Aleks Pichlak is a filmmaker and artist based in Vancouver, Los Angeles and New York City.
The Gone Cat: Who are your top three favorite artists?
Aleks Pichlak: I am most drawn to artists who I feel mirror the light and dark of what life bears us. To me this is the truest reality, and although I’m aware of being an escapist more often than not, I can’t ever shut my eyes to the light, and I can’t ever shut my eyes to the dark. In art, be it film, literature, music, photography…if those two aspects walk side by side, I feel the sense of both drowning and awakening, reaching the heart. Like falling in love. At last it feels worth confronting life for.
I have always gravitated towards film. As years build, I feel more connected to Polish cinema. I absolutely love Krzysztof Kieslowski, a Polish film-maker, whose work explores human existence and the weight and mystery of it all. It involves all of life, the politics, the metaphysical, religion, expectation, human condition, and morality.
John Steinbeck is another artist who will always remain a favorite. His writing of California landscapes, so warm and grand, describe a hard life in America. My girlfriend is from California, and when we visit, I can’t help remembering those novels, and how true they are today.
And last but not least, Taschka Turnquist, my love, whose photography I find so moving. I know it’s a given that I should find my partner’s art to be the favorite, but lucky for me, I have fallen in love with a girl whose art is my favorite. When she first told me she was a photographer, I thought, ‘oh fuck, she’s really beautiful, i really like her, i really don’t want to see her photography and pretend i like it or something to not hurt her feelings. I’m not gonna be able to lie. This is the end of us.’ So in fear, I went to her website, to see what she was all about. But wow, to my surprise, she had these beautiful raw photos soaking and drenching in the power and the calm of sexuality. Her framing, her colors, her judgement, all had taste. I felt full respect. I feel in love harder. I remember staying up half the night, even if it meant being tired for set the next day, and just tasting photo after photo. She had found the light and the dark.
GC: A recent art exhibit you’ve viewed and why it impressed you?
AP: Kerry James Marshall at the Met Breuer in 2016. I saw this same artist a few years back at the Seattle Art Museum. His paintings that afternoon, bright and bold, grabbed my attention and stopped me in my tracks. His work pushes boundaries and tests convention of black culture and in that, all culture.
GC: What is your favorite museum or art gallery (in any city)?
AP: I have to admit my answer is less literal than an actual “museum” as I’m a film buff. My museum would be any movie theatre. I can sit at the movies all day, bounce from theatre to theatre. Especially in Fall. That’s when all the good ones start seeping out. If I had to choose one gallery, it would be: Jonathan Levine Gallery. They used to be in Manhattan but they moved to Jersey City. They show really imaginative and modern work.
What’s your favorite art movement of the past 100 years?
Surrealism – it’s so haunting. like IKEA.
GC: If you could choose any 3 artists living/past to have a dinner party with, whom would you choose?
AP: I didn’t even have to think or draw straws or whatever. It’d be my sugar, Taschka. We can talk about camera angels and framing and mood this and that all day. And we love creating food. So a dinner party would be perfect. We would also invite her mother, Charlotte, who was a very talented writer, and, Roman Polanski, because I like his sense of humor in his films, and a good sense of humor can save any night, but good food can’t always.