Marc Boyson is a Fine Arts professor and teaches several classes to students within SVAD. He was gracious enough to sit down and talk about his recent gallery showing, There To Here…Reprise. His gallery showing is specific to the John C. Williams Gallery, unique and one-of-kind–a staple of Marc’s philosophy behind his art. Be sure to visit the gallery and view his impressive work, because it won’t be there forever!
What is the concept behind There To Here?
Most succinctly I’m thinking about the space between places and that journey. The work is representative of that kind of movement especially the habitual, the daily, the common. Within that there are days that are uncommon. I think about that basic idea of movement between spaces. What are the different ways I can record that?
Do you feel like you’ve captured that within this work?
I feel like it embodies that. I think it’s different in a sense of like maybe a viewer doesn’t know what I’m doing. It’s a riddle to them. I know that people that understood these wall [drawings] readily were people who were bus drivers or people who looked at GPS maps a lot in their driving. They immediately understood that these were roads versus other people who see them as lines or don’t have some signification.
But a lot of it is maybe denying the viewer too much information. It’s like the artist statement in that it gives you clues of what’s going on. Does that reference mapping? Yeah probably. There’s this earth kind of sense as these lines are kinda hidden and visible, so you may not be like “yeah, that’s a map” but there’s a sense of map in it.
Do you feel like your work and concept was well received at the gallery showing?
I was actually pretty amazed at the turn out. There was a lot of people that came. I feel blessed and grateful that many people were interested in finding out more about it. I like making work in kind of a fish bubble where people can see what’s happening cause it kind of demystifies the artist and the artwork. How do I demystify that? How do I make it relatable and grounded in something that’s familiar? Sometimes I, this may be a little selfish to say, I kind of just make stuff to see what it looks like for myself.
How long did it take you to prepare for the There To Here gallery showing?
The 71 kickabouts is roughly 71 hours of work. I just spread out one hour a day. I think leading up to it, I spent, other than thinking about how things were gonna be, probably a week and a half, and then the last two days before the opening between teaching and working on it, I don’t know, probably about 40 hours between those two days that I spent working on it.
Is it perfect? No. Is there stuff that I’d like to do different? Yes. Is there a next time? I mean we’ll go “yes, I’ll do that.” You know? Like okay.
Is this gallery the culmination of your travels or the beginning of a grander thing?
I wouldn’t say it’s a culmination and I wouldn’t say it’s the beginning. I think it’s just somewhere in the continuum of it. It’s just another iteration. This is the first time I’ve shown these in year arrangements. First year, second year, third year.
Some [days] destroy you and some don’t affect you that much. For me it’s a lot of that kind of thinking about daily living and thinking about what’s the beauty of today? Some days it’s hard to think that and I think the 71 kickabouts was kind of this interesting act ‘cause I had to reserve an hour of my day for a couple months to do these kicks. You know, what’s the act of doing this? What am I thinking? What am I feeling? There’s a way to just self-reflect. I mean I’m exercising at the same time, I’m doing multiple things, as well as making work and kind of contemplating on life.
Did you have a specific place you kicked the kickabouts?
Yeah because I’m on campus I was thinking about the major artery of the campus and moving and what does it mean to work here, what does it mean to make art here, what does it mean to exercise here? it was kind of this way to engage this space that I’ve used a lot, ya know, to go to the library or go to the administration building, or go to another building, or see another professor or whatever. I did the same movement every single time. I could have moved on all the sidewalks of the campus.
What was your process for building the kickabout, kicking it, and recording it?
I wanted to use cardboard that I had some type of connection to. That’s kind of weird. I used two different templates and depending on the cardboard sometimes I had to adjust it and modify it so that it could still be one piece, so that’s reflective in the way the tape marks are. The goal was to make one each day and kick it immediately. It would take me about an hour so 45 minutes to make it, 15 minutes to kick it.
I wore a jumpsuit that I bought to work in. A jumpsuit signifies work. When people saw me on the promenade it’s different because this guy is in a jumpsuit. I’m in samba shoes kicking this thing. I really wanted to signify to work, this is work that’s happening.
I was streaming out an app called Periscope where people from around the world could see what was going on at any time. So you had people from Russia, and Middle East, and Europe, and Finland, and local Tennessee people like “what are you doing?” Everyone’s asking “what are you doing?” It was cool on my last kick, I was kicking down the promenade near the library, and I’m sitting here looking at my phone recording me kick. Then I look up and there’s a guy walking towards me just looking at his phone. We mirrored each other. It was kind of symbolic of modern man staring at his phone, whatever’s on the screen.
What role does sound play in There To Here?
I’ve been interested in sound and this is probably the third time I’ve used sound in these installations. I think it does add another element, another human element. We relate to it more readily. Do I expect people to sit here and listen through that whole thing? Probably not. That’s several hours of annoying sounds. It’s meant to be these little snapshots.
You created your art directly on the walls, which will eventually be destroyed. What happens when the gallery changes?
Yeah it all goes way. This can never happen again this same exact way in this space. It’s very ephemeral, it’s indicative of this moment in time. It’s something very particular to a very small group of people that have come in and actually enjoyed this. I’ll have photographs of it as an artifact of that.
I saw lots of people, it’s kind of cool, taking selfies in front of different ones or whatever that they were interested in. I tell my students like art is a reflection of the signs of symbols of that time it was made in. And that selfie with my work, that’s a shared experienced. Now we’re collaborating. It becomes more human in a way because it is that communication, that sharing. Even though it’s a bunch of lines in mud and cardboard.
What’s your reaction when it all gets painted over?
It’s always bittersweet. I have the images so I remember that. I think that also informs how the next one’s gonna be. And I know that each space is going to be unique. For me that makes it more living than if I was just hanging canvases or hanging the same thing again and again. I wanna do it again somewhere else and I want to try in a different way. And that’s exciting.