WLRN Interviews Theaster Gates @ The Locust Projects

Theaster Gates

Theaster Gates, Chicago Installation Artist Credit: Elaine Chen, WLRN

Theaster Gates currently has an installation on display through December 21, 2012 at the Locust Projects in Wynwood called Soul Manufacturing Corporation.  WLRN sat down with the artist to gain insight into the spiritual aspect of manipulating materials.

From WLRN… Matthew Dercole is making bricks using only crude, wooden instruments. He’s what artist Theaster Gates calls a “skilled maker,” one of three in this installation.

While Dercole pounds out brick after brick, Pei-Hsuan Wang is producing black porcelain ware through a process called slipcasting — making pottery using a mold rather than a wheel.

The third maker, Yoko Fukuta, is shaping clay on a wheel to create Japanese-style ceramics producing what Gates calls soul-food wares. He says he plans to use them in a series of soul-food restaurants he hopes to open back home in Chicago.

Gates himself is making a shallow, wide bowl.

“It’s actually a very apt shape for eating collard greens,” said Gates.

But the Chicago-based artist is more than a potter. His installation examines the act of creating things. He believes making things is making meaning.

“Making meaning feels like a very human and very spiritual act. That when one decides to care for materials enough to manipulate them, you learn a lot about yourself and you learn a lot about materials.”

Read the full story on WLRN