Carly Swenson • Intuitive Artist

lajes now: episode #99

I had the joy of being interviewed for Lajes Now almost a year ago about my work as an artist.  Earlier this year, we filmed an interview about my Seven Social Sins exhibition at the Angra Museum.  Due to many interesting local activities, and several more time-sensitive projects, it understandably took the video producer a while to finish his editing.  However, I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.  Both the filmmaker and his intern did a fantastic job of making a sort-of nervous, slightly awkward me sound very calm and articulate.  So– Thank you, seriously.

This interview was also tricky because as I have mentioned before, I struggle to explain my work. In addition to this, I had to take into account the intended audience, which is primarily military families, many of which tend to have more conservative leanings.  As the interview began, Paulette asked me to explain my pieces based on the concept, Commerce without Morality–I went into this long explanation of corporations intentionally misleading consumers, lobbyists unfairly influencing government policies to the detriment of people’s health and/or the environment, an entire beauty industry that thrives on making women feel inadequate and insecure about their bodies, while perpetuating stereotypical gender roles…and then Paulette politely stopped me….

“Okay, but we can’t use any of that.”

In my head, I then really struggled with what I could say. If the actual concepts behind the works were too controversial when based on the unsettling, but what seem to be fairly factual realities of our American cultural existence–what did I have left to say?


She empathized, “I get it. I get your work, and I really appreciate your work, but…we need to keep this piece as approachable as possible.”

(I entirely understood and respected her position. I get that working with the military (or marrying the military, in fact) comes with this hidden implied hindrance of free speech. We are all working toward the same goal, and it is best to keep on that path, and not try too hard to draw attention to those things some might find objectionable. It’s just a fact of our life. This is part of the subculture I married into.)

And for the remainder of the interview I worked to keep my explanations simple and safe. However, despite how much or little is said about my works–I deeply hope the majority speak for themselves.

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 8.01.29 PM
Click here to watch video interview.

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