Hi-Noon Editions is a collective of established artists that have come together with a positive and uplifting message that champions the arts and promotes openness and a convivial approach to creativity. I took time out during these challenging times to chat with the team about the collective and its aims.
The collective is made up of respected and established artists, is there a distinct reason why you all came together to form the collective and how closely does it align to your individual perspectives, are you using the platform to have its own unique voice?
WE ARE ARTISTS, EDUCATORS, CURATORS AND WRITERS, AND OUR VISION FOR HI-NOON IS INFORMED BY OUR LONG-TERM ENGAGEMENT WITH THE PRACTICE AND THEORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
THIS PUTS HI-NOON IN A UNIQUE POSITION, WHERE WE HAVE ON THE GROUND KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF THE DEBATES AND CONCERNS THAT AFFECT PHOTOGRAPHIC PRACTICE AND HOW THEY SHIFT AND EVOLVE OVER TIME, BOTH WITHIN THE ACADEMY AS WELL AS IN STUDIOS AND ARTISTIC COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD
FOR US, LONG-TERM INVOLVEMENT WITH OTHER ARTISTS AND THE ROBUST AND SUSTAINED DIALOGUE IT INVOLVES, ALONG WITH THE PLEASURES OF PEER SUPPORT, AND OF NURTURING A COMMUNITY OF EMERGING ARTISTS ARE PARAMOUNT.
WE CAME TOGETHER BECAUSE WE SENSED THAT WE WERE IN A POSITION TO CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING POSITIVE, EXCITING AND UNIQUE TO AN INCREASINGLY MARKET DRIVEN ENVIRONMENT THAT HAD BEGUN TO FEEL AS IF THE AGENDA WAS BEING SET BY PEOPLE AND ORGANISATIONS WITH INTERESTS EXTERNAL TO THE NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF ARTISTS.
At Metro Imaging we have experienced an increase in online sales via our self-service options since Lockdown. Do you believe that people’s willingness to purchase art online has shifted, and if so do you think it will remain or will there always be a desire to view work in a physical space, say in a gallery or at an art fair?
WORKS OF ART BOTH LOOK AND FEEL DIFFERENT ONLINE TO HOW THEY DO IN REAL LIFE – AND BOTH OF THOSE CONTEXTS CAN BE SEDUCTIVE IN THEIR OWN WAY.
WHAT SEEMS TO DRIVE OUR SALES MOST EFFECTIVELY IS OUR COMMITMENT TO ONGOING AND SUSTAINED DIALOGUE, WHETHER THAT BE ONLINE, OR IRL.
TECHNOLOGY ENABLES US TO BUILD AND MAINTAIN GLOBAL CONNECTIONS; OUR EDITIONS ARE ACCESSIBLE ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND IT IS EXCITING TO DISCOVER THAT HI-NOON IS REACHING FAR BEYOND THE ESTABLISHED ART SCENE CAPITALS TO DIVERSE AND FAR-FLUNG PLACES – AN AMAZING TIME FOR US TO CONNECT TO A WORLD BEYOND THE LOCAL SCENE.
OUR PRICING STRUCTURE ALSO APPEALS TO COLLECTORS WORLD-WIDE. WE HAVE A CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT APPROACH, WHERE THE PRICE IS SET LOW WHEN A NEW EDITION IS LAUNCHED, AND THEN RAISED AS THE EDITION SELLS OUT – MEANING THAT COLLECTORS ALWAYS KNOW WHERE THEY ARE.
Can you explain a bit about how you invite artists to join Hi-Noon and what it is that you are looking for?
HI-NOON IS AN ENTERPRISE, A PHILOSOPHY AND AN APPROACH TO PHOTOGAPHY THAT FOREGROUNDS CRITICAL REFLECTION, WHILST ACKNOWLEDGING AND CELEBRATING THE PLEASURES OF THE VISUAL.
In regard to selecting images for release as limited editions; how do you go about the editing process and as you are all established artists with gallery and museum representation are their certain works which are off limits?
GIVEN THE RIGHT APPROACH, NOTHING IS OFF LIMITS. OUR OUTLOOK IS SIDE-WAYS. EXPECT SOME SURPRISING NEW WORKS ON HI-NOON SOON…
The current challenges we are faced with as a creative community are unprecedented, do you see value in being in a collective and do you view your own practice differently since joining forces? Also, is there anything that you are currently working on that you could share with us today?
WE NO LONGER EXIST IN KNOWLEDGE SILOS; TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS FOR A SHARING AND AQUIRING OF EXPERTISE, IDEAS, INSPIRATION. WORKING TOGETHER WITH OTHERS, FORMING NEW ALLIANCES WITH ARTISTS IS ABOUT TRUST AND RESPECT AND THE ENJOYMENT OF DIALOGUE.
AS ARTISTS WE ARE OURSELVES VERY MUCH IMMERSED IN CREATIVE DECISION MAKING, AND THE MATERIAL CHALLENGES OF MAKING WORK. OUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE IS THE BASIS OF OUR PEDAGOGICAL WORK AND IT ALSO INFORMS OUR WORK WITH HI-NOON.
IN SHORT, WE EMBRACE AND ENJOY A RIGORUOUS DISCOURSE THAT IS TEMPERED BY INTUITION. WE HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF DIRECTION YET WE ARE ALSO SLIGHTLY RESTLESS, AND PASSIONATELY IMPULSIVE, WITH A TENDENCY TOWARDS UNEXPECTED DETOURS!
