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Interview with multimedia artist Joan Raspo

Joan Raspo is a California-based multimedia artist who is obsessed by illusion. She strives to “trick” the viewer’s eye to see reality through the lens of magic. Joan believes art is an opportunity for discourse and engagement—she wants you to talk about her work and talk to it. Her multi-faceted art practice is crafted to build drama and tension that invites interaction with you. We have conducted an interview with her.

How long have you been an artist, educator and film director?

Prior to relocating to the west coast, I lived in New York City for fifteen years working as a live action director in the film and television industry. While directing commercials, I taught at Parsons The New School for Design for over seven years. I came to California to be a teaching fellow at the University of California in Santa Cruz—this opportunity afforded me more time to work as an artist. Teaching informs my own personal work in deeply satisfying ways

Which is one of your favourite expressions (digital art installations, sculpture, painting and theater, experimentation)?

I work in a variety of cross-disciplinary practices including painting, design, digital media, sculpture and creative coding. My intention is to create work where art and science combine and are expressed artistically. I enjoy every aspect of my art practice. What I love is when I can take an obscure concept and realize it in a physical work of art. Painting, in particular, provides the opportunity to tell a story—even if it's abstract. My painting style defies genre and many of my abstract paintings depict impressions of landscapes, both real and imagined. My work is an intuitive yet thoughtful combination of color, texture, and materials. The most notable and appealing aspect of my paintings, however, is their extreme tactile nature. I paint as if the subject wants to jump off the canvas.

How do you see art? What are your goals?

I believe art is an opportunity for discourse and engagement—I want you to talk about my work and talk to it. My multi-faceted art practice is crafted to build drama and tension that invites interaction with the viewer. The goal of my practice is to include the viewer—all my work tells a story that is only complete when you engage with it. Through visceral explorations of perception, sensation, and attention, I confront issues and questions around identity, form, ritual, and pop culture—come ride with me. Recently, I've been creating work that uses augmented and virtual reality. My goal is for the viewer to have a genuine experience. If the goal of my practice is to include the viewer, my interactive installation, ASK.ME™ does so in spades. ASK.ME™ is an interactive installation of a life-size magic 8 Ball. It houses a touch activated perceptual hologram that senses a viewer’s presence and produces an answer that hovers inside an inverted plexiglass pyramid. When the viewer enters the dome, they will be greeted with the message “ASK.ME.” Visitors have the opportunity to ask the 8 Ball questions resulting in three-dimensional holographic answers. MAGICAL!

Where have your work been featured?

Below is a list of galleries and art fairs where my work has been shown:
2017 ASK.ME™, Maker Faire, San Mateo, CA
2017 ASK.ME™ WonderWorks, Myrtle Beach, SC
2016 Birth of Stars, Performance Art Festival, Berlin, DE
2016 EVIDENCE, FAUST, Santa Cruz, CA
2016 If This, Then What?, ODETTA, Bushwick, NY
2016 ASK.ME™, Creative Tech Week, New York, NY
2015 Hell and Back, 30 Covers 30 Days, San Francisco, CA
2015 New Alchemy, Digital Arts Research Center, Santa Cruz, CA
2014 Birth of Stars, X Theater, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2014 Ebb & Flow, Maker Faire, San Mateo Event Center, San Mateo, CA
2014 River, Augmented reality collaboration with Shannon Novak, Bloom Festival, Santa Cruz, CA 2014 Olympic Games, Open Studios, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2014 Code War, Spring Arts Gala, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2013 Buried in the Sky, Open Studios, Santa Cruz, CA
2001 Young Guns, Art Directors Club, New York, NY
2000 ResFest Digital Film Festival: Audience Award, New York, NY
2000 American Shorts Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan
2000 Ottawa Film Festival: Audience Award, Ottawa, Canada
1998-2002 Avenue Amy, comedy series: Oxygen Network, New York, NY

What are your teaching credentials and speaking engagements?

2015 Lecturer, Arts Division, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2013-2015 Research instructor, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2001-2012 Lecturer, Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY


2016 Thesis Redux: panel discussion, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2016 Artist talk: ODETTA Gallery, “The Infantilisation of American Culture,” New York, NY
2015 Artists on Art: KZSC Radio Show: Featured guest, Santa Cruz, CA
2015 The Making of ‘Birth of Stars’: panel discussion, UC Santa Cruz Arts Division, Santa Cruz, CA
2014 Recontextualizing Liveness: Friday Forum for Graduate Research, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2012 Mapping a Concept—Delivering a Promise: Lecture, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
2012 TV Everywhere: Lecture, INSPIRE Symposium, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
2008 Follow Your Art: Speaker, HOW Design Conference, Boston, MA
2008 Guest Critic: Yale University New Haven, CT
2005 MOVE—Under the In uence: Host & Chairman, MOVE Conference, New York, NY
2003 Fresh Dialogue: Panelist, New Voices in Design, AIGA, New York, NY
2014 STUXNET: the first digital weapon of mass destruction: guest lecture, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
2013 Speak the Future: Interview for Conferize, New York, NY

More info:

Saatchi Art:
Fine Art America:

Interview with multimedia artist Joan Raspo Reviewed by JaamZIN on 7:25:00 PM Rating: 5
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