Reported by: Berkley Adrio
Images courtesy: Tristan Hummel
Tristan J.M. Hummel is a Chicago-based Artist and the creator of Built; Festival and Art on Track. Tristan is a graduate of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, where he focused on digital art and 3D animation. I’ve also known him since he was about 8 years old and really fond of his pet mice.
Home town/Dream town:
So where are you now and what are you doing?
I’m in the bathroom nursing my lion scars. There is a picture that explains this somewhere
Oh yep.. here it is:
What’s your medium? What do you love about it?
Oh man. I’m a curator. I love organizing + relational aesthetics and I am bad at traditional systems. Curating is the organizing of systems and objects without all the conformity of design fields. So for example the difference between a curator and an interior designer is that the designer has to conform to the conventions of design. There is a whole hierarchy there. A curator doesn’t have to. I don’t even have to make things ’look good’ so long as they make sense with themselves. That being said I like making things look good but it’s not a requirement. But thats me, I have never talked to another career curator. Who knows. And that what I love about that.
Who (or what) inspires you?
Andy Warhol was badass. David Bryne is incredible. POWER is attractive of course. I really like community and social phenomena. I like nonsense and absurdity.
What’s Built; Festival? Tell me why I should love it.
Built Festival was a city I made out of shipping containers. It was a 2 day event. I gathered a bunch of local artists and gave them free shipping containers to do whatever creative mischief they wanted. The public was invited to come check this thing out and enjoy art/beer/music. Oh man it was fun. I imagine that it was a bit lawless in a positive way. You have this highly organized and tenuous machine (the festival itself) populated by a bunch of folk who have been given full license to do whatever they want. And these people, with their freedom, are incredibly creative thinkers.. Lawless was the wrong word. That’s how awesome it felt. Freedom is a better term for the experience people got from built. There was a really neat experiential quality created by the mass of art.
Name your influences.
I think the single most influential thing in my life was when I first became self aware. Some kid at the beach called me fat when I was 9. Life has been awkward ever since.
I understand your art likes public transit. Explain.
I turned a city train into art festival. Chicago has this circular, elevated track, so once a year since 2009 I have run a train along this 2 mile circle. Each car is given free to a local artist or artist group to do whatever they want with it. The general public is allowed to get on at various stops we make along the loop to let people switch cars or enter the exhibit. It’s called Art on Track. Check out this video from a year back: http://www.builtontrack.com/?page_id=54
City Museum, St.Louis
Tell me something you learned from a piece of art.
Haha, I suppose I learned humility from just about all the artworks I have ever attempted
Best advice ever received?
Best experience you’ve ever had showing your art.
I tackled this thief at one of my festivals and felt like a hero.
Write us a haiku.
What’s your vice?
Who’s your dream collaborator?
My dream collaborator is kind, sensitive and bold.
Tell me a story.
When I was 8 I kept trying to make mutagen. I was really into the teenage mutant ninja turtels and I just had to be one. I kept whipping up concoctions in jars in my room. One day I came up with the perfect combination: Using water as a base I added equal parts soap, pennies, and urine. The urine must have reacted with the copper pennies because the solution turned green. Believing that I had found the recipe for mutagen I took a huge swig of it. I never puked.
What’s on your bucket list?
Winning an Academy Award for best animated short
Something only your mother knows about.
It wasn’t the cat. I broke the family vase being careless with a football indoors.
Anything else you’d like to confess?
I like Cher’s music.