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Art & Life with Siri Kaur

Today we’d like to introduce you to Siri Kaur.

Siri, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I started making art full time in 2003 when I took a leap of faith and quit my banking job in NYC. But I was always making and creating and photographing since I can remember. Even when I was a small kid, I would take Polaroids of weird people I met around my neighborhood or traveling. The impulse to collect, observe, interpret the world around me- these building blocks of the Art making process have always been in my life. On 9/11, I worked right across the street from Ground Zero. Smelling the smoke, seeing the wreckage every day reminded me how short and precarious life can be, and I want to make the most of the precious time given to me on this planet, and I’m happiest when making things, especially when taking pictures.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Memories of the natural world from when I was a kid playing in the woods of Maine and Vermont are always present when I take photographs. That uneasy feeling at the end of the day when you should really be home, but you want to stay out just a bit longer. Photography for me has a special relationship with fiction, because my works have a dislocated narrative quality where the viewer has to fill in the missing pieces of the story. Some of my favorite writers are Raymond Carver, Shirley Jackson, and Ottessa Moshfegh. In different ways their pervasive everyday American creepiness creates an atmosphere of familiar dislocation, like the faded memory of a ghost you might’ve seen out of the corner of your eye. I like that.

Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
If only I could go back in a time machine and whisper in my own ear, “stop worrying if it’s good! Just make it and ignore everyone else’s ideas and opinions and comments!” KEEP MAKING WORK, even if it’s bad, even if you feel cranky and awful. I taught undergraduate art students for 11 years and the few who produced truly amazing work made it because they accepted that not everything, they made was genius, that it was worth pushing on until something worthwhile emerged. Part of the process is to create lots of work, then figure out how to separate the few good photographs from the thousands of unsuccessful images. But the unsuccessful ones are just as vital to the process, even if no one need see them beyond a few trusted editors. Keep doing this and it will still hurt but it’s a familiar pain and it becomes manageable.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work is included in the upcoming Men of Steel, Women of Wonder exhibition opening at the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in early 2019, so if anyone happens to stop in Bentonville, AK you should absolutely take a look! The show will travel in 2020 to the Addison Gallery of American Art in Massachusetts and the San Antonio Museum of Art. My next show at Kopeikin Gallery here in LA opens sometime in 2019, probably the fall. You can also see my work on my website or on social media. Truly the best way to support artists: engage with their work, recommend it to others, and buy the work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Main photo: Joy Newell
Installation photos: Heather Rasmussen
Actual full frame photos: Siri Kaur

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