Interview With A T Wilkinson

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All your artworks exist as visual poems meant to speak to different problems in modern society. What made you choose Art as a mean of expression?

Art is as universal a language as nature itself. Because of its immediacy and boundless capacity to communicate on virtually every comprehensive level, it became an almost ideal means of saying deep or troubling things in a way that required almost no effort to recognize from viewers. Because the contemporary attention span is ever shortening, I found that speaking to people through images was a way to not only gave them the opportunity to willingly engage, but that it also contained an irrevocable immediacy that forcefully intruded into their minds and thus emotions, which could only be stopped if never viewed or just simply seen in passing.

By depicting many social plagues, your works evoke visual shock and inner reflection. Which are the most relevant messages the public must capture from your images?

A reoccurring theme in my work is the relationship between innocence and harm. I find myself using the image of children to personify those latent goodness’s, as with the same powerlessness’s that pulsate deep within the overburdened adult heart. With this being said, the injustice of doing wrong to someone who is unable to stop it seems such a gross imbalance to me that this case per se, is an occurrence which I wish for all to feel is their duty to stop. Almost every human ill can be reduced to a small number of causes related to the abuses of power or the neglect of duties, so, the eradication, or better, the truthful labeling of these injustices, no matter how charming or normal they seem, must be revealed for what they are, and only then can we proceed to stop their social debilitations.

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Give your personal definition of truth.

There are different notions of truth. Pontius Pilate asked the Jewish God, who was in the form of a Man, what Truth was and received no answer, and this is because his question had a long and fragmentary philosophical past, but also because it had ways of being answered that he wasn’t ready to accept. From here, I say that there is empirical truth, which is just a summation of working assumptions based on the shared subjectivities of human sense experience, but is also geared towards what works in the material world (as we know it). And then, there is metaphysical truth, this kind of truth is like a spiritual or platonic notion which transcends what we can say we know subjectively, and holds an unchanging value despite us perceiving it or we even existing at all. But my personal definition is more socio theoretical because it depends upon human perception, decision and action to hold meaning for us now, but this doesn’t undercut the fact that it should continue holding meaning apart form us also. In short, truth by my definition is reality with all lies and false representations stripped away from it, and viewed as a pure, naked, essence.

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You define your technique as, “objective simulacrum”. Could you please explain its meaning?

The common concept of simulacra was popularized by the postmodern French philosopher Jean Baudrillard. In various works, he forecasted the dissolution of old world cultural and epistemic distinctions within lived experience for replacements originating from a reliably false view of the world, or an imitation of itself. Hyperreality as he called this pseudo world, could be explained as any idealized space which mimicked what was true even though containing a foundationally fictive nature, like what we find in VR universes, or in an enclosed Hollywood sound stage that couldn’t be escape. While in this state of existing within the illusionary though real-feeling realm, people are said to lose all references to reality proper, and from here, the notion’s undergirding reality become confused and are then replaced with the fiction or simulacrum. Objective simulacrum takes from the idea that we now live within a hyperreality or simulation (though it be one of media messages, online identity formation, fake news and incomplete conceptions of the truer self and or feeling), and uses these same illusions to point back to basic facts and truths existing behind the facade. Basically, I use the tools of the simulation to critique itself in order to make people think about what’s actually real.

What stimulates your imagination?

My incessant need to see honest balance in the world is first. Second, third and fourth are my guilty pleasure for obscure Google image searches, scanning almost endless museum archives, and pleasurably contemplating connections that I have never seen made before.

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Your creative process takes various steps, you are implementing collage, painting, illustration, and digital form. Are you always happy with the result?

Not always, and it depends on what I'm working on. The biggest difficulty I ever face is making human bodies seem anatomically perfect (when composed from disparate pieces). There have been a few times where I’ve failed at this with almost amusing results.

To what point do your works mirror your personality?

Oddly enough, my works do not mirror my actual personality, but they reflect core aspects of my beliefs. Sometimes, I make things that are dark and jarring, but I do this because this is what really is in the world, so in these cases I just become a communicator of things beyond me. Though I am told that my work can be dark or emotionally demanding I never see it as such, and I know this is because behind every image exists a message of freedom and triumph, which is more akin to my personal approach to life.

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Are you a rational or emotional person?

I am 92% rational with the remainder being emotion. But much of that rationality is mingled with profoundly perceptive emotional intelligence.

Ask us a question.

What would it take to make you smile?

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INFORMATION

All images: A T Wilkinson

For more information, visit the A T Wilkinson Website // Instagram



Past Interviews