CONOR HARRINGTON // MIKE MILLS // TODD SCHORR
JANUARY 2017, n192 $6.99
Every Image Tells a Story. Tell Yours.
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ISSUE 192 / JANUARY 2017
JUXTAPOZ x SUPERFLAT AMBER BOARDMAN RETNA SET DESIGNS AIDA
FRANCIS PICABIA AT MOMA AKASHA RABUT
AMERICAN GREETINGS 3SIXTEEN’S DENIM DETAILS RAVI ZUPA ON THE POWER OF STORYTELLING
104 TRAVEL INSIDER 108 IN SESSION
DETROIT IS THE JOINT
THE MANETTI SHREM MUSEUM OF ART AT UC DAVIS
STREET ART MEETS FOOTBALL IN MIAMI
120 SIEBEN ON LIFE 122
THE MOON, GHOSTS, AND SISTERS
WINTER WILD STYLE
LET’S GO GREEN
DALLAS, NYC, LOS ANGELES, SACRAMENTO PEPE’S JOURNEY FROM THE DARK SIDE
Conor Harrington, Bristol, England; 2012
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JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 JANUARY 2017 VOLUME 24, NUMBER 01 Published monthly by High Speed Productions, Inc., 1303 Underwood Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124–3308. © 2016 High Speed Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. Juxtapoz is a registered trademark of High Speed Productions, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author. All rights reserved on entire contents. Advertising inquiries should be directed to: email@example.com. Subscriptions: US, $29.99 (one year, 12 issues) or $75.00 (12 issues, first class, US only); Canada, $75.00; Foreign, $80.00 per year. Single copy: US, $6.99; Canada, $6.99. Subscription rates given represent standard rate and should not be confused with special subscription offers advertised in the magazine. Periodicals Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 0960055. Change of address: Allow six weeks advance notice and send old address label along with your new address. Postmaster: Send change of address to: Juxtapoz, PO Box 884570, San Francisco, CA 94188–4570. The publishers would like to thank everyone who has furnished information and materials for this issue. Unless otherwise noted, artists featured in Juxtapoz retain copyright to their work. Every effort has been made to reach copyright owners or their representatives. The publisher will be pleased to correct any mistakes or omissions in our next issue. Juxtapoz welcomes editorial submissions; however, return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts, art, drawings, and photographic materials if they are to be returned. No responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. All letters will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to Juxtapoz’ right to edit and comment editorially. Juxtapoz Is Published by High Speed Productions, Inc. 415–822–3083 email to: firstname.lastname@example.org juxtapoz.com
Cover art by Conor Harrington Hide and Seek Oil on canvas 2016
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ED I TO R ’ S L E T T ER
ISSUE NO 192 I THINK I CAN SPEAK FOR MANY WHEN I SAY THAT 2016 was a strange year. We lost so many artistic geniuses over such a short period of time, icons of the past and present, like Bowie and Prince, that it seemed to overwhelm the strong creative explosion in both the art and music worlds. But politics ruled the headlines, with some of the most bizarre twists and turns across the world that made you wonder if you were watching House of Cards or House of Horrors. As the year was coming to a close, I found it funny but all too appropriate that the same artist we covered at the end of America’s presidential election cycles in 2008 and 2012, Conor Harrington, was once again showing some of the most culturally relevant paintings at the close of 2016. The Irish-born, London-based Harrington will say the humble thing, that he isn’t a scholar of history, but his unique fascination with the performance of diplomacy and the rituals of compromise and war have made his paintings seem uniquely of-the-moment while rendered in the tradition of figurative oil painting. This new work, cleverly titled Watch Your Palace Fall, could symbolically allude to the US, UK, Russia, ISIS, or whomever, but these characters in a ballet-like dance of combat, removing masks to reveal distorted faces in moments of theatrical posturing, captures our current historical moment better than any 24-hour news program could ever begin to describe. For his work to
appear on the walls of Pace Gallery in London to the streets of São Paulo and Copenhagen further enshrines Harrington as not only an artist of reverence, but one who continues to push the envelope of what a fine artist with roots in street art can be. There is something quite poetic and historically resonant about an artist working away in London and making beautiful images of the chaos in this era. I’m grateful that Juxtapoz has been able to cover him at tumultuous times as he makes his way from street art innovation to the hallowed walls of London’s elite galleries. It’s a great story, and one that keeps on getting better. Just as I hope, by the time you have read this, America will have its first female presidentelect, ready to wash away 24 months of bitter, bizarre campaigning, I’m hoping this cover story and issue ushers in a positive 2017. Enjoy #192.
above Conor Harrington Rochester Fight Club 1 For Wall Therapy Rochester, New York 2013
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JUXTAPOZ x SUPERFLAT
LIVING, BREATHING ART AT VANCOUVER ART GALLERY THE MULTIDIMENSIONAL JUXTAPOZ X SUPERFLAT exhibition opened on November 5, 2016 at Vancouver Art Gallery with a vibrant line-up of talks, conversations, tours and special guests in attendance. The show, curated by Juxtapoz editor Evan Pricco and Takashi Murakami, expands on the artist’s theory of Superflat and the original eponymous show, broadening the experience to include the influence of like-minded artists who have been in the pages of Juxtapoz these last 22 years. Creation of a living, breathing exposition of contemporary art, as envisioned by Murakami and the magazine, was fulfilled under the direction of Vancouver Art Gallery’s Bruce Grenville, who actualized the museum space to connect seemingly disparate pairings of work and mediums to compose a new experience and contemporary language. Placement of a He Xiangyu sculpture of revolutionary artist Ai Weiwei adjacent to pottery by Yuji Ueda, illustrations by Kim Jung Gi and works by street-artist pioneer Swoon accompany Rebecca Morgan’s comics-born cavalcade of ceramics and drawings that make a statement of how we look at art in 2016. High and low cultures exchange, blend and provide counterpoints to each other so that museums, galleries and the street fuse seamlessly in a world of both tactile and social media. These conditions have existed on the same plane for quite some time, perhaps even more so than in the first tour of Superflat in the early 2000s. That these ideas can coexist in the same institutions without boundaries defines and exemplifies contemporary art. Juxtapoz x Superflat includes work by Nina Chanel Abney, Chiho Aoshima, Urs Fischer, GATS, Kim Jung Gi, Kazunori Hamana, Trenton Doyle Hancock, John Hathway, Todd James, James Jean, Friedrich Kunath, Austin Lee, Madsaki, Geoff McFetridge, Christian Rex van Minnen, Rebecca Morgan, Takashi Murakami, Kazumi Nakamura, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Otani Workshop, Paco Pomet, Parra, Erin M. Riley, Mark Ryden, David Shrigley, Lucy Sparrow, Devin Troy Strother, Swoon, Katsuya Terada, Toilet Paper Magazine, Yuji Ueda, Yuji Ueno, Sage Vaughn, Ben Venom, He Xiangyu and Zoer & Velvet.
