Fatemeh Hajiani, thirtyninehotel finance director and N. Trisha Lagaso Goldberg, curator
I've realized that I haven't written much about the actual process onsite when “I” create and install my work. After working on the project Produced by Marina Perez-Wong, Ramie J. Jiloco, Jose Reyes Jr., Jaime Antanacio for Megan Wilson for the Galleon Trade exchange in Manila, my awareness of transparency and acknowledgement for process has become more heightened. The installation for This Fever I Can't Resist is a great example of my process and the creative collaboration that I have with those who work with me to bring it to the final presentation.
thirtyninehotel curator, N. Trisha Lagaso Goldberg invited me and Carolyn Castaño to create an installation for the space in November 2007. Trisha left it up to Carolyn and me to decide how we would present our work together – full collaboration throughout the space, dividing up areas within the space for our individual works, or some of both.
Trisha sent us images of the space and described the atmosphere as a nightclub/gallery and its location in Chinatown.
Megan Wilson, Preliminary Drawing
Carolyn and I have worked together on many projects over the past 12 years so we're very familiar with each other's work, often providing feedback for one another. We talked about the context for the exhibition, the intersections of our work, and our experiences with Hawai'i. These discussions led to This Fever I Can't Resist, for which Carolyn came up with the title. Each of us then began making preliminary drawings and plans for the show, having decided that we'd utilize the walls separately with a few spaces that would collide and that we'd both use some of the same fluorescent colors to tie our work together.
My process for preparation in almost all of my work includes creating drawings and selecting a color palette based on the conceptual premises that I'm exploring. The drawings are sometimes very deliberate and drafted to scale for the work, other times they're loose sketches I use to guide the work. However, the execution of my installations always includes the element of intuitive unknown left to the moments when I'm actually in the space working. Most of the time I also have at least several other artists helping me to install because of the scale of space that I like to work with. When this is the case, I always will ask the artists for their feedback, as well as their participation in the creative process, giving them full license to incorporate their designs (within the parameters that I'm already working) into the installation. I don't always keep their contributions as part of the final product, but more often than not I do.
The first day that I spent at thirtyninehotel after my arrival in Honolulu was with curator, N. Trisha Lagaso Goldberg. I wanted to get a good feel for the space and bounce my ideas off Trisha. Being the great curator that she is and having worked with me in the past when she was the Executive Director of Southern Exposure gallery in San Francisco (for my show The Irresistible Terror of Loveliness), Trisha mentioned that she really liked the horizons lines/stripes that I have been working with as a background for a couple of my recent installations. I hadn't planned on using this visual element in the exhibition at thirtyninehotel, however after Trisha brought this up, I could see how it could be a great anchor visually for the organic shapes/landscape that I planned to work with.
Gelareh Khoie, thirtyninehotel owner
For This Fever I Can't Resist, Trisha arranged for two students – Nate Balcombe and Allison Uttley - from the Printmaking Department at the University of Hawai'i to assist Carolyn and me during the installation. Professor Gaye Chan recommended them and she couldn't have selected two more perfect artists. Nate and Allison were awesome and invaluable to the process – as assistants, and ultimately collaborators. Nate was great with drawing flowers. He was able to recreate one of my own favorite flower drawings (the large drippy centerpiece), as well as draw many of his own that helped to make the overall composition more interesting by mixing it up. Allison was a natural at working with the textiles to create beautiful sections that complimented mine and also strengthened the work. Finally, as the time was becoming very tight for finishing up before the opening, Carolyn added many flourishes to the flower designs.
This collaborative process and the friendships that often develop from it are among the most satisfying experiences of the work I do.