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.

A Conversation with Social Justice Sewing Academy Explores Community Activism and the Power of Remembering Through Quilts

March 11, 2022

In a time when witnessing inequity is like digging into an already numb wound, and participating in surface-level social justice is as easy as recycling digital shares, the Social Justice Sewing Academy offers the power of touch. In this conversation, Colossal contributor Gabrielle Lawrence speaks with program director Stephanie Valencia about the work of honoring the victims of violence and their families through community art, supporting young entrepreneurs with creative or social justice-oriented businesses, and most importantly, giving people something to hold on to.

Shantell Martin Discusses the Power of a Single Line and Why Positivity Is Her Biggest Inspiration

February 16, 2022

Shantell Martin has been exploring the magic in a single line since childhood, and it’s that seemingly minimal marking that defines her practice still today. She works primarily in black-and-white, inscribing walls, canvases, and other objects with abstracted faces and affirmational text. Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert spoke with Martin about the vast potential of a line, the joy and fun of collaborating for the sake of collaborating, and her unwavering approach to positive thinking.

This Is Not a Gun: A Conversation with Cara Levine Explores Collective Trauma, Grief, and the Power of Ritual

November 16, 2021

In December 2016, Harper’s Magazine published a list of more than 20 objects that had been “mistaken for guns during shootings of civilians by police in the United States since 2001.” Artist Cara Levine found herself stunned then grief-stricken by the items, prompting her to launch the multi-faceted This Is Not a Gun project, which she discusses in an interview with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete.

Chicago’s Manual Cinema Reveals How Its Shadow Puppets Became a Defining Feature of the New ‘Candyman’

September 7, 2021

Nia DaCosta’s ‘Candyman’ (2021) is deeply rooted in Chicago’s history as it not only critically considers racial violence and the city’s problems with gentrification but also draws in local artists, like the prolific and talented team behind the performance collective Manual Cinema. In a conversation with editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, co-artistic director Drew Dir discusses the unprecedented process of using shadow puppets as a major component of a blockbuster live-action film, experimenting with the technical limits of the medium, and conveying a story of racism and trauma through a traditionally lighthearted art form.

Sara Hagale Discusses the Therapeutic Nature of Her Practice and Why She Doesn’t Think About Authenticity

August 31, 2021

Considering their undeniable relatability, it’s no surprise that Sara Hagale’s witty, whimsical, and at times anxious drawings have amassed an incredible following in recent years. Her body of work is broad and offers an array of emotional and aesthetic nuances that are unique to the artist. In a conversation with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert, Hagale discusses using her practice to process her emotions in real-time, the impossibility of authenticity, and why she prefers to work with limitations.

The Sketchbook Project Needs Help After Its Brooklyn Collection Grows to 55,000 Globally Submitted Books

July 30, 2021

Fifteen years ago, Steven Peterman launched The Sketchbook Project, an ongoing initiative that gathers sketchbooks filled with artwork and stories from people around the globe. It has since grown into the Brooklyn Art Library, and today, that collection boasts approximately 55,000 submissions. In this conversation with Colossal editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, Peterman talks about the challenges of maintaining the collection and its robust community during the COVID-19 pandemic and what’s on the horizon for the project as it changes its funding model.