Name: Tibi Tibi Neuspiel

Age: 33

Occupation: Artiste! (I’m trying to reclaim the word)

City/Neighborhood: Toronto, moving to NYC in August

Current or upcoming exhibition(s) or similar: “Housewarming Gifts for Anorexics,” a solo show at Narwhal Projects in Toronto, opens July 19.

What are you most proud of accomplishing, as an artist?

I haven’t really accomplished anything yet; ask me again in 5 years.

Describe a typical day in your life as an artist. 

It varies wildly depending on the project I’m working on, which keeps it exciting.

What’s the last show that you saw?

Ben Schumacher and Carlos Reyes at Tomorrow Gallery, remarkable show, best that I’ve seen in a long time. For example there was a block of ice, within which a gorilla glove holding a champagne glass containing mini Eiffel towers was suspended. When the ice melts the towers are spilled onto the floor.

What is the Canadian art world lacking? 

The inferiority complex that riddles all aspects of Canadian culture is understandable considering who our neighbors are. I mean Greenland, c’mon, how can we even compete.

In what ways (if at all) do you see yourself or your practice misrepresented?

I don’t really know what others think of me, I worry though that I can come across as too serious, and other times I worry not serious enough.

What’s your favorite place to see art?

I like snaking through LES or Chelsea and seeing many shows in a condensed period of time.

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

A glass of water.

What role or significance does collaboration have to your practice?

I used to believe in this romantic notion of the self-driven visionary who worked independently to achieve an act of pure creation. At some point though I started questioning the mythology of the artist and realized that if I can temper my ego a little bit I might be able to work with others to achieve something better than I could ever on my own.

You nimbly navigate the realms of conceptualism, seriality, kitsch, and performance with dexterity. Together, these various genres seem to emerge from your young practice like a gesamtkunstwerk (a total work of art). If you had to describe what that ‘total work of art’ is, how would you do so?

There is really nothing I care more about than art, but it also upsets me more than anything else. All of my efforts regardless of discipline are my attempt to make the art world a better place, and in my attempt to do so I will employ any and all methods or techniques necessary to achieve that goal. How’s that for total sincerity?

What’s the last artwork you purchased?

My partner acquired some of Laurie Kang’s work recently, which we are thoroughly enjoying.

Athleticism plays an important role in your practice. How did it emerge, and what does it mean to you?

Growing up I tried many sports, and like most young boys had dreams of athletic prowess. Unfortunately I just wasn’t very good at any of them, especially under the pressure of competition. Even so I still maintained some level of sporting activity as my interest turned to art, and I began to recognize the potential of this cross-interest a while ago. For instance when I was 20, I bulked up to 200 lbs. in the year 2000 as a millennial performance. That same year I also tried to start a football team at OCAD, but I dropped out after 2 weeks. Those early projects used the kitsch value to counter the art-fag cliché.

The recent athletic performances with Geoffrey Pugen are more about exploring competition and risk and their relation to the art world.

What’s the first artwork you ever sold? 

A skeleton of a dinosaur flying a Spitfire over an Artic landscape, with 2 Inuit outside of an igloo, one lying faced-down in a pool of blood while the other morns. Oil on canvas.

What’s the weirdest thing you ever saw happen in a museum or gallery?

It’s always weird when you’re blown away by a particular work and you find yourself hypnotized by it and you can barely even breathe because you are so excited, and then someone else enters the space and just walks right on by it.

What’s your art-world pet peeve?

Artist’s statements: writing them, or even worse, reading them.

What’s your favorite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant?

I really just like hanging out at the openings, talking to people without being drowned out by music.

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?

Joe Becker, who I believe is the greatest living Canadian painter, a national treasure.

Who’s your favorite living artist?

At the moment, Keelayjams. I don’t know anything about him, even his real name, but he makes the best Vines. Vine is an app that limits you to making six-second videos that play on a loop. There’s something about that format that I find very appealing, at least as a juxtaposition to the wide-open possibilities of the art world.

You’re about to move to New York, and begin grad school. What changes do you hope to see reflected in your practice, in the coming years?

Hopefully the increased competition will force me to set higher standards for myself.

What more do you hope to accomplish as an artist, before you die? 

I’d like to make work that affects someone the way art has affected me.

Original Article BLOUIN ARTINFOo