Lief Hall
by Asher Penn

This week, I was given the assignment to interview Lief Hall about her participation in Rust Cages, the upcoming group show at access gallery. Unfortunately, I had never met the artist before, nor had I ever seen her work. Lief is a really nice girl whose practice is varied, and is okay to talk about it. She makes animations, draws collaboratively, plays in a band called Kiku-Haux, and is now the curator at Lucky’s comic shop. Because we didn’t really get around to talking about the show, here are tidbits from our conversation:

“I like finding faces in things. Like with cars, there is this little face on the front of it, like the headlights are eyes and the bumper is the mouth, and you can see all the different expressions that are changed by the way the hood of the car curves forward, and then it looks angry, or happy or sad. I like looking at things like that. It goes back to when you’re a baby, anything with three different dots; it just looks like a face. I think that my art is like that—you can see faces in them, but at the same time, they’re just these weird shapes. It’s like a game. But it’s funny, some people don’t see facesÖ

“When I graduated from Emily Carr, my friend James and I started playing music together as Kiku-Haux and I started doing animations for our shows. They would be projected on the walls and stacked up on monitors, like this crazy big bonanza. They’re all in 3D, because I like this program I get to use. It’s such an amazing thing to work in because you’re in this little world, and you create it yourself, and you can move around in it. When you get good at it, it’s like your hands are inside the computerÖ

“The way I started using these colors with the gradation is because it’s just a default of the program: you can basically say “gradient” and pick your colors. It’s really easy. My stuff uses all the basic elements of the animation programs: default settings. It’s using the program as it is: not trying to hide it, revealing everything. Like pulling up its skirt. It’s like the first time you start drawing—you don’t know what’s going to happen, how the line is going to curve—so with the animation, magical things appear without my knowing. It turns into something like painting, like you throw colours together and you sort of see what happens: it’s looseÖ

“When me and James started Kiku-Haux I kind of got obsessed with the idea of advertising for the band. So I started pulling out pieces of magazines and started making advertisements and stuck them in James’ room. They were silly. Like a drawing of a guy walking past Liv Tyler, and Liv Tyler is looking at the guy saying, “Wow, he’s so hot,” but really he’s got this weird drawn face on him and she likes him for that insteadÖ

“James and I also do drawings together. We sit side-by-side and draw at the same time on a piece of paper. It’s wonderful because it goes so fast, we can do five or six drawings a night. Usually I’m a lot slower on my own. James and me have a lot of similar ideas about images and music. Its makes things happen so fast, and it’s fun too, you talk and hang out and laugh because the pictures are funnyÖ”

“With music, in the same way as drawing, somebody puts something out there and you shape it, and they take that back from you and shape it. It’s this constant back-and-forth thing, so you learn how to read the person’s images or sounds, and manipulate them and pass them back. You’ve got to trust the person enough to work with them, and not be scared that it will be ugly, or not be scared of screaming and it becoming obnoxious. It’s neat ‘cause you have no idea about what’s going to happen and then you start putting lines down and it actually starts to take form.”