Interview: Matthew Shlian and Michael Cina on The Aleatoric Series

by Ulrik


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The Aleatoric Series on
Matthew Shlian
Michael Cina

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As you may have heard it through the grapevine, the spectacularly brilliant Aleatoric Series is a collaboration between Ghostly International artist/designer Michael Cina and paper engineering artist Matthew Shlian. We fired a few questions at the two American talents as we were curious how they came up with the concept of meshing painting and paper engineering in such a strikingly attractive way.

So yeah, we’re a little late with this one. Sometimes getting first past the post can be difficult when you’re dealing with ginormous, with-it, blogging enterprises like Coolhunting. And other times, it seems to work out quite well. In any case, we couldn’t not contact our friends over at Ghostly because of some vain inclination that we have to be first with everything all the time. We hope you’ll agree that the Aleatoric Series is too remarkable for that kind of infantile keeping up with the Joneses.

On to the art: The concept and name for the Aleatoric Series comes from the element of chance inherent in aleatoric music. This is a collaborative project that sees two different but like-minded artists work and experiment together, in this way resulting in a project that mixes the very best of paper engineering with painting and seeks a genuinely progressive expression. Made by hand using acid-free glue and paper given a surface coloured with vegetable-based ink, the series contains three variations and twenty-five compositions altogether.

Here’s what Matthew and Michael had to say about artistic experimentation, aleatoric music and the possibility of them joining forces for future Ghostly International projects.

AIAIAI: What made you guys join forces?

Michael Cina: I was asked if I was interested to do a collaboration with Matthew and said yes! It was quite seamless.

Matthew Shlian: We both were fans of each other. Brian ( Brian Fichtner, curator of – ed) brought up the idea of a collaboration piece and I jumped at the idea.

A: Was aleatoric music involved during the creative process?

MC: Not on my end but I have been known to listen to Cage, Penderecki, or Terry Riley.
MS: Not music literally but the ideas of collage, happenstance and
editing were at the core of the project.

A: Would you call it art or design - or a bit of both?

MC: Art. There are some aspects of design but it would fall under the art umbrella for me.

A: Do you have any particular hopes for what people will get out of The Aleatoric Series?

MC: never really think about that when working. When I am creating art, I am getting ideas out, reacting to what I am doing, and looking inward. The hope is that people will connect with what I am doing and add their perspective to the piece. I think that is part of 'the art.'

A: Would you consider using this technique in a cover art context?

MC: No, but I really want to work with Matthew on a project in the future. Ghostly and I have been kicking around a concept for a couple of years that will happen, hopefully sooner than later.

A: Will we see more similar collaborations between Matt and Michael – and will they be available to buy at the esteemed Ghostly store?

MS: I'd love to work again with Mike doing something- cover work, limited series ..... It wouldn't be this same system but something
collaborative like it would be great.