On September 17, 2018, Molaundo Jones interviewed me for the blog of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization I have been a member of since 2014.
The following interview originally appeared in Member Spotlight: Marsian De Lellis, by Molaundo Jones, Social Media Specialist at Fractured Atlas
Marsian De Lellis is an interdisciplinary artist and writer whose practice incorporates sculpture, objects, installation, and time-based performance. Their work investigates contemporary forms of animism, death, sexuality, and addiction through the use of dolls, artificial figures, cutouts, pop-ups, performing objects, and wearable architecture. Marsian has been a member of Fractured Atlas since 2014.
How has Fractured Atlas benefitted your artistic practice?
Fractured Atlas has enabled me as an individual to remain competitive for funding from foundations, which I would otherwise not be eligible for. There have been helpful tutorials on the business side of being an artist — including the opportunity to be part of Q&A teleconferences with funders. The Fractured Atlas newsletter has helpful reminders of upcoming grant deadlines. It also helps me, as an individual artist, to feel connected to a larger national community of artists in a field where our work is not unionized. And I love how in recent months they have been encouraging artists to take political action and consider running for office.
How has Fractured Atlas benefitted your revenue/income generation?
Fractured Atlas enables me to raise revenue necessary to my projects on a rolling basis without the drawbacks of crowdfunding platforms that can be toxic for artists with all-or-nothing thinking, a reliance on capitalism for validation, hustling way past bedtime to keep a campaign alive in a limited-time period, and the very real possibility of failure. And being able to offer a tax deduction to supporters as an incentive has been a way for me to fill in some of the gaps between grants, fellowships, and day jobs that support my work. The ability to raise funds from individual contributors is especially important in the current climate where traditional funding sources have been eroding — and ones that do exist have been trending towards rewarding a model of the artist as an unqualified social worker rather than the artist as an actual artist.
What specific Fractured Atlas services/programs have you used?
In addition to being the beneficiary of secure online donations from individual contributors and working with Fractured Atlas through their fiscal sponsorship program, I have also used the artful.ly ticketing software to manage the house at Automata. Automata is a Los Angeles-based performance gallery dedicated to the creation, incubation, and presentation of experimental puppet theater, film, and other contemporary art practices centered on ideas of artifice and performing objects.
Why do you think artists and organizations should become members of Fractured Atlas?
Beyond having more tools to raise funds and educational support, there is a legitimizing aspect to being a member of Fractured Atlas. It means you’ve been vetted.
Do you have any upcoming events that people should know about?
From September 27 — October 13, I will present “Object of her Affection” at Los Angeles Exchange [LAX] Festival. “Object of Her Affection” is a solo object and puppet-based performance art piece centered on a woman, who in her search for true love develops intimate relationships with inanimate objects. Developed with director, Michele Spears, this unconventional love story explores the synesthetic relationship between objects and personalities, and ways that objects can occupy more than one meaning at any given time.
Object of Her Affection follows the emotional journey of protagonist, Andrea Lowe, after she has mysteriously fallen from a building. In her final moments, she reflects on her meaningful relationships starting with her first love, a baby’s blanket. As an adolescent, she loses her virginity to a bad-boy hunting rifle and subsequently becomes infatuated with a controversial wall. As Andrea evolves, so do her desires. In adulthood, she forms doomed relationships with monumental structures: a high-profile statue, tragic twin skyscrapers, and a bridge who cheats. Each of these relationships has a profound effect, shaping Andrea’s views on life and love. Finally, she finds solace in Roy, a crumbling tenement who ultimately fails her.
What is your biggest accomplishment as a result of being a Fractured Atlas member?
To my surprise, when I sent out a newsletter last year announcing an upcoming residency and performance, just a mention of Fractured Atlas at the end generated some much needed revenue in a short period of time. The ability to raise funds like this on the fly when I didn’t have the time to write a grant or engage in the hassle a crowdfunding campaign felt like a major achievement for me.