Pierre Krause: elusive, non-binary angel.
When I meet Pierre Krause for an interview at the Cold Beer Company in Dallas, I’m instantly drawn to how quiet they are. Krause is a rarity for Dallas, a sensitive net artist who makes work that might be “too tender for you.”
Krause doesn’t boast thousands of followers on social media, and doesn’t care to, but the internet has also allowed them to travel to New York and Switzerland, while their work continued to travel to Denmark, Japan and Sweden. While they keep a low profile online and IRL, you may have seen Krause’s highly-photographed Drake blanket at the “Girls At Night on the Internet” exhibit curated by Art Baby Girl (Grace Miceli) in New York this past summer. The lean towards digital art is a bit surprising, Krause tells me; their parents were against the internet, so they didn’t have it until late in life.
In December, Krause curated a multimedia show at Beefhaus in Dallas called “SOFT4SOFT” featuring mostly New York artists. Krause is bringing softness to Dallas and we’re here for it.
Check out the highlights of our talk.
All photos by Hillary Head.
The title of this issue is “Ego.” We really like this definition: “The part of mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for a sense of personal identity.” What does the concept of ego mean to you?
A Beyonce song.
Do you think your ego is reflected in your work and life? How has self-confidence played a role?
Ego is not the first word that pops up into my head when I think about my work and my life. My work is very personal so that’s probably how it presents itself being closest to me. There’s not much distance between the things I make and the things I feel.
I learned self-confidence through Drake lyrics and Beyonce lyrics. That has become apart of my process in the past couple of years. In terms of self-confidence, I did gain some, but it wasn’t always like that. I worked on it and I’m feeling pretty good right now.
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“I learned self-confidence through Drake lyrics and Beyonce lyrics. That has become apart of my process in the past couple of years.”
You’ve dabbled into multiple strings of performing arts (music, poetry, visual art, interactive art, etc.) Which one do you feel best embodies you as an artist?
All of them. I like to hop back and forth, keeps things interesting, keeps my mind going—they all bounce off of each other to make more new things. I’ve been known to dabble in objects; I make a lot of text pieces lately—not sure what that means psychologically at the moment. The thought is very personal, there’s not much distance between the thought and object.
How do you see the art world?
I think the internet is cool. I think the internet is cute. I’ve gotten to dabble into things that a lot of people don’t get to do. In Dallas, a lot of artists will just get it done [themselves]. I’ve rarely interacted with “curators” or institutions. I’ve had a pretty unique experience that’s probably very exclusive to Dallas, because when I talk to people who aren’t from Dallas they look at me crazy, but it’s been a good experience.
You’ve had work shown all the way in Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and Denmark. how did that come about?
Again, the artists. It wasn’t an institution. I had some people I show with out here, Gregory Rupp and Chris Pierce. They had this idea to get an international crew together and that’s how it went from Dallas to Japan to Switzerland. It was like the best trip ever, best people ever, so it was like the best experience ever. Like here you do an art show and you stress out beforehand, nah. In Switzerland we’d just go out and look at glaciers then go to the art show. Definitely a different experience. You can’t feel anxiety when you go to the mountains; it was like a cherry on a Sunday.
So why Dallas? Are you from here?
Mostly I’m from Dallas. I was born in New York.
Would you live anywhere else?
All I can think is that I want to apply to residencies in NY, SF, Oakland, Switzerland; I need to get around Europe a little more. I don’t know about moving moving, but I’d try residencies, hang out a few weeks to a couple of months. That was my first time out of the country and it definitely shifted what I’m making now in a good way. I’d like to keep that energy going if I can.
Is there any definitive change that you can point out?
Being a black American artist in these times…[wanders off]. A lot of people can make what they want to make. I have to be like, “Can I get out of bed today with the world telling me I ain’t worth anything?” And there’s this fine line of good or bad, where you can leave and get some distance from these intense feelings, and actually make stuff again. But it does feel like a bit of betrayal. You want to be immersed in things that are happening, but at the same time you still have to be a functional human. It’s this thing you have to weigh; I’m just trying to navigate the best way I can. It gave me some space to just be.
