Where is the space that exists in between dreams? What does it look like in the realm where fantasy and reality overlap? Brooklyn based artist and designer Ian (Hydeon) Ferguson will take us there with his latest body of work for his debut solo show “Into the Foliage: Dream Sequence One.”
For one night only, Ferguson and SP Projects will transform a pop up gallery space in Brooklyn to present a visual narrative of the artist’s exploration into the space between dreams; the ethereal worlds within one’s self, questioning real life, acknowledging the relationship one has with nature, and the dynamics of living in New York City. The visuals in the show yield integral depictions of how these explorations and optimistic ideas of spirituality meet up and disperse in the quiet moments of the mind. The mind drifts deep into the foliage during REM sleeping cycles, providing us with visuals, insight, and perhaps ancient memories into our own lives and relationships before or beyond our earthly existence. “Into The Foliage” acknowledges these inner visuals and ancient memories, bringing them into our physical world. Sarah Potter of SP Projects sat down with Ferguson to take a closer look at the inspiration behind this ephemeral exhibition.
Q: What inspired the new body of work for “Into the Foliage: Dream Sequence One?”
A: The main focus of inspiration for the show comes from the transformative magic of nature and the experience of dreams. The relationship between the dreaming world and the physical world is astonishing and I wanted to do a show focused entirely on ethereal ways of thinking about dreams, optimistic spirituality, and theories of other dimensions within our own world.
Q: How do dreams affect your work?
A: The duality of the dreaming world and the physical world around as well as the space between these worlds has long fascinated me throughout my life. I prefer to believe that there are other dimensions and cosmic spiritual forces at work that govern our universe in some type of way. I am not completely sure about any of it, but I have strong feelings that these spiritual forces exist and are crucial to our lives even if we don’t understand them or have any acknowledgement of them. Having this optimistic view developed at an early age my life and has deeply inspired my work in a very profound way and continues to fascinate me.
Q: How would you describe the “space in between dreams”?
A: The space between dreams is when the dreaming world becomes indistinguishable from the physical world and you are able to acknowledge in your own way that our entire existence is nothing more than a dynamic dream you are living everyday. It’s like uncovering a stone by a river, seeing what’s beneath that stone, and then deciding to dig even deeper under the stone to see what else you can discover, and then discovering that there is no end to the discovering, so you dig infinitely. Some may choose to never uncover that stone or have any desire to want to.
Q: How would you describe the relationship between dreams, nature & the city, specifically, NYC? How do all of these spaces interact and come together in this new body of work?
A: Through the channel of nature I believe that one is able to transcend or transform themselves. The same goes for New York City but in a different frequency. The City is a massive concrete forest unlike any other. People move to NYC from all over the world to re-invent themselves, to live their dreams, to be inspired, this is where dreamers come to discover their full potential. You have to really be focused to make it here in New York. Focus is everything here. So many people come here and get swallowed up by the city, they get distracted, they lose the focus, they lose the dream. This is why nature is so vital to sustaining the dream in NYC. You need places like Central Park and Prospect Park to be able to go to and hopefully find a quiet spot where you can go to feel the green around you, to breath the fresh oxygen, to feel the wind through the trees, and the calming vibrations of nature that allow you to feel refreshed when you leave. Nature allows us to sustain the focus and transcend from the city into a world of peacefulness. This is so crucial for any New Yorker. The body of work for the show explores all these channels and delivers them in a way that allows you transform yourself through the work and feel a sense of cosmic forces emitted through the work.
Q: How has fashion played a role in the evolution of your work?
A: Designing patterns and textile designs for a fashion brands has influenced my work because it gets my head thinking in different ways, how is this pattern going to repeat, how is this drawing going to look on someone when it is wrapped around their body. I think about stuff like that and then start thinking about all sorts of other fashion ideas, shapes, pockets, exploring fashion as art and art as fashion. I find art and fashion inspiration from the Victorian period of history, the American Civil War era, Native Americans, and ancient civilizations.
Q: How did you start working with 1994. and why did you incorporate them into the show?
