Colossal Interviews

In our ongoing interview series, Colossal goes deep with some of our favorite contemporary artists, designers,
and creative personalities from around the world. These conversations are supported directly by our members.

Renata Cherlise On Her ‘Black Archives’ Project, the Credibility of Candid Photos, and the Look of Black Joy

April 28, 2023

In conversation with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete, Renata Cherlise discusses her new book, ‘Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life,’ the origins of her love for family photos, and why she considers snapshots “the most authentic storytelling medium in the written and visual language.”

Christoph Niemann On Wit, Distilling an Idea, and How the Internet Has Made Us Better Readers

March 24, 2023

The act of drawing, of envisioning an idea and conveying it visually, produces the same feelings in Christoph Niemann as it did when he was a child. In this interview, the artist, author, and animator reiterates that “there is no trick” to making the creative process easier and shares why it’s important to distill a drawing down to the bare minimum. He also talks about his news consumption, the downsides of pitching, and his enduring love for the humble act of putting ink on paper.

Kate MccGwire On Discerning Duality, Connecting with Nature, and Making Art in the Belly of a Dutch Barge

February 13, 2023

Colossal contributing editor Kate Mothes speaks with artist Kate MccGwire about how the artist connects with nature on a daily basis, relies on an extensive network of people around the U.K. to send countless feathers, and embraces the tension between what we know to be real and what we imagine.

A Prison Art Community On the Power of an Annual Exhibition in Michigan to Support More Than 700 Incarcerated Artists

January 31, 2023

The Prison Creative Arts Project brings its community at the University of Michigan together with those directly affected by the carceral system through workshops, learning opportunities, and an annual exhibition. Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with two formerly incarcerated artists, Johnny Van Patten and Josh Herrera, and faculty director Nora Krinitsky about how creative practices function while incarcerated, why exhibiting and selling work is essential to the process, and what the humanity of art means in a system built on dehumanization.

Jessica Oreck of the Office of Collecting & Design On Her Enormous Museum of Miniatures

November 4, 2022

In Las Vegas, the Office of Collecting & Design is a haven for the minute, the small objects that have been broken, separated from their partners, or grown obsolete and somehow found their way into the hands of Jessica Oreck. An artist and filmmaker, Oreck serves as both caretaker and cultivator of this magical and somewhat bizarre “collection of collections,” which houses everything from handmade sushi smaller than a pushpin and a teeny-tiny tube of Colgate to stone marbles and limbs detached from toy figures. Oreck spoke with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about the origin of the ever-expanding collection of miniatures, how respect and intuition ground her approach to the objects, and the mysterious story behind one of the strangest items she’s encountered.

Rael San Fratello On the Boundaries of 3D Printing, Architecture, and the Impact of Division

September 1, 2022

Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael of the eponymous studio Rael San Fratello foster a practice that transcends the boundaries of design, art, technology, and craft. Although their interests are broad, they’re always committed to the material and structural, to recognizing everyone’s humanity, and to finding sustainable, practical ways to create a more hospitable future. The pair spoke with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about applying their 3D-printing practice to larger projects, the role tradition plays in their works, and how, as educators, they encourage their students to embody the same innovative, endlessly curious mindset.