Posted February 2, 2017 by Cooper Point Journal in Arts & Culture

Blaine Ewig

Cover Artist

Blaine is one of my dear friends, she is tough and angry—in the best doesn’t take people’s shit will always have my back in a fight sort of way—and tells me she thinks art is stupid. Yet she takes beautiful, tender, intimate, weird photographs of her friends (including in this case, me) as well as still lifes captured in ways that exude care. She’s traveling right now, so I messaged her some questions from the bar with our friend Joe. In retrospect I realize I should have just asked her about that one time someone punched a Monet. -Felix Chrome


Much of your work seems to be focused on bodies, but there is a partialism to it; what is your relationship to the body as an object in your work?

I don’t really think about it as partialism. And I don’t necessarily like to think of the body as an object in my photos. All of the bodies I photograph are parts of really interesting people, with different relationships to their bodies and feelings and the world. Maybe that sounds cheesy as fuck?? But I hate the idea of a body as a straight up object and my initial reaction is to resist that.

You also work with more traditional portraiture, do you see your work where the body is elided, abstracted, made strange, etc. as the same or different from this other work?

Bodies are strange no matter what you do with them. I like to highlight that when I have the opportunity to, but people usually want to hide it. When I shoot portraits, I’ve never had someone say “make me strange,” but nearly everyone expresses in some way their wish to look “beautiful” or otherwise desirable based on some gross standard of what desirable is. I think it’s interesting to teeter the line of what’s considered pretty or beautiful and what’s considered awkward, weird, ugly, or scary, in order to break down why that’s so.

Do you consider there to be a politic or ethic to your work?

I don’t think anything can be apolitical. So in that way, yeah, there’s a politic to it I guess. But I don’t think that my work is trying to actively politicize anything necessarily. If something I make is viewed as political it’s because I made it and I’m not going to try and detach my beliefs and my experiences (as well as those of my subjects) from the outcome. When artists try to do that it’s as if they’re trying to say that they don’t exist in the real world, and that’s a blatant lie. A separation of life and art and politics is ridiculous to me. It’s all the same. Or, it should be.

Joe Says: do your think your art is prepared to make tangible change in the world? I add: Why not?

No, I don’t think art can change the world. I think that’s something artists say to make themselves feel good. My “””art””” or work or whatever… it isn’t going to change anything. I don’t need to pretend it will because I don’t need to feel good. To change the world you have to, like, tell your friends you love them, or break a window, or fight a cop, or talk about your feelings, or light something on fire or whatever.

One time in the CPJ you said “Blaine hates art and doesn’t want to talk about it”? Do you have a response to your past self?

Nah, still true.