In the Studio with Candice Greathouse
What does a day in your art practice look like?
My studio practice truly involves a lot of reading and thinking before I make any moves. I like to say ideas are percolating in my mind, sometimes for months (or longer!), until things are really resolved conceptually. Since my practice is primarily video and photo and installation, it can manifest in a variety of locations, such as at the car wash (an ongoing video collab with artist Curtis Ames), on my kitchen table (glossy, white, and great for staging), bathtubs, showers, or in the desert (video performance works). When I am in my studio, at COPE Studios in Glendale, I do get really “hands on” and play around more with installation ideas – I will work with mounds of clothing, stuffed animals, shoes, junk food, projection.
What is the hardest part of creating your art?
I work well in alternative spaces and since my work has a large installation component, I always want to stage or imagine my work in complete isolation, in locations that are unique and ever changing. I think my projects work better as a whole, and so I struggle with trying to conceptualize my ideas for singular works in group shows. Also sometimes I think my work is “ugly” – and that’s always been tough as an artist, where aesthetics are important, of course, art is visual. But that sort of work isn’t authentic to me, in my practice.
What inspires you?
Pop songs, and bullshit TV and movies. I love those moments of total indulgence, where you’re like, who is writing this material? Since a lot of my work deals with these ideas of love and obsession and desire, I will have these “aha” moments where something just clicks and I want to manifest it and push it, push it real good (imagine…a video/performance of me pushing pushing pushing something immovable for the duration of the song. Like a tree.) I love the literalness of language and explore how I can materialize it into something tangible and visual, turning metaphor and poetry back into its most basic and trite meaning. It’s funny and absurd and ironic and indulgent, sort of exactly, like love.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? Why?
Tracey Emin, Mary Kelly, Carolee Schneemann, Eva Hesse, Hannah Wilke, and honestly, Nicolas Cage. Seriously. No explanation necessary.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I was really encouraged in grad school to experiment with curating, and that’s the advice I continue to give. It’s a completely different process and experience, and it is just such a vibe, working for a common goal with a group of artists and not focusing on just your own work. It’s the best way to make community and lasting relationships. Reaching out to unknown art world connections is much less nerve-wracking when you’re supporting others and I have always found such encouragement in the curatorial process. And it’s still the work you love and the creative process.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I feel so fortunate to teach (at CSUN) and work with some amazing artists, and my husband is also an artist, as are many of my close friends. We go to galleries and museums as our primary entertainment, which is endlessly motivating. I know that’s a boring answer, but it’s the truth. Surrounding myself with art is what keeps it at the forefront of my brain. Also having a “bucket list” of big ideas/projects to work towards. For instance, a photo/video project about Imelda Marcos and my Filipino family has been in the works/on hold for almost five years (pandemic/life/etc). But I think I am going to the Philippines this Fall and am beyond excited even though that’s just the start of it.
If you had the chance to live during a different artistic movement other than now, which one would you choose? and why?
So that’s a tough one. First off, the feminist art movement(s) of the 1960s/70s/80s is the most important time for me, from an art historical perspective. That was actually my focus when I was in my MA program in Art History, after my MFA. Performance art is really tied into that time also and video art becoming a real force. Those are all directly impactful for my current art practice. Also being a part of Fluxus just sounds fun as hell. I love the experimentation of that time. Or being a part of Black Mountain College and oh gosh Bauhaus and honestly, any of them.
How has personal experience influenced your creativity?
My work is directly rooted in my experiences and impulses, although I try to look at these moments and feelings from a distance and articulate the ideas around them in a more objective or conversely, much more subjective way. The personal is universal/the universal is personal, is something I think about, a lot. Nostalgia plays a part too, and all of this sounds vague, sorry. But I think I try to take these experiences and break them apart and reframe them. Okay, for example, a solo exhibition/project of mine a few years ago, Ain’t No Party, took these moments in life where you’re excited about a party, but there are so many layers to it – anticipation, celebration, resignation – and manifested them in a space, a party space that had all the trimmings but was empty and lasted a month. Or this ongoing project, Good Vibrations, which are videos of personal massagers/dildos, just vibrating…I’m so fascinated by the action of these objects and how we relate to them removed from their context.