I have had in nature, so that's huge. It is really just sitting with the imagery for a length of time. I have these entire archives so certain images will speak to me and they will start calling forth geometry that I begin seeing. It is an abstract process these forms are not in any way literal but they are more energetic speaking. I begin drawing in my 3D modeling prototypes.
TU - What is your biggest ambitions? How big would you go with your work?
KKT - I have a proposal that I am writing that is definitely very ambitious to get funding for. It is incorporating physical computing to make it interactive. I am seeing this piece that will incorporate solar panels to energize the actual movement of the work. There is new technology that has created translucent solar paneling. I want to try to use it with motors and microcontrollers to almost unravel over time a cocoon like shape that is very large scale, maybe 10 or 12ft. Then inside as it unravels over a period of time there is a gem like light-structure that has also been energized by the solar panels that is revealed.
TU - Whats are challenges, on a day-to-day basis?
KKT -My ideas are very expansive and they often involve a high level of production and collaboration with fabricators. I have been building that network, but a lot of it is also funding the concepts. A huge challenge along the way has been that I come from a photography background, not a sculpture background, so I am very self-trained at this point. I have self taught myself 3D modeling and CAD (Computer-aided design).
TU - What is light for you besides just an energy and element in your work?
KKT - I think it is bonds the work with its energy and the subtle life-like illusion that it creates. I do think it has this functionality to it, in the way it asserts a little bit more within the space. It has this aura of light around it, this little sort of glow helps to assist in that world that I am creating. I also really like how light plays on perception on all levels like perception of photography, and perception of viewing the work.
TU - How do you feel about digital and instagram? Do you find it draining or inspiring?
KKT - That is actually a part of my work, the ubiquity of imagery in the digital era. I am asserting a physicality in that virtual space, a physical experience of this media.
In a way I am creating the potential of someone to linger longer with the work. The movement across the wall of 2D imagery in a gallery, the speed of that absorption, is also something I am trying to divert.
Kirsten works will be a part of "Topography" Group Show at Gallery Nine5, Soho, NYC (Opening reception: Saturday, January 17th, 6-8pm)