Other Investigations: Emily Kozik

Emily Kozik is a Chicago based artist, who has been featured on Make Space in June and September! She has a dynamic, experimental practice that explores space and focuses on materiality. 

On materials and medium:

I use really ordinary materials for my sculptures- things you could find at the hardware or craft store. Lately I’ve been working more with cement, but I use a lot of wooden dowels, rope, twine, wool, things like that. I think I started working with those kinds of materials because they were easy to get and when I had an idea, I just wanted to start working on it, instead of having to search out the best material for it. It’s also really important to me that the viewer doesn’t have to spend time figuring out how or what I used to make the piece, I want them to look at it, and know what it is. I think using really ordinary materials allows my work to be accessible to a larger audience, so everyday people like my dad or my neighbor already feel like they have some investment in the work since they know what it’s made out of.

On process and research:

My process is more about having materials in front of me and doing, experimenting, taking photographs, thinking it sucks or thinking its awesome, redoing it, and going from there. Looking at what else I have to work with, or what other materials I could get at Home Depot and trying to combine all those things and put them together in a way that feels right. I print out a lot of photos of experiments I’ve done, hang them up on the wall, compare them, write notes on them about what’s working and what’s not. There are a lot of late nights staring at my computer screen scrolling through the same photos, trying to figure out why I think they make sense. My work ends up being pretty intuitive, so it’s hard to pin down a process, but in the end, some kind of lightbulb always goes off and I say “ohhh, that’s why I was doing that!”

Overall, my work has a pretty consistent theme, so with each piece, I always feel like I can push it in a new way to talk about a different aspect of people’s blindness to their surroundings, or find a new way to draw the viewer in. Once I feel like I’ve found one good way to get people’s attention or draw them in, it’s hard for me to try and break out of that box. I get stuck a lot and because of that, I tend to have two or three projects going on at once. Right now, I’m working on a mail project that, as far as I can tell so far, has nothing to do with the other work I’m making and really just functions as a solid way for me to keep making things for a set audience and not have to worry about anything too conceptual. Then I get sick of that and go back to sculpture. It’s always been a see-saw sort of action between feeling inspired and driven, and totally lost and out of ideas.

On space and site:

My geographical location has a huge impact on my work. It determines the materials I’m using based on what is available around me and what kind of landscape I will incorporate my work into. When I was in Ireland this summer, my work had more to do with lush green landscapes and the bay that was nearby, whereas when I am in Chicago, my work looks more at urban decay and how we exist in an urban environment. Location is super important and definitely shapes my work.