Interview: Leila Jarman and Mike Leisz

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

Interview: Leila Jarman and Mike Leisz

Luca Curci talks with the duo MadAsHell, composed by Leila Jarman and Mike Leisz, about their idea of art during Pixels of Identities – Spain.

Leila Jarman is a visual artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her work is focused on the subversion of the social and political constructs that compose the fabric of our human-ness. She has directed documentary films including Voice of the Valley (2011) as well as music videos including No Hay Mas (2012) for Madrid, Spain based musical duo Lineas Albies and short films including Heart Beats, all of which have screened at film festivals and in galleries internationally.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

Mike Leisz is a digital artist, musician, and creative technologist based in Los Angeles. His work is focused on integrating technology and artistic practice to introduce new paradigms of thought regarding music composition and the creative illustration of our global society. He is currently attending CalArts’ Music Technology Interaction Intelligence and Design program.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

Luca Curci – When did you start practicing art and why?

Leila Jarman & Mike Leisz – We came together two years ago to form MadAsHell, a collaborative exploration of the cross section between film, music and technology. Our first work as a duo was Upbeat Nothingess, an experimental dance short, which is being exhibited at Pixels of Identity.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

L. C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

L. J. & M. L. – Our work is informed by themes of human interaction, disjunction, and entanglement. For example, the process for Upbeat Nothingness was an experiment in restricting communication between the artists involved. A set of emotional prompts (e.g., nostalgia, jealousy) were given to a choreographer and composer. The choreographer converted these into a vocabulary of movements, interpreted by five dancers, while the composer developed them into a series of musical motifs. What results is the outcome of the disjunctive relationship between concept and product.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

L. J. & M. L. – Our current ongoing projects include @glitchdagram, a glitch art commentary on selfie culture using Instagram as canvas, River of Blood, a music video EP release with Los Angeles performance artist MR.K, and a series of visual projections for live settings exploring themes of perception and distortion.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

L. C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

L. J. & M. L. – Don’t be overly concerned with what’s come before or what’s current. Just be authentic. Don’t overthink things. If you have an idea, just go for it, and make something. If you end up hating the result, that’s fine. Just start over again. Don’t be afraid to throw things away. Don’t be afraid to fail. We didn’t really have access to mentors and were never really given artistic advice. We just had to fail and learn from our mistakes, pick ourselves up and start again.

L. C. – What is art for you?

L. J. & M. L. – Art, like friendship or love, is something we do to give life meaning and make it fun.

MadAsHellImage courtesy of MadAsHell

L. C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization? Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

L. J. & M. L. – It is important for creators to have a space to connect to audiences and other working artists. We love the ArtExpo’s multi-layered approach, giving artists representation both in physical spaces and in the globally connected platform of the internet. Exposure to art and a network of globally connected artists will hopefully facilitate collaboration, opportunity, conversation and more.

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