C19 GALLERY RESIDENT INTERVIEWS
ISHA RAM DAS
Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become an artist?
I’m a composer and sound artist usually based in Melbourne. I’m here in Brisbane to wait out COVID-19.
Whilst I consider myself a composer foremost, I am happy to oblige the label of artist. Formally trained in theatre and composition, I somehow stumbled into art-making through the influence of collaborators and an inability to enforce professional boundaries.
How do you describe the work that you make?
Collaboration is at the core of my practice. I like to take big and overwhelming things and reduce them into small, tender, human things. Macro to micro and micro to macro.
What’s your earliest memory of making art? Do you feel like the work you make now has a connection to that moment?
I remember fixating on the sound when they cut cardboard in Playschool. I suppose I still like sounds that tickle your ears.
When did you realise you needed a studio space? Was it a conscious decision or something you’ve always understood to be a requirement for being an artist?
This space has entirely changed my process. I’m working on a physical scale that would have been impossible before. Even my note-taking methods are bigger. Butchers’ paper > sketchbook.
Can you tell us a little about your process? What does a day in the studio look like for you? Do you spend entire days in the studio, or do you flit in and out?
I’m here almost every day. I’m in research mode at the moment so I’ve been spending a lot of time staring at a screen. I bought one of those portable manual espresso machines and I would highly recommend it (I’m using a NanoPresso). I’m actually drinking so much coffee that I’m developing mouth ulcers.
Outer Space is situated in the cultural hub of Brisbane, with major institutions and commercial galleries within walking distance. Does this impact your experience of the studio? If so, how?
The galleries are closed – but I do find the Paul’s Milk Factory pretty inspirational.
How important is a location to studio spaces? What are the essentials you have in mind when looking for somewhere to work?
For me, having a quiet, private space is essential.
Finally, why is art, and being an artist important right now?
Sometimes I find this thought overwhelming. Art sometimes has the ability to articulate a feeling that you didn’t know existed within yourself. It might not help you describe that feeling, but it can point at it and tell you “Hey! This thing exists! Look closer!”. It’s feeling-centric. I think most of us are reckoning with unknown feelings right now.