The Tits Interview: Connor Creagan

Hello there!

So, as I’ve mentioned before, I work at that quirky grocery store chain everyone loves and loses their shit over when mentioned in conversation at dinner parties, family reunions, and other social gatherings. I am grateful for my job, and one of my favorite things about it is that I work with lots of interesting people, people for whom, like me, it is their day gig, and in their spare time they are most likely performing some kind of art or hobby. I wanted a way to interact with their artistic sides and support them as artists, but how? This is how:

Readers, welcome to the first official* installment of The Tits Interviews…

Each artist I interview will be “queer” in some way, as to be relevant to my blog and its LGBT leanings. But, there are lots of way to be queer, and so an artist’s queerness might not have to do with their gender or orientation. Also, let it be known anything in [brackets] is me talking. Enough of my delineations, let’s get to the interview!

MLWT: Introduce yourself: who are you and what do you do?

CC: My name’s Connor Creagan, got my BFA from SAIC [School of the Art Institute in Chicago] about a year ago. I have a studio where I work on art projects and an apartment where I tend to my chameleon.

MLWT: Let’s talk process: what’s a day making art look like for Connor?

CC: My process is very much reference based. Whether the references are coming from everyday objects and images, pop culture, or history, I’m always trying to give back to the world as much as it gives me. I tend to have a hard time sitting still, so I block my time throughout the day in my studio to give each of my eccentricities their moment in the spotlight. To be more specific, a studio day for me includes lots and lots of drawing, singing, dancing, and online shopping/scouring.

MLWT: What role does your work play in the queer community? (And how do you define “queer?”)

CC: To be honest, I’m not sure what role my work plays in the queer community. That is, I make art and am a homosexual male, and I am grappling with whether or not the two are mutually exclusive. I’m inclined to believe that they are. I would say, though, that many of the figures in my drawings are queer bodies, in that their forms dance along the line between fluid and graphic. I define queer as flexibility in a way.

MLWT: What are you working on currently?

CC: Currently I’m finishing up my longest series yet, a fifty page book of angels and demons dancing. […] I’ve only got 2 pages to go!

MLWT: You’re on Flickr, you’re on YouTube.  What do you find compelling in a movement or image?

CC: What I find most compelling about a movement is the varying degrees of control. Like a key change in music, for example. That jump takes a tremendous amount of control, but is also a forfeiture of control as it pushes the voice closer to its limits. In other words, it’s raising the stakes! And if the stakes aren’t high than what’s the point? Some examples of such key changes include but are not limited to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Beyonce’s Love on Top, and Cheryl Lynn’s Got to Be Real.

MLWT: What memory do you have of the first time you created art intentionally?

CC: My first camera phone! I would set the camera to “Black and White” setting and go crazy. But in terms of what I see as art now, I’d say I was able to make art with intention when I learned I didn’t have to paint everything.

MLWT: Whose work are you into right now?  What about it’s so great?

CC: So so many people (alive and dead) that I’m just going to list the first names that come to my head along with what I really love about their work (or else this could actually go on forever):

Maria Lassnig – painting

Self Portrait Under Plastic by Maria Lessnig. Image courtesy of http://momaps1.org.

Self Portrait Under Plastic by Maria Lessnig. Image courtesy of http://momaps1.org.

Patrick Killoran – wit

Jason Dodge – narrative

David Hockney – drawing

Portrait of Nick Wilder by David Hockney.  Image courtesy of http://www.ibiblio.org/.

Portrait of Nick Wilder by David Hockney. Image courtesy of http://www.ibiblio.org/.

Pilvi Takala – humor

Ellsworth Kelly (specifically his still life drawings) – economy

Ellsworth Kelly still life, image courtesy of http://mhsartgallerymac.wikispaces.com.

Ellsworth Kelly still life, image courtesy of http://mhsartgallerymac.wikispaces.com.

Ed Ruscha – poetry

"Pretty Eyes, Electric Bills" by Ed Ruscha. Image courtesy of http://feliciafbaby.blogspot.com.

“Pretty Eyes, Electric Bills” by Ed Ruscha. Image courtesy of http://feliciafbaby.blogspot.com.

Elad Lassry – structure

Manet – hands

Hand detail from Manet's Plum Brandy.  Image courtesy of http://www.headforart.com.

Hand detail from Manet’s Plum Brandy. Image courtesy of http://www.headforart.com.

MLWT: What’s currently bringing you to tears?

CC: Last time I cried was during an episode of Kid Nation. It’s a reality show where 40 children ages 8-14 have to live in “Bonanza City” (this ghost town in the middle of the desert) for 40 days. Each week the council representing the 4 classes of children (upper, middle, lower, and cooks) select a Kid of the Week to give the Golden Star to. The Golden Star is worth its weight in gold and whoever gets it gets to call their parents. I cried when one of my favorites got the star and called her mom.

MLWT: Who’s your favorite (anything) right now? Why are you so jazzed about him/her/it?

