Derek Faust is a modern day Art Archaeologist. Shifting through debris , he finds odd and end materials, those of which connect with him. With his talent , he reconstructs the pieces and make his installations. I had chance to talk to Derek and discussed his process, the themes of his artwork, and trials and tribulations of making his pieces.
Vic- What is your preferred medium?
Derek- Right now I would say that my work overall interdisciplinary .I had a background in my undergrad, where my specialty was Wood .I went to a program that was about crafts and different types of Art Mark making. Now I would say I’m not limited to anything . If I find material that are appropriate to things I want to do or if I find material that I responded to.
Vic- Have you ever had a trial and error situation with the different types of materials that you’ve found?
Derek- Oh definitely! My process is experimentation. I’ll find materials and if I want to attach it to something else it’s all trial and error. I did a lot of printmaking in Undergrad. With printing on plastics there’s a lot of trial and error there because the plastic takes longer to dry and that’s somewhere im trying to implicate my process intuitively with something that’s a little slower at drying and that has to be thought about ahead of time.
Vic- The piece that was in the GSU sculpture show and could you explain the statement behind it?
Derek- I found this piece of Styrofoam and I was really attracted to it. It’s not biodegradable, it’s man made. It’s also this stoic pillar because of it length and height. I really liked that idea that it has this stone like appearance to it that maybe could be marble if you stepped away from it but, it’s actually a very disposable material with almost no strength compared to stone. That was kind of the starting point .. I don’t really think I’ve fully resolved what the opening means but it almost seems that inside of it is gold. I find that it creates a false value, I felt that something that was once purposeful is not anymore. So there highlights the question, what its value?
Vic- You like to use monumental like objects are there any other objects that you’ve done that to?
Derek- Yes, this box spring that I ripped the cover off slightly almost as if its unveiling something about itself. And I found that in itself is something monumental.
Vic- Are there other themes represented in your artwork?
Derek- Yes, the un-monumental in relation to manipulating house hold screen. It’s something that’s very fragile, it ages quickly, not durable. Also, I find that it plays a little bit with this analogy , the tent vs the monument. The tent is erected quickly, serves its purpose and doesn’t last very long whereas the monument is conceivably erected and last for a long time. My work is investigating what is the importance of something decomposed but, its monumental traits still stays intact.
Vic- Do you feel like this series of artwork be never ending?
Derek – That’s a tough one. I think that right now what I’m doing is exploring materials . I don’t see me working in the same medium forever. It starts to be predicting. However, the ideas behind it might be never ending. Years ago it was about analog and digital. I feel like the tent monument piece tells the same conversation but I’m looking at it in a different way. There’s potential that my work will always have this interest in human nature in this analogy kind of way. I try to figure out what were about, why we do the things we do, and I think that that’s the underlying theme that I’m or we all have in the back of our minds.
Vic- What type of feedback do you normally get from a piece of your artwork?
Derek- Right now it’s mixed. I work in a type of minimalist way. I’m not really interested in the viewer walking up and understanding what I’m doing. But what I’m interested in is if there’s some type of curiosity and thought provoking aspects that will form questions for themselves and dialogue. I tend to get that with the materials that I’ve used, the way it’s constructed or how things have been arranged.
Vic- I had to ask because it did come off as politically themed to me.
Derek- That’s a good point. I feel Art is a reflection of who it’s capturing. Everything you can ever talk about plays into Human nature. It’s all collective. I love to study what the responses so I can gain another interpretation.
Vic- When you look for materials what draws you to them?
Derek- When I search, I feel like I’m an archaeologist .When I first started as an artist, I wasn’t sure with how to deal with me feeling that way and finding things but now if I stumble upon something I get excited I see the potential. That makes me want to explore what it is. It’s kind of like a new challenge. But as I’m working with it, I start to see its humanistic qualities and what it could represent. It’s not always a super happy moment but we still need to go through it as artists. There’s exciting times, there’s times that I think maybe this futile. I go through a range of feelings.
Vic- Have you had an object that you had high hopes for and it didn’t go as planned?
Derek- Lots of things that I have made haven’t seen the light of day. I think that’s important. You should make things you hate and don’t want or fail because if you don’t you’re not pushing your potential. You should know the edges of good and bad to find to really know where you can go with something.
I had a mentor once say “Wer’e not trying to make the Taj Mahal, were trying to communicate” It’s about discussing and thinking. I’m not sure if there’s a true failure of someone’s Art. It’s about their expression and feelings. Who are we to say it’s wrong?
Vic- Where do you usually go to get your materials?
Derek- Actually, nowhere. I like to explore and ride my bike, go urban exploring so material tend to happen to be there . So I don’t normally go out for them.
Vic- Any pieces dear to you than the others?
Derek- My undergrad thesis was called ” Transcriptive Lineage? “ where I had these 16 inch transcription records that I inherited from a friend, and I incorporated other digital information like templates. There were 18 prints. But you could only see 3 because they were all stacked. There was this imaginable cataloging experience. It was personal for me because I was using things that I was very much attached to .
Vic- Have you ever slipped you of focus? If so, what puts you back in that creative state?
Derek- Everyday. I have this ritual where I clean my studio and I kind of re catalog in my mind what I have to work with . And that right there helps me get back on track and revitalizes me.
Vic- Do you have a comfort zone?
Derek- Well I would say my art right now, would be uncomfortable. Because sometimes I don’t know what the end result may be. But I feel that that discomfort is comforting. There’s a lot of good that comes from me not knowing everything involved. I get more excited by my work when I have no idea where it’s going.
Vic- Any influential artists?
Derek- Personally Carl Burkheimer was my mentor in undergrad. His philosophy of art and teaching art I admire a lot. Jeanine Maggie and Josh Smith, the owners of Tilt expo in Seattle, there two artists I admire greatly. I love their motivation and their take charge in life for what they want to do. Ann Truit, Richard Tuttle , playing with minimalism. I’m interested in the relationship between person and the machine.
Vic- without art i’d be…
Derek- Art gives me an outlet and a perspective on things that I value more than anything. Without “art” I most certainly would be severely inhibited in enjoying the adventure of life.