Quest’intervista é stata realizzata via mail tra l’11 e il 12 maggio 2009, non molto dopo esserci conosciuti di persona a Milano. Jennifer e Nikola sono molto affiatati e hanno partecipato all’intervista con molto entusiasmo. Non posso che esserne lusingato e li ringrazio vivamente della simpatia e della professionalitá. Gli auguro di poter continuare per la loro strada con sempre piú profitto e passione!
L’intervista é ovviamente in inglese, ma presto ne realizzeró la traduzione…;)
DB (Alex): Writer Bruce Sterling speaks about waste production in his book “Shaping Things” (ch. “Garbage makers”). He says “Mankind is used to create pollution since the early approaches at weapons manifacturing”. Then he adds “everything is subjected to men’s consumption, but pollution. We have always failed trying to handle waste and it increaesd more and more, so that is the only heritage we are letting our successors.” This seems to be our inevitable destiny. How might a contemporary artist/designer/objects maker justify his job?
Nikola: I’m not sure I understand where you are going with the last bit of your question. Contemporary or not, an artist/designer/object maker in my opinion does not need to justify his or her job. One needs to follow ones heart, ask the questions that are burning. But as we are all human, we could all benefit from three words. Respect, Awareness and Responsibility. These are things each person has to determine for themselves.
DB (Alex): Contemporary world’s economic crisis seems to be a perfect landscape to settle your work. Instead of throwing our old-or-broken things your suggestion is to keep them and re-assemble them together giving shape to new shapes and objects. Do you think it is possible to add a new “symbolic value” to already-beloved old objects?
Nikola: Of course it is possible! In human history, economies and societies have always shifted, destroyed itself only to re-create itself, like a phoenix from the ashes. As a result of this, many cultural traditions have been shattered into a million pieces, like a fine piece of porcelain lost forever on a hard stone floor. My work represents this little piece of porcelain that looks to give itself new life. It symbolises the process of memories lost and memories gained while integrating into a new culture.
DB (Alex): Your work sounds to me like a “SOS screaming”: “Let’s go back to handcrafting! People, stop mass-producing!” Am I wrong? Do you think that designer’s role has been changing in the last 10 years?
Nikola: It’s not about going back to handcrafting, but it is about remembering craftsmanship and the close relationship between the craftsman and the material. It seems today that there is a need to rekindle such a relationship. Design often seems to make use of disposable philosophies.
DB (Alex): At the beginning of XX century Design was considered pure Fine Arts. What is the relation between artists and designers now and, what is your relation with arts? Do you call yourself mostly “artist” or “designer”?
Nikola: I am an artist who likes to play with the grey borders between art and design. For as much as I like to create an autonomous artwork, like The Dog, I like to create an object for the interior that is not only autonomous, but practical and usable in everyday life, as well, like The Lamp.
DB (Alex): Did you model your job on Nikola Nkolov or did Nikola Nikolov shape himself on his job?
Nikola: Do you mean to use the word ‘work’ instead of ‘job’? The relation oscillates. The work is inspired by who I am and I am inspired by the process of the work and the work itself.
DB (Alex): World’s famous Raymond Loewy words say: “Good ideas are only the small part of a good design. Half of the thing is about being able to sell it”. What part of the project do you think a designer should concentrate more? Do you think surviving in the jungle is easier for design studios or freelance designers?
Nikola: Keep your mind and your eyes open, and help and opportunity will be there when you need it. Too many people today are only focussed on an end result. If your heart is set on the process, and you truly enjoy the process with all its up and downs the result can be only one: success, personal as well as commercial.
DB (Alex): Got it. I agree with you. Let’s talk about your work. I love your “Dog” but I’d never have enough room to place it in my place. I don’t know about dutch flats but we italians live in small houses. Did you plan to make any small dogs for people living in small houses?
Nikola: I can make a dog with 100 chairs and 100 tables, or just with 1 chair. What matters is the person who the dog is being made for. Their needs, their materials, their memories and of course their space.
DB (Alex): Now, let’s go personal. I mean, I’d like to talk about my problem! I use to save nearly everything i find on my way and I collect it like maniacs do. I’ve been collecting articles from newspapers, advertising in magazines, products packages and crazy stuff like wine-bottle caps. By the way I don’t consider myself as a collector…I prefer the name “Librarian of curiosities”. Let’s say you’re my psychoanalist: Am I crazy? Any tips for me?
Nikola: Join the club of borderline obsessive collecting. The trick for me is to re-create what I have collected into a new object, instead of just having it stacked in piles. I like your term of Librarian of Curiosities. It might be interesting for you to develop this concept. Who are your lenders? How would you determine the concept of the archive? What is your taxonomy?
DB (Alex): I’m happy to know I’m not that mad. Thank you, i think I’m really going to go deeper in this Archive concept. Now, the last question is yours. Feel free to ask something to your less-loved artist or designer.
Nikola: I want to ask the question to other artists and designers if they ever asked themselves if their work is made or if it is born.
DB (Alex): This is a very good question. I must think about it carefully as well. Think I’m gonna recycle your question in the next interviews :) I mean…I’d better re-create your question!
Thank you very much Nikola, I wish you all positive things with your career. We’ll all stay tuned on your work!
Please visit Nikola’s website at Studio Re-Creation.
More about Studio Re-Creation: