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Charles Shedden

Interview

What is your ideal office?

 

Currently I’m occupying an actual office for my art-making, two floors of an abandoned office building in SoHo. Think fully-equipped Internet start-up space, everything in its place but the techies. Initially I came here to write, but I like to juggle a number of different disciplines simultaneously, painting, sculpture and bookmaking, in addition to the writing. Just prior to this I spent six weeks plein-air painting on the beaches of Saint Martin. Before that I spent almost ten years in a once-abandoned railroad station from the 1800s. My kitchen table in Brooklyn is also a serious competitor. So long as the office is mildly efficient, it’s ideal.

 

What is an object that has made a remarkable impression on you?

 

Nothing. I’m fully convinced things are built intentionally poor to keep us in the market for items that actually work (but those items ain’t coming). Everything I have, new or old, expensive or cheap, is BROKEN.

 

What was the last profound experience you shared?

 

That’s an obvious one, but it’s too recent and far too personal to discuss and implicates another… But I can describe this interview process as a profound one. Reflecting on what I do, putting words to it, sharing with strangers—foreign territory to me. Keeping my intentions locked in my head has been the tradition, so I am learning there’s a time and place for both sharing and privacy.

 

How do you live an uncommon life?

 

I think I do more of what I enjoy than most people. People die out of the blue—not something I necessarily dwell on, but the idea is there—so I think this is why I stay uncommonly productive and focused. I spend as much time, effort, and resources as I see fit, everything else is frivolous, and I consider myself frugal. My hobby has consumed my life, but in the best way possible.

 

What is your greatest mistake thus far?

 

Not interacting with enough people at Blair Academy.

 

You often depict women as comical or even grotesque—how are you inspired by the female form?

 

Dim the lights, I’m not interested in seeing anything gross. I’m just kidding, I love every bit, right down to the stray nose hairs (how do you girls not know they’re there?). I remember being awful at drawing up until incorporating and depicting the female form, primarily from fashion magazines. I would basically sit down and draw Allure, Elle, Vogue cover-to-cover. Then I took a break from depicting the human form, thinking it’s senseless to make art that is meant to be beautiful, because ultimately it will always fall short of the real thing, and that’s still true for me. I grew out of depicting the female form for a time, but luckily grew back into it.

 

What role does language play in your work?

 

The moniker owvbics started as a pictogram. The haphazard string of letters also refers to nothing else in terms of its searchability on the web. Considering my professional life outside of producing artwork, I didn’t want anyone I was conducting business with to Google Charles Shedden and find out that I was also drawing pussy all day. It’s anonymous, but not psychotically anonymous. Mildly anonymous. Beyond the moniker I use text in a multitude of ways: editing phonebooks, using country codes to write blurbs in text message-like speak, my sketchbooks are primarily text pieces, and now I’m writing a novel/poem. Text implies clarity, but is so vague and relies so much on assumption and interpretation—no secret it’s slippery, making language an endlessly enjoyable toy.

 

How would you like to die?

 

Following the grand finale of an all-girl orgy I’ll be good to go, just like any sane person

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