May 2023 — Yo! Shout to every single person who is checking this interview out on tsib--y'all homies really come through for us and make the work we do that much more special. This month, we wanna highlight the work and practice of the First Place Winner of our most recent call, FUCK THE SYSTEM!!!–the one and only, Sophia Lucia!
We had a hell of a good time getting to pick their brain and learn more about her practice. Not only are that an amazing artist, but we think that their insight and unique practice speaks immensely to the diversity and down-right fun that is more needed in this wierd-ass art world. Aight, we hope you enjoy this little conversation we had with them!! <3
“SOPHIA LUCIA is an experimental performer, musician, and writer, based out of Chicago & Paris. She makes conversational and surrealistic Punk-Cabaret/Rock & Roll Americana music. She writes and produces a one-woman show titled, 'Freak Show Cabaret!’ which is a variety show including (but not limited to) theatre, poetry, dance, performance art, improvisation, and original music."
Portrait by Dorothée Sarah / @dorotheesarah
the space in between in conversation with Sophia Lucia —
LMNO P, © Sophia Lucia
click the image to see the poem in more detail.
Portrait by Rob Tracey-Bower
the space in between: Hey Sophia! Congratulations on your winning entry!! We're really excited to get to know you and your artistic endeavors.
First off, how about we jump into getting to know you; can you tell us about yourself?
Sophia Lucia: Hey guys! Thanks so much for including me in your gallery, it’s a pleasure! Well, hello, my name is Sophia Lucia, I hail from Chicago, USA and am currently living in Paris, France. The main project that I am writing/performing/producing right now is my Freak Show Cabaret, which is a solo variety show including (but not limited to,) original music, poetry, dance, improvisation, performance art, some magic… I also write a new Freak Show Cabaret every time I perform it, so I don’t get too bored!
tsib: Psh, the pleasure is all ours! I’m telling you, we were sooooo excited when we opened up your entry. Work like yours is why we do stuff like this!
So, how do you start a project? You are obviously an incredibly skilled artist. I mean, it only took us a lil’ snooping on your Insta to see that you do all those things you just mentioned and more; you write poetry, you play music, sing, take images, dance, perform… jeez man, how do you even pick what medium to depict your ideas in??
SL: He he, thank you!! I think part of my sometimes blessing, sometimes curse, is that I wanna do it all, all the time! That desire is what really leads me to this variety-cabaret that I’ve created for myself. It’s a place where there’s a place for everything. There are some ideas that I keep coming back to and depicting within multiple mediums, and then other ideas that find their place naturally in a poem, or in a dance choreography, or in a photograph, or…
tsib: Aah, we get that. It’s funny–both of us are trained photographers, but expanded a bit outside of that because we didn’t feel like the medium could do everything we wanted it to do. Having a feeling for a piece and running with it is the shit we’re here for, and making a whole cabaret for yourself is absolutely that. <3
On the note of cabarets, this work primarily exists on stages in front of people, right? How does the audience play a role in your art?
Portait by R. / @takethispill
SL: When I’m performing, I love having eye contact with people. I love using the moment-to-moment as inspiration for my performance. For me, the third wall never exists. If someone sneezes, if someone cuts across the stage to go to the toilet, if the monitors are buzzing, if a dog is yapping, it’s all part of the universe, and I want to play with it. As for the art that I create that isn’t performed on a stage (and that I plan to share,) I always have my audience in mind. I never want to sacrifice my impulses for worrying if people will ‘like’ what I make or not, but it is nevertheless my intention to make connections with my art.
tsib: Yo, we have NO clue how you do it! Ain’t no way we could be up there doing what you do. There’s way too much stage fright and anxiety between the both of us lmaoo.
Ok so, we see this recurring character named Ghoul in your work. They seem to be a mix of eerie and inviting; humurous but kinda dark. Does this character mean anything special to you? Are we just digging too deep?
SL: Nah you’re not digging too deep, however GHOUL has recently arrived for (in? with?) me so I’m not yet at the point where I can wax too much poetic on GHOUL. GHOUL is probably an emblem of a certain side dish within me, but more to come on that.
Portrait by Dorothée Sarah / @dorotheesarah
tsib: Ah, that's cool. To us, it seems like these methods of creating spaces--whether those spaces be physical, mental, emotional, or whatever--for us to really explore and confront the various facets of our identity are not only necessary, but becoming more present in our society. We can’t wait to hear more about GHOUL as they unfold more in your practice! :)
Let’s talk about the work you submitted to FUCK THE SYSTEM!!!. What was going through your head when you were writing LMNO P and Checks and Balances? Are there any specific inspirations that drove you to create ‘em?
SL: CHECKS & BALANCES was written during the first wave of ye olde plague, and it was inspired by the political climate of the US, existential quandaries, my irrational fear of bugs, and gardening. I really began writing it, though, because it had been a long time since I had written a poem without the intentions of setting it to music, and so I wanted to see what it felt like to write a poem just for poem’s sake again. LMNO P was more of a thought-vomit piece. Each line has its own sense and origin, but there is no global meaning. While writing LMNO P, I definitely remember many moments of feeling like, “no, I can’t say that just like that” and then thinking, “well… why not though?” and ultimately leaving the crude bits alone.
tsib: Well let us start out by saying we are SO fuckin’ happy you kept all the crude bits in! They all are so necessary and raw. It wouldn’t have been as powerful without it, in our opinion; it just helps us feel connected to you as we experience it.
Earlier you had mentioned you didn’t plan on setting LMNOP and Check & Balances to music. Do you feel they are still living as poems for you or has that changed? Are they becoming something more along the lines of spoken word for your performances or something you would like to add to music or just something you would like to live in strictly written form?
SL: I do still feel like they are living as poems. I consider everything I write to be poetry, but I think most things are poetry, poetry is a pretty broad word to me. Anyhow, when I perform these pieces, sometimes I sing them, sometimes I speak them. I definitely think that delivery, among many other elements, can alter the reception of a piece, and the piece itself. As you said “living as poems,” – I believe they’re ‘living’ in general, and are subject to evolution every time they’re performed. I think reading something on paper is also a very impactful way to take in a piece of writing, and for that I am very excited to have LMNO P in your online gallery! I love that some people might first be exposed to this poem on paper before audio or live form. Usually for my work, at this point, it’s the other way around.
CHECKS AND BALANCES, © Sophia Lucia
click the image to see the poem in more detail.
tsib: Aaah, we see!! We ain’t no poets over here so we love how impactful poetry and language can be for you. We feel it! On that note, is there anything that you hope for others to take away from the work you make?
SL: I hope my work inspires people to make things the way they want to. I’m constantly trying to unlearn rules that I don’t even remember learning in the first place. Sometimes I make something, and then I feel like I shouldn’t make it that way, but then I realize that I have no good reason why I shouldn’t make it that way, and it’s the way that I want to make it anyway, and so little by little I free myself of those intrusive invisible margins.
tsib: Yo, we love that! We know way too many artists who give up whenever they feel like “success” is taking too long, or whenever they go through an artist block and don’t know what to do. What you said about your work really speaks to being self-motivated and persevering through the crummy parts. After all, it’s all subjective! Can’t nobody take your creativity away from you, right??
Aight, last but not least, the obvious question; what’s next for ya?
SL: I find this question strangely impossible to answer. I guess a little bit of everything is next!! So stay tuned :)
tsib: A perfectly reasonable answer. We will definitely stay tuned and keep up with all of your future endeavors. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll make it out to Paris (when we get moolah?) and get to see your artistry in person!
Thank you so much for sharing your time and artwork with us, Sophia! What you do and who you are inspires us to do what we do. <3
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