URBAN CAMERA: An Interview with SIT of the Hybrid Thinking Exhibition

An exhibit on how disparate cultures come together to create something new.

Last Saturday, January 14th, despite the sudden chill in the city, I found myself attending the opening reception of Hybrid Thinking, a group exhibition curated by Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective. Apparently, the cold weather didn’t stop a lot of New Yorkers to gather on a Saturday evening at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea.  The gallery was packed. The crowd was diverse and the show seemed to be a great success.

The exhibit brought together 6 emerging artists from around the world to create a cohesive subject matter; Through figurative pairings of human and animal elements, the artists explore concepts of instinct, identity and metamorphoses. Sound a bit ‘heavy’ for a emerging artists exhibit? The curators put it in these words: “Hybrid Thinking refers to the current zeitgeist of our time: disparate cultures coming together to create something completely new. Though from distinctly different cultural backgrounds,  these artists share an understanding of our cities, of the human condition and our complex relationship with nature”  

The global artists in this Hybrid were  Dal, from Beijing, China (now based in Cape Town South Africa), Herakut, a duo based in Frankfurt, Germany, Hyuro, from Buenos Aires, Argentina (now based in Valencia, Spain, Roa, based in Belgium, Vinz, born and based in Valncia, Spain and SIT, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

My favorite piece in this exhibit was of SIT, from his NOIR series, which was also featured on the group show invitation. The semi-perfection of how the human and the animal bodies came together was, in my opinion, just brilliant.

I was lucky to be introduced to the artist (and to some of his ‘entourage’ who came from Amsterdam) and contacted him just before he flew back to Holland to ask him few questions about him and his Art.

In brief, SIT (1976) lives and works in Amsterdam. In his NOIR series, he examines the relationship between mankind and the animal through a bold black and white colors. He combines sensual textures of fur and feathers with dark brush strokes to create a contrast with pale, soft skin tones of female nude figurative with the rigidness of animal skulls.

When did you start doing your art?  

I started probably when I started to draw. It’s something that you don’t start like a job, but this process grows on you.  I was around 7 years old when I discovered the pencil and paper to express my self.

How do you get your inspirations? Movies? other artists?  

I’ll have to say that ‘everything’ inspires. Inspiration for me  necessarily  not  means  only movies, books, art or other creative things. Mostly I’ll get my inspiration from life itself;  The things that you see, hear and feel. The people you meet while traveling or the things you see while you are riding your bike. Inspiration is everywhere and little by little things get stuck in your head and needs to get a right place before I’ll get to work.

How does your design and advertising background influence your work  today?  

It infuences it a lot. Not as much as it did when I really started to focus on my paintings in 2008, but I can sence there is still a lot of advertising-kinda-choices that I make by doing paintings.

The way you were trained to have a certain space to put your creativity in, is still a big one. Sometimes I still struggle to let go this frame and step next to it. A prepared canvas always reminds me of a new document to work on. When you’ve bought yourself a role of canvas this feeling is gone and you’re more free to do whatever, and than decide what frame you’d like to have when your finished and cut it.  Another thing is the way I look at perspective or dynamics.

I’ve seen a lot trough the years. I’ve tried a lot to make prints, websites, posters, flyers, billboards, packaging & other stuff interesting for the eye.  A small (or big) space that you have to work in to and make it as beautiful as you can. Back in the days you start with filling up this space and make it as complicated as you can, because you like to show off with what you technically know.

Through the years I started to filter more and more what was important or not. What worked or not and came to the conclusion that it’s not the techniques that bring you forward, but the way you look at things.  Nowadays there is so much to see for the eye, that makes it hard to see things properly.

That’s why I have chosen to do other wise. A piece of white paper with a black dot on it, can make my day so much more colorful.

Do you work in a studio? at home?  

Unfortunately I work at home right now, but soon I’ll be moving to a new studio.  Can’t wait to splash that black around the room, instead of being careful for the missus and the dog.

What is your favorite collection?  NOIR for sure. All my series are based on what I experienced in that period of time. The past year I had to work a lot on myself in becoming somebody that I like seeing in the mirror. Before that, I lived quite a fast life without beeing aware of who I really was. Now I see a whole different world with all new doors to open and therefore I’ll have to thank NOIR for this. This series helped me see more clearly.

What are the plans for the future?

I don’t make plans. The plan will come to me.

All images are a courtesy of the artist.

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 chelsea, manhattan, roa

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