Organized by Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd, and co-curated by Takashi Murakami and Evan Pricco. The exhibition will be on view at Vancouver Art Gallery through February 5, 2017. Top to bottom: Kim Jung Gi, Yuji Ueda, and He Xiangyu, Photo by Ian C Bates
SOUTH OF BUSHWICK… WAY SOUTH I MOVED FROM NEW YORK TO SYDNEY FOUR YEARS ago, and in that time, I’ve had six studio moves. It’s pretty disruptive. So when I found this marvelous place, I really wanted to settle in and make it mine. It’s in an industrial area where there is a lot of development going on. The owner of the building died recently, so I’d been thinking it would be just a matter of time until we got kicked out for the sake of condos. But last week, the guy in the lighting shop downstairs told me the owner decreed in his will that no one could sell any of his buildings for 60 years. Yeah! He was looking out for us! Or at least his family’s assets. Either way.
My studio is called Bushwick South. You know, like Bushwick, where lots of artists have studios in Brooklyn— I co-founded a shared exhibition/studio space there back in 2009, and I wanted to bring some of that spirit to the southern hemisphere. My studio mates are wonderful.
Work spaces are so important. I feel really lucky to be working in the studio of my dreams. It’s big, sundrenched (love that absurd realtor term), and it’s a five-minute bike ride to a gorgeous Aussie beach. Too bad that with my American work ethic, I don’t get to the beach more, but nice to know I could! Also too bad it’s 10,000 miles from NYC. No one comes to visit. Their loss! The only other downside to the studio is the no-toast policy. The smoke alarms are really touchy and If anyone sets them off, we get charged a thousand bucks. Thousand dollar toast is not on the menu.
For me, studio vibes have to feel conducive. Some of my MFA buddies and I have this expression we call TIGS, our altered acronym for Time To Get Serious (TTGS). That’s the moment in the studio where you stop fucking around and actually get to work. It’s a magical moment. I have a studio ritual of curating the environment by burning some fragrant oils, brewing special tea and listening to specific music to get in the TIGS zone. —Amber Boardman
I recently took it upon myself with my last exhibition to learn how to frame my own work. I didn’t know what I was getting into. It’s really hard! We all need to give our framers more respect. I also didn’t realize how sawdust can blanket your studio in no time. I just put up some crime scene plastic and sectioned off a woodshop corner. That helped.
Read our interview with Amber Boardman on page 60.
Photo by Amber Boardman
corey helford gallery presents
“Dropping The Body” oil on panel, 72" x 48"
RAINBEAU SAMSARA ON VIEW November 5 - december 10, 2016 571 SOUTH ANDERSON STREET | LOS ANGELES, CA 90033 | 310.287.2340 | COREYHELFORDGALLERY.COM
FROM STREET TO STAGE
RETNA SET DESIGNS AIDA
“THE CLOSEST I EVER GOT TO SOMETHING LIKE AN opera was that I did a couple of plays. It’s interesting to see everything come full circle in this way. I went to Catholic school, where I really learned penmanship. Handwriting played a huge role in my work, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I learned to write like other people too; like, kids wouldn’t want to come to school, so they’d show me their parent’s signature and I’d write it on their notes. I could write like a lot of different people and that’s probably how I got my fascination with language, writing, and different hieroglyphics. I’d study how other people would write their name and tag their name. I was always studying other people’s tags. I was always fascinated by a good script.”
below Portrait by Rachael Rothstein
There’s that script, and then the next, a big script, or more properly, a libretto. According to Retna, it all started when New Image Art's Marsea Goldberg got a call from the brilliant artistic director Francesca Zambello, known for her innovation in the use of use of video and moveable abstract sets as backgrounds for opera. At first Retna was reticent, but a few years ago, after Miami Basel, Retna and
Marsea flew to DC as guests of the Kennedy Center Opera where Zambello was directing. Marsea describes, “A cold, sleety day in DC, and I trudged to Francesca’s office by all the government buildings and we waited for Retna to arrive. A while later, he showed up, dashing, wrapped in an American flag, with a huge sculpture in his arms which he had just purchased. Such an entrance, right out of the opera! He handed her the gift, a bronze of two dogs fighting, and she loved the gesture. I was sitting between these two off-the-hook minds, sitting there between these whirlwinds. We walked over to the Opera House where we watched a rehearsal and were introduced to the stage and the details that would follow….” Retna had worked on music videos when he was younger, Will Smith’s “Switch” and Kylie Minogue’s “Red Blooded Woman,” for example. The 2000s were filled with lots of music videos and set design with graffiti art. But up to this moment, the opera world was unfamiliar.” A cellist came to the studio. ”We worked on some stylistic approaches, she would play and I would paint. It was causing my lettering to change. I was panting to the music she was playing, so it was causing these different kinds of strokes. I felt like I had been courted by the music industry, musicians, record album covers, and now, the opera. I felt really at home there.” He was first asked to provide a sketch of the opening. For those unfamiliar, know that this opera centers around the love affair of the enslaved Ethiopian King’s daughter, Aida, and the Egyptian army hero, Radames. “I studied a lot of past fliers and imagery, and I did these two big pillars. They looked great, but it wasn’t what I was known for. I showed it to Francesca and she said to just be comfortable ‘doing what you already do.’ I was trying to fit this style that I thought I should, as opposed to just doing what I was already doing. I ended up showing a lot of work I’d done in the past, all the sculptures that weren’t in production yet. I also showed them a piece that was actually featured in Juxtapoz [September 2010 cover story] where I painted the floor and hung the ribbons, and that actually became one of the sets. I started using stuff I had used in the past, sketches that were in my mind, and experimental works that I was doing, like they were a precursor. Francesca introduced me to set designer Michael Yeorgan, and I would send him photographs of all the pictures I had painted, just feeding information from my archives.” “I did listen to the opera a lot, got as many books and knowledge as I could on the scenes and stuff about Aida. They would show me a couple of sets in the beginning, and they made maquettes with my imagery. And that’s when we started modifying things, like how the colors flowed and figuring out what made sense. It was a real team effort.
