F & T Questionnaire:
After a long hiatus, Fink and Theel has returned in full force and is proud to present Make Art and Cry, a collaborative team made up of artists Carlie Bristow and Anthony Febo. If one could choose any site on which to stage their work it would be the tongue -- a place utterly familiar to us all, where food, intimacy, voice and silence play out in both mundane and passionate ways. Performance and the body are central to their practice, taking form through staged photography, video documenting pared-down actions, and live spoken word poetry. And as all bodies are political, each uses their respective experiences to parse through complexities of gender, race and class in our current cultural climate. Together, they soften and expose, allowing a glimpse into the intertwining of the personal and artistic. Read on to see how they channel joy and tears to make their work.
carlie Bristow & Anthony febo
make art and cry
Describe a place in the world where you have felt most alive:
C: In water. Every single time my body is swimming, I feel most alive. Swimming is very important to my self-care routine. My body craves the water. Although I don't get to as much as I would like, I find myself near water often..
F: I feel alive in various spaces. Within a classroom creating with a group of teens, on a stage speaking my truth with an audience, in the studio crafting a new artwork, in my home city of Lowell, on the Island that birthed my parents, Puerto Rico, and in my home in Cambridge.
MA+C: When we are both working towards a common goal, the place that we are in becomes alive. Whether it is as educators, lovers, curators of space, or artists -- working towards a common goal together connects us as partners.
Share an image that you return to often:
C: Landscape (2009) by Carlie Bristow
F: Patriot Act or If Trump Had His Way, All Your Heroes Would Be Dead (2015) by Anthony Febo
MA+C: Imponderabilia (1977) by Marina Abramovic and Ulay
What is the last thing you read that mattered to you? What will you read next?
C: Hunger by Roxanne Gay. If you haven't read this, READ THIS. It mattered so much to me as a woman who struggles with her personal appearance and body. Gay's story is important. It is vulnerable. She is brave. Next up is, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby because although there are struggles to being a woman, it can also be funny and confusing sometimes.
F: An essay by Hanif Abdurraqib On Joy. As we answer this, I am currently teaching an online class titled, "On Finding Joy." As well as essays, Hanif also writes necessary poems. Up next, I will be finishing the complete work of the poet, playwright, and co-founder of Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, Miguel Piñero.
MA+C: The essay Joy by Zadie Smith. We read it in the park next to our house and then had an amazing conversation afterwards about the difference between pleasure and joy. Febo used this conversation for the basis of his class that evening. Next we want to read Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical Performance Pedagogy by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Roberto Sifuentes.
Describe an object that intrigues you:
C: When I was in Puerto Rico and had a stomach ache, Febo's cousin made me tea with Guanabana leaves. I was simultaneously so amazed and surprised that this leaf made me feel better instantly. It was magic. Seriously!!
F: The object is the sidewalk. More specifically, the things that I find left on the sidewalk. Whether I take the object home with me or not, I try to envision an alternate use for it.
MA+C: We have been using a camera to record our lives. Whether it is our polaroid, Carlie's fancy digital camera or just an iphone, the camera gives us proof of a life lived and a beautiful life it is!
Share a video that resonates with you:
What must change?
C: The stubbornness in people to change. To educate themselves. To call our their own biases and micro-aggressions.
F: Who it is at the "top" in the media. Representation matters. Everywhere.
MA+C: More spaces for young people and artists to give life to their story through art and learn and grow with each other.
How can we heal?
C: Recognizing your own practice of self-care and then implementing those practices often.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
- Audre Lorde
F: By forgiving. Forgiveness isn't saying that what happened is ok, it's accepting it and moving on. And by finding moments to celebrate.
"Come celebrate with me, that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed."
MA+C: To make art and then cry and do it all again the next day.
If you could instantly have any skill or ability what would it be?
C: Teleportation. duh.
F: To be able to focus the way that Carlie does.
MA+C: To be able to speak to our pets.
What makes you laugh until you cry?
C: Our late night routine
F: Our late night routine
MA+C: Our late night routine
As a member of the global community, what is your greatest concern?
C: That young people of color will not get the platform to tell their stories, explore their identities and ultimately make change.
F: The toxic masculinity and the fragile egos of the men in power.
MA+C: It's concerning how the people that are making choices for us now, will effect our future family.
Describe a non-human being you’ve interacted with.
C: This morning I pulled an aloe leaf off of the aloe plant i've been loving for over a year. It felt good on my skin. I felt bad for the plant after.
F: Last night, I asked Carlie for suggestions on how to better play with our dog Oscar. Him and I have been not understanding each other lately, but last night was a success.
MA+C: This morning was a four way spoon between Carlie, Oscar, Finn and Febo. Two words - cuddle puddle.
What is your mantra?
C: Drink water and have balance
F: Yes, and...
MA+C: Make Art and Cry
What can art do?
C: Change people's minds by looking at things in a different way.
F: Art can provide another language for us to say the things that we often struggle to find the words for.
MA+C: Heal by being vulnerable and taking risks.