We found ARTESCAPE, between Australian Rainbow Serpent and South African Origin Festival and she took a little time from her busy schedule to talk to Psychedelic eMagazine.
Let’s hear what Artescape has to say!
PM: Hi, i think we should start with the basics, for our readers. Who you are, what you do and where you live.
Artescape: I’m Carin Dickson, South African born artist living in Cape Town.
PM: How & when did you started with party decoration?
Artescape: I started when I was 18 years old, going to nightclubs when it was still the ‘Rave days’ techno house clubs in mid 90’s. I started painting the walls of the nightclubs. I was partying in with trippy psychedelic wall paintings. I went to my first ‘psytrance’ party in 1997 and fell in love. Then in 2000 I made my first psychedelic UV backdrops, which went to the Zambia Total Eclipse Festival in 2000. I sold everything! And from then, I proceeded to make backdrops as a hobby/ for fun for local psytrance parties in Johannesburg, where I was living at the time.
PM: that sounds great. Do you had any artistic background or started totally as a hobby?
Artescape: I was born with talent, have always been good at art all my life. I went to an Art school for my last 3 years of school. I left school when I was 17. I have always worked for myself as an artist.
PM: So that was your “turning point”?
Artescape: No, not really. My turning point, the event that started my career was a Vortex party in Cape Town in Dec 2005. I painted 2 giant dragon backdrops for the stage for an Infected Mushroom headliner party. It was my debut, my first chance at doing something big and being paid for it. And I changed the face of Cape Town trance parties. From then on, it exploded into what it is now. I basically decorated parties for free for 5 years between 2000 and 2005 until Vortex gave me my first break. It was my hobby/what I did for fun, not money. And honestly, I never thought it would ever have turned into a career! Or ever imagined being where I am today.
PM: Yeah, but this is how it goes with the talented work, never go unnoticed! So what was the first festival you decorated and what was the feedback?
Artescape: Vortex! December of 2005 with Infected Mushroom. Not really a festival, more like a party. The response was jaw-dropping/ falling over, wtf?! Was awesome, I even had to sit down when the ‘8m tall’ dragons were raised onto the scaffolding towers. Was truly breathtaking!
PM: In international scene? What was the first festival you made deco?
Artescape: Okay, international was Vuuv, when it was still Voov 2006. The same dragon backdrops were displayed on the main dance floor. My first time being flown overseas to decorate a festival! There I met the guys from Thailand from Black Moon and The Experience festival. And they commissioned me to make some backdrops for them. Since then for 7 years now, I have been supplying decor to Koh Phangan island.
PM: What is your inspiration when you create a new deco?
Artescape: That’s a difficult one, I like to find inspiration in the organization itself, like the theme or style of the party/festival. I always work with geometry, alignment and symmetry. I like creating mandalas.
PM: We, as I believe a lot of our readers, we don’t know what it takes to decorate a festival from the start to the very end of the project. Can you give us some insights?
Artescape: It’s really hard work. From the beginning stages of design, to then calculating what materials are needed and how much. To then cutting fabric (to cut up a few hundred meters of fabric in a 5m long room can take a few days, and involves some extreme yoga moves!) Then sewing kilometers of stitching, and then painting. Making stencils for everything, cut by hand. Airbrushing every bit of color. And with making a mandala design, means repeating the same design many times, which takes patience. That does become a meditation in itself. Then to rigging it. Which can be heartbreaking when the wind wants to blow and shred it to pieces! Decorating outdoor dance floors is one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my artistic life.
PM: Yeah, that how it looks to the visitors also, as a hard job! But the result I believe is rewarding both visitors and artists. What you believe was your most challenging and hard project to make?
Artescape: Well, there’s been a few. Ozora was always the biggest amount of work to do in the smallest amount of time. Glade festival was the most challenging because my decor that I shipped from South Africa to England, never arrived on time. So I had to make a backup plan in 3 days. Then, when the festival had already started, my decor arrived and myself and crew changed all the decor around for 2 dance floors in 10 hours during the music break. We basically decorated 2 dance floors with 2 different decor setups in 2 days! It was pure madness. Painting the Boom dragons was intense also, I painted both in 10 days. A lot of my greatest achievements have been my most challenging.
PM: yeah, that sounds really intense! Are we speaking for the last Ozora?
Artescape: Speaking mainly for Ozora of 2011. Which was the best one for me. I painted everything on that dance floor in 2 weeks on my own!
PM: But also Boom 2012 was an incredible stage! Tell us a little bit your involve there.
Artescape: All I did was paint the dragons. I did Ozora at the same time also. Was quite crazy doing artwork for both. I had to leave crew in Austria painting the Ozora shade while I went to Boom, then left Boom after the second day to go back to Ozora to get right the decor there.
PM: Sounds crazy! But the dragons was the absolute spot of Boom 2012!
Artescape: I will be there for 2 months. This coming Boom I am one of the main decorators. And now we have to beat the Dragons! A big job!
PM: That sounds great! Do we have any insights of the idea that you can share with us?
Artescape: Yeah! Well, it’s a theme of the divine feminine, so we will be creating a garden, full of ‘otherworldly’ plant life. within a cathedral/temple structure. Interactive, psychedelic and out of this world!
PM: That sounds mind-blowing! Can’t wait to see it! What is generally your festivals for year of 2014?
Artescape: Ilo Festival in Mexico at May, Halfmoon Festival all year in Thailand. There’s a few that are still to be confirmed, so don’t want to put them here yet. potentially Tribe in Brazil, Boom Dance temple 2014 -Boom is the one I’m focusing on- my first time putting so much of myself into one space, Really excited!
PM: What is your plans for the future?
Artescape: Future? no plan really, just going with the flow of life and flying where it takes me! I’m gonna carry on with festivals and large dance floor installations for as long as I’m excited about them! After that, I may go back to fine art, get back into using a 000 paintbrush and a canvas (laughs)
PM: That sounds perfect. We also want to wish you the best for your career and we can’t wait to see more of your works! Thank you, Carin, for opening your heart to Psychedelic eMagazine. Do you want to send any message to our readers?
Artescape: Believing is seeing! ‘one of my favorite sayings And hope everyone out there enjoys what I give as much as I enjoy giving it!