Helen Moga | Issue Eight Interview

I’ve been driven to make art all my life; topaint, draw, knit, sew, write and document. I gave up creative pursuits other than bad po-etry in middle school, and turned my focus to my burgeoning drug career instead. I returned full-heartedly to art-making 4 or 5 years ago,and it has been vital to my wellbeing; in mak- ing sense of my past, my psychology, fantasy,and identity. I specialize in studio portraiture photography, but don’t identify as a photogra-pher. I guess I’d categorize myself as a digital collage artist, but that doesn’t sound quite right either.

What set you off as an artist?

I always felt like an artist, but until the last year or so, I was too insecure to call myself an artist. After a break-up 2016, and long-term delusion that I could will this person back to me, I re-alised I had sacrificed building a life and anidentity based on the belief I couldn’t be an-ything or do anything significant on my own.The pain propelled me to take make work, and make work, and through making art i found self-worth. Getting sober again helped, too.

What are the themes you explore?

Themes in my work are post-apocalyptic, post-gender utopia; spiritual anticlimax; iden- tity exploration somewhere identity doesn’t matter; building a new world where it’s ok, etc.

What is your most essential tool?

77 My most essential tool is the human face.

What inspires you?

I’m obsessed with new, independent fash- ion-makers; they inspire me to not be limited by the traditional framework of any particular medium.

Tell us how you organise, plan, and prioritise your work

I am methodical in only one area: editing. I make it kind of arduous, but I go through images from a shoot about three times overbefore the final edits are complete. Then Ireturn and really fuck with a few. I often re- turn to a shoot as much as a year later, and I’ll see the shoot in a new way that enables me to create something detached from that time, which usually ends up more interesting. In every other aspect, I’m not a good planner, and mostly use my skills and adapt the energy and situation.

How do you navigate the art world?

I am trying to get out there, but I’m an intro- vert, so I’m ashamed to say my connection to the art-world is mostly propelled through instagram. I’ve connected with amazing local artists and collaborators through social media.

Any upcoming projects or exhibitions?

I am working on a project right now with an artist in Portland to create a photo set made out of coloured laser cut plastic to bring to life my digital collages. Meta.

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