Vincent Tiley uses history and contemporary culture references to blend ideas of political/religious ideologies with the aesthetic and technology of science fiction to create performance and new media works. Vincent received his BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Vincent was born in West Virginia, on the northern most border of the American Bible Belt, which has inspired many themes in his work.
Q: How did you end up in Chicago?
A: I moved to Chicago for Grad School. I’m a recent graduate of SAIC’s MFA program.
Q: How did your career as an artist begin?
A: I hope it’s starting now! But I’ve always been involved with really amazing artists, performers, and mentors up until this point. This includes the Copycat Theater in Baltimore, which I credit with being my introduction (or rather crash course) in performance art.
Q: What inspires your work?
A: I pay a lot of attention to what people wear. I’m fascinated by club gear and what people put on their bodies to attract others or to signify a particular kind of desire. Drag queens and fetishists wear some of the most amazing things and the effect of these clothes is often times very sculptural. I also watch a lot of Science Fiction and Anime. I like things with a lot of sci-fi body modification, cyborgs, or strange mutations. I’m starting to pay attention to tattoos and piercings, not really their meanings or cultural significance, but what they are and what they do physically.
Q: What do you hope to communicate through your work?
A: I hope to expand people’s idea of what the body is and where its boundaries lie. By making suits that sit on the surface of the skin, my work can imitate skin and make a new body of many bodies, objects, and architectures. I’m trying to show a complicated, yet positive experience of becoming an object, one with both pleasure and pain while thinking about endurance and what that does to time. The performers act out these combinations that are languid, erotic, and slightly painful, making them desirable for an audience that I hope realize are just as implicated in the bodily act inside the suit as the performers or the artist.
Q: What have been major sources of inspiration for your work?
A: Working with drag queens and knocking off Givenchy gowns for them has been a really rewarding experience. Looking at the films of Brakhage and Kenneth Anger have become more and more important recently. Andy Warhol’s “13 Most Beautiful Boys” and the Paul Thek Retrospective at the Whitney Museum were big game changers for me. Same with Felix- Gonzalez-Torres. More contemporarily, I have to recognize the force of Zackary Drucker. I also saw this past Spring a Youtube video of “The Transformation of Genesis P-Orridge” and it was one of the most powerful things I’ve ever seen.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Right now, I’m working on getting my new Digital Embroidery machine to work. I want to start embroidering hosiery and neoprene. I’ll be working on suits and performances with these materials and ideas of transparency, ornamentation, and privacy soon.