Artist Interviews 2021

Chris Ram  
By Julia Annabel Siedenburg

Your photography is very abstract and weird to say the least. How do you find your inspiration for them? How do you get these ideas?

Everything is an inspiration to me. The world is beautiful and I enjoy looking at it upside down. My brain works a little like popcorn. Nothing, then suddenly - Pop! Pop! Popopop! Then nothing again until my brain randomly wants to pop at 2AM. Things come out of nowhere sometimes. Thinking about ideas too hard draws up zero conclusions, which leads me to try other methods like creative meditation, or word associations. Very few unique ideas come from Instagram, so it's best to look there only when desperate. My best concepts just randomly come out to play when I allow myself to relinquish control. 

A lot of times you are your subject. How does that work when you yourself are in front of the camera? Are your other subjects simply friends and Colleagues?

It's messy, icky work. I find it best not to involve friends as a live food mannequins. There are few people who I would even begin to ask. Fortunately, my significant other is also a little crazy and believes in all things art. She allows me to use her as a stand-in for tricky shoots when I am unable to be both model and photographer. Her poor skin has had a lot of food pasted onto it! We built a wonderful connection from my art. I'm guessing she finds this weird food art attractive? We also live together, so it makes shooting and cleaning with two people easier at my home studio. The idea of an assisted self-portrait is also quite appealing - very Cindy Sherman-like. On the off chance I do create normal work, a friend will gladly assist as a model. 

How long does the process take from having the idea to the final product?

It depends. There's a lot of pre-planning that happens. When an idea hits me, I let it live in my head for a bit. I talk it over with friends and get their opinions about my concept. Maybe 2-4 hours to set-up and shoot. Then straight into Photoshop for some tweaking for a few hours. Physically covering myself in food makes a better story than Photoshopping it on my body, so I do try my best to get everything done in-camera, even if it takes time. 

What are some of the people you look up to? And is there a specific idea you haven’t done yet that you really want to do?

Salvador Dali is a great influence to tap the unconscious mind and inspire bizarre work. Cindy Sherman, Miles Aldridge, Eliot Erwitt. Unfortunately, a lot of the art that inspires me is on social media. Hard to stay original. At the moment, I'm contemplating a ‘macaroni and cheese’ portrait. 

Tell me a little bit about your upbringing and how did you start with photography?

It developed from a need to stay creative. Most of my free time before high school was spent drawing and making silly comics. It was until high school that I took an elective that so happened to be photography. I enjoyed the process and simplicity of creating a piece of art with the click of a button. It was a perfect nerdy activity for me in high school since I wasn’t exactly popular.

Has the current situation changed the way you work? What is next for you?

Inspiration grew dull at the start of quarantine. I spent many nights buzzed and some days hungover. When I was younger, this would’ve been okay as my art used to come from feelings of depression and emptiness, as dark as that sounds. My motivation in the last few years pre-pandemic however, has come through collaboration with my friends and partner. Because of the state of the world recently though, the only thing anyone could think about these last few months was the COVID-19 crisis, so it was hard to get on the horse and make art. Everyone has a need for attention and I love entertaining and making people laugh and I no longer had a live audience to perform for. Luckily, I hit a wall during this time, and am finally creating again. I’m finding new ways to interact and collaborate with my audience online and cultivate a brand. The only big difference now is I have more flexibility with my time and money - oh and a few more pounds from all the baked goodies my partner made. 

Copyright 2021/ Art Squat /