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Recently on view at 318 Canal Street in New York is FREE FILM, a conceptual photography project. The show was produced by artist Neil Hamamoto‘s worthless studios, and is up through November 30. FREE FILM brings together the work of both amateur and professional photographers, capturing the neighborhood on 35mm film.
In November, we visited Hamamoto at his Tribeca studio. He’s known for his sculptures in wood and metal that breathe new life into antiquated objects. He shared with us what he’s working on now and what a typical day looks like for him.
WHITEWALL: What’s the first thing you do when you get into the studio?
NEIL HAMAMOTO: I live above my studio so I pass through here first thing in the morning on my way to breakfast or coffee. I like that routine because I get to see and feel the studio how I left it the day before and take that out for a walk and let the city energy sort of devour it. It helps my work get some air or third party energy before I return and get back to business. I usually jump on my computer first thing when I’m freshly caffeinated to answer and send emails and get that out of the way so I can avoid it until the next morning.
WW: What materials are you working with right now?
NH: Wood. Wood is my go to material at the moment but always experimenting with new things. Lots of my work relies on wood’s strength to create strong armatures and whatnot. I have a piece I’m doing in concrete now and lots of polyurethane foam experimentation too. I have some abandoned cell antenna that I’m using for a big sculpture to be completed by early 2019. It’s early in my career so not limiting myself with material at all. It’s all fair game.
WW: What are your studio hours like?
NH: I like to be in the studio as much as possible. Even if I’m not working on a sculpture explicitly I think being in the studio atmosphere makes me feel a bit of pressure to work. Thinking about hours though the lights usually go on around 9:30 and I’m out of here around 7.
WW: Where was the last place you traveled?
NH: My last big trip was to Bolivia. I was in La Paz and Uyuni. Uyuni is the small town nearest to the salt flats – the largest in the world actually. It was such an incredible trip. The salar is completely unbelievable especially at the time I was there. The trip was extra special because I got to hang out with my favorite bolivian artist, Gaston Ugalde. Gaston spends a ton of time creating work on the salar so getting to see him in action was so cool. I’m hoping to get some of my work down there in 2019.
WW: What artist’s work would you love to have in your home?
NH: Recently I’ve been following a video artist named Paul Pfeiffer. Paul is from Hawaii like my family so I may like him a bit for that reason too but first and foremost his work is awesome. Chris Burden, Alexander Calder, and Mark di Suvero as well as the young guys like Josh Sperling, Willie Stewart, and Alex da Corte.
WW: Describe your studio space in one word.