5 min

Q&A With Dylan Gebbia-Richards. Thumbnail courtesy of KTW.

Music by: Music Slowthai – T N Biscuits, Malandra Jr. – Millenium (Alex Kaspersky Remix).


Hey guys, I’m Dylan Gebbia-Richards, I’m an artist. This is my solo show ‘Kinesthesia’ with UNIT London. I’m doing an interview with CULTED.

Describe your work in 3 words.

My work is immersive, fluid and tactile.

How did this project with UNIT London come to be?

So, I have been working with UNIT for about 3 years, and they just reached out to me on Instagram. And, pretty much through a successful working relationship for the past 2 and a half years we put this show on the calendar. And it’s sort of been something, a project we’ve been looking to do for quite a while, and finally have made it happen.

What was your first interaction with art?

My first interaction, I think, was actually the memory I have of drawing. I just remember drawing as a little kid, you know, those super rudimentary stick figure compositions, that we all kinda do either in the sand or at the beach, or with crayons in Kindergarten. To be frank, that is my first recollection of my interaction with art.

Which of the pieces here is your favourite and why?

My favourite pieces here are ‘Dying Of The Light’ which is a wax piece behind me right now. The piece ‘Trash Armstrong’, which is a canvas painting over here. And I feel like both were sort of the pinnacle of my development of my ability that I was honing for the show. But with ‘Trash Armstrong’ I was working on a new canvas painting technique or a mixed media canvas painting. With ‘Dying Of The Light’ I had spent a month developing, engineering a new tool to make the work. And, you know, you make something new and you have to learn how to use it, and I think that I will master that once I finish this piece.

Is your personality reflected in your art?

I didn’t think that initially, but I think that a lot of people assume that I am some crazy druggy, which is far from the case, but I do think now that I’m like it look like, let’s take a step way (back) I think it’s inevitable that our personality becomes reflected in what we make. Whatever that is, like anything that we’re doing. So, yeah the answer is yes.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

Really, I mean, the fundamental inspiration is this thrill of exploration and discovery. So each of these pieces is its own experiment with either the tools I’m making, the properties of light that I’m looking to manifest, or alter, or a specific technique of another kind. So, it’s just this wanting to discover something new, and then see what can be made with this new thing. Whether that be a process, or a tool, or even like a colour effect.

What is the process behind your work?

With my wax works, I began with melting thousands of kilos of paraffin wax, which is the same wax they use to make crayons and candles. And, then I pigment that wax, by mixing it in dry colours. So I make each colour myself, and then I splatter that onto the canvas, so I don’t touch the canvas and I’m allowing these millions of marks, you know, like raindrops on the surface of the water, to accrue over time and create these forms. And letting these forms emerge on their own and only altering them slightly to do something different, but really by removing them.

How important is social media to you as an artist?

Social media, you know, I hate to admit it because it just sounds like I’m on Facebook or something all the time and I actually don’t even have a Facebook because I don’t need it for my art career. And I have an Instagram because I need that for my art career. It’s fundamental, especially now because cities relative to the average income are so much more expensive. So what that means for artists who are usually low earners is that they don’t have time to make art anymore. So, i think that we’re actually seeing a cultural regression in cities, in a certain sense, and it’s not because we’re getting dumber, it’s just because there’s no time or mental bandwidth remaining in the populous to create art, which is not immediately converted into money. My studio is in, essentially, a cow town. Just a pasture in Colorado and that allows me to have low rent but it’s an essential that I somehow connect to this broader world, and that is via the internet, and currently Instagram, or that form of social media is the best way to do that.

Which life experience was the most influential to your art?

So, I was initially going to school for environmental studies and I did 2 years of that degree and it was a great learning experience but ultimately unsatisfying in some pretty essential ways. And I went and lived on a farm on an island off the coast of New York State and I lived in a tent, and I worked on the farm and connected with my body and nature in a way that I had never done before, and realised that my life path had to change and that I essentially thought the only option really was to be an artist.

What can we expect from you next?

My newest project is working with recycled aluminium so essentially I am taking aluminium out of the recycling stream. I go to a recycling centre, I buy it for the scrap cost – $0.40 a kilo or something – then I melt it down myself in a foundry that i built from plumbing parts from the hardware store and I’m casting that in the earth and I have some exciting installation projects and other shows where I’ll be exhibiting that work and I’m super excited about that.

That’s a wrap!

Thank you for watching and make sure to check out my show ‘Kinesthesia’ at UNIT London until the 23rd November.

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