Retna courtesy of Iron Eye Art Group
Aida working rehearsal photos by Cory Weaver
THE REPORT JUXTAPOZ.COM
They have a vision with how they are able to compose everything; they can see it so far down the line. I’m not necessarily used to working with that many people—set designers, set painters, wardrobe. With the costumes and choreography, I had never experienced seeing something like this come alive, nothing on this scale. What I learned was the part of letting go. Like with the lighting, my typography, my text, will look a certain way, but they can do these color changes so rapidly. I’m not used to something like that, where the lighting changes the mood, changes the work dramatically. If I want a certain color, I have to paint it!”
based on a drawing I did when I was in France with my mother. So I was influenced by what I was seeing, a lot of figurative work, so that’s a style that a lot of people don’t know me for. A lot of it has to do with my upbringing. My mom wanted the best for me. She worked hard and always took me traveling, so I’ve been influenced by so many other cultures, and I try to look at the unification of the cultures, and it all kind of finds itself. I like that a lot people can find common ground in my work. To be honest, it’s really simple. It’s the circle and the line, which I sure didn’t invent. But I think everybody understands it. They see this rhythm. They just feel it.”
I really remember starting drawing when I was six or seven. I was influenced by skateboard culture and I’d draw guys with motorcycles and low rider cars. I got into graffiti when I was about eight, influenced by the murals done in the ’80s. The hieroglyphic stuff has always been inherently part of my work, and when I stripped it down more and more, it kind of became the symbology that it is now. I look back and see now that I was practicing for what I’m currently doing. I did a lot of other work, like the ad for Aida that’s
The world was already his stage, and now the stage is his world too.
Retna’s art-designed Aida performs at the San Francisco Opera through December 6th, 2016. sfopera.com
NOV 5, 2016–APR 30, 2017 Danny Lyon, The March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Gelatin silver print, 29.8 x 20.8 cm (11 3/4 x 8 3/16 in). The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gift of Anne Ehrenkranz, 398.1997. © 2016 Danny Lyon, courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
E V EN T
OUR HEADS ARE ROUND SO OUR THOUGHTS CAN CHANGE DIRECTION THE TITLE OF THIS EXHIBIT IS SO PERFECT AND attention grabbing that it begs for details, and sometimes those details are so succulent, they whet the appetite for more. Francis Picabia was born in an affluent Paris home to the chancellor of the Cuban embassy, and after the early death of his mother, grew up with his art collector uncle and photographer grandfather in a house known as quatre sans femmes (four without women). He founded a group of Cubist artists with Marcel Duchamp, hung out with Gertrude Stein, and developed an American strain of Dada with Man Ray only to denounce it later when he deemed its audacity inadequate. The first U.S. retrospective of Francis Picabia is being presented at the Museum of Modern Art through March 19, 2017, and it’s a round-the-world flight of thought and fancy. Circumscribing the arts of painting, performance, poetry and film, Picabia sailed through Impressionism, Dada, photo-based realism, abstraction and text-based painting,
all represented in the exhibition. Look for mechanomorphic paintings like The Child Carburetor, Dada pieces such as The Cacodylic Eye, and pin-up nudes from the ’40s. Skewering morality, religion, politics, law and even the art world, Picabia delighted in disrobing the emperor and posing provocative ideas in his paintings and publishing ventures. Just after the first World War, he observed that, “The machine has become more than a mere adjunct of life. It is really a part of human life… perhaps the very soul. I have enlisted the machinery of the modern world, and introduced it into my studio.” This is a great opportunity to view a mind from another time who was ahead of his time, and clearly not bound by it or any other constraints.
Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction shows at MoMA in New York City through March 19, 2017.
above (from left) Idylle (Idyll) Oil and enamel paint on wood in a frame by Pierre Legrain 32.5” x 44.31” x 2.94” 1925–27 Musée de Grenoble Gitt of Jacques Doucet, 1931 © 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo © Musée de Grenoble
Tableau Rastadada Cut‑and‑pasted printed paper on paper with ink 6.75” x 7.5” 1920 The Museum of Modern Art New York. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller by exchange. © 2016 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by the Museum of Modern Art, Peter Butler
2016 ALL NEW WORKS BY
PIXEL PANCHO CRYPTIK
INNER STATE GALLERY 1410 Gratiot Avenue - Detroit, MI
NEW ORLEANS: A CRADLE OF CULTURE “THANKS FOR ASKING. I SORT OF JUST QUIT SHOOTING photographs three weeks ago,” Akasha Rabut replied when I asked about featuring her work in these pages. Her answer was bewildering, because as long as I've known Akasha, she has always been shooting someone, something, somewhere. Why suddenly quit her long-term passion? Akasha explained that it was time for a reboot. I’m hoping this is a temporary detour. There are few photographers able to capture cultural lineage and experience with such natural grace. Crossing the country a few years back, I made a first-time visit to New Orleans where much of my perspective and understanding of the city came directly from Akasha’s photos. I have since been mystified by NOLA's complex dichotomy, a place with immeasurable potential and promise, accompanied by perpetual problems. Moving to post-Katrina New Orleans after a pre-tech takeover in San
Francisco six years ago, Akasha has integrated herself, camera in hand, into varying communities and subcultures across the 17 wards. Documenting the Caramel Curves, the first all-female motorcycle club in NOLA, has become her most well-known body of work to date. Other subjects range from 504 Boyz, an urban horseback riding organization, to high school marching bands, majorettes and dance teams, and the traditional, elaborately crafted, wildly colorful suits of the Mardi Gras Indians. And then there is everything in between: a myriad of images that encapsulate the expansive identities and landscapes that make up this eternally enigmatic, alluring town. —Austin McManus
above Untitled Digital 2013 opposite Wild Magnolias 220 film 2016
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ.COM
above Church of Everything 220 film 2014
right Trail Riderz 220 film 2014
“My friend lives in this bus. He’s got hardwood floors and a claw foot tub in there.”
“This is a photo from a body of work about urban horse riders. I've been photographing a group of urban horse riders called the 504 boyz. A couple of years ago, they invited me to camp at a trail ride. I accepted the invitation. Not knowing what to expect I rolled up to the trail ride and there was literally a 5 mile line of trucks pulling horse trailers waiting to get in. There were an estimated 20,000 people on horses at this event. I was definitely the only weirdo at the event without a horse.”
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ.COM
left Super Sunday 220 film 2013
above Louisiana Ave 35mm 2014
“A few years ago, I was walking around my neighborhood during Super Sunday. I love walking around early in the morning before the actual festivities take place because I can hear all the tribes singing and playing drums. It’s also lovely because I get to happen upon special moments like this. I walked by a house where everyone was suited except for this woman. I remember being really excited about seeing a head of curlers amongst all the plumes of feathers.”
“I shot this photo right down the street from my house. New Orleans has a lot of sweet rides and well–dressed ladies.”
