Right now over at Aurora Coffee in L5P, if you stop to stir sugar into your coffee or put a lid on your cup you'll see his small drawings mounted right there above the sweeteners. Don't let anyone try to elbow you out of the way for a lid, because it takes a moment for his drawings to sink in. A similar tension is at work between the loose, dripping stains of watercolor and the careful lines of the figures that populate these dreamlike scenes.
Chambers, who does manual labor odd jobs, painting walls, laying hardwood floors, and so forth during the week, took some time from his schedule to tell us a little more about himself and where the images in his mind-bending videos come from.
What's your background?
Suburban-raised, not a lot of friends. Watched too much television, read too much, video games.
Where are you from?
I moved around a lot as a kid. I've been in Georgia for a while now, so I guess I'm from here now.
What did you start working on first - the drawings or the videos?
I guess I've been drawing longer, drawing comic-characters and dinosaurs and stuff since I was a kid, and more seriously involved since high school. Though that is the same with video, messing around with my parents camcorder and making sporadic short videos, to saving up and buying my own in high school.
What's your drawing process like?
It depends on the drawing. Sometimes I'll just doodle aimlessly, or doodle methodically, or sometimes I'll look through old books or magazines for a long time trying to find a particular figure or object that strikes me, that has some sort of potential to align with some feeling I have that I can't really verbalize. And sometimes an image will just pop into my mind.
As a drawing progresses it will remind me of people I know and I'll think about them while I draw. Like it becomes a letter to them, though I don'tentirely know exactly what I'm writing. Until I've finished, maybe.
Its kind of time-consuming in this way, since I have to watch a tape all the way through to really pick out the bits I want. I then edit it all digitally. It would be great to have analog editing equipment, but I really wouldn't be able to compose the video so specifically. It would be especially difficult to compose the multiple-channel pieces, because you need to hear and see whats going on with the other channels. A lot of the tension between the two comes out of necessity.
There are a lot of aspects of VHS that appeal to me. A big part is its obsolescence. Not only as a physical object, but also texturally. It has a visual texture very specific to its medium, a certain number of lines of resolution, an algorithm of displaying those lines, very specific imperfections and inconsistencies and degradations. And it doesn’t exist anymore in a meaningful way, its not how we see movies, or television programs, or news. Digital has a much different set of visual textures and imperfections, but is very near the point where there is no texture, no real visual boundary between our basic visual experience and a mediated experience.
Seems like the drawings and videos both deal with altered mental states. Maybe I'm just reading that into it. Do you see that or any other connections between your drawings and videos?
I think that is a valid reading. I'm really interested in what goes on in familiar, day-to-day experiences that we don't really perceive as clearly as we do through visual or auditory means. There is so much that actually goes on that we can't see but know that is there, on a human scale as well as a molecular scale and a more macro scale, and how this all changes from moment to moment. I'm interested in what that might look like, if it were visible (or audible). Sort of taking all that might happen within a moment or an interaction, or within an existing image itself, and compressing all these aspects into something more singular.
A lot of that ends up dealing with psychological/emotional resonances and situations, at least in how I end up reading it.
Rest in Space, featuring work by Christopher Chambers, Courtney Burton, Allen Taylor, and others, continues at Aurora Coffee in L5P.
You can see more of Chambers video work at Vimeo.
@ rico from tampico
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