Katelyn Farstad is an artist and musician who lives and works in Minneapolis. She is the drummer for Larry Wish and His Guys, and performs music solo under the name Itch Princess. Recent solo exhibitions include RATS MAKE LOVE at Zach Feuer (New York); MOUTHBREATHER at Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis); HEATRASH at Luis Campana (Berlin); and RRHOID RRAGE at Julius Caesar (Chicago). Farstad is the forewoman at GAS: an exhibition space and poetry press, based in Minneapolis.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I am a painter and sculptor and also a musician. I love making paintings and sculptures and music. I am 26 years old with all the gusto and cynicism needed to fuel me through to the next life (although it’s probably just very dark and quiet once you die, but really it is anybody’s guess).
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I had a solo exhibition at Luis Campana Gallery in Berlin, that just came down called, HEATRASH. I am in the process of finishing up a catalog for the exhibition MOUTHBREATHER I had at Midway Contemporary Art last year, and I am working on starting a poetry press and metaphysical gallery space called GAS, based out of Minneapolis. GAS has had one exhibition to date of Kelsey Olson’s work and is in the process of putting out a few books of poetry in the spring. Submissions welcome! firstname.lastname@example.org
What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other artists are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? One of the biggest challenges is that there are so very many other artists to “compete” with, and the internet as a tool but also a hindrance. The ever deteriorating attention span of our society also worries me, and also the preemptive desire for digestibility in art worries me. There are just too many bells and whistles to contend with. We have to start reminding people that glass is made of sand…if you catch my drift. It’s ok if you don’t like that metaphor I was a little unsure of it but just went with it anyway. Also the whole “WTF should I make???” predicament.
How did your interest in art begin? My grandmother was a painter and my father a photographer and the older I got the more I realized that nothing else really interested me in terms of what I could hope to do with my “free” time as a human on earth.
How has living in Minneapolis affected your art practice? Geographically speaking Minnesota is not exactly the land of milk and honey when it comes to art opportunities, feeling like the middle child resisting the falsely projected wisdom of your older brother NYC and the ever youthful and crystalline whimsy of your younger sister Los Angeles…that being said I like being in the middle and there are great opportunities in Minneapolis, though most are hard to attain. The art community is quite small in Minneapolis so this leads to very transparent emotional projections but also a sense of camaraderie and support that I enjoy.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? I would say I like to make paintings and sculptures that use found objects and really anything I can get my hands on to try to make new types of images and objects I have never seen before. The term psycho-terror-scape could be applied. Then I would tell them that I try to think about nothing in particular when making work. Then I would ask said stranger if they have ever watched Ren and Stimpy and if they are aware of the moments in the show when there is one still frame that is drawn much more horrifically and realistically than the rest of the show, in hopes of illustrating the unsettling nature of some of my works. I would say that underneath all my joy and enthusiasm for creating art lies a deep seated sadness that I cant quite understand or explain that feels like the force guiding all of my motions. I mean this to sound accurately banal and not pitiful.
What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you? Meret Oppenheim’s retrospective at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. She was an amazing woman who made whatever came to her head and didn’t sweat bullets over what others would think of it, which is a good disposition to have.
What do you do when you’re not working on art? Playing drums in the band Larry Wish and His Guys, (www.larrywish.bandcamp.com)
What are you really excited about right now? I read a Fernando Pessoa poem recently for the first time, and it really excited me, but here, have a read and decide for yourselves:
Whatever the case, it would have been better not to be born,
For no matter how interesting it is at every moment,
Life sometimes hurts, jades, cuts, bruises, grates,
Makes us want to scream, to jump, to wallow, to walk
Out of every house and every logic and off every balcony,
And to become savage and die among trees and things forgotten,
Among collapses and hazards and absence of tomorrows,
And all this, O life, should be something closer to what I think,
To what I think or what I feel, whatever that is.
I cross my arms on the table, I lay my head on my arms,
And I need to want to cry, but I don’t know where to find the tears.
No matter how hard I try to pity myself, I don’t cry,
My soul is broken under the curved finger that touches it . . .
What will become of me? What will become of me?
What are you listening to right now? FKA Twigs, Drake, Stereolab, the discogrophy from the record label Sublime Frequencies.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? The best reaction I’ve ever gotten was “This isin’t a painting, c’mon!…It’s about materials? What a crock of shit!”” and the worst “ Your work is very theatrical”.
What is your ideal studio situation/workspace? Something along the lines of an adobe house in the middle of Joshua Tree or somewhere in New Mexico where I would get to be Richard Tuttle’s studio assistant during the day watching him do amazing things with paper mache’ and then I would get to go to work on my own stuff once he left. Also ideally it would cost me no money and have all the things I would want for a studio to have there and it wouldn’t be too big or drafty; well lit.