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ.COM
AMERICAN GREETINGS AT 110 YEARS OLD
IT’S THE THOUGHT—AND CONFETTI—THAT COUNTS
ONE HUNDRED AND TEN YEARS AGO, JACOB SAPIRSTEIN decided to sell paper sentiments from the back of a horsedrawn cart and founded American Greetings. It is now the world’s largest company of its kind and is still family-run. The company just filled their new headquarters near Cleveland with commissions, collaborating with some of our favorite contemporary artists, and nurturing some of the most creative people in the field of social expression. And they are the first to make greeting cards that spew confetti.
below Party Poppers Card Collection
Juxtapoz: Tell us about your collaborations with Wayne White and other contemporary artists. Megan Baucco: Our brand-new Creative Studios world headquarters has given us the opportunity to work with talented artists from both inside and outside American Greetings to make the space much more than just an office—it is truly a work of art. Located in Westlake, Ohio, the Creative Studios holds thoughtfully-planned and masterfully-curated artwork, finishes, décor and furniture to inspire associates.
The Wayne White collaboration is especially exciting because it is the first time we have modified an existing piece from our corporate art collection by allowing another artist to add to it. The landscape painting was created by a former American Greetings artist, and Wayne agreed to paint on top of the work. Prominently displayed in a hightraffic area at the top of the grand staircase in the Creative Studios, the addition of Wayne’s thought-provoking text and signature have given the landscape new life. The majority of the pieces adorning the Creative Studios are either the work of past or present American Greetings artists, or our own historical artifacts turned into one-of-akind art. Complementing this internal creativity, a select few artists from the Cleveland area contributed their talents, as well as a few from around the country. In addition to the collaboration with Wayne White, two more renowned artists were commissioned to make pieces for the Creative Studios—Julie Spiedel and Christopher Bettig. Julie Spiedel created a 12-foot-tall steel sculpture, Coppice Gate, which stands in the second-floor courtyard at the bottom of the grand staircase and is impossible to miss by anyone entering the building. Christopher Bettig created the large-scale wood installation inside Kindred, our company store for associates, using scraps of the materials utilized for the construction of the building. One of the exclusive, artistic features of the brandnew American Greetings Creative Studios is a series of murals that decorate our restrooms. They explore some favorite spots around American Greetings’ hometown of Cleveland that reflect the love our associates have for northeast Ohio. There are also 22 “landmarks” placed throughout the Creative Studios, dimensional works of art that add whimsy and interest to the building as they help navigation in our new space. If someone tells you to meet them next to the Care Bears chair, there’s no doubt you’re in the right spot. What does it take to make the perfect greeting card? It takes a village! Actually, it all starts with the editorial. People buy cards because of what the card says—they are looking for that perfect message wrapped in a beautiful design. To make the perfect greeting card, it takes great writers and editors, and then artists and illustrators who can interpret the editorial. You also need a diverse base of creatives because the perfect greeting card for one person is not necessarily the perfect card for everyone—that’s why there are so many! We work to create a balanced and varied assortment of cards so that everyone can find that perfect card for their relationship. Are there specialists for each kind of card? Yes, to a certain degree. There are contributors who specialize in humor and kids products because there are some unique things in these areas that require specialization. For the most part, though, our creative
organization is very flexible, and associates like to take on new challenges. To that end, it’s not unusual for a humorist to be part of a project addressing sentimental consumer needs and vice versa. Does the writing department dictate the illustrations? Not exactly. It’s the designer’s job to interpret the copy in the best way possible so that the entire card package makes sense and feels cohesive. Sometimes writers and editors will have an idea or recommendation on how a particular piece of editorial is interpreted, but it’s ultimately the designer’s decision. An exception to this is humor, where the joke and the art need to work very closely together. In this case, it’s pretty common for the writer to have roughly sketched out how the joke visually comes to life. What types of artists do you work with for your e-cards? It’s actually the same kinds of artists we work with for paper cards. The e-card Illustrators and animators have a little more time and opportunity to tell their story with the added dimensions of motion and sound, but, in the end, it’s still all about creating content that tells a relevant story and resonates with a diverse demographic.
How are cards with photographic images produced? We create images for all of our card lines right here at the Creative Studios. Our staff of six full-time photographers, four photo stylists, and several freelance folks work in a variety of ways to develop content. As they wear many hats on any given day and must be able to work within tight deadlines, this in-house staff must be extremely resourceful.
above (clockwise from left) Creative Studios World Headquarters Monsters Landmark Wayne White The Next Big Thing
Approximately 40 percent of our work comes to us as a specific request, asking us to follow a layout. This might include people, animals, flowers, cakes, scenic images, etc. Our photo stylists will work to find the right location, secure wardrobe, hire models, buy and make props, or even build sets to fulfill the request. We often shoot on-location, but we have beautiful new daylight studios as well. We work with modeling agencies, animal shelters, friends, museums, realtors, retailers, etc. to find the right resources, which means we have worked with almost every animal species, have expertise with all strains of flowers, and are wellversed in all kinds of birthday cakes! The remainder of content is created through a variety of “open shooting” projects we produce throughout the year.
These could range from one-day or seasonal projects, to Paris trips for photographing romantic situations with models. We also work with freelance photographers around the world and major photography stock houses to fill in any content gaps, although our preference is to create unique, American Greetings-owned content. What are some of the other specialties and innovations American Greetings has experimented with? American Greetings has introduced more than 150 new greeting card formats under the Inventions brand, offering exciting, new ways to celebrate. Incorporating new twists on technology in cards with uniquely written copy and celebratory artwork, we aim to surprise and delight. Recent collections include Party Poppers, with a flurry of real confetti that bursts out at the push of a button. People also fell in love with our award-winning Warm Fuzzies gift bags—even Miley Cyrus was photographed carrying one! And now you can send that same furry awesomeness in a birthday card. Blow Me a Kiss cards pair blow-sensor technology with photos of animals in kissing booths to create a one-of-a-kind wish. Blow the animal a kiss and try not to laugh when their ridiculous red lips bounce up and down and sing a silly song. And then there are Remote Control Wishes, with funny photos of furry friends who dance for you. Pop the attached character off the card, set it down, press the button on the remote, and it sings and shakes.
What do you look for most in an illustrator, and what are the perks of working for American Greetings? Versatility is king when assessing an illustration portfolio. Those with a singular style would have more consideration for freelance, as opposed to our full-time, in-studio illustrators who work on a variety of projects simultaneously and often require expertise in a great array of styles. Versatility and variety also pertains to subject matter and color stories. Organic imagery is always a great plus—plants, animals, scenes from nature, etc. A designer who isn’t afraid to explore a trend-forward color story has an advantage. For an Illustrator, it’s a wonderful opportunity to work on products on a daily basis that are printed in high-quality full color with exotic finishings, attachments, special folds, and rich paper stocks that are distributed through key retail locations around the world—all for the purpose of helping people express themselves and connect to other people who are important to them. What could be better?
