Today we’re joined by CK. CK is an amazing glitch artist. CK has made some stunning work and I highly recommend looking it up. My thanks to him for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
I work with the raw text/code of my image files, which are composed of traditional and digital collage content that is scanned and manipulated to form a unique image, and “glitch” or “datamosh” the code of the final saved image to produce a unique visual output comprised of the collaged image and whatever damage or affect my code alterations make on the image file itself, to present a final image generated by, in a way, hacking the art.
I have dyscalculia, which is a numerical/mathematics learning disability, and I have a very severe form of it. I cannot tell time, read a map, or do simple addition. Nothing involving numbers! So playing with code is very challenging for me, which makes it very rewarding when eventually get a final piece out of all the art making and code manipulation.
Glitch art can be very unpredictable or very controlled, depending on your methods and what you use or how you go about it, so I enjoy the possibilities, and I enjoy the sensation of being techliterate despite the fact that my disability prevents me from reaching a great deal of what I can’t help but feel would be my full potential otherwise. My coding methods are very different from what I have seen in other parts of the datamoshing or glitch art generating communities around the internet, and that is largely due to my disability. I fundamentally cannot understand numbers, their values or meanings, so I am a visual coder. It only makes sense that if I have to learn numbers by the way they look alone, and use visual memory to feign calculating and so forth, that I should be able to take those shapes and make new shapes with them. All numbers are to me are shapes. They mean nothing.
But art means something. I’ve done editorial glitch art, fashion illustration glitch art, and I’m working on a gallery show where large scale prints of my glitch art will be presented! So I’m taking that hidden underlayer of indecipherable mess, interpreting it in my own way, and using it to create something that DOES have meaning for me, that I can use to convey meaning to other people with visually, the same way I have to parse code.
Which probably sounds very strange! But I hope it makes sense.
What inspires you?
I watch a lot of 80s/90s cheesy cyberpunk or subculture based Blist movies, low budget stuff, the really good kind of bad! I’m also into riot grrl zines, early tech home published zines, a lot of indie/underground art and publications, photocopier zines, fandom creations from the early days of alt. pages and webrings, just a sort of “vintage net” interest in general. I like finding weird, outdated pages and playing with old tech, learning about how things started, the earliest methods of connecting to the internet, all sorts of weird trivia-like useless information that I look up just because I can.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
What got me interested in art was just the idea of expression, and the look on people’s faces when I would draw, and how good it made me feel when I could make other people happy with the stuff I was doing. It’s hard for me to feel like anything I do is worth anything at all! But it makes people happy, and I enjoy doing it, so even if it’s worthless in the end and it goes nowhere and means nothing, at least there’s a moment or two where someone somewhere was happy about something I did, and that’s enough for me. I make art for myself, there’s no pleasing everyone, but I was always treated fairly poorly growing up (don’t worry, I’m not gonna make this depressing!) so just the thrill of seeing someone be positive in my general vicinity was enough accidental encouragement to get me to start drawing in class, and time evolved on from that.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Not particularly, actually! By which I mean I have no little insignia or anything, so there’s nothing particularly to reveal. I rarely have recurring themes, although I do tend to use human forms and eyes in a majority of my digital work.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Do what you love, don’t feel like you have to listen to anyone, don’t feel like you have to make a career out of a hobby. If things happen, they happen, and if they don’t, don’t worry about it! Your priority should be how you feel and what you want to make. Get into self-promotion and network with other artists in whatever way you can, and have fun with it, and that’s the best way to snowball your fun into something that might actually pay off. Of course, don’t be jaded and aim for a paycheck! Don’t stress, just enjoy what you do, and don’t feel obligated to stick to one style and one interest and one theme or method or anything. Nothing is impossible: I have a severe number-based learning disorder, and I generate art with code! So don’t be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone, get weird, make mistakes, teach yourself what you need to know in order to do what you want. Nobody can teach you how to see but you. It’s your head, it’s your heart, it’s your hand.
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Asexual/romantic! For what it’s worth, I am also FTM, and my fiancée is genderqueer.
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
Yes, I have had some seriously bad experiences, in fact. Unfortunately, I don’t handle it per se. I avoid mentioning it all together. My relationships with others in my field go one of two ways: Impersonal collaborations, or like-minded artists that become my best friends. I tell my best friends, I know better than to put myself in the situation of having to explain to people I can’t trust not to listen to me or hurt me.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
Oh, lord! When I was attempting to get on T for my transitioning, the gender therapist I was sent to (upon learning I was asexual) demanded blood tests for hormonal imbalances and kept telling me that it was either a result of imbalanced hormones or past sexual abuse traumas. You can imagine how offensive that was, considering my asexuality has absolutely nothing to do with my various traumas, or my (perfectly normal, I might add) hormones! I was enraged, and never went back. My trans* medical status has been on hold since then, so the struggle with being trans* AND being asexual is pretty severe, as most doctors, therapist, psychologists etc. will insist that one is the “result” of something else, insinuating that asexuality is a defect or a psychological problem exclusively. Which is obviously extremely ignorant and problematic for a number of reasons!
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Oh, how familiar I am with that situation. The first thing to always remember is that nobody else is you. You are on your own time, you have your own feelings and your own expressions and your own life, and nobody can dictate who you are or how you identify or anything else.
There is no right or wrong way, there is no rulebook or solid set of universal guidelines or tells. And while that might seem scary and intimidating, you just need to sit back and think about yourself, not how other people see you or what they will think or how they will feel.
Your life is first and foremost about YOU, and you need to give yourself as much time or as much thought as you would give anyone or anything else. There are no rules, no specifics, just you and who you are. And if it’s hard to figure out, or very complicated, that’s fine! Just give yourself time.
Always remember that you are not alone. There are plenty of communities and resources and people on Tumblr and elsewhere, and while we aren’t as visible as many other LGBTQ+ communities, we’re there for you to help you with whatever you need, whenever you need it!
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
And I am working on more formal portfolio sites, online shops, etc. which will be updated as new link pages at those blogs once they’re ready to go live! 🙂
Thank you so much, C.K., for participating in this interview and project. It’s very much appreciated.