What the hell is Nicolas Sassoon doing in his studio all day? Getting high, if his latest GIF is at all autobiographical. It is the second in his Pandora series, which renders his studio in different states. Sized to fit the full screen of the browser, each shows a straight on view of the same space.
A bit of background: For Sassoon’s first installment of his residency at Opening Times, an online arts organization based in the UK, he created an idealized representation of his studio space. That was back in July, and I interviewed him about the GIF and residency over at artnet News.
My studio is a very dark space inside a basement located in a city that is pretty dark for eight months of the year. A lot of my work emerges from extended periods of time immersed in that environment. This lifestyle allows me to project myself into a virtual world, but it also lacks the physical interactions of the real world. A lot of my work tries to give a physical quality to my drawings and animations. The bleakness of my aesthetic is also what I use to give a physical quality to my art.
In an email to me last week, he described the second iteration, (detail pictured above), as even darker. Literally speaking that seems unlikely given all that pot—if he wants that stuff to grow, the actual studio space has to be brightly lit.
I’m on the fence about this piece. Its size and detail is impressive, but the message doesn’t seem all that different than the pot leaves that get printed on T-shirts. If drug use is really so critical/destructive to the artistic process, there’s probably more to say about it.