It’s August and we’re on Lido’s deck, protected from the sun by a stretched canvas that had been warped.
Lido Pimienta: My studio is wherever I’m working, and this stuff takes space. What I really need is a tent, a big-ass tent!
Lena Suksi: Those are nice shoes.
Lido Pimienta: Yeah, they’re six or seven years old. One says left and the other says right.
Lena Suksi: You’ve got a habit of drawing on all available surfaces – handmade books, shoes, guitars – but you’d agree that you’ve mostly used artists’ materials before.
Lido Pimienta: Card, paper, markers, fabric. But I want to tackle all materials, all dimensions. Yes, the closest I’ve come has been recycling, cereal boxes to make my handmade books.
For this installation, I wanted chickenwire, for papier-mâché, which I’ve used a lot. Then I saw this orange material, and I thought, wow, I have to work with that – so you make it work.
It’s flexible, it’s very much a textile. And when you overlay the layers of plastic… it’s as if it’s woven, or like mesh. It’s stunning. I just have to figure out a method of construction.
I’m going to make a dress out of this.
Lena Suksi: Can you sew? Wait, I’d forgotten about the puppets and toys you’d made.
Lido Pimienta: Yeah, I can sew and weave. Handstitch. Things are usually possible!
Lena Suksi: But this material, it’s also industrial.
Lido Pimienta: Yes, and it’s interesting to carry that kind of material to the festival. All these kids think they’re getting back to nature on the island when they’re coming to see this stage, these stages built overnight, and these people playing who live downtown, mostly. We are bringing the city there!
Lena Suksi: Bookbinding, and sewing becoming a public proposition.
Lido makes loose conical cylinders out of the orange fencing material. She tapes them together and debates her fusion options.
Lido Pimienta: Fire is not the answer. Is wire the answer? Zip-ties.
I plan to repurpose the fence to create a fence out of shapes, giving my organ organs. My instrument is very important to me, it’s an extension of myself, so I want to give it literal life by attaching these shapes. I mean, it has a body, that I’ve painted, but I want it to have the interior as well as the exterior.
Lena Suksi: Where your drawings have been figurative, you’re animating what’s inanimate:
Lido Pimienta: No, I’d say the instrument gives me an obvious opportunity to decorate. When I perform, it’s always with me… it needs to be a canvas, as well as a tool.
Lena Suksi: Singing, or making, do either take precedence?
Lido Pimienta: Well, both are making! One might reach farther but I have to make the switch because they are different ways of feeling about a project.
Lena Suksi: What do you think about making as a kind of revenge against what you feel to be absent, or weak? You sing about love, hope, togetherness, etc, but there’s an underlying defiance. I think there’s something very aggressive about your kind of production, even with its messages of compassion.
Lido Pimienta: I don’t know how I feel about that concept, “revenge”. Definitely, although I’m open to collaboration, of the ways I work are about autonomy. My songs were about encouraging people to be close to one another, but for this album, I would say that it was important for me to create a different kind of story, mysticizing and protecting myself. A while ago I was feeling very upset. Many things were going wrong for me. I saw the tarot reader and they pulled up a card, La Papessa, the popess, and that was how I came to understand that I had to answer these questions: where I am now, where I need to be, and what I need to do, in that order. And now it’s a chance for that kind of indepence. Calm, and protective! Not angry. Looking inward.
Lena Suksi: You’re responsible for a lot of people.
Lido Pimienta: Yes, that’s what drew me to curating. I want to bring people together and make international exhibitions coming from travel I’ve done for music. Artists in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, in the U.K., elsewhere in Canada, are offering exciting work. Now here in Toronto I’m involved with Sheroes, visually and audibly… I am a mom, I am queer! These are things that take time! But I have spent a lot of time, with my art, which is about love and friendship and music and colour, being a friend and a collaborator. I will still make time for those things! But now I think that with my own visuals and sound together…
Lena Suksi: Which are so public…
Lido Pimienta: But are made in private and they need my concentration. It becomes important to be alone, to make my own work, and then come back and return with power and energy. The hidden popess in her curtained bed, producing! The character can be supernatural, generous, like from a Jodorowsky film. But I need my resources!