Though Nick Cave was our launching post on our Blog, Daily Tonic. We thought, that we would pay the artist/professor due attention. Nick Cave an artist, performer, and director of the School of the Art Institute’s graduate fashion program. Cave’s “Soundsuits” are wearable mixed-media sculptures that incorporate every material imaginable to make sounds unique to each garment. Cave recently spoke to the New York Times in the profile, Cave recalls what he was thinking when he made his first Soundsuit out of fallen twigs gathered from Chicago’s Grant Park.
“It was a very hard year for me because of everything that came out of the Rodney King beating,” he said. “I started thinking about myself more and more as a black man — as someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than.”
One day, sitting on a bench in Grant Park in Chicago, he saw twigs on the ground in a new light: they looked forsaken too. He gathered them by the armful and cut them into three-inch sticks. He drilled holes through the sticks, so he could wire them to an undergarment of his own creation, completely covering the fabric.
As soon as the twig sculpture was finished, he said, he realized that he could wear it as a second skin: “I put it on and jumped around and was just amazed. It made this fabulous rustling sound. And because it was so heavy, I had to stand very erect, and that alone brought the idea of dance back into my head.”
Most of his work is heavily influenced by African ceremonial costumes. He often performs with in his sculptures and recently has been creating several at a time to dress dancers that perform Cave’s choreography. The work is visually arresting and the movement and sounds transcend their museum environment. Cave has brought his work to public settings educating and reminding the world the importance of expressing the human spirit through the arts. Nick Cave continues to keep the dialogue going while truly enjoying what he does.
Photo Credit: Ted Sabarese for City Mag