A brand new multimedia exhibit from Salt Lake City based artist Jimmi Toro arrives at the Kimball Art Center this week. Kindle A Light features art in both visual and auditory realms as Toro reimagines his songs into still and moving images to create an immersive experience for viewers. Part of the show includes and Interactive Portrait Drawing Station where visitors can try to emulate Toro's process and create their own unique portraits. Ahead of the show, we took the chance to speak to Toro to find out more about what it took to put this collection together and his views as an artist.
This exhibit draws on a variety of mediums. What do you think using multiple artforms adds to your work?
I've been involved in the arts my entire life and over the years I've tried just about everything. But I think as an artist it's important to be prolific. It's something I tell younger artists when I have the opportunity to speak to them. Exploration is how you learn and how you can discover something about yourself and your art. The goal of an artist is to create something that's uniquely them and it's a pivotal moment when you do.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was a kid and doing art a lot like I was, the dream was definitely there. But as I got older, I realized being an artist is not like other vocations where you can study or train in something, get a degree, and then say your a doctor or lawyer or whatever. Being an artist often takes years to accomplish and I ended up doing graphic design as a job in the meantime, which is artistic in its own way, but I still continued to paint and make music until I could just do art full time. You know Malcolm Gladwell said something that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, I think it's more like 20,000 or 30,000.
The exhibit is based off the Carl Jung quote "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." What does that mean for this collection?
I think he probably wasn't the only guy who said something like that; a lot of smart people have said similar things and we all borrow from each other. But I think the theme of my exhibit represents the relationship between music and art, once you take the hocus pocus out of it. There are five sections to this exhibit with five songs and five music videos, as well as a number of pieces of art. The idea was to reinterpret songs I wrote into the art. Video sort of bridges that, especially being able to layer the images and music together.
How long did it take to put all the pieces of this exhibit together? Which pieces of the exhibit are your favorite?
I would say a long time--six months to a year--and for the music parts, even longer. When I write songs, they often come to me but then sit there for a while. The visual parts came afterward and were done specifically for the exhibit, but the songs required more of an evolution. It was after the music came that I reimagined what they might look like visually.
What are you hoping people get out of this exhibit?
I guess it's a bit hard to say because you never know if an exhibit is going to work or not. But art and music can serve as a symbol or visual reminder for people to be good and be happier. For me, the other side is being an artist and experimenting is observe the process of deconstructing a piece to create something new.
The Kindle A Light exhibit is free and open to the public during its run at the Kimball Art Center from September 1 through November 26, 2017. In addition to Toro's pieces, there will also be a few pieces on display from YAA students who Toro worked closely with this year. See you there!