Andy Coolquitt was born in Mesquite, Texas, US of A 1964.
He graduated in Art History from the University of Texas, Austin 1988
entered a graduate program at UCLA 1989
and another at UT Austin 1993.
He took permanent leave of absence from UT Austin in 1996.
He lives and works in Austin, Texas and New York City, US of A.
Coolquitt will be resident at the gallery throughout the exhibition, building the show as he goes. The interview below predates any work being made; another responding to the show will be available at the closing view on the 21st October 2006.
A discussion between Kaavous Clayton and Andy Coolquitt via email 18th - 26th September 2006.
Kaavous Clayton: Thank you for travelling so far to create this exhibition. Have you been to England before?
Andy Coolquitt: Thanks for inviting me. I have been to England twice before. Once in '98 and again in 2003. Both trips were short, so I'm looking forward to spending some time exploring and hanging out.
KC: And making some art I hope. What are your starting points?
AC: I like to meander around the city looking, taking pics, talking to people, meeting dogs, finding campsites, abandoned buildings, hand made buildings, rivers and streams, craft stores, thrift stores, granny stores, ghettos, trash piles, crack dens, scary bars, tittie bars, tranny bars, nice parks, paths thru the woods, you know...usual tourist stuff.
KC: Sounds more like everyday living. I think we have all of that and more in Norwich even though we're a small city in the sticks. Hopefully it won't be too scary for you. What do you think you'll do with it all?
AC: Who knows. I'm trying not to force anything before I get there. Of course I have things that I always return to, so we can look at previous projects to get an idea. I've noticed that I pick a rather mundane task to do in the beginning. Like building boxes (NYC) or fashioning wooden poodles (Portland). The repetition helps clear my mind. But I'm interested in the feeling of being super aware of ones surroundings, like when I'm in a new place. That insecurity heightens everything. And the idea of "creating an exhibition" in three weeks is pressure. Both factors seem to help me focus and respond with an urgency.
KC: I think unfamiliar surroundings heighten awareness of the self. By seeing ourselves in a different context we become more aware of what we possibly are without a context. Maybe this allows a greater freedom of thought and expression as well due to a feeling of super reality, where we are even more familiar to ourselves than we thought we possibly could be. I'm not sure where this is going though. Will you be able to rate your final outcomes in terms of success or will the act of creation have been successful enough in itself?
AC: I'm not sure where you are going either but keep going. Does super reality mean you are super sensitive to your surroundings? Or the environment is pulsating with super details? I think I feel this sometimes when I'm in a new place. Colors are more vibrant, everything is speaking to me, everything is really connected to the landscape, but also floating above it. As to the question of success, I guess I do both. I think I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to think about these matters, to visit Norwich and explore wherever my mind is taking me. But I do edit the objects. I throw shit out or change it or am satisfied with it. I just sort of let everybody in on that process. I mean when I started doing these kinds of exhibitions, it was a response to where installation art is right now. I felt like everything was being lumped into one theme. It was too much of a production. I liked the way people would respond to the surroundings at my house. They would never seem to ask themselves "what does this mean?" and never question an unfinished project as process. It was more like life. I really wanted that feeling of life to go to the exhibitions with me.
KC: Now you're in England "colors" is spelled "colours".
Second part of interview at Outpost 21st October 2006.
Kaavous Clayton: What the fuck have you done to the gallery?
Andy Coolquitt: Can you ask that in the form of a multiple-choice question?
KC: Is it a, finished, b, work in progress or c, none of the above?
AC: Can you ask that in the form of a true or false?
KC: Just go home