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In which we meet Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich and receive the assignment to make an IMPRINT. We filmed with Sopheap at Indianapolis Fabrications while he was in town installing a new work for the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

EPISODE 12 INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Choose an object you find interesting
2. Cut it, making a flat surface
3. Dip the cut surface in paint
4. Press it on to a piece of paper repeatedly to make an imprint
5. Upload to you social media platform of choice using #theartassignment
6. Fame and glory (your work may be featured in the future video)

Learn more about Sopheap Pich's work: http://www.trfineart.com/artists/sopheap-pich
Watch a video about his installation at the IMA: http://youtu.be/gbw_E5e0BZs

In this video we also discuss Arte Povera: http://www.moma.org/collection/theme.php?theme_id=10454
And the work of Giuseppe Penone:
http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4550

Interested in Indianapolis Fabrications?: http://indianapolisfabrications.com/
Today we're in my fair city of Indianapolis to meet with the artist Sopheap Pich. He's Cambodian and lives and works in Phnom Penh but he's in town making a new installation at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and he's found some time to meet with us today. 
 
Sopheap makes amazing sculptural works that often use materials found in nature like bamboo and rattan. We're meeting with him at Indianapolis Fabrications where they're making some components for his installation at the museum. So let's go meet Sopheap and see what he has in store for us today. 
 
Hi, my name is Sopheap Pich and this is your Art Assignment. 
 
I think I was always been an artist since I was very young, um, because I was always interested in imagery, um, color, but just the idea that you can make something out of nothing completely and it's just really beautiful to me. 
 
So when I wanted to make my first sculpture I kind of coincidentally picking up some rattan from a shop and cutting it up and trying to make a form for the first time. That was when the materiality really made sense to me. 
 
Bamboo come like a couple of sculptures after that as a stronger material it makes the sculptures stand up where rattan just kind of bends because it's very malleable.
 
The connection between the material and my hand is really where I felt like this is real working. This is real work, you know. 
 
I started making these prints maybe a year ago. About a year, year and a half ago. Um, because again I began to look at the bamboo strands as an interesting object in itself and it's different if you use a pen, like a ballpoint pen and you make a mark on a piece of paper you kind of know what that's going to do. But if you use something so unpredictable like a piece of bamboo you really don't know how it's going to behave. And I like that I don't-- I'm not in control of how it behaves.
 
Your assignment is find an object that you find interesting, like a shape or, could be plastic, could be rubber something that is interesting yet something that you can cut, okay. I want you to cut something. Could be with a saw, could be like a metal saw, could be with a knife. But make sure the surface that you cut is going to be even. And then get some paint, get some house paint, put it flat, either on a table top or put plastic first then put paint on there. Dip that-- dip that part that you cut on it and then press it onto a piece of paper to make an imprint. 
 
John: I like this one because it involves materials that like everyone has access to you know there's no excuse for not doing this Art Assignment.
 
Sarah: No excuses this time. You have the materials.
 
John: Yeah, or at least you can get them for like a buck fifty. 
 
Sarah: Right, and the other great thing about this is that you get to cut things in half! How great is that!
 
John: Yeah we have a four-year-old and we spent a lot of time talking about what you can and cannot cut in half. 
 
Sarah: Yup.
 
John: So one of the things that is so cool about this is that when he started working in Cambodia is that there were no art supply stores. So one of the reasons he used bamboo is because it was, like, available. 
 
Sarah: Right. I mean, it's kind of unfortunate that art supply stores exist to begin with; I mean, it sets up this expectation that if you want to make art, you have to go to the store and buy these things. 
 
John: Right, which makes making art kind of inherently elitist but it isn't. 
 
Sarah: Yeah. For most of human history there has been art but no art supply stores. 
 
John: Right, exactly.
 
Sarah: In 1967 art critic Germano Celant coined the term Arte Povera to describe the approach of a group of Italian artists who were trying out new processes and non-traditional materials. It translates literally to poor art, referring to the common, less precious materials they tended to use as well as what Celant saw as an anti-elitist politically radical way of making art. 
 
Giuseppe Penone was associated with the group and in 1968 created the series of works in a forest: making rubbings of a tree's surface, wrapping a tree with wire, and ripping a tree's trunk with an iron cast of his own hand. This affected, but did not prevent the tree's growth and marked Penone's first of many explorations of the interrelation between humans and the natural world. He also made "Twelve Meter Tree" by carving into a beam of wood to recover the tree's original form. Penone's way of working, like Sopheap Pich's, asks you to investigate the things around you, whether it's the tree or bamboo or a rubber ducky, and manipulate it to study its inherent structure, digging to discover a kind of truth or beauty or what-have-you at its core. 
 
As far as choosing an object, I don't think it has to be a natural object. I'm partial to it because I live in nature and what's around me is mainly nature, and if you think about nature, most of it we don't understand at all. You choose something that gets you--that you want to know more about. Okay? Let's put it that way. Something that you might want to, uh, to see what is more than that is--than that was what it is that you're holding. 
 
What I'm going to do is, I'm going to show you how I make my bamboo sticks. One bamboo stick and one color into a painting. 
 
I come from that kind of culture where we uh-when we go into a museum we don't know what to do. You know I take my family to a museum and I just walk by everything. You know, like what am I supposed to look at? So I'm always interested in my art is, when people look at my work what do they get out of that? And for me, it's never the story. I don't, it's not a narrative thing. It's more about an experience that you get from seeing something that, that experience that you don't get from seeing something else. And I believe that this part is quite important because it's a kind of opening, uh, a window or a door into another world. So the bamboo is about the lines. That's what all my sculptures are about, really. Just the lines. The lines that I carve with knives. And, and, and I'm trying to see if there's any sensation that comes out of it. 
 
Art doesn't have to be bronze, it doesn't have to be big sculptures. It could be just something that you are passionate or interested in. Just follow it on your own terms, you know?