Jaime Lakatos, The Bestial World

I am glad to sayI have known Jaime Lakatos for a while now. I am more proud to say that she and I have worked together on some art shows before; including Living City at Manifesto. I am even more proud to say that we met first at the Hive, when she had her studio there and I was in a position to be able to buy one of her paintings for Alli for christmas. That was four years ago. Jaime has since moved her studio to the Compound where she continues her studies of the Dark Arts and practices her own private brand of taxidermy. A style that includes armoring mutated, or altered forms of animals with colorful leather scales. She has a few works on display in the Trophy Room show at Five Points Art House, reception: June 3, 2010. Come on by.

Obi: I know you are in the midst of a long art-making hiatus from workng the regular job. How did that come about and how is it going?
Jaime: There’s never really been a “hiatus”, its more that my studio and life in general over the past few years has been in a constant
state of motion. Some good, some bad, but the art process doesn’t stop, the ideas are always forming. Having a new, bigger and better studio than i’ve had in a very long time has definitely helped me get back into a frenzy of art making and i’m extremely grateful for that. Aside from the Trophy Room show which is coming up very soon, I also have a group show at the Compound in July, a few pieces in the Albuquerque film festival in august, and then a solo show on Oct. 30th at the Compound. My solo is going to be a sight to see, I’m thinking of calling the show “Beastmaster” and making it a whole Halloween/mad scientist “event”.

Obi: What is your relationship to the animal form and the bestial world in general? I know you think about you studio as almost a laboratory. Can you elaborate?
Jaime: Arent we all part of the bestial world? The animal form is so much more diverse. Each part of their bodies serves a purpose to further their survival. I find myself forcing the hand of nature when i create, thoughts of change and adaptation are ever present. Humans are a great destructive force and we are constantly affecting our surroundings and the creatures that inhabit it. our actions force them to change in subtle  ways, but what i see is what happens when our actions cause drastic changes. What i create are “frankensteined” animals, taking attributes from all parts of nature to tell a story of survival. I do feel like a mad scientist sometimes, ok, all the time. i’m not satisfied with simply representing nature/science/life the way it is already viewed. What i see and learn is put through filters that distort, add, conjoin, chop and reform our environment. The products aren’t meant to feel comfortable, familiar maybe, but what is happening to our world isn’t supposed to give you a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s frightening and unnerving. Evolution is a disturbingly beautiful event and I willingly wrap myself up in its slimey, scaley, feathery appendages.

Obi: There is this idea of mutation in your work. Almost as a dynamic force in the natural world. A shaper of things. There is a magic and a fashion there. Where did that initially come from? Is there a story about the genesis of this relationship with natural form and then expressed through your art?
Jaime: Where did it begin? I guess I can say initially it may have began when I was 7 years old and my dog Ceda died. We buried her in the backyard under a slab of concrete. Months went by and while my parents were away and my sister and I were being watched by a babysitter, I decided I wanted to see what happened to Ceda while she was underground. I grabbed a shovel out of my dad’s shed and tried to pry up the concrete. Of course I got caught, but that curiousity  of “what happens after…” has always been in my head. I vowed to never give up or lose my sense of wonder.
After that I can say that the genesis continued when I had the opportunity to work for Kiki Smith for 6 months during college. Working for her was one of the most influential times in my art making career. She taught me how to view art like telling folklore, letting the viewer add their own urban myths to come up with an explaination of what they see. My own work during that time was more about the human body rather than the beastial form, a natural progression though, going from one to the other.

For more on Jaime Lakatos, visit www.quarantineprojects.com

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