Image 1 © High Noon
Image 2 © Chooc Ly Tan, Billboard
Image 3 © Giulia Palarto
Image 4 © Sophy Rickett
Image 5 © Felicity Hammond
Studio Lenca is the working title for this year’s Brighton Photo Fringe Open SOLO award winner José Campos. The quality of submissions this year was very high and José is a worthy winner who uses a multi-disciplinary approach in his practice; incorporating photography, dance and audio visual performance. I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his practice and his journey through the arts.
The full series of work together with all of the festival exhibitions, workshops and events can be found at the Photofringe.org website.
Congratulations on winning this year’s SOLO award, can you tell me what winning the award means to you and how you intend utilise the opportunity in the current climate, especially as we are having to adapt to online exhibiting?
The greatest thing about winning the award is the visibility it brings to my series ‘Los Historiantes’. In the US and in El Salvador I have an audience that engages with the work I do but the award has given me the opportunity to share it with a UK audience on a greater platform. This also means that I am contributing to the narrative of Latinx people in the UK, which is rarely visible. Salvadoran people live all over the world so I am always thinking about how to connect with them. Working digitally means that I can collaborate with them and they can engage with the work I do. Due to the pandemic we have recently seen a shift in how we engage with each other. Salvadoran people have had to be apart from their families and loved ones since the late 80’s when we fled the country’s civil war.
José, Studio Lenca is the working title for your practice, can you please explain where the name comes from and how it relates in context to your work?
I like the term ‘Studio’ because I used to be a ballet dancer. The studio was an empty space where I could use my body to think. Since then I have experienced the studio in different ways, the art studio, the photographic studio the fashion studio and so on. It’s a place for experimentation. It’s also a place for people to create together, which is an integral part of my practice. Lenca refers to the indigenous people that lived in El Salvador prior to the Spanish colonisation of El Salvador.
Having to flee the El Salvador civil war in the 1980’s and subsequently living in the USA as part of the Latinx diaspora sounds incredibly challenging – you return creatively to El Salvador and draw inspiration from folk cultures for much of your work and particular Los Histiorantes to highlight important issues about colonialism and postcolonial trauma.
Yes. There is so much public discourse that constructs our identity as Salvadoran people. Especially in the US. I want to disrupt this with the work I do. I want to imagine a new collective future in which we free ourselves from the thought that Salvadoran people are only gang members and illegal immigrants. Were much more than that. I also tend to think about the effect that colonisation is having on Salvadoran people now. It’s a sort of postcolonial intergenerational trauma.
You came to photography and performance after a career in dance – how much has this beginning influenced your multi-disciplinary approach to your practice?
I didn’t feel comfortable identifying solely as a dancer. I didn’t feel comfortable working solely as a choreographer. I think my issue with these labels were that they came with parameters and conventions that I needed to adhere to. I quickly found myself working in multi-disciplinary ways as its more exciting and relevant to the issues I tackle. I’m interested in trying to be honest in my work and eliminating invention. Working as dancer taught me to trust my body and create work accordingly.
We often ask interviewee’s what is the best advice you’ve been given – but what is the best advice you could give anyone starting out in a creative career?
The best advice that was given to me was ‘ lean into the discomfort’ by a ballet teacher.
The best advice I can give is ‘ there are no rules’ .
I discovered Denis’s work whilst judging this years’ Brighton Photo Fringe SOLO competition and was struck by the beautiful compositions punctuated with challenging subjects including mental health; misogyny and domestic violence – through a rich palette of documentary; surrealism and staged settings I was taken by the complex nature of her practice.
We have had several Zoom meetings along with her mentor and artist Monica Alcazar- Duarte and I got the chance to ask her a few questions about her projects and to learn more about what it is to be a working artist in her native Mexico.
Can you please tell us a bit about your practice and style of photography
I usually look for stories in the streets first, when I find a scene which I feel personally attached to, I think about the context, about the social impact behind those first pictures I take while I’m walking.
I’m interested in documentary photography but I like to feel free on running from different levels of image subjectivity by creating scenes, experimenting with print pictures, and other types of expressions such as drawing, painting and alternative embroidery techniques.
I have a special interest to explore mental health as a topic.
Can you tell us a bit about the Mexican arts community and your experiences.
I think there is a strong community of artists who work with photography. There are many intereseasting projects talking about mexican social context, for example, it’s easy to find the topic of violence from different perspectives, since those who are working on amazing street pictures showing the surrealistic, and raw mexican atmospheres, until who is in touch with their own bodys to talk about the healing since they feel surrounded of violence in all its forms.
In my experience I’ve found wonderful spaces to share knowledge, where emergents and mentors learn together. There is also a huge interest to collaborate and support each other.
Which medium (exhibition print; publication; online) best suits your work? Maybe some or all of them!
I certainly could say all of them! I mean, I’m excited to explore any way to show my work, I think not all mediums fit in a project, because they talk from different languages, they are different experiences. And that’s why I’m also interested in seeing how a project is received from two different mediums at the same time, for example, how a video of the project on a website is helping spectators to understand better or expand their vision when they are about to visit the print exhibition.
In the current climate what challenges do you perceive as a working artist?
I think the art in general, is really attached to the body, the presence. So that makes it really challenging for almost all art activities. But we also are surrounded by technology, and we need to use it with creativity, so this is a chance to get closer, more than ever, to collaborate no matter how far we are, to think in domestic practices and learn new ways to talk to others. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk about the same feelings with artists from the other side of the world, I mean that’s amazing, it’s world wide empathy!. And I know it’s difficult, but it’s also exciting.
Do you have any new projects planned that you can tell us about?
Yes, right now I’m into drawing and experimental embroidery to talk about misogyny violence. And I’m doing research about the relation between pictures, lighting and mental health.