DETROIT — AiR TOUR — Issue 10
"Aries Garden" by Craig Blackmoore
sM | What’s the inspiration behind blending the 3D and 2D, digital and physical mediums, and real versus fictive elements in your work?
CB ── When I first started making art as a kid, it was drawing random doodles, characters, and comics. I’d also make short stories. I would watch cartoons and movies while I drew, and I always found it amazing that people were able to turn their drawings and stories into seemingly alive characters and scenarios. After I learned how to make these kinds of things myself, the ideas and possibilities for my art became seemingly endless. I could create a print that implies a scenario and accompany it
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with a short animation that plays out that scenario. And then, as technology advanced, I became able to pull people deeper into my physical artworks with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and interactive experiences. It’s one thing to see something cool in the physical realm, but to then be immersed by it or to become able to interact with it takes the work to a whole new level.
sM | What’s the biggest challenge you face in translating the fantastical into the tangible?
CB ── Fundraising, having an overactive imagination, and lack of opportunities to reach a good audience are my main challenges. I often have really big ideas and can't afford to fulfill them fully. So I'll work on them slowly, piece by piece. Then my overactive imagination kicks in, and new ideas emerge. I end up putting big ideas on hold to knock out small ideas. Unfortunately, many of the big ideas end up on hold permanently. But there are always new big ideas hitting me. And then, once these ideas are done and ready for eyes and ears, the audience is really difficult to gather. Social media is an illusionary tool and doesn't really do what the average person wants it to do when they want it to work. Creating that dedicated audience is a long and slow process, but it becomes even slower when you have a hard time finding solid exhibitions and good physical audiences.
sM | How has the arts scene in Detroit encouraged you to explore and take risks in your work?
CB ── Detroit’s gritty, rough, beautiful, and real. You see and meet literally all kinds of people here, and they’re able to indiscriminately be themselves here. That usually breeds a vibrant art and music scene, and that is definitely what Detroit has. While there are many of the “nose in the air” events and experiences with gatekeepers that only focus on art that they consider to be valuable, there are tons of events and opportunities for artists that may not be a part of some inner circle or a certain financial class. An artist can actually make ideas happen in Detroit. When I first got started showing my art in exhibitions around 2015, I had already been throwing events of my own for about a year with no money and no connections to popular venues. It was because Detroit is a place where you can throw a party somewhere obscure and weird, and people will show up to the experience. When I was ready to show my art elsewhere, there were already annual art events of all kinds that had growing attendance, and submission fees are affordable (usually under $20 USD). If you did dark or gothic art, there were exhibitions for you. If you did nude or erotic art, there were exhibitions for you. Digital art, performance art, glass art, light art all have exhibitions at some point in Metro Detroit.