WILD Profile: Cave Collective, Fear & Courage

Who: Cat Lauigan and Alex Wolkowicz of Cave Collective
Born: Paris, France and Bonn, Germany respectively
Where they live: Brooklyn and NYC respectively
What they do: Interdisciplinary artists

Cave Collective WILD magazine
Portrait by Alison Nguyen

What’s on their mind today:
Cat – That I need to call my parents more.
Alex – I’m trying to think beautiful thoughts….

The first time they met:
C – I met Alex through the Lobot Residency in West Oakland back in 2010. I was a resident several months prior to her and at the time, one of my good friends who was the residency coordinator there accepted Alex’s application. She came to pick me up from work one day and Alex was in the van. I remember making her laugh about my woes as a shop girl and remained in touch when she returned to Liverpool. It was then that we began collaborating and the rest is history…
A – Three years ago in Oakland, CA.

Their respective artistic backgrounds prior to Cave Collective:
C – I was an illustrator/drawer in New York and did a combination of editorial work and exhibitions of my personal work. More recently prior to Cave Collective, I did window display and merchandising for JCREW.
A – An artist and freelance photographer in Liverpool/UK. My background in theatre (Bonn/Germany) fed into my practice as an interdisciplinary artist (wolkowicz.com).

How the idea for Cave Collective come about:
C – It happened quite organically and with not much thought or effort. After meeting Alex, she had returned to her home in Liverpool and sent me photos she had taken from a trip we took to Pescadero. I drew on top of the photographs and that eventually turned into a zine. Feeling that this collaboration felt so natural, we applied to an artist residency at the Marin Headlands and proposed to build a cave sanctuary where we would fill it with crystal formations, pastel lights and create our costumes that would match this environment. Although we did not get accepted, the work we made for our application became the foundation on which our company has grown from. The entire journey has been completely accidental and filled with surprises.
A – I felt moved by Cat’s work, her drawings express her inner world so beautifully. When I first looked at her art I understood immediately what she was going through. I think Cat felt similar about my work. We agreed that it would be interesting to see how we could collaborate… It began with a playful experiment, with Cat drawing onto my photographs and resulted in our first zine, ‘Initiation.’ A few copies are still available at Printed Matter….

What they are currently working on:
C – A live performance/installation in collaboration with Of Us at Reservoir & Wood in Beacon. The opening of the show will be on July 13. We are also working on a newer line of pieces and objects.
A – And we’re working on objects to make sounds with… With the idea to incorporate them into our installations.

Where/how they find inspiration:
C – When I still lived in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco, a lot of my inspiration for Cave Collective went on my daily walks in the neighborhood and down Ocean Beach, collecting plant life and seaweed clusters. I would make it a point to watch the sunset at the beach almost everyday and obsessively try to match the colors I saw from these hues in my work. Now that I am back in New York, my inspiration comes mostly from any muted pastel color combinations I observe when I am out, people’s window plant decorations, textures i see on the sidewalk and spending time with friends that inspire me.
A – I love walking and picking up the energy of the city, taking note of its textures, watching people… I also feel drawn towards nature and like spending time near bodies of water, watching the sky and surrounding myself with trees. It helps me regain a sense of balance and restores my creative energy.

Heavy rotation:
C – Cocteau Twins, Billy Idol “Eyes Without a Face”, Bauhaus “hope”, Julianna Barwick and Grouper
A – Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Mary Lou Williams, Demon Fuzz, Gill Scott Heron……

What good energy means to them:
C – The sensation of feeling light, either through experiences or through people.
A – the sense of being unstoppable, hysterical laughter….

What they think there is too much of, and too little of:
C – There is too much fear and not enough courage.
A – Cat summed it up beautifully…..

On their life-to-do bucket lists:
C – Visit Patagonia, visit India, have a dye garden next to my beach cottage somewhere along the pacific coast, learn to swim, learn.
A – More travel, more creative experimentation.

What they would be doing if they didn’t have their current occupations:
C – I have always been curious about doing museum exhibit design, particularly in the museum of natural history.
A – I really don’t know…

What cracks them up:
C – My family, particularly my sisters and the awkward nuances i observe in human dynamics.
A – Animal behaviour.

The kind of movement they would want to start:
C – Land Art meets Pastel Psychedelia.
A – I don’t see myself as a guru… but would definitely check out Cat’s scene…!

What stresses them out, and how they calm down from that:
C – Attending an opening of mine, not delivering, uncertainty of situations, mindgames. I try to calm down by allowing myself to freak out in the comfort of my own room then I’ll watch a silly youtube video and laugh it off.
A – existential angst… I usually go swimming

Their most striking moment:
C – When I finally made one of my life dreams come true and saw the Northern Lights for the first time in Iceland on my birthday last year. It was a huge moment for me.
A – watching an unbelievably beautiful sunset on the California coast, at Pescadero beach, when we first met. It was so raw and moving, it was then that we both knew something special was going on… it felt like a good omen for Cave Collective… we both have transformed our lives since then.

The WILDEST situation Cat and Alex have ever experienced:
C – When I lived in Bushwick back in 2006 with a former boyfriend, I remember the cops kicking our door down at around 3 in the morning with guns drawn looking for a convict that they thought was hiding out in our apartment.
A – searching for buffaloes in Golden Gate park in the middle of the night…

Their idea of happiness:
C – Being at peace with oneself.
A – to live creatively, to love and be loved

And love:
C – Having someone be at peace with you.
A- I don’t think I can define my idea of love with words… it would sound like an incomplete list of ingredients.

With whom would they like most to go on a tête à tête:
C – Marian Zazeela.
A – Patti Smith.

Cat and Alex’s WILD Wish:
C – To do a secret large scale installation of a ephemeral cave dwelling where we perform in costume doing soundscapes for a private audience out in the woods or on the beach.
A – To grow as an artists and keep learning about myself.


See more at cavecollective.com

text by: Julia Lola Wang

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