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Interview with PHANNARY PRIEBE

Phannary (Pan) Priebe is a sculptor, recently graduated from the Alberta University of the Arts. You can find more of his work at his Instagram @pan_creativeman.


Phannary wearing his piece; blank (2018). Photographed by Alice Shoenberg

Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into art.

When I was a kid, I was taught by a local Three Hills muralist Brian Parlane how to paint; it was great! But after several years of trying to recreate calendar pictures, my interests shifted from art to sports. So, I began to pursue soccer and volleyball but after years of practicing, learning and developing as an athlete, it became repetitious for me. I always wondered if there was something more to art; then I first came know of it as a hobbyist. After high school decided to apply to ACAD or what is now AUArts.


Phannary wearing his piece; blank (2018). Photographed by Alice Shoenberg

Can you describe your art practice?

My practice as a sculptor begins with the narrative origins of material, for example I am currently interested in the transformative nature of concrete. First beginning as a mountain which is then broken down into limestone, which is then reduced to powder and then heated extremely to create the material that it is. Many of the adjectives when I think about concrete are: strength, rugged, solid, dense, durable, however I am more curious in the antonyms, such as, fragility, broken, cracked, deterioration. I am interested in concretes relationship with architecture, mostly because I have a privileged knowledge about its application but also because of the simplicity of geometric beauty. I also think that there is a poetics in the construction of architecture which I appropriate to fit with my own personal narrative.

I am also interested in reflective materials such as mirror and glass, which I utilize as performative elements in my artwork. I think that the reflective surfaces easily create a space of uncertain certainty which parallel with my ideas about memory and time, which are also unknowable knowns.


The Uncarved Block (2018). Photograph supplied by artist

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from my fellow peers in the sculpting department. They have been very important, we help one another refine and guide decisions that we might otherwise not have. Their friendship allows me to put things together much easier than if I were working alone.


Two Standing on Four (2017). Photograph supplied by artist

What kind of goals and dreams do you have for the future?

In the short term I am really excited to graduate from ACAD (AUArts). And afterwards planning to apply to the Banff Centre Sculpture Practicum, hopefully with a handful of friends. As for my dreams I think ultimately would be to travel to Cambodia. I am curious to explore more about my ethnic history and culture, because I think it would benefit my understanding about personal identity.


Untitled (Heterotopia) (2017). Photograph supplied by artist

Tell me a little bit about your connection with Cambodia and how it affects your art.

In the 60s to 70s there was genocide in Cambodia. When I think about genocide I think about deterioration, and mass decay. I think that by acknowledging my cultural history I can create a clearer picture about where I came from. Deterioration is very evident in the objects I create, and that’s mostly because of these ideas.


Phannary wearing his piece; blank (2018). Photographed by Alice Shoenberg

What's one thing that always makes you smile?

There's not one thing that makes me smile, everything makes me smile. Well actually, when people don't think they're being seen and they do something really goofy and I'm able to witness that, but no one else does, and I just kind of smile.


One fact that people don't know about you.

I guess, I used to play sports [soccer] pretty competitively before I did art. I went to Spain, Barcelona and Madrid, to train at the facilities there.


If you were a cake, what flavour would you be, and why?

I would be... pumpkin...spice, with whipped cream filler.


What was your dream job as a kid?

I always wanted to become a palaeontologist. I just have this undying love for dinosaurs and I think that they're awesome. I think even five years from now, maybe I might train to become a palaeontologist!


What is your real life super power real life superpower?

To make everyone smile.


Phannary wearing his piece; blank (2018). Photographed by Alice Shoenberg

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