Ghost of a Dream Interview - The Hopper Prize

Ghost of a Dream

The collaborative duo on energy & honesty, managing multiple large scale projects, inspiration derived from cultural detritus & utilizing the refuse generated by various aspirational attainment attempts.

How did you get into making art?
We both have been making art forever! We met at RISD while in grad school, Adam studied painting and Lauren studied Sculpture. A couple years after school we reconnected in Brooklyn and were married a year later. Our lives and studio practices became intertwined and we got excited about many of the same ideas. Our first project we made together changed the trajectory of our work, we loved the energy and honesty that collaborating afforded us and we haven’t looked back since.

What are you currently working on?
We have a lot of irons in the fire. We just finished a large museum installation at MAAM in Boston that used over 30,000 museum catalogs to make a kaleidoscopic look into the museums past and future. This took several months to finish, and during that time our ideas kept piling up, and now, we finally have the time to explore all the ideas we have been having. The biggest project we are working on presently is a video project called Aligned by the Sun. In a time of travel bans, persecution, climate change, and now a global pandemic, we are seeking to create a project that brings unification and hope into a collective experience. This work is intended to spark a dialogue about equality, location, migration, and the environment. For this project we are attempting to collaborate with artists from each of the 200+ countries and territories in the world. In fact if people who are reading this are either abroad, or know artists abroad that wouldn’t mind shooting 5+ minutes of the sun at the end of the day, PLEASE CONTACT US to see if we have connected with someone in that country as of yet. You can email us at info@ghostofadream.com or dm us on instagram @ghostofadreamart. We will be eternally grateful. Locating and communicating with over 200 artists takes time so in the meantime we are working on collages in the studio and a piece made from money bags from the now defunct Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City. Adam also runs a program called ArtForArtists and is curating an exciting group that will revolve around the theme of flags.

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?
Our work is heavily influenced by our collections of cultural detritus. Traditionally our studio practice focused on aspirations of love and wealth, but our thoughts are overtaken by psychological political trauma, a deteriorating environment, and deeply divided populations. We have been inspired and compelled to turn our lens on issues of social and environmental justice; where the dream of sex and money use to influence our practice, it is now replaced by the need to address issues about justice and equality.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?
We are always working on 15 different things at once. Our projects are guided by the collections we acquire. We are constantly collecting detritus from various aspirational attainment attempts. This includes everything from scratchers picked up off the ground, used playing cards from casinos, posters on ebay, and rubbings from sites with specific histories. Many of our collections take time to gather, and often it takes time to process what we collected and ruminate on what we will make. Since we began our collaboration, we have set the arc of our practice; maintaining that it must be about people’s hopes and dreams and made from the refuse they created trying to attain their hopes and dreams. This has led us down many unexpected pathways with ever changing materials to use.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?
Right now nothing is typical, our days are flipped upside down. First off, our amazing daughter, Holiday, is out of school with no signs of returning for a while. Until March our studio schedule was cut and dry, 9-5 M-F, because those were the hours of school. But now our schedule is more sporadic, or fluid. We have a bike ride, then one of us can work in the studio, then we might all 3 be in the studio for a bit, then the other person gets a turn. Life with a four year old in the midst of a pandemic is hectic, but we feel lucky to have a studio on our property in which we can safely work and be together daily.

Who are your favorite artists?
That is always a great and impossible question, of course we have an endless list of artists we admire and who influence us that we could list for pages. But really, currently, our favorite artists are the masses of people creating change and progress. The activists, protestors, and revolutionaries are the inspirations figures we are looking up to. The people trying to fix our broken systems.

Where do you go to discover new artists?
We used to go to galleries, museums, friends studios, and art fairs. We, like everyone else also go to social media, doing virtual studio visits and pursuing gallery websites now. Which we have always done, but without the physical experience to follow up what we see online it feels so disconnected and vacant. We are hopeful for a time when we can safely get out and see art in real life. Once we all weather this tumultuous storm, we hope to see some sort of positive fallout with what has happened to the art world landscape and hope that the personal experience of seeing art in person becomes the focus rather than fairs and frenzies.

Ghost of a Dream is the collaboration of sculptor Lauren Was and painter Adam Eckstrom. They are based in Wassaic and were recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about them:

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