Studio Visit: Etty Yaniv’s Cellular World

Inside the expansive studio/loft building of 117 Grattan Street in Bushwick is the studio of Etty Yaniv. This is her first year participating in Bushwick Open Studios and she has been in her current, light-flooded studio since October, having obtained her MFA from SUNY Purchase within the last year. Now she spends as much time as she can in her studio and the amount of work pinned to the walls shows it.

First off, what drew you to Bushwick? 

I think the rent being affordable. There’s a big variety of artists, and I know a few people here too.

Do you think there’s a Bushwick aesthetic?

I think there’s a lot of influence of artists on one another here because of the community. There’s a lot of variety… painters, musicians, performers. As far as if there’s a Bushwick aesthetic… (after a long pause) I would say no.

What can you tell me about the current body of work you’re focusing on?

I’m working on a series of drawings based around social networks.

Are you interested in how people interact now because of social networks?

Yeah, and what happens to our self identity within this new environment.

Why drawing rather than any other medium?

I like the idea of hand made marks in response to that thought of digital environment. Rather than go digital or to a meticulous kind of painting that would replicate electronic aesthetics, I really want to do it by hand… it’s like writing kind of.

Are you interested in the physicality of electronics?

Well, visually I deal with the instruments themselves, but I think the work is more about landscapes of what these objects are… and what we are within those landscapes. They are in cellular form. I present them as cells in a series and together they become an installation.

So each piece in the grid is related to the ones that surround it?

Yes, when I make one I keep the rest of the pieces in mind. They all talk to one another. I want to them to create a world of their own when they’re together.

I like the fact that they’re “cellular”. Do you remember how you came to use that term to describe them?

For me the term pertains to the subject. We live in such a cellular environment. You have icons, you have all these instruments that are made of cells and they all link to each other the way that we link to each other.

Now you use text in some of your work. Does it come from a source?

It comes directly from meta-filter. It’s basically a program that tells you anything you want to know about anything. It’s really good for giving me text that goes along with the digital concept.

Now this one, this is like cells within a cell.

Yes exactly. Actually what I have in here are collages from airplane safety booklets. I think of it as an air traffic hub sort of, as a general metaphor. I was going to India and on the way I was looking at the manuals which are in all these different languages, and thinking about the idea of traveling, like planning your trip online, and then actually traveling on the airplane, and how those relate to one another.

Do you envision a space within some of these drawings?

Yes, I think my work is a lot about capturing space. The idea of the cells… within each of them there’s a search and exploration of this fluid space. Talking about social networks, the iPad and iPhone… these are all new spaces that we’re exposed to, and if you think about little kids now, they don’t know know a reality without these networks, it’s so natural to them. I’m exploring how to express those spaces.

Find out more about Etty’s work and check out her studio during BoS!

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