Zoot recently chatted with artist and sculptor Satch Hoyt about his unique artistic style, life in Berlin, life in a band, and his plans for the White House lawn…
Text by Lucy Mclean
ZOOT Magazine: Tell us about the main concept behind your installations and artwork?
Satch Hoyt: The dominant concept tends to pivot around issues pertaining to the African diaspora and all of its glorious hybridity. This is a vast culture with a myriad of stories to be mined and told. I traverse this wide terrain from pre middle passage to current issues, often utilizing the subjects of sport and music as metaphors.
Z: What three words would you use to summarise your artistic style…
SH: Visceral, Sonic, Poetic.
Z: What do you think makes your work unique and innovative today? SH: My constant quest for, and use of, familiar objects and materials that contextually support my conceptual focus.
Z: How would you describe the world of art and fashion in Berlin?
SH: Berlin is very much focused in on itself. There is a lot of navel-gazing going on but on the other hand, Berlin is a fantastic place to produce work. Here one can reflect, meditate and indulge in research without the feeling of being pressured. One is not dictated to by current trends, it’s very easy to exist in a somewhat reclusive state, which I feel is important for ones personal, spiritual, and artistic evolution.
Its motto feels like ‘anything goes’. As someone who has lived in London, Paris and NYC and who loves clothes and dressing up, it’s just not the kind of city that’s full of eccentric fashionistas. To be quite frank I do kinda miss the fabulous cuts or amazing textiles or the daring mash-ups that cross hate couture with grunged out trash but let me reiterate, Berlin does offer one a certain tranquility that other capitals cannot because they are so tied up in the race of ‘gotta have it now’, and Berlin is about ‘maybe I’ll get it some day’.
Z: Did you develop your art and sculpting techniques yourself?
SH: Yes, I am autodidact in both Fine Art and Music.
Z: We have seen a distinct sports theme in many of your sculptures and drawings, for example, in the energetic statues made entirely from mixed up boxing gloves.. Have you always been interested in sports and the athleticism of the human body?
SH: I loathed sports at school and I did everything possible not to participate in it! But when all is said and done, I still love to watch world championships…
Spectators identify with sports heroes, as do citizens with their political party candidates. For the most part, sportsmen and sports women constitute the disenfranchised in our societies; in other words, our societies would be incomplete without sports.
Z: How do you find your inspiration?
SH: Through research, focus, discipline, and life in general. I am a story teller with a lot of stories to tell…
Z: Some of your drawings seem to represent bloodshed and war, do you think it is important to make controversial or thought-provoking artwork?
SH: Blood shed and war are very much part of our daily existence.
As a visual artist I’m not interested in flag waving or political sloganizing, yet those elements are all present in my practice, woven into the layers.
Z: Where would be your favourite place to set up an installation?
SH: On the White House lawn.
Z: We hear that you are in a band with Greg Tate called “Burnt Sugar”, whilst working on your own album too, is your artwork ever influenced by your music, or vice versa?
SH: The two are constantly influenced by each other…
Z: Tell us about your album “AMPLITUDE”.
SH: Amplitude is myself on lead vocals, keyboard, flute and percussion, with Dirk Leyers (of Closer Musik fame) on guitars, synthesizer and programming, and Earl Harvin (of Seal, Air and Tinder Sticks fame), plus guests such as Julia Kent Cello (from Anthony and the Johnsons), Cass Lewis Bass (Skunanasie), Smoota Trombone (Sufjan Stevens, TV On The Radio) and Mike Timothy (Massive Attack).
I decided I wanted to do my own album of songs after 10yrs with the phenomenal Burnt Sugar Chamber Arkestra, which is a predominantly instrumental band very much in vein of Miles Davis’ 1970′s Bitches Brew era, so I met DJ/producer/musician Dirk Leyers in Berlin and we embarked on this album project of songs together. He is the techy guy in the studio, I don’t engineer. Earl [Harvin] is a friend and an amazing all round musician/producer predominantly known for his deft drumming skills.
The videos will be installed in Museums and we will play a concert too. A friend recently described the music as “21st century psychedelic soul” and I must admit, that is an element in the sonic structure of Amplitude but, like everything I do, lets call it a new hybrid still in an incomplete, unmixed stage.
Z: If you could have one famous face to represent your work, who would it be and why?
SH: Muhammad Ali because he kept fighting for what he believed in, against all odds.
Z: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
SH: Collaborating with Louise Bourgeois on the CD OTTE.
Z: How do you think your style has evolved since you first started out as an artist?
SH: In every way, from my choice of materials to the employment of audio element in the works.
Z: Would we find many designer labels in your wardrobe?
SH: Yes! Vivienne Westwood, Dries Van Noten, Jean Paul Gaultier…
Z: What projects have you been working on recently?
SH: The Amplitude album but also a new version of ‘Say It Loud’ for The Spoken World festival at the Kaaitheater in Brussels, November 25th, and new works for my solo show “Tale Spinner” at The Nomad Gallery in Brussels, November 26th.
Z: What are your biggest aims for the future?
SH: To continue to evolve and grow both as a human being and an artist, to remain flexible and collaborate with as many like minded people as possible, and to create an interactive monumental work for world peace that would be installed on or in the close vicinity of a spiritual site.
Z: What do you think will be the next big trend in 2012?
SH: Utopia consciousness.