Send some e-love at AmericanGreetings.com and find their products in retail stores worldwide.
above (from left) Restroom Murals: Asia Town Edgewater Park Free Stamp
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN
BFA Animation Creative Writing Drawing + Painting Drawing + Painting w/ Sculpture Emphasis Game Art Graphic Design + Digital Media Graphic Design + Digital Media w/ Action Sports Design Emphasis Graphic Design + Digital Media w/ Illustration Emphasis Illustration Illustration w/ Drawing + Painting Emphasis Illustration w/ Entertainment Emphasis Illustration in Entertainment Design
MFA Art of Game Design Creative Writing Drawing Painting POST-BACC CERTIFICATE Drawing + Painting
MINORS Animation Art History Creative Writing Drawing + Painting Graphic Design + Digital Media Illustration Sculpture
ACCEPTING APPLICATION FOR FALL 2017
FA S H I O N
THE DENIM DETAILS
QUALITY CONTROL WITH 3SIXTEEN above Well-worn 3sixteen denim
IF YOU START A CLOTHING BRAND, YOU NEED THAT one piece that stands out and tells your story. For Andrew Chen and Johan Lam of 3sixteen, it’s their denim jeans, with unique materials custom-made in Japan and the sharpest and smartest fit in men’s jeans being made today. That specific vision, to make the perfect jean, has garnered the trust of customers as 3sixteen now expands into fleece, tees, boot collaborations, and outerwear, all made with the attention to detail and quality that started with their first jean. We sat down with Johan to get the story on how the brand went from streetwear craze to heritage appreciation for good denim. Evan Pricco: What was the goal when you started 3sixteen? Andrew Chen: When we started the brand, we were streetwear fans, but the word had a completely different connotation compared to what it represents now. The types of brands we were into were small, self-funded operations making cultural and political statements on T-shirts sold in maybe five or ten stores across the country at most. Graphic tees were the easiest point of entry for us and the simplest way for us to make a statement and try something creative.
Over the years, though, we found ourselves wanting to try our hand at all the things we wear on a daily basis. The streetwear boutiques that were carrying our tees and fleece weren’t really able to follow us because the details, aesthetic and price points were not right for their customers. It was a tough transition for our brand in 2008 when we finally launched that collection; we lost a lot of accounts because of where the line went, coupled with the recession hitting full force. In hindsight, it was the best decision we could have made. We designed a collection that we felt was representative of us and our tastes and left it to the market to decide whether it had a place. Today, T-shirts are still an important part of our collection, but the average customer would know 3sixteen for denim. How do you describe the aesthetic of 3sixteen? Johan Lam: We try not to over-design or garishly brand our products because we want the components and the quality of each piece to speak for itself. We pride ourselves on being able to design clothing that is versatile and can fit into many different wardrobes, so we tend to keep things pretty simple. Everyone on our team dresses a bit differently and
has their favorite brands outside of 3sixteen, so it's always interesting and inspiring to see the ways that our brand can be mixed in with others. AC: One value that we try to incorporate into our collection is the importance of something aging well. We look carefully at vintage garments or clothes weâ€™ve worn for a long time and try to break down what makes them special and what we love about them. This plays a big role in the fabrics we develop or source for our collectionâ€”will it wash down well? What will it look like when the color begins to fade? Will it pucker nicely as the seams shrink and stretch over the years? Our goal is to make clothing that will have a place in your closet for a long time. Tastes change and mature over the years, naturally, but if we can make a favorite pair of jeans or a jacket that you keep coming back to over the years, thatâ€™s an accomplishment in our book. Where do you source fabrics? JL: Fabric is the foundation of any garment, so, as much as possible, we try to design our fabrics instead of buying goods that are readily available to other brands. All of our
denim is custom woven by two mills in Japan. Our fleece and jersey is knit in Canada. It's important to us that the pieces we put out are completely unique, both in design and in the components.
above Kuroki Mills Okayama, Japan Photos by Martin Kirby
How do you refine the fit of your denim shapes? JL: We started with a single fit in 2007, a modern straight leg that we call SL. We wanted to create something slim but not too skinny, something that could be the foundation for the entire denim collection. We tweaked and refined the fit a lot over the first few years, but haven't touched it in the last five or so. Creating a good fit has a lot to do with working with a really skilled pattern maker. Ours has decades of experiences and helps to fill in all of the gaps in our knowledge with her expertise. It also takes a lot of number crunching; taking detailed measurements of samples, then adjusting and resampling, then taking more detailed measurements and adjusting again until the fit is what you want it to be. You'll never be able to create a fit that works for everyone, but we feel comfortable that each of our styles fits the way they are intended to on a wide range of body types.
FA S H I O N
Which 3sixteen jeans are you wearing right now? JL: For the past year and a half, I've been wearing ST-100xk's. Our Kibata denim, which we spent about a year developing, is my favorite in our range. It's unsanforized, meaning it will shrink about one size when it's first soaked, and has a very loose weave with a lot of variation in the fabric. AC: I’ve been wearing our CT-100x jeans for the past two years. They are made of our flagship 14.5oz indigo selvedge denim—probably the fabric we sell the most of altogether. The CT fit is the newest in our lineup, and has been performing really well over the past two years. It’s got a high rise, and a roomy top block combined with a moderate taper. It’s flattering for a lot of body types, but especially for guys who have bigger thighs. Which details of your garment-making do you agonize over? JL: There isn't a detail on our garments that we don't agonize over. There are hundreds of decisions that are made on every piece, and very rarely do we get them all right. It helps that we've run a lot of styles for several years, allowing us to improve the garments with each production run. For example, our Stadium Jacket is a silhouette that we introduced early on, and this fall's version will be the best yet, as it should be. Tell us about your online project, Singularities. AC: Singularities is our quarterly online publication where we try and highlight the creative process of many of customers that we’ve met over the years. We sell a product that we put a lot of care and thought into, something that’s meant to get better over the years as you use it, and it’s been remarkable to get to know the work of so many talented individuals who hold to similar ideals. We spend a long time on our interviews with them because we hope
to give a pretty in-depth look at what makes these talented people tick, what inspires them, what they are working towards in the future, and what failures they have learned from. To be honest, it’s as much for us as it is for our readers. Alongside Singularities, we started a project last year called Vanguard where we partner up with fine artists whose work inspires our creative process. We do a studio visit and a short interview, and work together on a small piece of art that we then give away to our customers free of charge. The past two artists, David D’Andrea and Carter Asmann, made prints for us that both have a distinctively handmade touch. Our next feature with Scott Albrecht that should be ready in December, and it’ll be something a little different from the last two as far as medium goes. We see Vanguard as a way for us to expose our customers to the work of creative people whom we admire, and to just give something small to them that we hope they enjoy and appreciate. What are you forecasting for Spring 2017? AC: The spring season, to us, is always a time for fun prints and creative textures. You can get away with nearly anything on a short sleeve shirt body and we’ve got a few good ones upcoming. Plaid flannels are a foundation of our line and we have a beautiful, sunwashed red plaid that is being custom woven for us in Japan and will be made into our Crosscut Flannel body. We are introducing a new military BDU jacket reminiscent of Vietnam-era models, but with our own modernized details. Nothing new on the jean end, though; we’ve worked hard on our collection and are pretty happy with where it’s at.
