Name / age / location / website etc…
Aidan – Aidan Koch / 21 / Portland / www.aidankoch.com
Please talk a lil’ bit about the general idea behind your new series of works for “It Was a Large and Lovely Garden” opening March 25th 2010 at Together Gallery? What’s the story with the show’s title?
Mia – My friend Ryland sent me an Oscar Wilde Story called “The Selfish Giant” (1888) a few months ago and I was really captivated by the imagery and descriptions, and in the meantime I had booked the Together Gallery show and thought it would be a good opportunity to use that story as a jumping off point for illustrating larger ideas about gardens and other sanctuary-like places. The title of the show is the first line of the story.
Aidan – It’s funny, but I didn’t even think about it being spring when we started working on these, but that’s primarily what the images now conjure. Mia showed me a short story by Oscar Wilde she was interested in loosely illustrating. It was about a garden owned by a selfish giant in which children wanted to play. It worked as a good base to start building from. I guess things kind of got looser as we started finding what was working for us.
Are you collaborating for the show?
Mia – Not on the actual pieces but in conversation, yes!
Aidan – We’ve been having a lot of meetings about the show in general but haven’t actually worked together on any pieces! I think we’re going to bring together some of our bigger ideas with a little installation we’re doing and possibly the accompanying zine.
If you had an unlimited budget and time was not an issue, what grand artistic vision would you look to bring to life?
Mia – I would make books for the rest of my life.
Aidan – I’ve been experimenting in comics for the past couple years and am finally getting a little more serious about it. I’m working on releasing a 64 page comic later this year. If I could, I’d start something even more intense! Maybe focus on publishing other people’s work too in anthologies or small run books.
What’s an average day like for you?
Mia – I’m a freelancer / job searching so every day is different! I try to keep a schedule but it never really works. I wake up fairly early and try to get computer work out of the way in the morning and spend time in my studio in the afternoon. I work at Pacific Northwest College of Art one day a week in the Illustration department, and I teach InDesign classes a few times a month.
Aidan – I’m job searching right now, so there’s not a lot of consistency to my days, other than working on projects.
What do you consider your biggest overall influence?
Mia – I’m equally influenced by emotions / relationships / experiences and also by other artists. Too much visual stimulation can be overwhelming for me, but I’m addicted to it and always seeking out beautiful things to look at.
Aidan – I have to say my parents, who are both artists. I’m really into tumblr though and basically post all of the images and artists that influence me. It’s addicting to have so many visual stimulants in one place, especially if you try mosaic viewer. I go back and look at older things I’ve posted a lot.
I’ve noticed you both incorporate text into your work, where does it come from?
Mia – I’ve always been interested in language, and what language looks like, and how it can distill very complicated emotions into a few short words. The phrases I write either come from my own internal dilemmas with myself and are a way to clarify what I’m feeling or from eavesdropped conversations. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops drawing people and I’ll often write down things they say.
Aidan – Confusion. When I need to clarify what’s on my mind or what I’m feeling, I’ll write lists. That practice has since developed it’s own tone and vocabulary pool that ends up transferring over onto art.
Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
Mia – I’m currently obsessed with This American Life, and UC Berkeley podcasts of Psychology class lectures.
Aidan – I end up listening to a lot of podcasts. Kaugummi puts out a really nice one with a lot of ambient and experimental music. That and good ol’ This American Life. I’ve probably listened to like 150 episodes in the last 6 months…
Together Gallery is known for pretty intricate installation work eachmonth, got anything planned?
Mia – Yes!
Aidan – Yes?
Coffee, tea, beer?
Mia – All of those things, yes.
Aidan – I recently discovered coffee has been really upsetting my stomach (which is a huge disappointment since I was loving casually drinking 2-4 cups a day as I worked), so I’d have to say beer. Lagers.
Interests outside of design / art making?
Mia – Looking at the ocean, hiking, going out with friends, commuting by foot, playing my great-grandmother’s piano I recently moved into my studio.
Aidan – When I was recently living in Olympia, other than art, the only things I did were kayak, read, drum, and shoot bb’s. It was a beautiful life.
Ever done any nude modeling?
Mia – Yes, in the fall it’s how I paid rent. It’s physically painful so I hope I don’t have to again!
Aidan – n/a
Mia – Love and affordable cost and the forest in biking distance. Won’t be here forever but every time I try to move something sucks me back in so I’ve stopped fighting it.
Aidan – It’s cheap and has the most beautiful, creative, easy-going people. I don’t see being here forever, but right now it’s perfect.
What’s next? Summer plans? 5 year plans? Next 5 minutes?
Mia – I just applied for a residency for the fall, fundraising for my publication & review, teaching myself html, continuing to draw every day. As much camping as possible now that it’s spring, as much travel as possible but nothing planned. Will probably end up in California soon to visit family and friends, and I’m working on several collaborative projects with long-distance friends over the next few months.
Aidan – I’m in the process of starting a summer band, applying for a Xeric grant (for my new comic project), gearing up for Stumptown Comics Festival, finding a job, keeping up my online magazine Work For Free, and massive life scheming. I see grad school in the future and hopefully spending some time in New York and overseas.
Mia – Thanks & enjoy!
“It Was a Large and Lovely Garden”
New ink drawing by Mia Nolting with Aidan Koch
Opens Last Thursday, March 25th, 6pm till late
live music by Hazel Rickard
runs through April 26th, 2010
2916 NE Alberta