“It is a joy to be hidden, but, a disaster not to be found”: Most of my work is about the strange and coded ways that people interact with each other. Many of the pieces share a similar aesthetic to props, partly because they are a stand in for myself; and, partly to open a conversation about the theatricality of daily life. I am interested in intimacy and voyeurism. What we share, what is kept private and what is incidentally revealed.
I was born in 1992, raised in a small town in Connecticut. I went to SVA. Currently living in Brooklyn.
An Interview with Ari Eshoo:
What is your advice to younger artists?
In a great book about the artist, Robert Irwin, “Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees” He describes a time in his life when he wasn’t sure what to do, or if he even wanted to make art. with that, he spent a year saying ‘yes’ to almost everything. He would do favors for friends, side jobs and road trips. When you feel confused or lacking convictions (in art, life, anything) don’t shut down, that’s the time to experiment.
Are there any artists that inspire you in particular?
Jennifer Wynne Reeves, Mike Kelley, Robert Gober and Bas Jan Ider are a few of my favorites. They all deal with the body, time and death in ways that have this amazing balance of being raw and subtle, humble and sacred. I think their sense of humor has a lot to do with that. I gravitate towards artists who reinvigorate clichés with sincerity and make the familiar mysterious .
What are you interested in investigating through your work?
I am interested in how people relate to one and other. What it actually means to know others or yourself. The idea of watching and being watched; I think this is probably exaggerated because of social media, but voyeurism is probably just a huge part of human nature. I’m really interested in taking fragments of the body or objects and making them kind of performative. Or i guess the objects become kind of a stand in for me. It’s a big question….there is more than I’m able to express in words.
You live in Brooklyn. Does the city inspire your work?
The variety in New York is fascinating to me. The feeling that anything is possible. And as mundane as it may be, I love walking and seeing the debris on the streets, picking up bits of conversations and getting into my own rhythm. It may not directly affect my art, but it helps me get through the day. But I’ve spent most of my life in small towns. While that is not where I want to be anymore, I have to credit it with being a huge source of inspiration for me. On one hand, the fact that I never felt like I fit in helped me get comfortable being alone. I think allowing myself to let thought simmer is important to my process and well being as a person.
What would you consider to be your aesthetic, and how does it show itself in your work?
I’m a very clumsy sculptor (and person), so the work always gets dirty in one way or the other. I’m constantly dropping things, strands of my hair fall on the work…I’ll be eating while looking at a piece and food spills onto it….I know it just sounds like I’m lazy (or gross) but, while its never something I plan on, it does hold meaning for me. I like the idea of bringing dirt up to the level of art – or maybe bringing art down to the level of dirt. I am interested in shame and guilt, I think by revealing what is ‘supposed’ to be kept hidden renders something more vulnerable and subverts what we’re supposed to think of as shameful. I feel like that is part of the “job” as an artist; to make people feel less alone by letting “dirt” be ok.
What does it feel like when you are shooting images / working?
I’m envious of artists who have a transcendental experience as they work; I feel the opposite most of the time. I feel more confrontational. Making objects can be very demanding on the body, so I feel more aware of myself when I’m working. But that’s only when I’m really in the thick of it, if i’m in between things or unsure of what direction I want to go in (which I’m am most of the time) I still work every other day, but its really just keeping my hands busy.