Art + Love: James T. Green and C’ne Rohlsen
A discussion with newly Brooklyn-based artist duo on where it all started and how they make art, love and a relationship work.
C’ne Rohlsen is an artist who works primarily in collage and occasionally collaborates on durational performances with her partner, James T. Green. James is an artist, designer, and audio producer who is part of the crew that created the podcast platform Postloudness. One of their first encounters was in a library at the University of St. Francis in Joliet. Years later, they planted roots in Chicago together and now are recent transplants to Brooklyn. This is their story.
On where it all started:
James: We met freshman year of college, the first day actually. It was a Core 1 class focused on speech writing and the only seat open was next to C’ne, so I sat next to her. I made a joke and then we started talking.
On one another’s process and practice:
C’ne: His process is very methodical. He has folders of every project he’s ever created in the last 10 years over multiple hard drives. His work is usually very personal, and allows viewers into the deep depths of his brain.
James: She’s like the complete opposite of me in process! She likes to experiment very quickly with a multitude of materials, but mostly paper and collage, and most recently graphic design elements. I could come home to the smell of matte medium and acetone and know she’s up to work.
On sharing space:
C’ne: With my practice I try to keep my mess in a corner, away from the order James created for himself.
James: Our studio is our extra room in our home. It’s good to at least have a bit of separation in our work.
On collaborating with one another:
James: We used to collaborate a lot in college, particularly performance art, and we most recently collaborated in “How Did You Sleep?“, a durational piece where we performed a tug of war with a bed sheet in our mouths until exhaustion. We were interested in that push and pull in our relationship as we were about to get married in a few months, so it was like a present to ourselves.
On how their process and practice has been influenced by one another:
C’ne: He makes me way more organized and thoughtful more about the process and documenting the evidence of the work. I’m used to making things and forgetting about it and his influence resulted in me photographing the work I make, even if I’m the only one who sees it.
James: She makes me think “messier” if that makes sense. I think a lot more about the bigger picture and am open to more of the materials that I was uncomfortable with in the past, just because her quick nature of making is mesmerizing.
I’ve definitely gotten so much more adventurous in my work and subjects to explore. At the same time, I’ve been taking a much slower approach to what I do because of her. I [appreciate] her ability to take her time in thought, and be incredibly deliberate. That’s led to much thoughtful, mature work in the long run.
Cne: I’ve [also] taken more risks and I’ve dived into digital work, which once frightened me. Now, I find a challenge in intertwining collage and digital. James has a way of making pixels beautiful, and I really admire the wonder he has in what he can create on a computer screen.
This interview is part of a series. You can read more Art + Love interviews here.
To learn more about their work, visit C’ne Rohlsen’s website at cnemrohlsen.com and visit James T. Green’s website at jamestgreen.com.
Featured Image: From the performance How Did You Sleep? at Expo Chicago, 2015. Photo by Meredith Weber. Images are courtesy of the artists.
Tempestt Hazel is a curator, writer, and founding editor of Sixty Inches From Center. Her writing has been published by Hyde Park Art Center and the Broad Museum (Lansing), in Support Networks: Chicago Social Practice History Series, Contact Sheet: Light Work Annual, Unfurling: Explorations In Art, Activism and Archiving, on Artslant, as well as various monographs of artists, including an upcoming book of work by Cecil McDonald, Jr. published by Candor Arts. For more, visit tempestthazel.com. (Photo by James T. Green.)