Los Angeles Based Artist Harley "Lafe" Eaves
採訪編輯 Interview and Edited by｜謝蕎安 Joanne Hsieh
圖文 Image courtesy｜Harley Lafe Eaves
洛杉磯 Los Angeles, California
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where you're from and what are your recommendations for visitors?
Harley：「我在密蘇里州的聖路易長大，那是一個中西部的老舊磚城，我沒有更好形容他的方式。我認為他是一個蠻複雜的城市，我不討厭但也不愛他。對我來說他永遠都會是一個鬧鬼的城市，如果你在那邊待上一段時間，他會默默依附著你，一輩子糾纏你。或許每個城市都是如此... 如果你拜訪聖路易，你可以去The Arch，但如果想做點更通俗的，可以去參觀 Lemp Brewery的鬼屋秀，雖然我從來沒去過，但他是一個景點。」
I grew up in St. Louis MO, it’s a dusty brick city midwest town I have no way to really describe it in like a normal or short kind of way. I think it’s a pretty complicated town, I neither love it, nor hate it. It‘s haunted and will remain that way for me, if you have ever spent time there it will attach it self to you in a way that will produce nostalgia for the rest of your life. To be fair, maybe all cities are that way... I suppose if you went there you should go do something like go to the Arch, but if you were to be more kitschy I would suggest taking a ghost tour of the Lemp Brewery, although to be fair I have never done that, but it seems like a thing to do.
Can you briefly explain the “spooky” motifs in your work?
Harley：「我一直都受到“鬧鬼"這個概念吸引，以及如何運用它來象徵當代議題。我喜歡這樣形容- 我的創作，和讓人昏頭轉向、同時主張平權的"迷幻"、“浮誇” (Camp, 註一）的美感元素共處一室。同時裡面還躺著“用藥”的都市傳說、愛戀、超自然秘密、還有文化現象。」 I have always just gravitated toward the notions of haunts, and how that can be used to symbolize contemporary issues. I tend to describe it in this way - My work lies in the same bedroom as the psychedelic and Camp aesthetic that promotes confusion while postulating equality. Along with it lie drug folklore, love, occult conspiracies, and cultural phenomena.
「像Ｘ檔案裡的探員福斯（agent Mulder），但是充滿不安的青春期的他，坐在大麻煙霧瀰漫的房間裡，牆上掛著聖誕裝飾燈和迷幻的海報，多肉植物和形狀不明的陶藝品散落在窗框上，他試圖用Pink Floyd's的 Dark Side of the Moon 迷倒他的搭檔探員史考莉，背景裡的電視正在上演綠野仙蹤。」
It is as if the work were Fox Mulder, from the popular FOX network show The X-Files, as an angst- ridden teenager sitting in a bedroom filled with bong smoke, Christmas lights, psychedelic posters, succulent plants, with odd ceramic sculptures littering the window sill, who is trying to impress his partner Dana Scully by playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while the M.G.M. production of The Wizard of Oz plays in the background.
Ｑ：可以給我幾個你如何運用 “鬼” 來象徵當代議題的例子嗎？
Can you give a couple of examples of using the idea of “haunts” to symbolize or reflect contemporary issues?
Harley：「我試著把這些元素埋藏在作品中，但是我成長的歷程包含了一種對於手裝書、（混）錄音帶、house shows、以及（沒有更好的詞彙）“龐克 DIY 美感”的瞭解，雖然我不太同意這個字彙。90年代初期有一個我很喜歡的樂團 Huggy Bear，他們有首歌叫作 “Her Jazz"，這是個人看法，我覺得它是對於 1960年代的嬉皮文化未能做到他們所提倡的 “打倒父權、捍衛人權”，而感到極度痛惜的一首歌。 I try to layer them in the work, but I grew up with a certain type of understanding that came from zine culture, mix tapes, house shows, and for lack of a better universal word a sort of “punk D.I.Y. aesthetic” although I am fairly uncomfortable with that word. There was a band I liked a lot in the early 90’s called Huggy Bear and they had a song called “Her Jazz”, from my perspective I always saw it as this kind of seething lament of a failed history that was promised by the hippie counter culture of the 1960’s, this sort of leveling of the patriarchy and a call to humanism.
