How did you first get introduced to contemporary art?
When I was a kid in New Zealand my parents took me to the studio of a friend of theirs, he was a painter and a sculptor, a big guy draped in necklaces who collected preserved animals. Going to his studio as a kid and watching him work was an adventure, it gave me an insight into that world of energy and conversation that was magical to see as a kid. After that I remember getting really into the art books we had around the house.
I sat for one of your aura portraits before, but can you explain it to the uninitiated?
The camera you were attached to when we made that portrait was a polaroid aura camera, it was invented in an attempt to record was a psychic might see — I’m interested in that idea, that a camera can reveal an otherwise unseen insight.
The portrait machine project started as a way to explore the relationship between the camera, photographer, subject and viewer.
The sensors that connected you to the camera read biofeedback, that’s converted into information about you which is depicted as color in the polaroid. The camera also generates a printed diagram/description of your character and how you’re seen by others.
I’m currently working on a book of the project that includes portraits of people who may be familiar to a viewer as well as myself to give people access to the tension or harmony between the cameras interpretation and their expectations.
Do you live with any other artwork at home?
We don’t have much wall space so work is constantly getting shuffled around the apartment. I just painted one wall with magnetic paint so there’s a rotating mash-up of work on that wall now, my favorite piece right now is a photograph made by New Zealand photographer Gavin Hipkins when he was here in NY.
Have you seen any gallery or museum shows that stayed with you recently?
I was up in the Hudson valley recently and stumbled onto the Light and Landscape exhibition at storm king with work by Roni Horn, Peter Coffin and a dozen others, it was great seeing that work in a space like that on a summers day.
Artist quote or words to live by?
What we see depends mainly on what we look for.