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“I have to be like, “Can I get out of bed today with the world telling me I ain’t worth anything?”
As an artist, do you feel that collaborations are a must to further yourself and your skill?
[laughs] My whole thing has always been isolation. I’ve always made things in isolation, very alone, very vulnerable, dah dah dah. But ever since that trip and hanging out with that crew…I won’t say I’m a social artist, but I do like the exchange of ideas, energy, thoughtfulness and tenderness, then taking that energy and going back to being alone and making that thing. I do feel like I make things alone and that’s kinda my thing, but now it’s not complete isolation. I want to be around people now. Which is different, which is good.
I have a little collab in the works with something right now. Which is feeling pretty good.
Something we can look forward to in 2016?
We came across you because of your Drake throw blanket at the “Girls At Night on the Internet” exhibit. Has that opened any doors for or provided you with a bigger audience?
I have to think how to answer this…I mean, you’re talking to me right now. Touché. Art is a weird thing. Sometimes it’s a bit of an anonymous thing with it. People liked the blanket, but I don’t think they know who I am. That was tight. It was metaphysical, an object in space and time, and people interacted with it. Now it’s just got back to me and it has all of this energy on it. I don’t want to touch it too much, haha. I think it’s good energy. I was in a depressive state and Drake helped take me out of it. Drake took me to NY on a blanket. Blessings on blessings. I’m just stoked I got to go to NY and meet some of my friends IRL.
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“I really like IRL spaces, but you can upload your work online.”
What has your experience been like “growing up” on the internet? How do you think that experience translates into your work?
I don’t think I grew up with internet. In fact, my parents were against internet so I had the internet really late in life.
I’m pretty weird; it allows you to meet other weirdos. Makes you feel a little less lonely in the universe. Even doing the NY show—that was solely the internet. I like Grace [Miceli]’s work, she likes my work, we follow each other. Grace is like, “You wanna do a thing?” and I’m like, “Sure”—all the internet. Even with the people I’ve curated a show with, some of my favorite beings on the planet, it was all done solely on the internet—they weren’t here.
At the same time, galleries are tight. I really like IRL spaces, but you can upload your work online. I’m not really the type of person that benefits from that, but there are people that do and that are well-known from that, but I’m still not that person. People don’t like me that much. [laughs] But I do like the democratic attribute of, “I’m an artist and I’m uploading my work, done.” That’s a great thing. That’s probably one of the coolest things about making work right now. Before, there were so many barriers to even get your foot through the door. The door now is just logging in and kicking it down. I just find art I like all the time.
We’ve been talking lately about the world outside of the “curated internet bubble.” How do you surround yourselves with positivity IRL too?
Real life positivity? I like to look at the sky, buy myself flowers, light a candle, feel things, get outside of my own self…I’m trying not be too witchy.
At the moment, I’m not really into the curated internet bubble, but I guess if you’re on any social media you’re involved somehow. There’s a way to navigate it in a way that it’s not negative or especially time-consuming. I always encourage people not to scroll. That sounds really simple, but it would make your life so much more chill. It’ll help you calm down a notch when you need it. People don’t think to do that—just don’t scroll for a tiny bit and you’ll feel a lot better. It’s so simple. At the same time, just turn it off, go outside.
But yeah, energy, exchanging ideas. I like people with intensity, positive intensity; I like my brain to spin. I like good energy, I like to be around that. And ginger tea or crystals or something…
Don’t get me started on buying crystals!
Good energy is exactly what Krause exudes, whether in person, online or through their work. While they still prefer the freedom of isolation, they’re only a DM away from continuing their presence in art around the world. If you’re a part of the underground art scene in Dallas, you’re bound to catch this sweet soul at a gallery here or there.