Talking ‘sublime comfort’ with Sublime Seoul
Melbourne artist Tamar Gordon - aka Sublime Seoul - mediates and refracts her practice through the subconscious. This intuitive energy unveils the unimaginable. For Gordon, art is therapeutic: a surreal comfort embedded within abstract expressionism and creative intensity.
We had a chat to her about all of this, and more. Even in language, Gordon’s insistence on honesty and authenticity is clear. She takes us through her inspiration, materials, process and comforts with a way of speaking that is simultaneously lucid and practical.
Keep an eye out for a SOC x Sublime Seoul collaboration very soon in a space near you.
South of the City: What prompted you to start making art?
Tamar Gordon: It all started when I was a young kid in primary school (cliche, but true) and my mum sent me to Jane’s art class. Jane is an artist who does live performance art in the Melbourne CBD, creates human size stuffed dolls – dresses it, has a mock wedding with it, does a nude photoshoot with it – in the name of art. I’m about 10 years old when Mum drops me off at Jane’s garage as an extracurricular activity without any idea of what mischief making was about to take place.
It wasn’t up until about two years ago did i realise the impact this introduction to art had on my creative perspective. Jane let my mind run wild, free. My large, scale, multi-media, glitter covered, google-eyed, hand painted, nude sculpture did not seem to have any boundaries or limits. No art was ever ‘bad’, ‘too much’ or more importantly a ‘fail’. A ‘mistake’ could always be converted into intentionality.
It was this exposure which sparked my curiosity and interest in the realms of the creative world.
SOC: What inspires you?
TG: These streams of consciousness and mindset are inspired by the leaders of art movements such as Surrealist automatism – Ander Masson – Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism – Joan Miro, Helen Frankentahler – and contemporary painters, performance and photographic artists such as Spencer Tunick, Yayoi Kusama, Jean Michel, Melanie Benajo, Jenny Saville, Rineke Dijsktra.
Although one can turn to artists in the public eye for #inspo by instantly jumping online, this distracts us from the power of looking inward in times of block, or when lacking direction. I really believe the power of the self is very much underestimated. Looking inward, searching, creating intensely through tapping into the subconscious and intuitive energy, will be the origin of our best, most genuine output. I think people are too afraid, too scared of being labelled as narcissistic, to turn to the self and voice that their greatest inspiration, sometimes, is themselves. If we humbly tap into this, it can be our greatest, most grounding source. It is up to the artist to validate or undermine their work. If you believe in it, others will too. You have control to look inward and find.
SOC: Why have you chosen the mediums you work with?
TG: My oeuvre collaborates materialities of audio and visual mediums alongside the fine arts of drawing and painting. It’s also mimicked onto functional objects and clothing as a means of making art with intentionally; not something simply ‘pretty to look at’, but art that can be engaged, interacted and played with. My practice aims to ignore all these mediums as isolated material, rather as one manifesting, continuous practice.
SOC: Tell us about your creative process.
TG: My creative process differs based on my mood, as well as the media I am playing with. Generally, when exploring materiality of paint, and drawings, it involves me having one idea, and from there experimenting with it in about 15 different ways, in which I produce lots of work extremely quickly.
This first step is extremely intuitive, and allow myself to enter into the depths of the subconscious. From this step, I generally start to refine, and hone in on what feels cathartic, honest, and content which immediately grabs my intention. Whether it is an extremely minute detail of a large piece, or the whole piece itself. Usually, is merely based on intuition and feeling.
My creative process with film and photography, I feel, are tackled with an eagerness to annihilate and attack the original form through cropping, adding obscure audio, drawing on top and editing.
Overall, for me my creative process is when i enter a state of no-mind. Judgement, doubt and ego fade, the inner prevails. I don’t believe this is a case of superiority or pomposity, rather an act of letting go. That’s when it all happens.
SOC: Has your style changed over time?
TG: Oh yes.
I have been creating, constructing, thinking, for a long time, but subconsciously lost in terms of how to express it to my fullest extent, and most authentically. Only through my recent development and establishment of a more signature style have I felt most connected and genuine in my practice. My practice is constantly evolving through materiality, colour shape and form.
SOC: What’s the point?
TG: Art has given me a place to challenge, let go, validate, acknowledge, and be at peace. Through my own practice I have found the space to release negative slurs and the destructive practice of self-loathing.
Most importantly I found a place of sublime comfort: comfort most people crave, and look for all their lives: the comfort, enlightenment, catharsis people search for, or hope to gain from books titled ‘how to be happy’ and ‘1001 reasons to be happy’.
It has provided a safe space to express when language fails. If we let go of preconceived notions and judgement, liberate ourselves from doubt, tap into our subconscious, art will be our therapy. It has the lengths to soothe, and heal.
I want to share this very feeling, energy with others. I want to teach this mindset. I want people to feel what I feel. I want people to FIND something. I want this perspective to manifest. I want people to look within, and find something un-imaginable, without discrimination or prejudice.
What I have shared above is expressed through my use of text, exploration in abstract expressionism, and use of my own physical body in my practice.
Find Sublime Seoul on Instagram: @sublimeseoul
To support her art, head to: https://www.redbubble.com/people/sublimeseoul