„I would never date an artist“ is a phrase Berliners, Parisians, New Yorkers, Angelenos, the Viennese, and many other cosmopolitan inhabitants of this world’s urban environments often say. But artists need love and affection too, ideally from a different source than their parents or their gallerist. Hence, like most other mammals, they seek out connections and couples form – sometimes even between two artists,(gasp!). KubaParis has decided to explore this very phenomenon, hoping to discover less dramatic fates than the ones of mythical couples such as Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely or Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin. This week, Swiss artist Louisa Gagliardi and her partner, American artist Adam Cruces, discuss their influencer potential, studio messiness, and the challenges of anatomy.
How much do you allow yourselves to take inspiration from each other’s practice?
Louisa Gagliardi: It is hard to avoid, and often unconscious, as we talk about each other’s work so frequently.
Adam Cruces: I’d say that we take inspiration more from each other in a general sense, rather than taking influence directly from each other’s ‘practice.’ Since we’ve shared so many experiences of daily life together, there are bound to be some overlaps of the things that we take inspiration from.
Do you consult each other on important art related questions – whether you’d like to explore a new medium, work with a new gallery, or radically venture into new areas?
LG: My artistic practice started only in 2015, coming from graphic design, I was a bit clueless about some of the ‘rules’ and traps of the art world. I would get excited very easily and if Adam hadn’t been there to guide me, I would have made some bad decisions.
AC: We run most things past one another at various points of our processes, from brainstorming all the way to final image selection of documentation. Since my individual work is quite broad, in terms of material approaches, I’ll get Louisa’s opinion if there’s a desire to do something even more off the beaten path. If she opposes my inclination, sometimes I’ll let that inform a decision, but sometimes that opposition can encourage me to stick to my guns. I think it works similarly for each of us.
Are you ever mad at each other’s obsession with certain things?
LG: Adam is a very neat person, and I am not so much. I like to have stuff around as I’m working on them, (or at least that’s how I try to excuse being messy). I know it irritates him, and it irritates me too.
AC: Hah, no comment.
Do you share a studio?
LG: Our studio is also our home, so yes.
If yes, what are the benefits of working closely together, and what are the downsides?
LG: The good side is that you get to share the progress of the work, and not let yourself go to far into a wrong direction. It’s also good for productivity, if I’m lazy and see Adam is at work, I’ll feel bad and get to it. The downside is that you are always kind of at work.
AC: I really prefer being able to work whenever the mood strikes, usually late at night, so working from home is good for that. Additionally, I don’t have to worry about forgetting something at home or the studio. Probably the best benefit of being in such close proximity to my partner is that there is always someone to give a different perspective, yet a perspective that has been following along step by step. Downside, the messiness that Louisa touched on previously. Separate studio is better for keeping the clutter out of the living space.
LG: I’m not THAT messy!
Both your practices manage to amplify the meaning of things, moments or objects one may consider mundane. Is that a coincidence, or a common ground that has been consciously developed in tandem?
AC: I would say the interests of my current practice tie into my beginnings as an artist, way before I ever met Louisa. So those core notions that are outlined in the question have been a driving force for a long time. Having spent so much time living and working together for last several years brings about a lot of commonalities. I think the way our similar interests most effectively get dealt with is through our collaborative work. Though there are aspects from our personal approaches brought to the collaboration, we can be a little more playful and do things we might not do individually. This again feeds back into our solo work.
LG: I wouldn’t say it is a conscious thing. It’s not unusual to have people ask me: ‘Is it Adam in this painting?’ And it never really is. But objectively at the end I can see a resemblance. (Also, as I have terrible anatomy skills problems, I do use him as a model sometimes).
Have you ever found your partner’s work to be bad, but never allowed yourself to tell them?
LG: As mentioned earlier, we try to share the progress of the work regularly (even if we are both pretty secretive), so we can point the bad before it’s too late.
AC: We tend to be quite vocal if one of us sees a piece or body of work taking the wrong direction. I might speak up a little more than Louisa does. I don’t think either of us would let the other present anything that was bad. If others think it’s sub-par, we clearly can’t control that, but we support one another from start to finish. While Louisa might see me as her toughest critic, I’m undoubtedly her biggest cheerleader.
I won’t lie and tell you honestly: together, you look quite smashing. Do you think that public image of a young, handsome couple plays into the way people perceive your practice?
AC: Haha, has it helped you in your line of work?
LG: It got us this interview right?!?!
Has each other’s work played a role in finding each other attractive when you met?
LG: Definitely, for me.
AC: Not from the start. But it is something that adds to my respect for her as a professional, and a partner, as I see her practice develop throughout our relationship.
Interview by Karim Crippa