Speed Date / CALEDONIA CURRY a.k.a. SWOON, artist

Photo: Bryan Derballa.

Caledonia, where are you from?
Originally, I am from Florida, Daytona Beach, and I’ve been living in Brooklyn for the last 22 years.

What does it mean to you to live in Florida and in Brooklyn?
Growing up in Florida, there wasn’t that kind of culture that’s here; there’s beautiful nature, and there is something a little wild about where I grew up, which was like no rules, kind of crazy and I liked that. But actually I needed the culture of New York which is, where everyone is very alive in their mind.

What does it mean to be alive in mind?
It just means thats what you focus on. That you feel most alive when you’re thinking.

Where did you study?
I studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Who was your best teacher?
I had so many good teachers at Pratt. And I had an amazing teacher who taught me painting from when I was 12 to 17.

Who were you parents?
My mum was a waitress, and a bartender, and later a housewife. My father was a teacher.

When you think of architecture, design, art — what is it that you like about it?
Everything.

And what is it that you don’t like about it?
I think for me it is when it’s too much in your head, I want it to be also a little bit in heart.

What do you listen to? What music?
I am listening right now, not sure…. Everything that is grown up lullabys, everything soft, and dreamy.

What is your favorite film, animation, TV series?
I just watched this amazing one called Undone. It is a rotoscope animation. Beautiful.

Who is the authority for you in the art field, and also outside of it? Why?
Kathe Kollwitz. She is dead. Why? Because to me she is my grandmother, my spiritual grandmother.

What was the last thing that you bought?
The last thing I bought was a remote control for the air-conditioner in Panama.

Do you buy professional literature, books about art/ art history? What did you buy recently?
Yes. Recently, Ruth Asawa, she is a Japanese artist.

Do you vote?
Yes. Now I do.

Who throws the best parties?
JR.

A dress for the party?
Jeans.

What is your favorite hero from the past?
Baba Yaga.

The best/ most beautiful house.
Gosh, I have to think about that. But I think I loved the whole Old Town of Prague, for example. You know what I loved — this park. That has a wall. Like cements. Oh, a grotto/ dripstone wall in Wallenstein Palace Garden. And it makes this strange sound.

Do you repeat any stereotypes when you work? What are they like?
I have to battle, I have like internalized misogyny, which means that sometimes I don’t respect things that are feminine even in my own work, oh, it’s too pretty, this is for babies. It’s like I have this stereotype that women’s ideas are weak. And then I just have to take a deep breath and do it anyway.

What is on your desktop?
On my desktop? Like a volcano, so there is this thing when volcanos erupt sometimes they attract lightning. It’s a beautiful picture.

When you think of an exhibition, or an artwork when is it the best for you?
It’s the best for me when some transformation has happened.

Who do you respect on the national/ international art scene?
James Turrell.

Morals or money?
Morals.

A very special book?
Austerlitz (W.G.Sebald)

Optimist? Pessimist? Nihilist?
Optimist.

What is your hobby?
Surfing.

Individual or collective?
Individual.

Do you think that the U.S. is the Promised Land?
Yeah, sometimes.

Could you explain?
You know, I think we have so many problems but I do think that there is a lot of space for people to live really good lives, and I think I live a really good life. And I do what makes me happy, and I am in the room together with people who are helping, we are respecting each other, and that makes me feel that there is promise in my life and other people’s lives.

17 / 2 / 2020
by MAG D A
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