Over the summer I visited PIPPI ZORNOZA in her studio in Providence. All of the work that Pippi showed me was extremely intricate, delicate, and beautiful. Her silkscreens are masterfully printed, utilizing many mediums (silkscreen ink, glitter, blood, and more), on various surfaces (from textured, lightweight, handmade paper to silk fabric, to opaque, plasticky panels, and wood). The imagery that she is drawn to is dark, her work looks like it belongs to the denizens of the underworld. She incorporates many symbols of death into her compositions; skeletons, the sword (and other occult symbols), the raven, the vulture, the wolf, the dragon, and other predatory animals. (Learn more about her work and her involvement in the co-founding of the feminist art collective, Dirt Palace, after the cut.)
Q & A with PIPPI ZORNOZA
C & P: First of all thank you very much for showing me your artwork and giving me a tour of the Dirt Palace. I have heard of the Dirt Palace for years and have always been intrigued. The space is quite impressive! The entirety of the Dirt Palace (9500 square feet worth of amazingness, which used to be an old library that partially burnt down) seems like an art installation in itself, similar to other art historical spaces such as Genesis P-Orridge’s Ho-Ho House or Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbau. It is certainly the largest art installation I have ever been inside of! I want to give up my New York life, move to Olneyville, and take up residence in the Dirt Palace RIGHT NOW.
C & P: You just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the founding (with Xander Marro) of the Palace this summer, producing a zine to celebrate the occasion, which includes contributions from past and present members of the Dirt Palace collective. (The zine is a great way for non-Providence dwellers to get acquainted with those who have been/are currently involved with the Dirt Palace collective and is available for purchase here). What is your greatest memory of time spent at the Dirt Palace over the past 10 years?
Pippi: Probably in 2004. At 4 in the morning, after our 4 year anniversary, I dumped a large mason jar of my blood from a failed menstrual extraction all over the car of my ex-lover and partner in conception with a note that said “may you learn to clean up future messes”. Immediately the sky opened up in a torrential downpour washing away all traces of my vandalism. The next day we found that the Dirt Palace must have suffered a lightning electrical surge. Our brand new computer donated by the State was completely fried. Truth is stranger than fiction.
C & P: How would you describe the Providence art and music scene in 2010? Has it changed a lot since 2000 when you founded the space?
Pippi: I’ve heard about 5 waves of declarations that Providence has died over the years. I don’t trust this attitude. These people should just shrivel up and die if they can’t evolve. There are 2 factions that drecry this attitude- A. jaded, aging artists and musicians who are settling into societal pathways, filled with nostalgia for “the glory days” and B. spectators with a lazy entertainment culture mentality who really want a 24 hour bar that plays the Pixies where they will constantly get laid and who don’t really like music to begin with.
Providence is still just chugging along. Even when it pokes its head slightly above ground, it’s still fairly under the radar.
C & P: What artists (living and/or dead) inspire you or have influenced your style?
Pippi: This list may be fairly nepotistic and possibly absurdly literal.
I would not be a musician if it were not for Olneyville Sound System.
Adam Autry is the East Coast’s most intense and under-rated percussionist.
Dan St. Jaques from Landed for lighting himself on fire and Zeke Shek scaring the shit out of me while on acid – seminal moments influencing my competitive performance style
Xander Marro – AKA “the Brains” upcoming winner of the Genius Award
Annapurna Himal Wagner for bodily fluids, leather, and vengeful vitriol
The Dario Argento film Suspiria for general aesthetics
Cliff Burton for style
Doc Dart for vocal tone
Dead End Justice
Clock Makers around the world
Freddy Mercury, Diamanda Galas and Kenneth Anger…..and I would have said SLAYER, but since it’s carved in my arm, I figured that’s a no brainer.
C & P: You often use the patterns from your drawings in other formats; drawings are often used for screenprints, which may morph and be slightly altered and used as a rock show poster, then the pattern might be used on a plywood floor panel or in wallpaper. Do you prefer any of these mediums over another, or do you enjoy using the drawings in as many ways as possible?
Pippi: An individual drawing can often take months for me to complete. Because of this, and because I do not sell my drawings, I often use the imagery in many different contexts. This has become the way that I share with others. I form a strong possessive attachment with the drawings as actual objects. I would not necessarily say that they are sacred, however, I refuse to see them in the context of commodities. At the same time, I do not wish to isolate myself in this way. The drawings are somewhat private, but the imagery in itself is not.
C & P: You showed me other (non-drawing based) work that you have created, you are also a woodworker/carver and a crafter… do you ever show any of this work or do you make these pieces more for yourself?
Pippi: I do show this work. Often it exists as site specific semi-permanent installations. It’s true, mostly its context is the environment of the Dirt Palace. Often, I’ll use exhibits as impetus to create these objects for the D.P.
C & P: What other activities do you enjoy pursuing when not making music or art?
not necessarily in that order
C & P: Do you feel that you live your life as if it is an art project?
Pippi: I am 100% uninterested in reproduction. I will never birth a living creature. My disinterest in breeding is supplanted by a desire to create. Part of this creative drive manifests in aesthetic control of my environment. In this sense, I could see a connection here. However, art as life/life as art is not a conscious philosophy that I’m propounding.
Please check out more of Pippi’s work on her website.
You can also find out more information about the Dirt Palace here.