above 3sixteen Fall/Winter W16 lookbook
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I N FLU EN C E S
VIOLENCE ON OUR BEHALF
RAVI ZUPA ON THE POWER OF STORYTELLING DENVER, COLORADO-BASED ARTIST RAVI ZUPA BLENDS eras, styles and themes into one canvas, often adding unexpected references to political dramas and pop culture icons. His newest show, Violence On Our Behalf, shows at Matthew Namour Gallery in Montreal through December 11, 2016. Ravi tells us about his work ethic, historical influences, and how he wants to be the singer in the band. Politics in Process Ravi Zupa: It’s hard not to think about politics lately. I’ve always put a lot of thought toward politics, anarchism especially. Outside of art, certainly the person with the largest influence on my way of thinking, aside from my mother, has been Noam Chomsky. Many of the artists who have influenced me the most infuse their work with a lot of politics: Franz Kafka, George Orwell, Pink Floyd, Kurt Vonnegut, Tupac, Goya, Chapelle, Kubrick, and Spike Lee, to name a handful. They use politics as a strong active ingredient, often with an explicit agenda, and they necessarily make the politics shout too loudly. It can weave into the fabric of the art in subtle and quiet ways but still be extremely important, much like politics laces itself secretly right Drinking 1 Screen print, acrylic, graphite and traffic cone block prints mounted to wood 24” x 18” 2016
4242| JANUARY 2017 | JANUARY2017
into the fabric of our actual everyday lives. Understanding all kinds of political and religious ideologies is one of the best tools that we have for understanding our own minds. On the History of Cinematic Painting For the most part, before the Enlightenment, western art had to be state or church sanctioned, so it often told a lot of the same old stories, though obviously there are many exceptions to this. Bruegel the Elder, for example, loved and celebrated the peasants of his time. But the Enlightenment allowed the common sense and reason of regular people to supplant the authority of kings and bishops to some degree. So you get people doing much more subversive work that expresses their own interpretation of contemporary social events. Goya is the greatest, in my opinion. People have always injected their own contemporary world into older narratives. Biblical scenes from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, for example, invariably portray subjects wearing the European fashion of that time, which I think is really great. I love the blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus for the same reason, but I also love all the depictions of
Jesus—European, African, Japanese and Mexican. Since the Jesus we are familiar with was definitely not a literal human being that existed, these ethnically varied versions are the most accurate because they look like the face of the person painting them. I’m a big advocate of making art that reflects the world that shapes us and that we live in. Horses, for example, might sometimes be replaced by automobiles if the horse is meant to signify travel or convey a vehicle. Otherwise, the image doesn’t lodge in the viewer’s mind. Horses are no longer a visual vocabulary for vehicle. Similarly, swords no longer mean violence. They might mean honor or a symbolic form of justice, and so on. If the piece is meant to deal in some way with actual human violence, then using a sword is unlikely to engage the mind of the viewer, resulting in a disappointing piece. Orwellian Thought Like most, I’ve had politics on my mind a lot and watched the election closely, and it does feel like we are at a significant turning point in the way power moves and operates in our world. It’s a shift, potentially larger than the Renaissance
or Industrial Revolution, and our world and mindset will be left forever altered. This election seems to have been a reflection of our collective attempts to make sense of this shift. The title of my new show, Violence On Our Behalf, is a slightly altered paraphrase of a George Orwell quote, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” These new pieces deal with power and powerful people, and like all of my art, are an attempt to investigate a world of interconnected cultures and ideologies.
above (from left) Be Where Your Hands Are India ink and traffic cone block print on paper mounted to wood 12” x 16” 2016 Kali India ink and traffic cone block print on paper mounted to wood 12” x 16” 2016
On Heroes I can comment on this in a few ways. First, my mother has had a very strong impact on the way I make and think about art. She’s by far one of the most intellectual, combative and thoughtful people I know, and I’ve been shaped by that a great deal. She takes art very seriously. She’s really offended by bland aesthetics and unethical ideas in art. Second, there are a lot of artists that inspire me with their craft and dedication to morality: David Lynch, Marlene Dumas, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, David Byrne, and
I N FLU EN C E S
Robert Rauschenberg. Shepard Fairey also had a big impact on me. Aside from inspiring aspects of my art at a critical moment in my development, he’s also been such a good, supportive friend. He’s a great example. It can be difficult to remain focused with a lot of projects, talk to people about your art, be mentally present at openings, conduct business, price work and all. He’s completely unafraid of all of these things and does them with respect, fairness and confidence. He does them according to his own set of ideals and infuses the same kind of creativity and joy into his business that he puts into his actual pieces of art. He’s really helped me a lot in understanding my own methods and trajectory. Studio Practice and Soundtrack I work a lot. My hours are constantly shifting. I often work all night long and then go to sleep when the sun rises; other times my schedule is more like the rest of the world. Lately, I listen to political talk. I find rap music to be the best motivation. It’s got such inspiring, grinding movement, but it’s also made by some of the most powerful and articulate human beings on earth—people who had nothing, who grabbed handfuls of that nothing and sculpted it into some of the most magnificent, intellectual art the world has ever seen. It’s hard not to be motivated by that. The Wild Wild West Denver is growing faster than almost any city in the U.S., like it’s changing weekly. As far as the particular art crowd that we’re part of, there are a lot of people trying new things and integrating themselves into the city. Black Book Gallery is holding it down in a big way, and Mike Giant moved to town not long ago. Denver is a really unique place; it’s a bit hard to explain. My friend, Yoni Wolf, of the band Why?, who used to tour the world almost continuously, once said that Denver is the craziest, most stressed-out, on-edge city he visits. “It’s some kind of leftover, Wild West mentality,” he would say, and he’s kind of right. There’s a strange kind of aggression in the air but it’s not dangerous here. It’s just, at times, psychologically odd and urgent. It’s also very liberal and relaxed and trusting. I like the weirdness of it. I’ve become a bit reclusive recently. My neighborhood has a lot of homeless people, who are kind of the only people I hang out with lately (aside from my wife), and I love them very much. I have these wild all-night adventures getting to know them. They’re one of my favorite parts of Denver. If You Could Be In One Band… I really wish I could sing. I’d probably want to do something like Ween. I love the surrealism and how seriously they take it. You can hear the profound love they have for each other and how difficult the partnership is. Dream Scenario If I had the chance to study art in one place, I would choose any large city with an economically diverse population: Buenos Aires, Beijing, Lagos, Tehran. This way I would get
a chance to see the celebrated, fine art of that culture, the paintings in gilded frames displayed by the aristocracy. I love that stuff. But I’d also get to see how beautifully regular people surround themselves with art. How they hand-paint signs with images of Ho Tai or Vishnu or Quetzalcoatl to advertise fruit stands and nail salons and tire dealerships. Or how they make locally printed church propaganda and wrappers for their own candy and matches. There is so much beautiful art on this planet.
