Polaroid SNAP

Craig Foltz | 50 Questions interview

Photo-credit for the polaroid goes to Jackson Foltz (aged 6)

Artists from various fields choose questions to answer from a list of 50.


Is destruction a positive phenomenon for you?

Destruction is a slippery word. Diamanda Galas recently described her process of reinterpreting traditional songs as a kind of destruction. But when she says, “Start the text. Interrupt the text.” I take this to mean that there is a type of rupture going on. It is this rupture which I latch onto during the creative process. If I find the writing is going too “smoothly” or “seamlessly” I’ll stop myself. Grab something in my immediate vicinity (a newspaper, an advertisement, a song I’m listening to, etc.) and let that inform where the piece goes for awhile. And then I’ll start again back where I was and let the new influence infect the text in (hopefully) generative ways.

Lately, I’ve also been working primarily on a series of collaborations. This act by its definition means constantly submitting your work to destruction. You hope your collaborators will edit and hack away at the material you have provided until it becomes unrecognizable. The most successful collaborations are the ones where, at the end of it, you can’t even locate your own creative impulse in the final product.

If you could travel in time, within what era or milieu would you most like to have an artist residency? And why? 

I’d like to participate in two simultaneous residencies. One residency would be held in the very distant past, when jawless fish, echinoderms and mollusks ruled the world. The other residency would be in some imagined, far-off future, where the properties of air and water have become interchangeable and life as we understand it has been reduced to simple, pulsing rays of light. I’d like to then set up a transmission cable between the two studios and broadcast the works back and forth until a single unified series of works emerged.

 Who or what would you most like to collaborate with? 

Anyone reading this.

Do you have a relationship with the distant future – in other words, are you making artwork that bears a message or impact for coming generations?

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a series called “Petroglyphs” which are meant to interrogate the notion of how meaning and artistic intent changes over vast periods time. I guess this was based on the impulse that ultimately, we’re all just scratching our names into walls. I’m interested in the concept that we cannot control how our work is interpreted once we put it out in the world. There is no telling where the path of rationalization will lead us.

If you could be anything besides an artist in human form, what would you like to be?

I would be a wisp of air hanging over the freeway or the edge of a swimming pool that forms when two pairs of lips meet. I would be trapped between the memory of field and meadow. My hands would have names, but I would forget them and I would drop things all the time. I would wear my hands on a piece of thick twine tied around my neck. My gills would absorb oxygen from the water and convert it back into energy. Like any number of murky protagonists, there would be nothing to left to stake me on dry land.

About Craig Foltz

Craig Foltz is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous journals and galleries. He has put out two books (both on Ugly Duckling Presse). He currently lives and works with his family in Auckland, New Zealand, on the slopes of a dormant volcano. We accept interesting visitors.

For more, visit www.craigfoltz.com