We Asked Christopher Diaz 12 Interesting Questions About Themself.
What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2023?
The title is “MARMORIS”, and in Latin, it means “the shining surface of the Ocean”.
One morning I went to the beach to see the sunrise. The skies were so clear and transformed into a spectacle of colours. And suddenly the ocean started turning into a shiny, sparkling, living, moving creation that took my breath away. It was the best representation of the marmoris I have seen. It came so naturally to my mind that I must catch this magical moment in sculptural form. It was exactly how the idea was born and from the bottom of my heart, I hope people will see it as well.
Natural forms found in sandstone along the east coast. I also like how waves collide with rocks at points along the ocean.
What was your first artwork? How did it inspire you to grow?
My first artwork was created at the primary school using cardboard and basically everything I could find around. I remember it very well because it convinced me that I’m able, using my imagination, to create objects that have an impact on my own and others’ living spaces, moods and actions. It was a colourful bird. I wanted to encourage other kids to help these little birds out there struggling during harsh Polish winters. It worked out very well because we made several bird feeders after that and hung them on the surrounding frees.
You see, whatever I make now has the same message since then…
“USING BEAUTIFUL ART TO SUPPORT LIFE IN THE NATURE.”
What was your favourite moment of 2023 so far?
well..it was a few such moments, for sure. it is actually a hard task to pick just one for me as I see life as a complex, multilayered experience where everything is connected and transcendent.
Always meeting other like-minded people has a huge, positive impact on me, every spiritual moment too.
I got a government grant to create a public art sculpture in the form of a huge seahorse for one of Central Coast beaches which was the reason for us jumping and screaming around for a long while 🙂
And very honestly, being accepted for this year’s Swell Exhibition and travelling to another state for one of the most famous (if not the most) art shows in Australia is giving us such joy every day or moment we talk about it.
But I must also say it … Everyday mornings, when I wake up is a big enough moment of my life to call it a favourite one:)
If you were stranded on a desert island, but food, water and shelter weren’t an issue, what are the 3 things you would take with you and why?
🙂 ..sometimes I wish it happened, really, at least for some time:).
I try to be aware of my existence as much as I can using my consciousness to navigate me through my life but definitely I need some support to push through every day, especially if stranded on the island …a desert one, in addition.
In the case described in the question I think I would like to have with me some snorkelling gear (I assume this time it would be a tropical island) … a big..huge bottle of a good old rum, preferably Jamaican or Cuban one, to mix with coconut milk from also stranded coconuts ..it is a desert, I know… in case of need to entertain a stranded and tired mermaid …
And a Bible to keep me remembering who I am and where I go.
oh..I forgot about glass cutters… as I love working with glass on creating mosaics and I believe the beach would be abundant in sea glass of all colours..just in case of boredom:)
What is your favourite meal to cook when trying to impress someone?
It is always good old-home-style food but my favourite food is from the sea. I like to explore “new” sources that are nowadays considered uncommon but very common in the past. Just recently I have created a meal based on kelp and algae that I learnt about years ago while my long stay within the Arctic Circle in Spitsbergen. Being also a chef, that area of everyday life interests me too.
SWELL is all about connecting people, art and place, how does your work help connect people, art and place?
Our colourful and intriguing art always brings people together physically and mentally — in every space. And “Marmoris” is consistent with this principle. It tells and shares stories about the oceans and life in them. It inspires people’s emotions, creativity and joy. People love taking pictures with our sculpture and are keen to know what is the story behind it. For that purpose, these pieces, including Marmoris, were designed the way they are presented to the public. Marmoris not only is created to activate the space wherever it will be displayed but brings people and ideas together. It is an interactive artwork.
Who is an artist that inspires you to create?
Nicolai Michoutouchkine and Aloi Pilioko from Vanuatu. Both have incredible stories and both are gone, sadly.
I met them long ago in Port Vila and spent months at their “Aloi Pilioko of the Michoutouchkine-Pilioko Foundation”. I am the last student of the Foundation.
I feel incredibly privileged and lucky to have had Aloi Pilioko as a friend, mentor, and teacher. The legacy I keep in my heart translates into our mesmerising, colourful art.
Do you have a favourite song you like to play when working on your art?
yes, there is a song that is almost constantly heard around at our workshop and it is “Gracias a la Vida” by Mercedes Sousa.
I also play very often sounds of the Oceans such as singing whales and sounds of water. which I hear as a piece of music. It entirely resonates with me, therefore I can stand in front of the Ocean for hours and listen to it. I noticed once that while I’m surrounded by them the world around me transforms into space where I don’t have limitations, shape or body…where I exist everywhere and can bring to our physical realm things from the future, where I see them, using my hands, imagination and God’s given skills.
Yes, music is inseparable from the process of working on new artwork.
If you could choose any, what superpower would you want?
I would transcend everyone’s heart in the entire world and eradicate wars, hunger, pollution, violence and exploitation against children, women and all vulnerable peoples and nations. These are not part of our human nature and are artificially implanted into us throughout the millenniums by rulers, politics and greed…
I believe that we people, in our hearts, and DNA, are fundamentally good beings. Yes, I know, that’s a huge and controversial topic but that is how I see the world.
Where were you born, where are you living now, and how does where you live affect your art?
I was born in Poland and Carlos in Colombia. I remember communism and its chilling greyness. As a child, I always was in search of colours and life. And almost always, I found it. If sometimes I couldn’t see it around, I created it with my hands and imagination. Carlos grew up in different environments, and situations and overcame different challenges as a child but he was always creative too.
I believe the reason we can work together is that we are able to see and admire the inspiration we find in Australian nature and life.
Living in the coastal environment and having the ocean in such close distance, for us is a constant source of inspiration and motivation for work. We decided to specialise in marine theme art and having an impact on tourism and environment protection wherever we are in Australia.
Do you have a party trick or impressive icebreaker talent?
Hmm….party trick ?… While with other people or at parties I like to blend in and enjoy the moment of being one of many so if not necessary or not asked for, I rather stay where most people are. It doesn’t mean at all, that in different situations of everyday life, I stay in my comfort zone, I react in absolutely opposite manner.
But sometimes I like to entertain people with experiences and stories from my extensive travelling times in the past.
No tricks or talents just enjoying party vibes.
If animals could talk, which one would you want to talk to?
🙂 I think every living being has something interesting to tell. But there is one specific animal I wish to talk to and it is a wandering albatross.
I encountered them during my year-long stay in the Antarctic. These birds are flying dozens of kilometres without touching land and up to 120,000 km a year!
Everything about them is unusual.
I have seen them nesting, and flying around the Antarctic Ocean.
I will never forget these moments when I was sitting on the edge of high cliffs of the Antarctic and watching the ocean… these majestic giants were simply gliding next to me, so so slowly with the ends of their wings just 1 or 2 metres from my face …moving in such a slow motion that it was nothing far from magic… I could see very closely their beauty at it’s most and literally having eye contact with them… and hearing the sound of them passing so close.
You know what?… It was always a deeply emotional moment for me and I always had the same wish… that someone else, I knew, was next to me and I could share this magical moment with others. But the Antarctic is a lonely place so I kept asking myself what these albatrosses would tell me about places, seas and oceans, storms and lands they visit, that are their home…well…maybe one day?