Artist's rock'n'roll visions

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 15:33 09/05/2012
tdn erica stand
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Erica Sklenars has returned from Germany where she toured with band Thought Creature as a video jockey.

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Artist Erica Sklenars is living the rockstar life without having to play an instrument.

The New Plymouth woman recently returned home after accompanying New Zealand rock band Thought Creature on a five-month tour of Germany.

Despite not playing an instrument, the 26-year-old toured with the band as a video jockey.

Her role was to create audio- visual experiences that accompanied the band's music during live performances.

Sklenars said she used a mixture of original footage and clips she had found, mostly with a sci- fi, monster-creature theme.

"The clips play through a computer program which I then have hooked up to a keyboard so I can play it like an instrument," she said.

"It's like I play on stage with the band, it's really fun."

Sklenars said the band went to Germany without a plan or any bookings, but slotted into the music scene well.

"We ended up playing at a few festivals around Germany and different venues, from DIY squats, to larger rock'n'roll clubs and big techno clubs."

On her way to completing a masters in fine arts, Sklenars began working with performance video, which eventually led her to develop an interest in music collaboration.

"I really enjoy working with musicians. I enjoy meeting people and creating collaborations when I discover I like what they do, and they discover they like what I do."

As well as using a keyboard to project images and video, Sklenars has used overhead projectors with oils and liquids, and an old spinning wheel she adapted into a visual machine.

"The spinning wheel uses Victorian animation techniques to project moving images, and I have lots of different image wheels I change between."

Through her own art practice, the Wellington-based artist uses performance video to explore the dynamic of humour in contemporary feminism.

She has contributed her live performances to a number of exhibitions, including one at Wellington's Enjoy Gallery and The Film Archives.

Sklenars said as visual synching with bands became more common, she hoped to continue exploring that avenue and continue her own art practice.

"Ideally I'd just like to be able to keep making stuff, and survive," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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