But What About Quarter-Life Crisis (Question Mark)
Artist from Hungary with architecture background David Borgonjon
Curator Lesley Martin
Publisher, Creative Director of Aperture Foundation
Little Sound is an independent, bilingual periodical in English and Chinese. It features sincere dialogues with people from an array of backgrounds within the community known as the “Art World.” Our goal is to share the stories of those who have carved a path and a means of existing in the community in our time.
Executive Editor & Publisher: Jasphy Zheng
Designer: Boyang Xia
Editor: Kristina Sumfleth, Marisa Sottos, Emma Kennedy, Angelina Lin, Cassidy Batiz
Translator: Baiqi Chen, Jasphy Zheng
Special Thanks to: Youjia Qu, Nicole Moulaison, Nelson Chan
Web Developer: Marie Otsuka
It all started with what we called a Quarter-life Crisis. In 2016, I graduated from art school, moved to New York, a city that is both heaven and hell, and learned to live like an adult. Often, I felt suppressed by a complex mixture of feelings of confusion, loss, fear, disdain, and anger. As a result, I couldn’t quite figure out, whether this suspicious reality and the emptiness filled in my heart is an illusion created by myself, or is what the adult world truly is about.
People say post-graduate life can be the most difficult in the first six months. While I was with her and she unfolded her story as an architecture graduate who switched her path to fine art. That conversation planted something in me, I started to make changes in life and had the original idea for this publication. I wanted to share these stories in which we can all collect courage, facing the time we are unable to fast forward.
How do I know David? We both went to RISD, he is half Chinese, but none of those factors made our paths cross. I have never seen him in real life before this interview. But he is the kind of person that you will naturally know on social media, on artsy websites, or from people’s mouths. And he is the last person among your peers that you would want to compare yourself with after graduation to find some comfort yourself.
He does a variety of different things at the same time. So it is a little bit difficult to summarize what he does or even choose a title for him. You may say he is a curator, but he is not those ones who put art objects on the wall. Instead, his interest lies in drawing people together for discussions on and offline.
It was rather easy to invite him to this collaboration, but difficult enough to schedule a time with him. Our 30 minute conversation took place in an Indian restaurant during his break after a "not-so-interesting" artist talk in lower Manhattan. He speaks really fast. I was running in my head trying to catch up with him but failed miserably.
People say when you can’t decide if you want to pursue a certain career, think of someone who is already in that industry and ask yourself: do I want to be him/ her in 20 years? Lesley Martin is that “someone” in the publishing industry for me. Not exaggerating at all but most of my favorite photobooks published by Aperture are her work. Starting as a work scholar, Lesley has devoted so much time and energy to Aperture that the image of Aperture and Lesley Martin seem almost inseparable.
Since some of our editors were also work scholars at Aperture when this publication was in preparation, we were able to approach her for a short conversation after the lunch break. We listened to her story from the beginning of her career as a work scholar to an editor, now to a publisher who also plays many different roles in the photo community, as well as her advice to young professionals.