INTERVIEWED BY Lena Sulik IMAGES Carl Jacobs
Cape Town artist Gregory Stock’s childhood fascination with making and altering objects served as early inspiration for his current exhibition of kinetic drawing machines, which are on view at 99 Loop Gallery until 28 November 2015.
Where do you find inspiration for creating your artworks?
Making things regardless of whether I considered it art or not has been something I’ve done every day since I can remember. The only difference now is that I consider the things I make as art.
I have drawn a lot of inspiration from past experiences recently, but if I’m completely honest the internet plays a big role. I spend a lot of time playing with things and drawing, and eventually that sparks a concept. Once I’ve gotten to that point I do research and come up with a series of works to make. They don’t always see the light of day but it makes for an interesting garage.
I’m lucky enough to have a loving mother who helps me by frequenting second-hand furniture stores and sourcing a lot of the materials I use. Otherwise I shop around at R5 stores and the rare wood off-cuts section. I re-use a lot of old artworks and spend a lot of time in electronics stores.
What does the ‘space between’ mean to you?
A Space Between is basically where I am at the moment: I’m not quite ready to let go of being a student and not quite ready to accept the responsibilities that come with being an adult. I therefore find myself in a space between these two stages of life, much like the transitions I experienced from childhood into teenage years and then adolescence into student life and now here, where I am at the present.
I found myself at each of these stages holding onto items or activities that reminded me of past events, placing me into transitional spaces and providing me with comfort.
Art has always been present throughout these stages. Obviously, it’s always been for a conceptual purpose that’s important to me, but it’s now different in the sense that it’s no longer for marks. I’m having to find a happy medium between making art that is both conceptually strong and exciting to the general public, as well as fellow artists and those who are avid art viewers.
What do you want audiences to take away from your exhibition?
I want people to interact and watch and spend some time with my work, to understand how it works and what the machines are making. If people can catch on to the references I’ve made to toys and childhood experiments in science class and can somehow put themselves in that transitional space, then I’ve succeeded in doing what I set out to do.
But if not, and people just enjoy relating to the technicalities and some of the silliness in the works then I’m happy with that too.
Is it really art if a machine makes it?
Well, is it really bread if a machine makes it?
Do you have a favourite work in the exhibition?
My favourite work is probably the Lazy Susan-esque drawing machine. It was the most difficult machine to make and it was the first idea I had for the exhibition. It probably changed the most from start to finish. It ended up creating drawings that I had never expected and continues to do so. I’m just really happy that the drawings it makes will almost never be alike. I don’t want to make the same thing more than once. Oh, and the furry boxes are pretty fun too.
You’ll find the gallery at 99 Loop Street, Cape Town. The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm and on Saturdays from 9am until 1pm. For more information about this exhibition, visit 99loop.co.za.