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Spotlight On: Gunnar Cushway


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Gunnar is currently a sophomore and a creative writing major trying to get into the BFA program.  

Q: What themes do you like to explore in your art? 

A: There aren’t specific themes that I’m more interested in than others. In music, I’m probably more process oriented than thematic; I have a tendency toward converging different mediums and approaches. The album I’ve been working on has been an experiment in creating a relationship between unnatural sounds (samples, synths, speeches, heavily processed sounds) with more conventional arrangements that you’d find in a band (strings, guitars, sax, drums, etc.), creating a relationship between digital and analog processes that feels organic to the album as a whole, as well as a visual/aesthetic relationship to the music. In terms of themes in relation to that project, it has become terribly personal and largely about my relocating to Oregon to be a part of my daughter’s life, the death of a dear friend, and isolation, although these themes are largely abstracted by the processes involved.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: I don’t have a favorite book. Or favorite album, song, photo, poem–whatever. There’s current interests and I suppose there’s the ones that linger for a long time. There’s too many reasons I like too many things to try and suss out favorites. 

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint any one thing as a basis for inspiration. I imagine us sort of as nodal–dynamic nodes of intersecting interests and experiences. Much of my inspiration comes from personal experiences, seemingly random ideas, and all the information and interactions that we’re all constantly subject to or active in.

Q: Do you have any advice for other artists?

A: I’m not sure I’m in any position to be doling out advice, but I suppose I’d say strive to make art you can be proud of but to also not be complacent with the quality of your work.

Q: What are your goals?

A: Too many goals. Be the best father I can be, finish the album I’ve been working on for the last year or so, all auxiliary materials regarding that release as well as gearing up to rehearse, get into the BFA program here at PSU, and finish a collection of short stories and poetry to name a few. 

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