Alexander Degaris makes ambiguity come alive with his unique take on sculpted art. Currently studying a Masters of Visual Arts, he has a lot to say through his dynamic work.
You’ve said your work is reflective of various online interactions. What is it about the online world that you find so inspiring?
I think purely the fact that you can really become anyone online and there is the potential to play different roles that you may not feel comfortable being in physical space. While to an extent everyone’s identity can change on a daily basis, I think that in social environments online these changes can happen more rapidly and operate outside of discriminatory social structures.
In your opinion, how imperative are digital spaces in forming one’s identity?
I think that for people who are culturally, socially or geographically isolated from positive representations of identities that reflect their own, digital spaces can act as safe spaces to explore, understand, formulate or discover their identity.
Who (or what) is your muse? Why?
I try and use my experiences to serve as a springboard into creating artwork—to create something that at the end of the day hopefully communicates something about the experience of being human. Otherwise, I’m inspired by the wealth of artists that create work that has a similar political angle to my own.
What is the most challenging thing about pursuing a creative avenue? How do you manage it?
The most challenging things are probably managing finances and keeping spirits up when the bank account is down but also not doubting yourself constantly. I try to just keep positive, continually keep making and seeking critique from as many people as possible.
How accurately does your work reflect your own identity? Is it a direct parallel to your personality or does it reveal another side to you?
I think that at times the work definitely portrays aspects of myself at one time or another, although it is intentionally ambiguous. My intent is more for the work to reveal something to a viewer that they may not have considered before or to resonate with their own experiences.
Why do you think your art is an effective way to combat the conventions of hetero-normative and patriarchal power structures? Why is it important to you?
The video works that I am currently working on attempt to present gender as the social construct that it is and argue that we would be better off if gender didn’t consist of strict binary categorisation. The overflow effect of this is to present the possibility of a world in which gender and sexually diverse people aren’t ‘othered’ and subsequently not discriminated against. It’s important to me as I’ve seen the negative effects of those power structures on myself, the people I surround myself with and reflected within the media.
Whose home would you most like to see your art displayed in?
If Bjork had anything of mine I think I would be ecstatic! I think some of my work might match her style.
Where do you see yourself after completing your studies?
Once I’ve completed Masters at UniSA, I think I’d like to live overseas for a while. Career wise, my goal is to ultimately be working in academia or to be able to survive as a full-time practicing artist.
See more of Alex’s work on Instagram @alexandeer