Chad Wys is a contemporary multidisciplinary artist whose work uses digital technology to alter and abstract historical images, injecting in them new and radical meaning through their deconstruction and obscuration. In 2011, the artist produced a series called Nocturne 110 — In response to this body of work, we asked the artist some questions about his relationship to the nighttime.
What are your favorite nighttime activities?
Night lends itself to isolation. If you're alone and in your own space, the night can provide a physical and psychological state where the removal of society and social systems (the people and the problems you're far more likely to encounter during daytime) from one's waking experience is entirely possible.
At night there are so few literal distractions that I feel obliged to distract myself with work. Working might entail any number of activities including painting, gluing glitter onto objects I found at a thrift store, or using my computer for all manner of indulgences — whether that's browsing for creative inspiration or working with Photoshop, the mood ultimately decides. But some nights I simply want to be absorbed in something else, or I want to go out and experience the world on its own terms. As an artist, if I don't occasionally force myself to stop producing artwork, my work risks becoming truly awful, and, what's worse, I might not realize it.
What keeps you up at night?
I'm kept up at night mainly by my intense love of the isolation it provides. So far, I appear to be allergic to the daytime — not in any biological sense but insofar as it's entirely too garish for my taste. It's too bright and too shiny. There are too many schedules and people involved with the daytime for it to have very much appeal to me.
Do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares?
Actually, no. I do dream, however, and I sometimes find myself waking for the day only to try and go back to sleep again so that a particular dream can continue to play out. That's generally not worth the effort though, since the dream is almost always altered and fundamentally goofed-up, if it ever resurfaces at all.
What happens during your creative “witching hour?"
The hour turns into many hours because I lose my sense of time. Just the other day I succumb to a sudden burst of creativity that could only be cured by doing. It lasted at least six hours, perhaps longer. I can't say that I am driven by ideas at times like those, per se, because I work almost entirely on instinct and impulse.
For a small window of time the entire world is asleep except for you, what do you do?
At first I'd wonder if there's a massive carbon monoxide leak that I happen to be immune to. Then I'd become comfortable with the fact that I'm flying completely solo and I would try to reenact scenes from the film Night of the Comet, where two valley girls are ostensibly the only ones left on the planet and they — of course — like totally go on a shopping spree and stuff! (That's a brilliant movie, by the way.) Then I would realize that everyone is going to wake up at some point and I lament the fact that I've basically just robbed a store and the security cameras were still rolling.
Actually, I would probably just sit at my computer wondering why no one is updating their Facebook profiles. In other words, I wouldn't behave very differently. On most nights, in my mind, just about everyone melts away anyway.