Spotlight: Carson Teal

Carson Teal is an emerging multidisciplinary artist and experimental producer based in Toronto. Best known for his unique approach to 3D animation, projection mapping and immersive installations, Teal creates environments that transcend the confines of physical space. Each of his mesmerizing pieces brings with it a hypnotic atmosphere, designed to be experienced with multiple senses at once.

But with COVID causing the closure of public spaces, Teal’s work has turned primarily towards digital animation. For the March edition of Spotlight, we talk with the artist to learn more about his work and how his relationship with creativity has changed over the last year.

See more of Carson Teal’s work on his Instagram.
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How do you describe your creative practice?

My creative practice involves working with sound, video, 3D animation, light and installation. My work employs aspects of collage and amalgamation, creating a framework to examine the relationships between seemingly disjointed imagery and sounds. My larger body of work consists of immersive, multi sensory installations using an array of decontextualized found objects, with a mapping of sounds and projections.

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You studied drawing and painting, yet your current work is both multi-dimensional and multisensory. What drew you creating work that lives outside the confines of a page or canvas?

I have been making music from a young age and over time I began to question my mental separation between music and visual art. Making music has been spiritual part of my practice and it continues to be a driving force behind all of the work I do. My departure from painting began with an interest in how video art could support or enhance a piece of music and for me, animation became the most logical entry point.

After a year or so of creating animations, I became interested installation art and sculpture. Installation allows me to bring images and videos from the digital screen into a three-dimensional physical environment where people are able to walk around a space and they can participate in creating the work simply by being there. The viewer can experience the work on a somatic, bodily level, much like going to see a live music act. I'm very interested in the human experience and how the mind develops and associates memories with sounds and feelings.

I now use sculpture and installation as both a medium to convey an idea, but also for the creation of animations and videos with the use of mockups and film sets. A lot of my digital work makes use of practical effects and light experiments that are captured in camera. I spend a lot of time collecting things and projecting light on them.

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Your work often makes use of physical spaces, but as COVID forces us to stay inside our own homes, how has this solitary time changed your relationship with creating?

My relationship to creating has remained the same however, my focus has shifted from sculpture and installation to more video based work. Video and sound are at the core of my installation work and due to the lack of physical spaces and opportunities to show physical work, I have decided to focus solely on creating work that can exist and be shared online. This is fine for now however, I still have plans for large scale installations and exhibitions in the future and I look forward to being able to share my work in physical spaces again soon.

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Do you find that you often have to look for inspiration? Or does it usually find you? Describe how you arrive at an idea, and how that idea evolves as you move towards the final piece.

I bounce between mediums frequently, sometimes an image can inspire a sound, or an object can inspire an image and vice versa. I rarely go looking for inspiration but when I do it’s usually something very specific and I research it obsessively for a week or two and then move on from it. An idea will come to me somewhat randomly and I try to write it down quickly before I lose it. I sketch a lot, take notes and make lists daily. I will often write an idea down and revisit it later when the timing feels right. Allowing an idea to simmer and grow in my subconscious has been a useful tool for me and I try to think through an idea before I begin a project. This process isn't always linear and sometimes it can be therapeutic to make something without any direction and discover its meaning afterwards. Once I begin working, I rely heavily on intuition to make decisions. In other words, I can tell if I like something by the way I feel when I experience myself making it.

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If you could create work with anyone from any time or discipline, who would it be?

Nicolas Jaar

LEARN MORE ABOUT CARSON TEAL: WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM

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