THAT BIT OF CONFUSION

Conveying the uncomfortable state of a soul inhabiting flesh that does not reflect its infinite nature is a delicate process. Skyler Pham has taken to expressing this existential friction through their 3D figures which, with their abstract shapes and shells, have overcome this terminality, becoming pre-images for a post-contemporary world.
skyler uvodni

Most of your artworks portray fictional, upgraded human beings or some sort of futuristic creatures. Can you tell us what the story is behind these creations or what are they like?


I’ve always thought of them as ”human imitations”. They appear humanoid and maybe they want to be human, but there’s always something about them that’s “other”.

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How would you describe your process of creating your artworks, where do you get the ideas for these futuristic looking pieces?


My process has always been somewhat improvisational. I’ll start with a general idea and then I usually give myself a set of rules that I have to follow. For instance, I might only allow myself to use a limited amount of objects. So the challenge becomes, how do I convey these ideas through this limitation? I also imagine what fashion may be like in 100 or even 1000 years from now, when tech has advanced and humanity has transcended the idea of gendered fashion and we all just cover ourselves in floating abstract shapes.

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What type of medium do you use? Is it mostly 3D or do you use any other techniques?


The work starts out in 3D, but by the end it becomes an amalgamation of processes. I like to incorporate photographic textures into the work as well as digital painting here and there.

This comes from my more traditional background in printmaking and sculpture. I am drawn to the freedom of 3D work, but I often feel it lacks texture and markmaking. I try to bring that back.

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You mentioned that you work with gender and identity themes. How does it show in your work? Or what other themes are closest to your work?


A lot of my creative choices are drawn from my experiences as a non-binary person who experiences gender dysphoria. I want to express that feeling through the artworks. For me it’s kind of like the idea of the uncanny valley – you can recognize my figures as being human in some way, but you know something is different, not quite familiar. I want to create that bit of confusion within the viewer because it relates to my dysphoria. I also think of the abstract shapes that cover some of my figures as body armor. In that way the work is like sympathetic magic. By protecting these figures, I’m somehow protecting myself. Maybe it seems silly, but I can be quite spiritual in that way.

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BIO / Skyler Pham is a queer sculptor and digital artist based in South Louisiana. Their work examines the body in relation to issues of gender dysphoria and queer sexuality. In their recent work, Pham explores these ideas through the distortion of the human form, creating fluid “inhumanoid” figures that lean far into the uncanny valley. It is through this dualism of the familiar and unfamiliar that Pham relates their own experience of dysphoria.

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CREDITS

Artworks / Skyler Pham @human_imitation

First 3 pictures are part of a collaboration with MaggZ @magg._z

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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