「我們對於 女巫 以及 其他妖怪 的著迷與喜愛，是永遠縈繞在我們文化中的一部分，這讓我感到很有趣。小時候我經常看綠野仙蹤，我總是比較同情邪惡女巫，我想如果有人用一座房子壓死我的姐妹，還偷走她的鞋子，我應該也會很生氣，在那種狀況下誰知道我會做出什麼？但是女巫這個符號代表某種程度的邪惡，（這是一個我快速生出的答案，）張牙舞爪的女巫，和惡魔屬於同一陣線上，是人們用來展現對女人的懼怕的一個符號。」
I think our cultural fascination with the Witch or Other is a part of this “Cultural Haunt”-- it’s our attachments with the Witch that I find fascinating. I watched the Wizard of Oz a lot as a child growing up, and I always sided with the Wicked Witch, I think I would be pretty annoyed too if someone dropped a house on my sister, and then stole her shoes- whose to say what I would do in that same situation. Yet the Witch as a symbol is meant to showcase some sort of evil right? Im being fairly quick with this response, but to boil it down the Witch as this gnarled entity that is somehow in league with the devil is man’s way of showcasing fear of women.
「可能身為家中最小的、又是唯一的男孩子，在女權強大的家庭中長大，女巫常常是一個帶有幽默感的玩笑用詞。就像用父權主義的角度來解析 “龐克美感” 一樣，很camp（浮誇的美感）和迷幻、把性別混肴在一塊的一種審美，來質疑（社會）原先看待這些元素的態度。我喜歡翻轉這些符號的意義。」
I suppose growing up the youngest and only male child in a matriarchal family the Witch has then always represented this kind of tongue in cheek type of humor. Like an appropriation of a patriarchal lens into something align with, again for lack of better word a “punk aesthetic” that is also pretty camp and psychedelic in that it is blending the gender definition into a way that is questioning the original context of a notion. I enjoy that.
What is it you want the viewer to take away from your work?
Harley：「可能是一個對話、或許一個微笑。我希望能帶給他們一些美好的衝擊，但我喜歡讓觀者自己決定他們要帶走什麼。我注重在使用可以打亂現實狀態的材質來創作，但是觀者是否著重在一樣的重點是一個美妙的時刻，我喜歡聽其他人對作品的註解。不只是我個人（的作品），其他創作也一樣，我非常喜歡聽別人解釋他們為何會喜歡一件作品。」 Maybe a conversation, maybe just a smile. Hopefully something strikes them and they have a nice sensation, but it’s really up to them what it is they’re going to take away, I am concerned with a displacement in reality, and use materials and work to get to those questions, but wether or not the viewer is concerned with the same thing is a pretty beautiful moment, I always like hearing others‘ opinions on what it means to them. Not just with my work, but work in general, I really love those moments when people explain to me why they think one way or another about a piece of work.
Ｑ：你的美感來源是什麼？（我看到你最近使用很多鮮豔的霓虹色、鮮綠、桃紅等等）What inspire your aesthetic choices? (colors, patterns, application of paint...etc. I’m seeing lots of neon red, green, hot pink lately. ) Harley：「有時候我會設想 John Waters（美國男導演、編劇、監製、作家、演員、視覺藝術家和藝術收藏家）會不會喜歡我的作品，如果答案接近“可能”或是“會”，我便知道自己這次有達標。」
Some days I try to consider if John Waters would like my work, and if the answer I come up with is closer to a Maybe or Yes then I think I have done a decent job with my aesthetics.
Do you have a favorite medium to work with and form of presentation?
Harley：「我沒有排先後名次，對於所有嘗試的材料我都喜歡。對於其他藝術家的創作我也抱持同樣態度，我不會偏好某種材質或表現方式。我傾向喜歡使用固定色譜的作品，大概僅止於此。」 I like all the things I play with, there is not really a hierarchy within my practice. Same thing for other artists, there is not one form or medium that I prefer over others. I tend to like work that have similar color palettes that I am thinking about, but that might be about it.
Can you name some of your favorite artist/writer?
Harley：「喜歡的藝術家一直都會更新，但幾位固定的抱括：Kira Shewfelt，Joan Brown（美國畫家，1938-1990），接下來應該是 Mike Kelley (美國藝術家，1954-2012），David Hockney。老實說被問到“最喜歡的”，我不會特別挑，如果我們有一個關於藝術的對談，我可能會把你的創作跟意見捧在手心。當我需要被激勵的時候我會去看由Ken Burns製作的紀錄片棒球。」
It changes regularly but some that stick with me or that I currently like are: Kira Shewfelt, Joan Brown, Mike Kelley, David Hockney - Honestly its a pretty long list I don’t think I'm that choosey with the word favorite- if we’ve ever had a conversation about art together I probably walked away having your work and words kept in very high regard in my opinions. Ken Burns Baseball documentary is something I will watch when Im looking to get motivated.
