We had the good fortune of connecting with Garland Fielder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Garland, why did you pursue a creative career?
There was little choice for me to pursue an artistic avenue in life. I have always been a tinkerer, one who likes to deconstruct ideas and things and recreate another version of them. From a very young age, I was always wondering how I could change or improve upon my environment. This passion has carried on in life. Creating art/designing buildings is really just taking an idea, or a program, and improving upon it as best one can. It is a never ending quest.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For the past 18 months, I have been making art based on bunkers. Bunkers represent several architectural types simultaneously. On the one hand, they are modernism distilled—form-follows-function quite literally in that the concrete megaliths derive their structural expression solely from functional needs as dictated by the ravages of modern technological warfare. In another sense, the bunkers are a timely typology, even if at first they seem anachronistic. The stable forms, signifying a terrific solace against immediate annihilation have through time, become upended, so to speak, in their various strategic localities. Yet, they still present a contemporary visitor a sense of stability—a comforting psychological takeaway in today’s uncertain times. These drawings and sculptures depict one of modern culture’s most striking architectural forms suggesting an unfortunate relationship between the current zeitgeist and a building strategy necessitated by a total war economy.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Houston has tons to offer. I would make them visit the following: The Menil Collecition: world class art/architecture James Turrell’s Skyspace at Rice University: amazing meditative platform Hermann Park: beautiful grounds with lots of outdoor activities encouraged The Ally Theatre: Amazing Brutalist building with a great program of plays to attend Museum of Fine Arts Houston: New addition by Steven Holl, should be amazing… opens soon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been lucky to have had many important mentors in my life. I am a big believer in academia, my years earning an MFA as well as an MARCH1 were absolutely invaluable. Aside from professors, certain artists have made a large impact on my practice, in ways that are not always discernable. I would like to say that any working artist today has her own personal mountain to climb, and I find inspiration from those who do what they feel compelled to do regardless of societal success or failure. One of the best definitions of an “artist” I every heard was “An artist is someone who makes art.” That simple sentence when applied to those who really try to create the best work they can, inspires me.
Other: Don’t do social media these days… my website is up to date.
All images are provided by the artist.