AHC: Can you tell us a bit about your process, themes & inspirations?
Ezra: My creative process begins with the idea of a new experiment. I work in a chain like process, each work is a development from earlier works and no work is complete. Once I have a flash of a new idea I begin exploring it in every way possible, branching out in various directions. Many of these creative paths might end short or not connect with the others.
Once I feel satisfied learning the possibilities and impossibilities, I strip down and focus on the finds. The process activities can include walks to observe the everyday, readings on the subject, or even doing other intervention projects that would allow me to have distance and possibly to find a means to re-approach the subject from a different angle.
Generally to realize my idea I need to make the idea exist outside myself, I need to produce it. I make the art to learn the idea, to search what it can offer me.
Sometimes it takes me even years to know what the heck I was doing or searching about.
My recurring themes have been mobility, everyday icons, celebration, fragmented space and shifting time.
I find inspiration in everything outside my studio space. I sometimes think my work tries to defy the neutral studio striving instead to be part of everyday life, however, I continuously need and use the studio so that I can sort out influences and develop ideas.
AHC: What first drew you to art? Was there a specific moment in your life or turning point where it became clear to you that you were being called to create?
Ezra: I believe what drew me to a visual art as a young kid was its means to communicate inner feelings.
I always made art, I actually don’t remember when I started making art. In college I had an elective course in studio art/ drawing. It was just a couple of years after I migrated to the US from Ethiopia. Everything was new, language, culture, weather--- the three hour class was therapeutic, I felt like I could process the experience, I could breath.
I then wanted to take more art classes which required me to be a major. I majored in painting and all the doors opened.
AHC: Can you tell us about your technique of time-based painting?
Ezra: For my time based painting/ stop action animation, I use a single canvas that is stapled to a wall. On the opposite wall a camera is mounted. The camera is connected to a computer. After making a line or shape or an image I take a picture of the painting and paint the next scene on top of it.
I keep working on the same canvas until I feel satisfied with the exploration. I then import the images to a video editing software add with sounds and make an animation.
In this process the confinement to a singular authenticity is forever gone eventhough its progress has been documented. The documentation aspect serves as an indexical vehicle connecting the past with the present.
This technique interest me because of its life like experience. You can only be present or move forward. As one who migrated between geographies the idea of a singular time and space is also no longer true for me. For instance Ethiopia follows the Julian calender which is 8 years behind the Gregorian calendar, I’m born in two different years.
This inbetween-ness of identity can only be reconciled through keeping the past to make sense of the present and moving forward to be here and now, to adapt, to embrace the ephemeral in the everyday.
AHC: Who are some of your artistic influences? Is there anyone outside of the art world who has had a huge impact on your work, writers, filmmakers, philosophers etc?
Ezra: The artistic influences of my early years were renaissance painters. I learned mixing paint by copying their work. I was interested in their narrative construction, use of body language, and the ambiguity of time and place.
My influences include the utopic aspects of Ethiopian Socialist murals, the love of outside studio life of plain air Impressionism, the artistic puritanism of the New York Abstract Expressionists, the clarity and order of Suprematism, the humor and mobility in Dada, the ephemeral works of Song Dong and so on.
AHC: What is the first work of art you encountered that took your breath away?
Ezra: Probably art in its own way, some of my breathtaking visual experiences have been; a drive from Colorado to Utah through giant red rocks, the never ending mountain range of Semien Gondor, over 5000 Kungufu pupils wearing the same uniform at Shi Xiao Long Kungofu school, a swimming mother Polar bear at a zoo in Singapore...
AHC: Do you have any upcoming exhibits or new projects you’d like to tell people about?
Ezra: This coming fall I’m very excited to be in a couple of group shows one at the Drawing Center, New York (www.drawingcenter.org), and another at Addis Fine Art, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (www.addisfineart.com). I’m also thrilled to be awarded the Lower Manhattan Workspace residency program (www.lmcc.net/workspace/).
To find more of Ezra's work and for further information visit his website at www.ezrawube.net/
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.