「至於作家- 我比較偏向關注故事的主題。最近我讀很多 Mark Fisher的文章。Salman Rushdie有關綠野仙蹤的文章很棒，很能引起我的共鳴。」 As for writers, mostly it’s subjects of whatever I'm obsessed with. These days Ive been reading Mark Fisher’s essays. Salman Rushdie’s essay on the Wizard of Oz is incredible and highly relatable to me.
Can you tell us about your educational background and art related experiences?
Harley：「我在2000年初在堪薩斯市立藝術學院的印刷部拿到藝術學士學位，然後搬到舊金山，一頭栽進藝術圈，在那裡我得到很多支持。後來我搬回聖路易，在華盛頓大學拿到碩士學位，主要是因為我想教授藝術和藝術理論。」 I went to Kansas City Art Institute for a BFA in printmaking in the early 2000’s, then I lived in SF and kinda just dove into the art world there, with a lot of love and support from that community. I moved back to St. Louis and got a Masters at Washington University, primarily because I wanted to teach art, and theory.
What were your favorite activities as a child, and do they have significance in your artistic practice today?
Climbing trees, watching movies, getting lost, watching the Wizard of Oz, and other musicals with my older sisters. Halloween and holidays in general has always been something I have been fascinated with when you’re a kid, those decorations and lights, I mean, for me that was and still is so rad and weird that people do that. Im still so much into that oddity of tradition.
I think it all comes into the work in one way or another for sure.
Do you collect anything?
Harley：「最近比較少了，我剛搬回到加州，所以把很多東西都送人了。但有時我的怪僻會復發，如果我撿到一顆好石頭我會把它留下來。」 Not as much these days- I just moved back to California, so I gave a lot of things away. But my obsessive behavior comes out in odd ways still, if i find a nice rock I’ll keep it.
What's your best memory / experience as an artist so far; and the most challenging experience?
Harley：「當教授以後我有幸和一些很棒的學生合作，這可能是最好、同時也是最大的挑戰。但是看著學生慢慢找到屬於自己的創作聲音和美感，可以自信的對作品侃侃而談，這是最美好的經驗。」 I have had the honor of being a professor to some pretty rad students, that might be both the best and most challenging all rolled into one. But I watching a student figure out their own voice, aesthetics and then be able to confidently discuss their work has been the best thing I can think of.
Ｑ：你得到過最好的建議是？ What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Let it go, stop over thinking.
What are some short and long-term goals?
Harley：「我最近的目標都蠻居家的。但我想要發表一些論文，這已經考慮蠻幾年了。可能沿著太平洋岸的一些山徑爬山，或是阿帕拉契山的林間步道。」 Most of my goals are fairy domestic ones these days. But I'd like to publish some essays, that’s something I have considered for a few years now. Hmmm.... I don’t know maybe hike a trail like the Pacific Coast, or Appalachian Trail- either or both would be cool.
Ｑ：你聽什麼類型的音樂？最喜歡的電影或書籍是？ What music do you listen to? Favorite movie/book?
Harley：「我聽音樂會隨著當天的心情或是季節變換，最近幾年很喜歡聽 Shannon and the Clams。我喜歡看很糟的電影，（笑）來大笑用的，但我喜歡 Gene Wilder 的電影。書籍方面，我常聽哈利波特有聲書、podcast、喜劇秀、或重複聽一首歌。但我也會看任何有娛樂也能讓我學到資訊的書，如果要推薦的話，Jack Black的 "You Cant Win"，透過一個技巧嫻熟的流浪漢小偷的視角觀看20世紀初美國舊金山，是一個訊息量豐富而且精彩的故事。」 Music ranges and varies depending on time of day, mood, season, etc... I have really been into Shannon and the Clams though for a few years now. Movies, I tend to watch really bad movies, mostly just to laugh, but I like Gene Wilder movies. Books, in the studio I will listen to Harry Potter audio books, posdcats, comedy albums, or a song over and over. But reading for fun, I tend to go for anything that will entertain me and teach me something- but if you would like a recommendation - You Cant Win by Jack Black is a great study on the American landscape at the turn of the century from the perspective of a cat burgling, hobo, primarily taking place in SF, I found it to be a pretty informative and amazing tale. 特別感謝 Harley "Lafe" Eaves
Special thanks to Harley Lafe Eaves