CC: Been very into Mykki Blanco lately- her songs are super… chunky in a super sexy way. Also loving linen pants! They’re just so soft and relaxed, makes me feel free whenever I wear my pair.


(not pictured: linen pants)

MLWT: Best place to chill in Chicago? What’s fun there?

CC: Not trying to throw any shade but my back porch is definitely my favorite place to chill in Chicago. I’m not a homebody but if I’m tying to chill after a day you will find me with a drink and a bunny rabbit on the back porch.

MLWT: Tell me about the video on your website: title?  Would you call it “dancing,” that you’re doing?  How do you think the venue influences the mood?  Is the four-pained window shadow that appears on the wall near the end of the piece an actual shadow (something about it looks unreal to me–it doesn’t seem to correspond to the actual windows, and it echoes the Microsoft icon in its four panels…)?

CC: The video is titled Richard Serra Piece, as those are Richard Serra sculptures that I am grinding on. Yes, not so much dancing, but grinding. The venue is the Dia:Beacon, a haven for minimalist and conceptual art in Beacon, New York. It’s incredibly clean and white, and was quiet like a church. Cameras aren’t allowed so we had to sneak one in and there was a museum employee patrolling the sculptures so we had to keep an eye out for that, too. The whole church-mood of the space is really 50% of what the video does as a model of action before a huge history. In this case a history of monumental male/masculine art. I wanted to communicate this idea of a screw loose in the cathedral, an idea totally contingent on the venue. And yes the window shadow is real! It does echo Microsoft doesn’t it? I’m happy with that reference what with art’s whole “window to another world” paradigm. I think it’s a really rich image and I feel fortunate that it decided to make an appearance, thanks, Sun!

MLWT: Let’s talk about your monkey show: at “Regal Cinema Presents Connor and Sam” last month, you had a primate theme, can you talk a little bit about what your intentions were for that show, and what you learned from that experience?

From Connor's show, "Regal Cinema Presents: Connor and Sam."

From Connor’s show, “Regal Cinema Presents: Connor and Sam.”

CC: That show came from a desire to show where no one else had shown before- and gallery openings are so often simply parties that I felt what better space than a Party Room to draw attention to that. I thought of it as “guerilla” in a way, and my love of word play took it from there. My intention for the show was a push for difference and visibility, using the primate motif to highlight the many factors and consequences of such an endeavor, i.e. learning a new language, scale, time, and loss.

Portrait of the artist by Eli.

Portrait of the artist by Eli.

MLWT: What advice would you give artists planning their first show?

CC: Show what you want people to see, give them something they didn’t know that they wanted, be logical, be passionate, and show with a friend(s) or whose work you love.

MLWT: I find your piece, “Now There Is Nothi” evocative and full of potential: it raises lots of questions for me, which is one of the things I love about visual art.  How do you know when a piece is finished?  As a writer, I’m always going back and tinkering with phrases and line breaks, and obviously deadlines have a hand in calling some piece of work “finished.”  Is it solely a feeling of completing that you’re arriving at, or is it sometimes something more or different?

Image by Connor Creagan

Image by Connor Creagan

CC: It just said something better than I had in mind. It was originally going to read “Now there is nothing we can’t do,” speaking to the nebulous nature of art making, do-what-ever-call-it-art blah blah cynical blah. I stopped where I did because I realized I didn’t have to do it all at once and when I came back to it I realized that it actually proposed something about the status of nothing in a way that surprised and excited me. I wasn’t going to do anything to ruin that.

MLWT: “Boys Fighting” is so lovely: it feels very primal, and in that way, natural.  Also, the light touch of the drawing gives it a nice gentle quality, for me there is more sadness in it than anger.  Your thoughts?

Image by Connor Creagan

Image by Connor Creagan

CC: Why thank you and yes. The drawing for me is really about the structure of murder through the lens of violent children. The structure is sensitive and blunt, sad yet direct, the action is simple, the causes complex- a timeless act which is relayed back to us through screens.

MLWT: Let’s end with this: why bother?  (Why make art?)

CC: Good question and one I constantly ask myself. I bother because I want to see, stage, and play with/against the structure of things, and I want to invite others to play as well.

Thanks for your time, Connor!  And I encourage you readers to seek out more of Connor’s work at his site, Connorcreagan.com.

Are you a “queer” artist who would liked to be interviewed on My Life Without Tits?  Drop me an email at mylifewithouttits [at] gmail to be considered!

Thanks for readings, friends, and remember, be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

*This is the first official artist interview in the Tits Interview series, but you astute readers will no doubt remember I interviewed Audrey MC about her book here, and those of you who’ve dug around in the Tit archives, or who are a reader from way back, will remember I interviewed K about her feelings about my top surgery here.

One thought on “The Tits Interview: Connor Creagan

  1. Pingback: The Tits Interview: Kim Guare | My Life Without Tits

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