Inside the Artist’s Studio with Pete Ippel

This week’s artist is Pete Ippel. Artist and Athlete. You may think to yourself, “Is that really possible?” Yes, it is folks. He’s also quite the prolific artist with art work that stimulates both the physical as well as the cerebral.

Let’s get to the fun stuff – his answers to the Art 10 questions…

* * * * * * * * * *

1. What is your favorite (art) word?

My favorite word to say is Huitzilopochtli. The word refers to an Aztec god of war and the sun, patron of Tenochtitlan, and is translated as “Left-Handed Hummingbird”.

Regarding (art) words, I spoke about their relationship with works of art on a “Mediation on Networks” with Stretcher.org back in 2004. http://vimeo.com/8445137 Starting at 3:59 I challenge artists to stop utilizing the standard (art) words to be more like sportscasters…coining new terms to describe new art.   I feel that (art) words are lacking in that they are staid and rarely get revised. It’s time to let those (art) words die and blaze some new trail.

2. What is your least favorite (art) words?

Juxtapose it is simply over-used.

3. What keeps you going when you’re in the studio?

I have a very disciplined practice that spans a variety of materials and locations.  I make something or learn something new every day.  I’m very good at “locking it down” when I need execute a task by a self-imposed deadline.  I’ve had great success drawing on my experiences as an athlete and a researcher.  I utilize methods of iteration so as an artist, I’m never bored.  My studio is free from distractions, I live quite simply.  I enjoy keeping the windows open and listening to music while I work.

4. When do you know you’re done in the studio?

I’m very sensitive to my body and often push it to the limit.  To regain focus I take a break every day at 1pm will take time for a walk or bike ride outside.  Often I can get a second wind by drinking green tea, taking a 20 min nap, and having a snack. I’m done in the studio when I lack efficiency, typically indicated by falling asleep at my desk.  If I need to keep working when I wake up, I will set multiple alarms and sleep for a few hours (typically in 3 hour cycles) and get back to the task at hand.  This has been my sleep schedule since I was 18.

5. What words do you love to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

I enjoy hearing people discuss the work by talking about what they see and how it relates to them.  I especially enjoy hearing individuals explain context and intent to their friends when they are with someone who “isn’t an art person”. The occasional “WOW, I want that in my home.” is nice too.

6. What words do you hate to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

“My kid could do that.”  To me it is a cop out and a refusal to invest or to look at work more critically.  Rarely do the people who say those words consider intent or context – even if their child could execute the  same brush strokes etc.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

I made a project about taboo words as an undergraduate.  At the time I was exploring how there’s so many slang terms to describe something that is socially restricted.  If you think of your index finger, you’ve got a few options, digit or phalange…now if you take something like vomit or poo, you can think of ten euphemisms straight away.

As for a favorite curse word, I’m not particular and use what is appropriate for the situation…I am reminded of the influence of the Conan O’Brien show I saw when I was in high school.  He was trying to figure out how to dodge censors, so he opted for KRUNK as the new curse…This goes along with question 1.  See the video here  starting at 4:50 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrzqaA3w0cA

8. What profession other than being an artist would you like to attempt?

I’m an aspiring philanthropist and I’ve set some of the financial wheels in motion for that to happen.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I’ve not considered this too much, as I focus on what I like to do…I think it would be pretty tough to be the person who gives a lethal injection or flips the switch on the electric chair…

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Heya Pete, nice job down there.” *insert fist bump here*

You can learn more about Pete’s work by visiting his website AND blog.

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

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