Ravi Zupa’s Violence On Our Behalf is on view at Matthew Namour Gallery in Montreal through December 11, 2016.
above Madonna and Child India ink and traffic cone block print on paper mounted to wood 12” x 16” 2016
MY GOAL FOR EVERY ILLUSTRATION IS TO USE THE CHARACTERâ€™S EYES TO REALLY ENGAGE THE VIEWER. THAT IS, BY FAR, MY FAVORITE CHALLENGE.
L OV ET T
Ashly Lovett is an illustrator and galler y ar tist currently living in Louisiana. Working primarily with chalk pastel, she loves creating por traiture for the horror and fantasy genre, often with a dark romanticism under tone and Pre-Raphaelite influence.
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Made from high quality, pure micro-pulverized pigments these pastels produce lush, vibrant color.
K O H I N O O R U S A . C O M
Serge Gay JR. Different 1.7.17
spoke-art.com // 816 Sutter St. San Francisco, CA 94109
CONOR HARRINGTON STAKES IS HIGH INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO // PORTRAIT BY IAN COX
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“ANY REAL CHANGE SHOULD MAKE YOU FEEL, AT FIRST, afraid,” author Nathan Hill writes at the conclusion of The Nix. “If you’re not afraid of it, then it’s not real change.” About an hour after leaving a London pub with Conor Harrington on a cool October evening, I found myself in the hotel lobby, nightcap in hand, and this book, which I have been enjoying over the course of a few transAtlantic flights now. It hit me, the idea of real change and the fear that comes with it is exactly what Conor was telling me without really outright proclaiming, “Change is the necessary scary one needs in their life!” If a leap in your art career doesn’t make you feel just a bit nervous and fearful, it’s probably not a leap at all in the first place. This fall, Conor made the leap, hit it straight on, and it’s starting to look beautiful on the other side. The line from Hill provided a bit of synergy to this idea that Conor Harrington, already an established contemporary painter and one of the world’s most successful street artists, was beginning a new phase in his career. From his newest monograph to an exhibition with Pace Gallery in London, it feels as though, unassuming and humble as he is, Conor is making a major statement about not only his talent, but the relevancy of painting and street art in 2016. Even the title of both the show and book, Watch Your Palace Fall, alludes to politics and contemporary culture, but perhaps, even to his personal challenge to reimagine and reassert himself on the gallery walls of one of Mayfair’s finest galleries.
Conor and I have sat down previously for two cover stories, ironically, in 2008 and 2012, as the American presidential elections were coming to a head. When we got together last month, we had Trump, Brexit, and the refugee crisis on our minds, but mainly, we had this new body of work to discuss. Masterful in execution and culturally relevant in so many ways, it left the indelible impression that my friend embraced the challenge of change and triumphed in the face of the unknown.
opposite Transformer Oil and spray paint on linen 59” x 78.75” 2016 above New York 2014 Photo by Ian Cox
Evan Pricco: Looking through your new book, where an interview sits right in the middle of the whole thing, when asked, "What's the weakest part of your art?" you respond, "My difficulty in letting go." I want to start there because, after our two previous cover stories, I have the feeling that doing press is not your favorite task. Letting go in this instance can mean letting go of work in terms of being finished, but I also think it means a little bit of letting go of yourself when it comes to describing what you do and what you mean by your work. Conor Harrington: A friend of mine recently sent a clip of the Cuban-American painter Carmen Herrera being interviewed on the run-up to her 100th birthday. She said, “You cannot talk about art, you have to art about art.” I think that quote pretty much sums up my attitude too; I like to paint and let that be it. I don't know if talking helps or hinders the reading of my work. Painting, as a medium, attracts people who are a bit less fond of the spotlight, and conversely, graffiti is a
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below Mugshot 6 Oil and spray paint on linen 59” x 78.75” 2014
great way of getting attention without people knowing your identity. Nowadays, we're seeing the rise of the artist as a brand and personalities coming to the fore, but I think I'll try and hide for a while longer.
something new and unknown that the doubts set in, and in a way, this has been a bit like taking a jump into the dark. But as the year comes to a close, I think it has all worked out nicely. It definitely feels like a new chapter.
I think, in a way, your paintings contain a narrative where people want confirmation that they are correct in their reading into what you do. Let me read into something: I sense that this has been quite a year for you. Decisions had to be made, hard decisions that didn’t have some sort of formulaic answer. You left your longtime gallery and sort of stepped into the unknown. As an artist making work, and sort of challenging yourself in a way that relates to your personal life, was this a good year? It has been a good year, but a very strange year at the same time. It’s always the case when you’re embarking on
Do you doubt yourself when you begin a new body of work? Because when I see the new works you are doing, there seems to be a lot of confidence and command. Are you a self-doubter? I think most artists are full of doubt, generally. I’m quite confident at the start, and then full of dread as the painting comes to a finish, because I realize it’s not the piece I had hoped it would be. At the start of every painting, I have this feeling of unbridled excitement that this piece will be the one, the one that I'll look back on in years to come as a breakthrough piece, but in the end, I usually just shrug my shoulders and say I suppose it'll do. Did you have a specific work for this last show that you really feel like kickstarted your whole approach? There wasn't a particular piece in the show, but there are two mugshots that I did a couple of years ago that were the beginning of this body of work. I had exhibited a large group of quite-detailed, time-consuming works in New York in 2014, and as soon as I got back to my studio, I launched into two blown-up portraits. They were never exhibited, but I think they may be my two favorite paintings, and they really kickstarted what I'm doing now. Did making your monograph, Watch Your Palace Fall, give you a sense of confidence? Making new work, then seeing work that you had done in the past, did you recognize how you had evolved? It must have helped to realize that if you ran into artistic stalemates, you had at least worked yourself out of jams before? I felt quite nostalgic, really. I hadn’t realized how much time had passed or how much work I had done. There’s some dodgy work in my back catalogue, but generally it's not as
“I CALL MY NEW APPROACH “ONE HIT WONDER.” IF I CAN ACHIEVE THE DESIRED FINISH IN ONE HIT, THEN IT WORKS.”
