In Conversation with Cody Hoyt

September 19, 2014

We asked our artist of the month, Cody Hoyt, all the essential questions about his life on earth and this is what he told us.

when did you move to NY and where did you grow up?
I moved to NY in 2011. I grew up in Sarasota, Florida, on the Gulf Coast. After high school I moved to Boston for a few years and then LA before arriving in Brooklyn.

what is your art studio and working environment like? what’s your typical day like?
My art studio is a 250 sq ft spot in a warehouse in Greenpoint. I’ve been there for around 3 years. It’s part of a larger space that Brian Willmont and I built out together. Greenpoint Terminal Gallery is in the front, our spaces are in the back. As for actual “environment”, I prefer quiet solitude, books, plants, and paper. It’s not set up to make ceramics in, so I’ve had to find an additional space to do that. Typical days vary, but usually consist of some combination of drawing, thinking, building models and reading for a few hours in my studio, and/or a few hours of working on pieces at the ceramics spot which is only a few blocks away.

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when did you start making art? did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
Always. It was always the one thing I felt really confident about as a kid. There were a few years when I made more music than art, but it was just a phase.

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We met through the awesome Apenest books you published with Brian Willmont. What types of things did you learn from curating and self-publishing?
We collaborated on putting out two volumes during our undergrad years in Boston. We were naive and optimistic and very eager to engage the people who inspired us. We were a good team. We approached the concept of curating and self publishing from two angles: for Brian it was more about networking, like approaching artists and dealers, learning about distribution, figuring out how to fund the project. I was curating from an archivists POV. I was obsessed with formats, typography, spot colors. My motivation was the experiential possibilities of the finished object. One of the main lessons I learned was that it’s not enough to just create something special. Once the work is made you have to now attempt to let everyone know it exists. Self promotion is just as important as the creative process. It’s still a hard pill to swallow.

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You’ve been working in ceramics a lot recently. How did that come about?

I realized I was getting comfortable with the work I was making. It suddenly seemed obvious that if I really wanted to explore the formal ideas I was touching on in drawings, I should work them out in space and with new materials. I started working with ceramics and became enamored with it immediately. Not so much the aspect of craft, but the potential for applying process to it and its feasibility with incorporating other media.

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A lot of the art community is being priced out of NYC right now. Its a pain in the ass to be here but yet we keep on sticking it out. Why do you continue to stay here?
I knew what I was in for before I left LA to come here. It’s a real hell ride making ends meet and finding space to do anything. But it’s worth it because everything you need to do exactly what you want is right here. If it’s not, then its probably in the desert or something and you wouldn’t be here anyways. Proximity is worth it. Also, the quantity of skilled labor needed on a temporary basis here means maximum freelance work options. Working freelance means control over your own schedule, which means ideal studio flow.

Has being here had an impact on your practice?
Living here has offered me every opportunity to dial in my practice. I feel nurtured. I love being here.

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what is inspiring you these days?
Fall is inspiring. And the run up to January before the desolate reality of winter sets in.

Last good film you saw? good book?
I can’t think of a film I’ve seen recently that was impressionable enough to mention here. I’ll give you two of the last books I read all the way through. The first book was Love Goes to Buildings on Fire written by Will Hermes. Its a comparative analysis of five years of New York’s musical history from ‘72 through ‘77. I re-read Please Kill Me almost every year and was looking for something to expand on that, and maybe with a little more contextual insight, which is exactly what was great about Hermes’ book. The other book is called The Hot House: Italian New Wave Design by Andrea Branzi, published in ‘84. It’s kind of an idealistic and manifesto-ish analysis of modern design and urban planning. It was translated from Italian and gets a little convoluted but I was really taken by how current some of the ideas are, specifically the chapter about handcrafted vs commercial goods.

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what is your favorite spot in the world right now?
Caspersen Beach near Venice, Florida. It’s a narrow beach. There’s a dense mass of palms directly behind it, so you feel perfectly isolated. The sand is made up of mostly petrified material which makes it almost black. The quantity of sharks teeth on the shore is so profuse that you can kind of just scoop up a handful of wet sand and expect to find a few.

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what are you currently working on?
Right now I’ve been focused on making a large jump in the scale of these geometric ceramic pieces. Every increase in scale creates new logistical hurdles, but I’ve methodically worked it out this far. These pieces were originally conceived at around five inches high, and I’m building one now that is twenty seven.

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do you envision a positive future or do you think we are all fucked?
Living in such a densely populated environment means it’s easy to feel misanthropic and lose all hope for humanity. I think it’s relative though. I don’t think of success in terms of the longevity of humankind. I just want to be able to focus on making art as opposed to wrestling mutants or trading my shoes for a pint of water.

if you could have any superpower what would it be? Kelie and I were just talking about this. We were at a crowded art opening and trying to grapple with the resultant chaos. She said a good superpower would be the ability to look at someone and see/know what they make or do. I took it one weird step further and proposed that an even better superpower would be to look at anyone, anywhere and not only see what they do, but see an ideal version of something that person could accomplish based on the limits of their inherent potential, with no external limiting factors. It would be mind-blowing. More like tripping than a superpower.

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what astrological sign are you? do you relate to it? if yes, how?

I’m a Leo, which is short for Leotard. The Leotard is named after Jules Leotard, the famous French trapeze artist. I have no relation to gymnastics or the circus in any way. I’ve found it has no bearing on the outcome of my daily life whatsoever.

who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Randomly: Josef Albers , Roger Dean, Jean Giraud Moebius, Ken Price.
What do you do on a day off from working?
Go to the beach. Look at books, walk around the city and see stuff, cook an indulgent breakfast. Call my Grandmas.

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Do you have any favorite quotes or mottos?
I use Lefty, loosey Righty, tighty the most.

where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Probably trying to raise some kids. There’s still time to enjoy life before that, though. See above question about the future of humanity.

What would be your last meal before execution?
Ice cream cake I guess

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See Available Work by Cody Hoyt

Stay Tuned for more releases all month!!