Tropical Alchemy: Questions and Answers with Tyler Johnston
Artist Tyler Johnston answered questions about his upcoming exhibition and performance at Popopstudios.
How did you choose the title of your exhibition: Tropical Alchemy?
Alchemy is the process of changing one substance into another. So it’s about change, transformation and rebirth – in a Tropical sense. In ancient days people believed that there was a secret formula to change lead into gold. Its a metaphor for the human spirits evolution from a lower ignorant nature into a higher spiritual nature.
You have three bodies of art work in the show: Maps of Inheritance, Power Objects and Transmutation Icons; how do these relate to the over all theme of Tropical Alchemy?
Though each of these bodies of work have a distinct character about them that creates a unique identity or sensibility, all of them deal with transformation and have had tropical births. Their intrinsic tropical nature lies in the materials, the environment in which they were created, as well as the textures, colors and intentions they evoke.
You have been living and working abroad for many years, what has been your experience returning home?
Having the opportunity to expand my perspective, skill set and networks whilst living abroad had been extraordinarily valuable. But now is the time to return and but those things to work here in the Bahamas. A cultural Renaissance is happening, Bahamian people understand that arts and culture play a vital role creating a healthy, vibrant, economically sustainable and prosperous society. Its also nice to get back and enjoy the simple things, the sun, water and beautifully women.
Tell us about the Bahama Woodstarr performance taking place during the exhibition on Thursday eve. What was your inspiration?
Its a spring blessing ceremony – I don’ want to give away to much information because the element of mystery and surprise are very entertaining. But I’ll say this – Bahama Woodstarr is a character that represents Alchemical concepts – diverse elements unifying to create a new mutation or form – He is the love child of a Pirate and a Mermaid, half scoundrel and half celestial. It’s meant to entertain as theatrical piece, but you just may feel an extra touch of good luck if you come to witness to the blessing – who knows?
Whats next for you?
Liquid Courage Gallery in Nassau which was just featured in the outstanding Caribbean arts and culture magazine ARC will be curating a show of my work titled Beg, Borrow, Steal, on May 17th. The show consists of reappointed objects, its going to be very fun and very pink!