Still Images That Feel Alive by Buckley [Interview]

Drawing quickly took the lead as the most resonant art form for the line master artist

Her colour palette choice is warm with earthy tones that make you feel comfortable, her work is like poetry in colours. Some artworks seem abstract, although we can relate to them as they still have a clear story to tell, but what exactly is Buckley’s story?

What does it mean to you to be a visual storyteller?

Telling visual stories for me is an important way to make universal statements that don’t require a learned language or culture to experience the message. To tell a story to someone’s eyes is to also relate to their mind in a way that allows space for interpretation and personal perspective. I especially love this aspect of making visual work, that someone has the extra opportunity to contemplate once the story finds them, and create their own narrative with the feelings provided. To me, to be a visual storyteller is to give the essence of something, rather than the explanation.

Even though you work on a lot of different kind of art project I can easily say that line drawing is your signature style. Has line drawing always been the primal way to express yourself?

Line drawing has always been an automatic way to express myself. Without having concern for conscious technicality, drawings (even before I thought of myself as an artist) were always a way for my mind to wander while my hand rendered my unconscious relationship between form and thought. In that way, drawing has been a bi-product of my contemplative/thinking practice. I identify most closely with the primal act of dance as a tool for discussing philosophy. From a young age, I’ve always seen the metaphorical through-lines between the human figure and the human experience (especially the female form). As someone who studies social dynamics and has an interest in using my studies to positively effect them, I’ve come to use drawing/painting/sculpture as a tool to deliver universally accessible visual essays to the masses. A sort of positive propaganda for a world in need of social elevation. Dance and philosophy speak most to my primal body, and drawing has been the most natural/effective way for me to translate those sources of inspiration.

Can you tell a little more about the process of developing your own style?

My visual style developed while I was identifying largely as a poet/musician. My writing/music had reached a point of limitation, I didn’t feel I could fully express myself through those mediums and needed another outlet. In 2011, I got an art studio and bought all the supplies for beginning a visual practice. I did a trial and error process with a variety of different media. Many of my supplies went unused and drawing quickly took the lead as the most resonant art form for me. Wherever I was, I was drawing. It consumed me completely. I was obsessed with it in a way that felt so healthy and activating. A huge part of my process was leaving a LOT of space for the work to be IN-process, meaning I didn’t wince for the first several years at my juvenile abilities, or judge myself for quality of the work the way I found myself doing with writing and music. This spoke volumes to me because it was a natural development, so compulsive and done with so much love that it was beyond conditions or need for recognition. I made the work not only because I felt I MUST make it, but also because I felt it was making me. I had finally found a deep access point to myself, I felt I was truly getting to know who I am and what I’m about. The more space I made to have my voice develop itself, the more it naturally did, and now I’ve clocked over 10,000 hours of drawing in my adult life, which provided the initial and firm foundation for the work to really come into its identity. Short answer: trial-and-error, play, and tons of devoted practice.

You call yourself a choreographer of lines. Does this also mean that you hear some kind of rhythm when you make art or that you are influenced by rhythm while making art?

In your question, I would replace the word ‘rhythm’ with ‘movement’. My works are scenes of movement and action, but locked in stillness to let viewers contemplate the meaning of that specific moment. I love to create still images that feel alive, like the movements they’ve just made and will make are palpable within the one they’ve been captured in. Showing action also subconsciously inspires action, so I use that effect to create motivational feelings in my work. Conversely, the fact that my images are mostly still figures is a metaphorical reminder to adopt a stillness practice; to take time and to consider what you’re doing before making actions. Lastly, my use of movement is a metaphor for the idea that it is not always about WHAT we do but HOW we do it, and through my figures, I’d like to inspire more graceful and compassionate actions in the world.

How does your line mastery portrays itself when you are working on 3d projects like a sculpture, can you tell something about this process?

My lineworks have certainly lead me to developing a shape alphabet and visual mythology that can be translated through any medium. My practice in drawing has not necessarily informed how to make other media look like my drawings, but how to think and move creatively with confidence. The process of sculpting is then just the same as my drawing process, very automatic and intuitive, just trusting my hands. Although the sculptural works and surface paintings have the signature feeling of my lines within them, I mostly owe my translation from 2D to 3D to that bedrock of trust in myself which I got from developing my line mastery.

Would you like to work on some kind of collaboration and with whom would that be?

I have some mega collaboration dreams indeed! I would love to collaborate with leaders in other fields to work on social change. One dream is to partner with Alain de Botton on creating a modern curriculum to evolve and advance institutional education. I’d also love to partner with neuroscientists, architects and civil engineers to be part of resurrecting and infusing the public with aesthetic values to create spaces and places which cognitively enhance our quality of life/relationships/connection to the planet. Another dream, to create visuals for the Universal Basic Income movement, and help restructure our relationship to post-industrial work/life balance, as well as demolishing the unnecessary experience of poverty/scarcity in the US.

Do you have any projects you are working on or planning for 2019, that you would like to share with us?

My studio focus for 2019 will be a series of paintings I call “Macro Dynamics” which looks at society as an individual self, and the Self as a complex society. I will also be doing mural work and exploring work in fashion as well.

Text & Interview for Trendland by Claire Granlund