Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John Love interview

John Love: Whole Lotta Love
an interview by Daniel Coston

John Love has been involved in the arts in Charlotte for many years. Acting, dance, designing, sculpture. Throw an outlet out into the creative wilderness, and he'll throw it back to you in a way that you hadn't thought of. Look through his collective works, and you'll find someone who has done a lot to be proud of, but is still thinking, still searching, and still creating.

When Tangents Magazine ended for the first time in 1998, one of my few regrets was that we'd never done an interview with John. When Tangents started kicking around again some time ago, I immediately set this interview up. It's taken some time to get this interview is front of you, but the subject is well worth it.

Daniel Coston: At what point in your life did you realize that you were going to be an artist?

John Love: Like all children I found being creative to be an invigorating and natural mode of play.  As for knowing that a life of artistry was for me, that was middle school.

Coston: You've never seemed to be tied down to one outlet for for work. Artwork, sculpture, acting, dancing, writing. Is that by choice? And how do you keep a balance with all of your different projects?

Love: Expression is both an absolute necessity and insatiable desire of mine.  The balancing principle is that regardless of the expressive modality the impulse to create comes from an ever-deepening place.  Joy, enthusiasm, skill, talent, curiosity, and opportunity always converge in order to serve the creative idea and/or impulse seeking expression. 

Coston: How do you decide to pursue a creative opportunity for a certain amount of time?

Love: Appetite.  If and when I am ravenous for a particular opportunity or creative impulse the decision has already been for me and the passage of time and investment of energy cease to be a factor.

Coston: I know that you were acting by the time you were in college. How did you get involved in acting?

Love: I dove into the first childhood opportunities to play onstage that were presented to me.  I don’t remember not acting.

Coston: What has been some of your favorite acting gigs?

Love: Whether I’m doing my own work or that of someone else the gig I’m doing in the moment MUST be my favorite.  There is nothing more delectable than the succulence of the now and this intense attention to the present is what it means for me to show up deeply, richly, and authentically.  I also don’t have a tendency to spend an exorbitant amount of time looking back.  Presently my favorite acting gig is my work on my latest performance work “The Diaries of Neequa or She Who Would Be King” which is part of my 2011 Arts & Science Council McColl Award funded interdisciplinary work, FECUND.  

Coston: My wife saw you play Dr. Frank N. Furter in both stage prouductions of Rocky Horror in Charlotte. How was that to do?

Glorious.  Liberating.  Raucous.  Empowering.  Rich.

Coston: Did some of the crowd seem surprised when you (as Dr. Furter) threw it right back at them?

Love: Surprised, thrilled, enthusiastic, and insatiable.

Coston: What has been some of your favorite works in the artwork and sclupture field?

Love: I’m presently working on these experimental pieces that involve wrapping, binding, salt, earth, seeds, fabric, steel, and found object.  I’m fascinated.

Coston: When you start working on a sculpture, or art installation, do you know how it will turn out, or does it change during its creation?

Love: Regardless of the clarity of my vision or the strength of my intentions, I never really know how something is going to turn out.  Change is an inevitability I embrace and look forward to with relish.

Coston: What are you working on now?

Love: Today it was the beginnings of this aural voice work piece.  I’m intrigued.

Coston: What brought you to Charlotte? How has the arts scene in Charlotte (or this region) changed over the years?

Love: I’m a native who has traveled and worked beyond.  The arts scene in Charlotte is like an awkward 11 year old trying to find its way.  With skinned knees and a mottled history of curiously beautiful successes and formidable failures, it’s got a lot to learn about truth, passion, self-invention, innovation, and independence.

Coston: I heard that there was some kerfuffle (to use an old school fifty cent word) over your performance at the TedX conference in 2010. Can you talk about that? (Editor's note: You can see Love's performance on youtube, as well as other outlets.)

Love: Based on my life’s work as a creative being, spiritual presence, and cultural provocateur, I was invited by the host committee and organizers of the inaugural 2010 TEDx Charlotte to participate in any way I chose.  They chose to make me the event’s finale and I presented a performance entitled “Out of the Blur”.

Through an act of cowardice and censorship followed by hubris and inauthenticity, the lead organizer ordered the cutting of the live-internet feed of my performance.  I followed suite with the transparent, fully disclosed, and unvarnished public addressing the situation warranted.  Asses were kicked, pearls were clutched, truths were spun, factions were formed, discussions were had, and lessons were learned, forgotten, ignored, and learned again. Yes, thrilling. 

Coston: Finish this sentence: I will be happy if people get _______ out of my work.

Love: …an indelible experience…

Coston: Open question. Anything that you'd like to talk about?

Love: Enough.  Enough.  Haha!

Coston: Message to the people: What do you want people to know about yourself? And about art, and life?

Love: Anything worth knowing is either in the eyes, bouncing off the flesh, or in the work.  Now all interested parties know where to look.

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