Sk*p Culture: Q&A with Basia Goszczynska
Meet a changemaker
Meet NYC artist Basia Goszczynska whose incredible work is anything but ordinary.
I see that you attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. How did your education influence your work today (if at all)?
I was very fortunate to be accepted into both of those programs and to attend both schools. Through my undergrad, I thought I was going to be painting ceramics and doing photography and I ended up basically majoring, even though I didn't have to have a concentration, in stop motion animation. I went in with the idea that I would be making sculptures and I left making mostly installation work and some video, performance and some sculpture. What I really appreciate about those programs is that I was invited to use whatever media I needed to express whatever idea I had. I also had a really great professor, Professor Rafael Ortiz, who encouraged us not to just limit ourselves to strictly visual art of one kind but to really think of ourselves as artists with all of the tools at our disposal and to really follow our path of questioning to decide where to go.
When did you realize that you wanted to focus your advocacy around tactile and sculptural art and immersion? What has that journey been like? Ups and downs?
So I advocate for two things and I hope that people who look at my work are filled with two emotions basically, one is caution. I include things in my work like caution tape or caution signs or things like plaster which is associated with mending broken bones and healing. I do invite people to advocate for caution especially now with our political discourse and how seemingly divided we are. I think it's good to be cautious about what you think is to be true and listen to what other people have to say cautiously. The other thing I advocate for is hope because it's so easy, especially with environmental issues, to only see the darkness and we need to appreciate all the light. Looking at fossil fuels for example, we constantly talk about the negative effects and we ignore the amazing benefits that these resources provide us with. Of course there are problems that need to be addressed, I'm not saying that fossil fuels are going to solve all of our problems far from it, but you know again with caution and optimism, I hope that we can work together to solve those problems and ultimately I hope my work inspires that kind of hope.
You’ve had your artwork showcased at quite a few exhibitions locally such as Arcadia Earth, New York Port Authority, Hopscotch, and a few others: which experience was the most memorable for you?
The one that definitely change my life the most and therefore, is the most memorable, has to be the Rainbow Cave. The Rainbow Cave was commissioned first by Valentino Vettori, the creative director of Arcadia Earth. I had been making sculptures out of plastic bags during grad school and sustainability and plastic bags was on everyone's mind at the time because there was a ban going into effect in New York for plastic bags. So he had seen my plastic bag sculptures and invited me to come up with a proposal for a more immersive installation with plastic bags and I dreamed up a party cave that was like a celebration of the ban.
Do you have any tips or words of wisdom on how to engage or begin a journey of advocacy for younger artistic activists?
Absolutely I mean I do think our planet can always use our help. It can always use our help so we can always help each other, we can always love earth more, you can always love mother earth better. So again, caution and hope. I guess you keep caution and hope alive in your heart and your mind as you go forward to try to answer the questions that you have. I think you'll be okay.
(Check out the full interview on IG TV @skp.gen )