A: In recent years this amazing fashion designer from Brazil, named Edna Machado came into my life as a fan of my work. She had been following my work for several years before we actually started talking together online. I always appreciate any support from anyone and knew that Edna was very supportive of my work so I started following her. Edna started posted pictures of these really awesome hoodies she was making. They had this iconic design on them, an impressive and simple design “Don’t Ask 1994. For Lovers / Haters” the graphic design and layout resonated with me. It was very contemporary phrase and I grew curious what she was up to with all these hoodies. I started seeing the classic 1994. design over and over and it became ingrained in me and then later I had to have one. I made an offering to Edna to trade one of my drawings for one of her classic 1994. hoodies. She accepted the trade. When I got the hoodie in the mail I was super hyped on it, the shape and design of it was top quality. I later inquired why 1994.? She said it was the year her daughter was born. I thought that was a rad way to name a brand. I learned more about Edna and her life story was very intriguing to me. I appreciated where the brand comes from and was excited to sport it. Shortly after the trade was made and I was enjoying the hoodie I said something like: “Edna, if you’re interested, feel free to use that drawing for something” and then that was the start of the collaboration. Our ideas took place and before long we had our first collection under way and I was off to Brazil to do an art show at the 1994. store in Curitiba. I did a solo show of my drawings and then we had a release of all the clothing we had designed together. The show was a huge success and we wanted to take what we did in Brazil and do it in New York.
Q: SP Projects curates exhibitions dealing with the intersection of fine art and modern day mysticism. How does spirituality affect your work and what role does it play in your vision?
A: Spirituality has been an ever present and important aspect of my life and my work. I grew up in a very artistic and spiritually open-minded family. I was raised to believe what I chose to believe. Nothing was ever forced on me. I went about life discovering spiritual consciousness on my own accord. Hiking and spending allot of time in nature was always important growing up and I was always encouraged to create art and to explore my imagination through it. As I grew up and got older I was always interested in seeing beyond. If there is this outside world we live in, then there must be an inside world. There must be layers of the physical world that can be pulled apart and open our consciousness to other dimensions. I believe there is other dimensions out there in the world, within the universe, within ourselves. We all have the ability to choose to pull the layers away, to see and re capture the magic of life. It’s so simple to see that the world, our Earth, our human world is very special. It is very spiritual. All of it is spiritual. All you have to do is see the sky, to see a mountain, to see a star, to see that we are on a floating ball in the an infinite place with an absurd number of other floating balls millions upon millions of sizes and styles. This is easily enough proof for me to believe that we live in a spiritual realm. This realm is constantly inspiring my work and pushes me to explore my ideas of it.
Q: The “Star Traveler” is a prevalent character in this body of work. Tell me more about this being?
A: The Star Traveler is a character I created as an ancient cosmic traveler of the universe. She is significantly inspired by Native American shamanism and spiritual cosmic beliefs. She comes from a far away planet and is summoned to Earth to guide and protect people through dreams. She is more or less the human form equivalent of a dream catcher.
Q: Do you have any particular dreams that inspired this exhibition or that you would feel comfortable sharing? Any reoccurring dreams in your psyche?
A: I often have nature dreams of summiting enormous mountains and being buried in foliage. I have dreams of campfires and fireflies in ancient forest. There are many architectural dreams where I am flying above colorful cornices of brownstones. I often have flying dreams, traversing through dense forests, over vast land masses, midwest plains and old west deserts and valleys. Long desolate distances, feeling free and unobstructed by the human form in these dreams. I exist of nothing in the dreams, my being only exists as a feeling, it has no physical form in the dream. I have dreams like this often. These are places I frequent in mediation. These are dreams that I feel like I can upload in my mind, like pulling up a file on a computer, I just go to them. I wanted this exhibition to exemplify these places. I want to share these places with people and I want them to be able to go there in their own way like a spiritual journey for themselves through the art. Hopefully people will walk away with a little deeper understanding about their own inner worlds and how to see beyond the curtain of the physical world. I want to help people recapture the magic of life through the magic of art.
Q: What can people expect from this show? Any hints?
A: You can expect to have a dynamic sensory experience. There are things in the show that are so small you will have to get down on your knees to see. You can be sure of that. There are life-sized installations into other dimensions and portals to ethereal levels of consciousness.
Q: Why must this ephemeral exhibition be experienced in person?
A: This exhibition is very important in that it is my first solo exhibition in NYC and will also feature a highly curated runway fashion performance in collaboration with 1994. featuring 15 runway models in a parade through a cosmic dream portal. The performance is in conjuncture with New York Fashion Week and will be the first appearance of 1994. in the United States. Above all else I can assure you this exhibition will not disappoint.
“Into the Foliage: Dream Sequence One” opens Friday, September 8, 2017 from 6 – 10 PM at 727 Create Gallery, 727 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238.