by Zolton in New Illustration on Sunday 10 August 2008

Sugar by name, Sugar by … well, so it goes. And so she goes, the Australian artist nomadically, restlessly traveling the globe in search of inspiration, persperation and a different menu each night of the week. Such is the life. We interviewed Sugar recently: You’re in Mexico? I never quite know where you’ll be next. What brings you there? ‘I know! Since we have started communicating in 2006, I have lived in Melbourne, Zurich, Barcelona, London, Buenos Aires and now in Mexico. It is crazy but I love it’.
Why Mexico?
‘Well, I think I realized, travelling so much, that it is my spirit home. It is the most beautiful place on earth to me. Don’t get me wrong. I will never stop travelling. There is just too much to see. Maybe even outer-space. Who knows. But my heart is here I know that much. People can be inextricably drawn to certain places and I think it is really important to listen to that. To listen to that thing within you that comes alive.

Now this place could be the puddles you played in at the end of your street, your favourite roller-rink or the town of “Truth or Consequences”. (This really is a town in New Mexico, I have been there) Ha. My point is that you need to follow that thing that takes you there. Mexico. Hell. It is gorgeous.

There is colour everywhere and music and ribbons and fire-crackers and the kinds of people’s faces that make you cry because you can see the wind and the desert and the earth in them. I love the hand-painted sign-age, the colonial architecture, the retablos, the day of the dead, the food, the language, the textiles and patterns, the landscape, the light on the cobble-stones, the every-day-ness. I love how shitty the drivers are and that some cars are held together by plastic bands. I want to melt into every atom of it all.

Yesterday I was swimming in a lagoon surrounded by hummingbirds and I had to cry-swim because it was so beautiful.

I suppose on a practical level also, I just signed with Anna Goodson Management and something made me want to be closer to North America.

I think Mexico is a good centre for me to be able to travel to and from yet keep my heart warm.

How fluent is your creative process? Is it bursts of energy and inspiration or are you a walking, talking well of ideas?
‘I think I am pretty manic. I take a lot of time looking, observing, retreating, hiding and scheming. Being very reclusive, actually. Then someone or something clicks that switch, I am “on” and there is no turning “off”. Some of my closest friends find this pretty hilarious. One once said, “You are the most extroverted introvert I have ever known”. I think that is very true.

To be fair, though, I work every day and consistently create without really needing a break. I feel most alive when I am making things or writing or burdening my friends with my alien soliloquies. So I guess I am fluent with spikes and valleys, if that makes sense’.

How personal is your art/design work: do you inject a little piece of Sugar into every creation or is a job, a job, a job …?
‘Everything I do is personal and full of love or I would not do it. I chose very carefully, after years of horrible menial work, to find a way of living where I would always be present at the centre of what I was doing in a meaningful way. It is so much more fun to care about what you do.

I made the Lint Museum intimate because I wanted to celebrate the intimate. I did not want to be hired by anyone who was not interested in that or the ephemeral or the eclectic. I wanted to work with people who are as excited as I am about the little things in life.

I also think the Lint Museum is a pretty honest way of showing people what they are going to get if we work together. It is much more than a portfolio.

Are your costumes a fun way to lose yourself in fantasy or an even more fun way of losing yourself in reality?
‘I don’t think it is either really. I think costumes are a way to express yourself or make fun of yourself but I don’t think you get lost. In fact, I think you reveal more about who you are through costumes.

Take halloween, for example, aren’t you always intrigued by what people choose for themselves?

There is a big difference between a girl who dresses up as a chicken or a gnome and a girl who choses to be a nun or a witch or a werewolf or a stripper.

(I love werewolves by the way)

Anyhow. I think that we are all dressed in costumes all the time anyway. Conservative business man, emo, priest, cowboy, sex-kitten, hippy, high-roller or average joe.

There is really no time when we are not in costume. Sometimes they are just a little more elaborate. Like the one I dressed in for you today. (see illustration)

Thank you Zolton. You are a star. I am a huge fan of lost at e minor and have been amazed by how prolific you are and how the site has grown.

Champagne! For all my friends!’