ARTIST KHALIL CHISHTEE
We sit down and talk “TRASH” with the amazingly talented Artist Khalil Chishtee
Can you tell us a little about yourself where you’rE from and where you’rE based now:
I was born in Lahore (Pakistan).
I started making art even before going to school, and because of my extraordinary art skills I was one of the most famous kids in THE neighborhood. At the age of 14 I had already started drawing from live models and painting landscapes from spots. After finishing my BFA from Nation College of Arts Lahore I started teaching there. During and after studies I did several public commissions for almost every major city of Pakistan.
In 2002 I moved to California and did my masters in Studio Arts from California State University in Sacramento. In 2009 moved to New York City.
After leaving Lahore I became a citizen of the universe. although I live in Brooklyn New York i travel frequently and consider myself more of a global citizen, resident of every city and face of every town.
Tell us about your work including the inCredible “Trash Bag” project:
Art to me is more of an expression than making art just for the sake of art, so to express myself I don’t just restrict myself to one form of art; every idea or concept also brings its own form, material and medium.
I often use just simple text to express myself.
When it comes to my figurative work trash bags are my favorite material. I discovered this material during my first visit to NYC where around 2: am the whole city was littered with garbage bags.
I did several art commissions in NYC. One of the most elaborate projects was for “Castle Braid” a newly built 5 story apt building in bushwick brooklyn WHICH I TURNED into my art installation. Everything is made out of recycled material and objects, besides Castle Braid, I also did the façade of another building in bushwick which i named “House of Words”
Near Time Square on 38th st between 7th and 8th Ave I did the complete lobby of a building by using colorful broken pieces of plywood “Nothing is Wasted”.
Can you share with us your creative process and philosophy:
In art, one has to be the voice of one’s own time, not an echo of another era. We live in the age of plastic, and plastic trash bags are the most ordinary form of this material. It goes back to the Sufi approach of my upbringing where worth does not depend on what you inherit, it depends on who you are. Anything made out of bronze, wood, stone or painted on a canvas carries the appearance of being worth looking at, because of its history, but if one can change the impact of that history, one is an artist.
Using shredded, bunched, bundled, and knotted plastic bags; I create evocative figural sculptures imbued with emotional tension, I mostly work only with the bags themselves, constructing my sculptures by artfully manipulating the plastic as if I am working with clay. Trash bags feel like clay in my fingers, No adhesive or thread is ever used to construct the sculptures. As in “Your Success, My Failure (2007)”, My figures are often shown in the midst of fraught narratives that refer to the pain and pleasure of love. In this work, a woman walks precariously across a tightrope, while a man gazes up at her, ready to protect her if she falls.
What’s next for you:
I am working towards a solo show in New Delhi India, where I am constructing figures by using Urdu calligraphy.