Kurt Perschke is an artist who works in sculpture, video, collage and public space. His most acclaimed work, RedBall Project, is a traveling public art project that has taken place around the world and received a National Award from Americans for the Arts Public Art Network.
What are the recurrent sources of inspiration that act upon your creative process?
On the street I find myself responding to the energy of a place, the physical opportunity, the potential audience. I’m a sculptor and I see like a sculptor. Negative space & positive space/mass – they enable each other. Architects, designers, choreographers all have a version of this. There is a lot of theory around it, but for me I prefer to think of it on a bodily, perceptual level.
In the studio it’s about play. Working a lot in collage allows me to chase an image. I tend to work first through reduction, when only the essential is left I can more clearly see what it needs from me.
If you could choose only three words to define your work, what would these be?
Joy, risk, imagination
To paraphrase Simone de Beauvoir, is one born an artist or does one become an artist?
I think I agree with her that artist are grown. It’s a alluring idea that they are born, and I know a few like that perhaps, but it builds a myth that is not productive. To be an artist, in the sense of a practitioner – not just a dreamer – is real work. Personally I walked backwards into it, always looking the other way, until everyone looking at me saw an artist. Then I had to come to terms with it.
In your wildest dreams, in what improbable location would you like to present one of your works of art (and what would this work be)?
First let me say that in my work the public often has ideas about this, and I believe that is part of the work, part of the imagination. But it depends the work, what it needs. For a piece like RedBall it needs density, flow, risk, and surprise. I find this in the urban environment, but my thoughts are not about places but cultures the work hasn’t visited yet, South America, Africa, I think in those terms. It depends on the work of course, Greenpeace asked me recently to come up with an idea for the North Sea, and I was working with that harsh and austere environment. I respond to the opportunity.