Interviews with Escapists (2011)
About Interviews with Escapists project
Through a series of interviews, Karley has explored people’s personal experiences and opinions on escapism. Karley has then translated the interviews into bold abstract art works. Each art work tells a story intended to evoke emotions through imagery and through the use of colour.
Some interpret the popularity of escapism as a sign that people are unhappy with the lives they are leading. In contrast some people challenge the idea that escapism is exclusively negative and that it is a way of refocusing one’s attention on things pleasant or enjoyable, as opposed to the hard realities of the everyday world.
The idea for this project started more than 3 years ago when Karley was going through a tough time in her life. Through this she started to recognise her own thoughts about escapism. Karley then started to question how other people view or experience escapism. Are they aware of their own escapism? Are they addicted to their form of escapism? Why do we do it and is it practiced by everyone?
Karley wanted to know about other people’s experiences through interviewing them and then interpreting each interview into a piece of art. She wanted to reflect on their experiences and find out about parts of their lives they don't really share with anyone. “I guess interviewing them was an escape from my world into someone else's”, says Karley.
Karley interviewed a wide range of individuals from all areas of society. Some of the people she knew personally, some were introduced to her and others were strangers on the street. These people included a Managing Director who has had many hurdles to get through in her life including abuse, two homeless people, Solo stay at home mother who was sexually abused as a child, Barrister, Waitress who is an ex drug addict, Musician, Fetish Worker, Banker and the list goes on.
Karley’s interpretation of the interviews focuses on the emotion, the feeling and the place the interviewee desires to be. She uses bold abstract imagery such as clouds disguised as trees, coloured ribbons, geometric shapes and words. Her interpretation looks almost like a fantasy place, the place people might think of when they want to escape. This fantasy place is a colourful world of apparent happiness, however sometimes that place is shadowed with darkness. Karley’s use of colour isn’t to confuse the viewer but to embellish the sometimes dark topic and the way it can be interpreted.
Each participant was asked the same 12 questions. They were also asked to give an insight to their life - past and present. The questions included
- What does the word Escapism mean to you?
- What kind of escapism have you indulged in lately? And have you ever experienced going beyond moderation in daydreaming or escapism?
- Describe your personality in 1 or 2 words
- Do you have an indulgence or addiction? If so what is it?
- Is there a place you regularly visit when you need to escape? Where is this place and why do you keep going back?
“I found it incredibly interesting how open and honest people were with me. I thought I would find it hard getting useable material, however that was not the case. By sharing my own experience and some of the other interviews, I think it helped the next person open up and tell their story. Maybe people find it easier talking to a stranger than someone that is close to them about this type of subject. The people I didn’t know were more open with me compared to those that I do know”.