We found Carin Dickson, a.k.a. ARTESCAPE, between the Australian Rainbow Serpent and South African Origin Festival and she, took a little time from her busy schedule to talk to Psychedelic Magazine.
PM: Hi, I think we should start with the basics for our readers. Who are you, what you do and where do 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 proceeded making 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 completely 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: Yea, 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 with Infected Mushroom, 2005! Not really a festival more of 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. It was truly breathtaking!
PM: In the international scene, what was the first festival you made deco?
Artescape: Ok international was Vuuv when it was still Voov, in 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, us and most 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: Its 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 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: Yea 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 the 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, I and the 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. was madness. Painting the Boom dragons was intense, I painted both in 10 days. A lot of my greatest achievements have been my most challenging.
PM: Yea that sounds really intense! We’re speaking for the last Ozora?
Artescape: Speaking mainly of Ozora 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 about your involvement there.
Artescape: All I did was paint the dragons. I did Ozora at the same time. I was quite crazy doing artwork for both. I had to leave the 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 rig the decor there.
PM: Yeah, sounds crazy! But the dragons were 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 hehe!
PM: That sounds great! Do we have any insights into the idea that you can share with us?
Artescape: Yeah, well, it’s in the 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 mindblowing! Can’t wait to see it! What are generally your festivals for the year 2014?
Artescape: Ilo Festival Mexico at May, Halfmoon Festival all year in Thailand. There are 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 are your plans for the future?
Artescape: Future, hm. No plans 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!
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 Magazine. Do you want to send any message to our readers?
Artescape: Believing is seeing! ‘one of my favorite sayings; and I hope everyone out there enjoys what I give as much as I enjoy giving it!
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