Louviere and Vanessa two artist that produce work in response to their daily lives and the influences found in New Orleans. Their process-rich work uses various analogue materials and exploits their fragility and the way they behave under misuse. This creates visually rich and often ambiguous works.
How did you first get interested in the more unconventional forms of photography?
It’s more like the other way around, we see it as conceptual art that incorporates the camera. It becomes unconventional by default.
Do you begin to pre-visualise a body of work or is serendipity and chance invited in your process?
We do both. We develop concepts together, get a feel for the direction after some discussions and define some borders to work within. Once that’s done we have a new world to work in and chance and improve then come in.
How do you feel your mixed media and open approach to your work aids your creative process?
It helps create a holistic work. The mediums we employ are just as important to us as the ideas being realized.
Do you favour any particular tools, in terms of cameras, materials?
Not really. We use any and everything. When we don’t have something we make it. And we constantly experiment.
You seem to have an interest in new directions for historic processes, why is this important to you?
Some historic processes were limited by their time and we like to explore the idea that with new technology these practices can mean something more. Furthermore it works as a marker of sorts to add context to the imagery, like an adjective.
What is it about the mainly analogue process you use you find so interesting to work with?
We use digital also. Even our super 8 mm films are transfered for editing on the computer. But, analogue has a way of aging gracefully that digital can’t—it just corrupts.
Could you explain your working process for a series such as ‘Taxidermy’ or the initial portrait series on your website.
The Creature series? We were smitten with the idea of these manikins underneath the skins of dead animals and wanted to strip them away and use photography as a means to create personality and vitality. We started shooting them with planned setups to begin and as the photos developed so did each of the creatures personalities. Then we started directing our approach to illustrate those personalities. The actual photographic piece is printed on Gampi paper that mimics the color of the manikin’s “skin” and then we apply several layers of blood toned wax to create a second color.
Do you keep a journal or sketchbook; if so what form does it take?
We have a bookshelf of sketchbooks. We also have scraps of paper pinned to the walls and notes saved on the computer. Most of the contents are thoughts and theories that get mixed up from book to book and that can lead to some really bizarre combinations. There are also sketches and mockups for almost every photo and film.
Your work seems born of an interest sparked by mythology, how does your investigation process begin?
We try to pay attention to everything. Not that we do, but we try. Sometimes it’s a theme from a movie or a book. Other times it’s the daily process of living where we do (New Orleans) and trying to contextualize the insanity.
You seem interested in the flaws and mistakes in the processes, scratches in negatives and skipping film frames fro example what is your fascination and what do you think revealing / keeping these flaws adds to your work?
That’s part of the insanity! The idea that art should last forever is ridiculous. It’s only human and we are nothing if not flawed and scratched. The flaws invite a certain amount of chance and spontaneity in an otherwise mechanical medium and hints at the impermanence of art and its makers.