By all measures, David Brieske is a quiet and gentle man.
It should be no shock that a lot of South Florida's visual artists also create music. And Brieske's solo work, under the virtually unpronounceable banner of Fsik Huvnx, has been gaining momentum lately. His instrumentation is simple. But the results are thought provoking and introspective, incorporating both performance and sound.
We recently had a chance to ask him some questions and this is how it went.
Crossfade: Who are you, where do you come from and what type of books do you read and why?
David Brieske: I am a visual artist, foreign language enthusiast, Maghrebophile and music collector. I grew up near Chicago and lived in the city for 3 years before coming to Miami. Lately, I haven't been reading much, but I prefer more existential works. I've read Bowles, Mrabet, Camus, Hesse and Carver many times repeatedly. I'm not so interested in a plot or meaning as I am more interested in certain settings and moods of a book, or particular style of writing. I really like short stories or to just read excerpts from books.
While you are primarily known as a visual artist, you clearly have a background in music. Before Fsik Huvnx, were you associated with other acts, other solo stuff?
I'm not sure what my background in music is. I've never really taken any kind of lessons in music outside of what I learned in grade school. Prior to Fsik Huvnx I've only participated in some odd jam sessions with friends where I accompanied on hand drums or other percussive instruments or noise. I did make some multi-track cassette recordings on a dual cassette deck as a teen using my mother's piano, a cheap Casio keyboard and guitar.
I even sang on one. I still have some of those, but I would never embarrass myself with them. I have considered sampling bits of them for use in Fsik Huvnx's oeuvre, though.
How would you compare your art with your music or vice versa? Is there a methodology towards your compositions that is birthed by canvas?
In my visual work, I don't really stick to one style and mix many different things together in a piece, looking for a kind of tension between each object. I think I do the same with the music, though I've never really thought about it. I like experimenting with different sounds, instruments and even tunings to see what comes out.
In both, I work in a very improvised way. I just lay something down and see where it takes me. Obviously, I have some premeditated idea of what I'm striving for, but nothing is set in stone. I'm contented with the unexpected outcomes of blending notes and sounds, or colours and images working in this manner.
There's something desolate, paranoid and discordant in your work that I find inviting and thought-provoking, what kind of reactions have you gotten from performances and recorded pieces?
They seem to be well-received, but I've had some tell me that they just don't understand it. That should be the enjoyment. I've never cared for literal interpretations in art. I find it much more interesting to be lost in a work, rather than fully comprehend it. I guess this accounts for the overall mood in my work.
What does Fsik Huvnx mean? Where does it come from and how do you pronounce it?
Fsik Huvnx is much more a visual than an actual name. It can be pronounced any way you like and since it is no particular language, it will always look foreign to anyone. It was used as filler for the subject in an e-mail to a friend and later became the working title for the first sound pieces I was working on. The words just seemed to fit the concept.
In closing, where do you want to take this project and how important is it in your opinion for visual artists to explore sounds?
I would like to create installations which include sound, visuals and even performance, along with small runs of hand-produced audio media, which function as art pieces in themselves.
I believe any artist should be multi-faceted and be willing to explore any possibilities which may enhance their current work. We were born with five senses. Why focus on just one or two?