interview with artist Monica Tiulescu

The Interview Series continues with artist Monica Tiulescu sharing her thoughts on art, her work, and the creative process. Learn more about the artist and visit pivotartgallery to see the featured portfolio.

from the ‘Species’ series by Monica Tiulescu

1. Can you describe your art-making process? How is the work created and how is it printed?

My species work is based on the concept of assembly through growth. The species are accumulated and cultivated through a procedure of aggregation. Like a swarm, complexity arises from self-similar yet differentiated entities working together to form the whole. I produce the work in animation/model building software. Micro 3 dimensional forms are grouped and manipulated both locally and parametrically.

The work has been printed on metal panels, canvas, and archival photo paper.

2. How much, would you say, does your background in architecture play into each piece? How about biology? Science in general?

Each Species confronts conditions of structure, skin/surface, and ornament. They also, establishes field conditions, a concept derived from landscape urbanism. The goal is for the species to operate at multiple scales and not be bound by context, typology, and history. They are architectonic rather than architectural. The study of architecture has taught me how to see everything in all its complexity, how to be analytical and learn how to develop methodologies of design. I am interested in the evolutionary process and systems understanding of how organisms propagate and behave. I am especially interested in performance exhibiting conditions of mutation, adaptation, and oscillations between bi-lateral symmetry and breakdowns of symmetry. I also systematically and computationally grow these species taking into account the notion of end or death as a process of regeneration or fluctuation in specific components of the overall form.

3. Do you have any overarching artistic philosophies that you incorporate into the work?

I am not a minimalist. I am attracted to complexity and non-linear thinking, especially hyper-articulation (lots of fat). System theory has been the biggest influence on my work as well as reading French philosophy when I was a student. I am interested in work that represents performative and opportunistic operations rather than representational and metaphoric concepts. The invention of new techniques gets me most excited.

4. How much of a role do computers have in your art-making practice?

I utilize the computer as a generative tool, rather than design something first and then represent it through visualization. I enjoy continuously learning new techniques to add to my rule base for growing work. What I find simplistic is when people (usually architects) ask “did you do that or did the computer do that?”

from the ‘Species’ series by Monica Tiulescu

5. How important is the history of art to you personally? Does it inform your work?

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that loved the arts and to have an informal and formal art education from childhood on, where all types of arts including, painting, film, performance etc. where an essential part of life. My favorite painter is Francis Bacon and his work has had a huge impact on my thinking. I am also extremely fascinated by contemporary Chinese art.

6. Can you talk a little about the tension between organic and algorithmic aspects of your work?

I love Science Fiction because I think it is where the algorithmic and organic meet and propose all sorts of ethical dilemmas. I am interested in tension in general, especially in trying to create work that appears to be in the process of becoming and therefore ambiguous. Both organic and algorithmic processes demonstrate behavior through patterns and relationships. I think that a certain type of tension arises when one seeks clear classification.

7. What are your goals as an artist?

I am hoping to paint better and more. I would like to combine my computational work with painting. I am hoping to show my work as much as possible, receive critical feedback, and be part of conversations that will make me a better artist and teacher.

8. Do you have artistic/creative role models?

I have definitely had some amazing teachers. I have been most influenced by urban life experiences, contemporary experimental architecture, and gardening strange plants.

9. What is the best thing about making art? Do you learn through art-making?

Making art influences my teaching and I hope makes me smarter. I get really excited when I produce something new, since I don’t really know where the process will take me when I initially start. I learn through adding more rules/changing the rules and doing multiple iterations.

10. What, if anything do you want viewers to learn from your work?

I hope people will expand their thinking about what architecture thinking can produce. Trans-disciplinary work has to be viewed for more than its aesthetics and compositional value but rather for what it produces as a complex set of procedures, behaviors and formal articulation.

from the ‘Species’ series by Monica Tiulescu

11. What are your favorite things to do besides making art?

I love cooking and spending time with my 3 dogs who have been with me for over 12 years. I also enjoy walking endlessly in urban settings and talking to people I don’t know.

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