Visualized spotlights visual artists in the music world.
Alessandra Hoshor is a Savannah-based visual artist working with anything from painting to animated projections to public audio, and visual installations. What originally attracted me to her work was the music videos she made for artists such as Doldrums, Cemeteries, and Psychic Twin. After checking out her website, I was very impressed with how her vision translates throughout all of her art-forms. I was lucky (because my internet was making it difficult) to do a Skype interview with Alessandra about her processes and her musical influence.
What got you interested in visual art?
My mother is a visual artist. She teaches animation at SCAD and she was always painting when I was growing up. With that, I’ve always really been into art. My works changed a lot obviously. I used to draw pictures of cats and copying pictures from magazines. I used to spend hours redrawing logos of random objects. So, my work has changed a lot [Laughs].
So, I heard you got into some kind of honor’s program when you were younger. Is that correct?
Yes that’s right.
Can you talk a little bit about the program?
Governor’s Honors Program was a six week intensive residency at Valdosta State where we would have over 7 hours of class, 6 days a week. We’d also stay up past midnight in the studios. It was very risk based. You were supposed to just go crazy and make terrible mistakes in our work.
Would you say the program allowed you to experiment with different mediums?
Yeah definitely. We had painting classes, carpentry classes, and ceramics classes. I was experimenting a lot with spray painting.
Your video work has a lot of mixed media elements. What’s your process like?
I started off with 2D work, but then I got into animation. I’d do a lot of installations with my animation work by projecting them into public spaces. I took a sound art course doing audio/video synthesis using Max MSP and making video synths. From there, I got into recording projections and simply using them as a visual medium. It’s all kind of been this gradual evolution and going in and out of different processes.
It seems that you have a very strong visual influence in you videos. When you pick songs to work with, is it a conscious decision to pick that song ahead of time or is it a more organic process by picking what song fits the piece?
For instance with the Doldrums video, I saw Doldrums live in Austin and it was one of the most exciting sounds I’ve heard in a while. I found there was a mixing of media in the sound and the glitching / delay all relate to my visual work and myself. I contacted them and asked if I could do a video. Then, I picked the song that I connected to most. It’s kind of an intuitive thing.
What are some artists, musically or visual, that have influenced you?
Brian Eno. He’s also a visual and sound artist. I definitely admire him so much in the way he mixes media with video installation. The sound is so good, and there is no precedent. I like songs that are dark with light elements to it. That’s what I try to make for something myself. I want something very honest that has darkness involved, but also brings out the extreme lights as well. That’s what I love so much about projections: the only things you can see are the places illuminated by the projector. Visually, I’ve been really into this one animator, Lavina Yelb. They do really great music as well. It’s hand done, computer animation and computer music. Katrina Gross is an installation artist that uses spray paint in an immersive and powerful way. Also, Eli Hansen who is also another installation artist. As far as music, I’m still not over Modest Mouse, and I’ve been listening to Outkast a lot lately. ATliens is my favorite album. Quiet Hooves from Athens as well. Too many good bands in Athens.
We were talking a bit before how you find a lot of synchronicity between your vision for a piece and what the musician has in mind for their song. Also, you were mentioning you use your dreams as inspirations for videos. Could you elaborate on these things a little bit?
When I work, I try to listen to the song very closely, see what organically happens, and what it makes me think / feel. Then from there I use the ideas as raw material and rearrange them critically. There has been some interesting synchronicities that have come out from what I create and the original content of the songs. For example, when I was working on the Psychic Twin video, I had no idea she used to perform with silly string. I was just walking and the thought appeared in my head, “Oh I need to use silly string.”
With the Doldrums video, the original cut of the song had sounds of a paddle going through water and that was taken out of the version I heard. My original concept was that this guy falls asleep. As he starts falling into this dream, he would walk across his bed and he’s tiny. But then, I had the thought he should be rowing across his bed.
What are your plans for the future?
I recently was selected for a project called MiXER in Solvenia. They bring together five to ten artists to do a collaborative installation. It’s a four week residency and I’m trying to save money for a plane ticket. In other projects, I started a rap group called Rolodexx. We had our first performance on Saturday and it was hilarious.