Scott Greenwalt in his StudioJuxtapoz // Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014
Behind the scenes of any functioning system exists a complex internal mechanism, acting and reacting, coordinating and handling all inner operations. Often, this intricate arrangement exists without an outward visible presence, but we trust it's there, all cylinders bobbing in sync.
We perceive our makeup as a delicate mess of organs and veinal nerves, electromagnetic signals and bundled neurons all just bouncing around, ensuring we forgo an early demise. Recognizing that within our natural environment, countless arrangements of underground passages, root mappings and carefully balanced ecosystems exist, as unseen phenomenon of operation, invisibly ensuring survival.
Ironically, Scott Greenwalt's work unveils this intimate framework, exposing branching vessels and veins that convey the lifeblood on which we assumingly rely. His intricately arranged maze-work represents an interior language that thrives under layers of external barriers, repeating in endless universal cycles while revealing very necessary, functioning truth. —Hannah Stouffer
Hannah Stouffer: I know you're influenced a lot by systems, roots, nerves, circulatory, and other functionalities. Do you remember how this interest evolved?
Scott Greenwalt: This might sound like a weird answer, but I think a lot of it has to do with the house that I grew up in. My parents bought this dilapidated old place when I was five. The walls were covered in about 50 layers of rotted wallpaper. We spent a week or two scraping it off with big putty knives, sloughing off thick layers of melted patterns, which covered old lathe with little clumps of plaster that barely hung onto the splintery ribs of wood. I helped as much as a five-year old kid can help, but mostly I just watched my parents, aunts and uncles strip the house down to the bare bones and then resurface it.
My father continued working on various additions and improvements to the house over the years, so I frequently witnessed a pile of wood and hardware eventually transform into the structural components, pipes, vents, wiring and outlets in their raw form before being neatly covered by sheetrock and paint. Seeing how it all connected under the surface was important to me for some reason. I loved the cutaway paintings in encyclopedias that showed the internal workings of things. Anything involving a series of underground tunnels revved my imagination. The fact that a tree’s roots are two or three times deeper than the height of the tree was the most fascinating idea to me. All of this stuff is happening under the surface that you can’t see. It’s the same with anatomy, and the idea that something could misfire from within is terrifying. Some small valve could get stopped up like a sink pipe full of hair and soap scum and then everything fucks up and you’re dead. That idea is always floating in the back of my head that I’m just a complex network of components that could malfunction at any time.
What did you spend the majority of your time doing as a kid, besides ultimately trying to predict when your inner-workings would malfunction?
Drawing, talking to myself a lot, trying to give my sister a heart attack at least once a day, watching movies and cartoons, pretending to be an action hero, going for long solitary walks in the woods, creek beds, down railroad tracks and peering around creepy old houses in the neighborhood. I was a weird kid.
The September 2014 issue of Juxtapoz Magazine is on sale now.