One of the pioneers of UK self-suspension rope bondage performance artist
Skinny Red Art, whose real name is Kasia, was first introduced to ropes in 2011, as a model. In 2012 she started tying, attending workshops and eventually experimenting with self-suspension. She has worked with some of the world’s leading rope practitioners including Kinoko Hajime, Saki Kamijoo, WykdDave, Garth Knight and Esinem, to name a few. She completed a year of drawing and painting at The Leith School of Art Attended several years of aerial dance training in Edinburgh and combined knowledge of aerial art techniques into her self-suspension performances.
In 2016 she graduated from Diploma in Physical Theatre Practice in Edinburgh, 2018 Completed Introduction Course to Pyrotechnics and Theatre Lighting at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
In the last 7 years she attended a number of various workshops such as Aerial Dance training for nearly 3 years; General Drawing and Painting for a year; Pyrotechnics; dance and theatre workshops; Shibari Art workshops. Educating herself to help her art practice to evolve into higher levels.
She also has experience as a rigger and rope workshop leader and frequently models for photographic and artistic collaborative projects. Recent solo performance appearances include the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014/2015/2016/2017, DIVE, BOUND, BARK, Neu! Reekie!, MODERN PANIC FESTIVAL, ANATOMY, MANIPULATE FESTIVAL as well as self-suspension performances throughout world including England, Czech Republic, Seychelles, Germany, Italy, Norway, UK, Poland, France, Switzerland, Holland and more.
Kasia also regularly performs as SkinnyRedhead at the commercial and fetish art events across Europe. Her shows are provocative, empowering and always performed with a clear and dynamic story.
Kasia, let me talk to you like that because we’ve had the pleasure to meet at the Gdańsk Tattoo Konwent in Poland few years ago 🙂 As we already know, you were first introduced to ropes in 2011, as a model. What caused you to become interested in this and agree with this type of session then?
Hi Kamila! Yes, being addressed as Kasia brings me joy, as I am very proud of being Polish 🙂 It was a photographer, Katarzyna Konarska, who I was about to model for, who asked me if I would be up for trying this. She messaged me prior the photo shoot and said she has a rigger (first time I’ve heard this term!) who can tie decorative shibari on my body. She sent me Noboyushi Araki’s pictures as a reference. I instantly agreed! I like challenges and discovering new art disciplines.
You had the opportunity to work with the world’s leading rope practitioners. Please tell us about it. Who did you work best with and how did this cooperation work? Is any of these collaborations extremely important to you?
Oh! That is a tough one! I don’t work much within rope community anymore. Took my rope into theatres and commercial events such as fetish parties, tattoo conventions, small venues across Europe, art festivals and galleries. But many years ago I was lucky to meet few exceptional shibari artists such as Hajime Kinoko and Garth Knight, which gave me the best rope experiences I had in my life.
What was the most important collaborating/tying with those artists was the same language we speak – physical language, and extreme determination in life we all share. This is something that drives me, to never stop exploring and learning. In 2018 I was about to work with Garth again on tying an art installation for one of the UK singers and songwriters, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to as I had to have a surgery in exactly the same week Garth travelled from Australia to UK. I still grief over this one, and hope to meet him again and work with him in 2021.
You’ve been doing self-suspension for about 8 years. What do you love about it the most?
I would say it’s freedom. Many people asks me if it’s about ropes giving me pain, as many people still associates shibari with kink and pleasure of pain. But for me it’s not about that. I don’t feel the pain when I’m performing, I am pumped with adrenaline while hanging high above the stage. I love the freedom of being able to invent my own ties, unique patterns, and being in control of what’s going on with my body. There’s so much more that can be done with ropes, it feels like never ending process. It’s almost like doing sculpture, but with use of rope.
Thanks to your passion you travel around the world. Where do you perform best and what is most important to you during performances?
In about 8 years of my career I was so lucky to perform and work with genuinely great people. There was only a few times over the years that I didn’t like, for different reasons. The great thing about being a freelancer is that I can choose with who I want to work. So I didn’t have to go back to places that were not nice. And again, lucky to be hired by those that I love! It’s hard to choose favourite. But of course, the closest to my heart is performing in Poland, my homeland, I wish I could do this more often!
Also Torture Garden London, Samigo Amusement in Zurich, and Rope Spirit in Prague, these ones feels like going to visit a family 🙂 My work is my passion, and my passion is my work, so each travel brings me happiness! And what’s the most important during my performances is to feel safe and appreciated. It takes a lot of effort to create so many performances, and it’s draining at the time, so having loving atmosphere of people who care is crucial.
I found information on your Facebook fanpage that apart from self-suspension you are interested in Aerial Dance, Rope Bondage, Contemporary Performance, Acrobatics, Surrealism, Alternative Arts and theater. You are very versatile. What do you like to do most? Or maybe connecting them gives you the greatest pleasure?
I definitely need to update my Facebook fanpage 😉 Not doing much of aerial dance beside of actually performing it, as I don’t have much time for training between travelling. I guess it’s all connected, and that’s what I like the most, using different disciplines and combine them into one. My performances has a bit of physical theatre in them, and aerial dance, at the same time they are surrealistic, rope bondage, fire, visuals. It’s such pleasure when first image appears in my head, and then working slowly towards visualising it. When at the end it works, it feels so precious!
Is there any person or group of people with whom you dream to perform together? Maybe there is also a place where you would most like to do the show?
There’s a few people I am looking forward working with, some of them are smaller projects that we are already talking about and planning to begin soon. And there are those who are on my list forever, like working again with Garth Knight and Kinoko Hajime. But those needs to wait until we all can travel again. It’s hard sometimes to plan these things, as all of us do this as a full time job. So paid projects usually comes first, and because it’s such a long distance between us, it’s not easy to meet.
Definitely! Also working with filmmakers helps a lot. It goes both ways, being a model taught me how to move my body in particular ways to create shapes that are pleasing to the eye, and then being a performer taught me how to work under pressure, how to do my makeup, hair, costumes, which benefits when I am modeling for photo projects.
Finally, please tell us about your most interesting projects, both photographic and related to the shows that you do.
There was sooooo many! I don’t know which one to choose! There’s a few very close to my heart. Some performances were created for special occasions, in unique venues, or for close friends. One of those that brings tears to my eyes is Torture Garden final event at the Coronet venue in London. For many reasons this place was important to me, mostly for the freedom I was given by the organisers when preparing the show. I felt like they trusted me completely and never questioned my artistic vision. This one took me 6 months to create. I managed to find enormous water tank, the event organised all technical side of it, so I had everything I needed.
This show was so spectacular, that even though it is a fetish club, it brought people to tears. It was the most intense work I’ve done on one piece. Beside this one, there’s a diploma performance I created for my theatre studies. It was a first time in my life performing on the floor, not in the air. We couldn’t present any aerial work. So it was challenging and eye opening, as I understood I can do my performances to be more versatile and adjustable.
There’s also very special project I was invited to take part in. It was a short documentary movie about one of a kind instrument made by Piotr Sell. He asked me to collaborate with him and his team on the movie. It was a few years of work for the team, and about a year of me being involved in it. The film is called “The sound of all sounds”. God, there’s so much more I remember and cherish from these past 8 years, but I don’t think there’s enough space in this interview to mention them all! 🙂
Go and follow Skinny Red: www.instagram.com/skinny_red_art
All photos were taken by Kamila Burzymowska – www.instagram.com/kamila_burzymowska