bad as I seem to think. Although my main focus of interest hasn’t really switched theme-wise, I think I jumped around quite a lot over the last ten years or so. The main relief is realizing I’m quite happy with the way I’ve developed and that I’m not looking back on any period wishing I could achieve that again. I’m quite happy moving forward and I think my best work is still ahead of me. Also, I think it’s important to stop and take stock and get a good overview. It has been 14 years since I finished art school, and the book feels like it has come at an appropriate time. As you made a bit of a transition gallery-wise this year, were there any new observations about your paintings that you really liked hearing? It’s hard to know. I'm not sure if people are always honest when they give you feedback but it's been quite positive. It sounds like such a simple observation but I think people quite like my use of color in this show. I used it in a more simplistic, symbolic way. I've always liked working in
monochrome. It allows me to focus on the marks instead of always trying to get the colors right, so in the preparatory shoot, I color-matched the floor and backgrounds with the clothing for some of the paintings. I wanted the figures to emerge out of a pool of color, so the color becomes the subject of the piece, as well as the figure itself.
above London, 2015 Photo by Ian Cox
Everything in the new work flows a little less tightly but is still very painterly and well-executed. You talked about how, when making this body of work, you gravitated toward a more loose style. How would you define this looseness? I’m no longer layering up to achieve a certain level of polish. I’m trying to hit everything once and move on. I remember being shocked that Luc Tuymans never spent more than one day on a painting, but I’m beginning to see his logic. I call my new approach “one hit wonder.” If I can achieve the desired finish in one hit, then it works, and if I have to go back into it, I might kill it. So this means if a painting goes well, I get it
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right Collaboration with Franco Fasoli SÃ£o Paulo 2015
finished much quicker than before, but now, a day’s painting is much more taxing than before because I know if I don't get a section right first time ’round, I probably won't be able to go back in and save it later. Let’s put the serious aside and do the music question before I become Charlie Rose. You and I have similar musical taste, and that’s definitely come up in our conversations. Knowing it influences what you do in a painting, where's your head at in terms of music and how it relates to your art? I’m still big on rap, although as I get older, I’m being less of a purist in my tastes and enjoying some of the more disposable acts. I’m listening to a lot of online mixes too, a lot of Latin tropicalia and African funk. Soundtracks are really nice to paint to, so I like a lot of slower, meandering music like Nils Frahm or Nicolas Jaar. But in the mornings, I have to be boring and listen to the news or podcasts to wake myself up in the studio. There's something about listening to other people talking that gets me going. Do you still use actors and models and fully staged photography for reference in your paintings? Has this evolved over the years, and how does that "set the stage" for what comes next when you paint alone in the studio? Yes, but the shoots have become much less elaborate. I’ve probably done eight to 1ten shoots over the last few years,
and funnily enough, I started with the most extensive shoot and they’ve slowly but surely become a lot simpler. I don’t think it’s because I’m more confident with them, but probably because what I want from them has changed. I wanted to create a new world before, but now I just want to create a moment that I can attack. A lot of the narrative now is coming from the painting process as opposed to the set. I was having a conversation with a mutual friend about you showing at Pace Gallery, and he mentioned what a big step it was for a street artist to show in such a blue chip space. That threw me off. Not the blue chip thing, but I guess I have never considered you a street artist, despite having done some really brilliant street works in the past, and dedicating the second half of your book to all the great walls that you’ve done. Am I off? In terms of your career, what does street art mean to you? Graffiti has by far had the biggest effect on my work. When I was a teenager, it was all I wanted to do. I think I always felt like it could go further than just being a fringe genre, and that’s basically what I (and many others) have been trying to do. For a long time, I retained an “urban” aesthetic in my work, mainly by running tags through the figure, but after a while, I felt like a fraud tagging on canvas, especially as I hadn't done the real thing in over ten years. I think that now, if someone who didn't know anything about my background was to see my most recent show, they wouldn’t be able to
previous spread Collaboration with Maser Fort Smith, Arkansas 2015 Photo by Maser above (clockwise from left) Study for Gazing at the Gulf Oil and spray paint on paper and board 47” x 71” 2016 Where the Giants Roam Oil and spray paint on linen 98” x 79” 2016 Rubble Kings Oil and spray paint on linen 98” x 79” 2016
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above Sluggers Paradise Oil and spray paint on linen 78.25” x 197” 2016
see a trace of graffiti; in fact, it is still the backbone to what I do, both in terms of process and narrative. My process is all about painting on, while simultaneously taking off, much like a conversation between a tag and the buff. My narrative stems from the male ego, and though it might look more historical or political, it is rooted in graffiti and hip hop. As far as painting outdoors goes, I still paint walls. I'm not super competitive about it, trying to out-paint everyone. I spend far more time in the studio, but I try not to differentiate between inside and outside. As long as I'm painting, I'm happy. I can’t wait to ask you this. Who is your artistic hero? Ok, to totally contradict something I said in a previous Juxtapoz interview—Kanye. I’ve always been a big fan of his music but not necessarily of his attitude. But in order to succeed as an artist, you need two things: ability and
confidence. There are so many people with bags of talent but for some reason they see a barrier between them and what they want to achieve. We all have mental roadblocks lying ahead, and I think fear can be one of the biggest problems for an artist. Someone like Kanye, it goes without saying, doesn't let anyone or anything stop him from achieving his creative goals. I’d like to be a bit more like that… but I’d probably keep my mouth shut along the way. And strictly from a painting point of view, I'd pick Jenny Saville. I don't think there's anyone on the planet that can paint like her. You and I talked about how you have wanted to move to NYC and be a working artist there. The history of NYC as an art place is significant, but I think of London being the same type of place. Being that you are from Ireland but
have lived in London for over a decade now, does London still have a romanticism for an artist? It probably does for a lot of people, but I think I’ve been here too long. Similar to New York, I imagine, London is becoming a very difficult place for artists. The cost of living, even while we await the impact of Brexit, is too much for a lot of people, and every week I hear about artists having to leave. The flip side about all this is that the regions will benefit, but I think a creative scene always needs a hub or a concentration of artists in order for the arts to flourish. But for me, NYC is still the one. Of all my cultural interests, jazz to hip hop, midcentury painting to graffiti, New York is the mecca. I recently realized that during each of the three times I’ve interviewed you, an American president was being elected. What’s funny is that I think I went from optimistic, to sort of optimistic, to horrified about the process of campaigning.
Your work has spoken to the moods of America's political arena even though you are painting from a different place. Maybe there isn't a question here, but I was definitely intrigued thinking about that today. Yeah, my work is definitely becoming more political, but I think the rise in extreme political discourse isn’t just unique to America at the moment. We’ve got a similar narrative here in the UK and it looks a bit bleak across Europe too. The only hope I can offer is that I’ve been on the shelf in Juxtapoz in US stores when a Democrat has been voted in on the last two occasions, so it should all work out this time ’round. Anybody with an interest in conspiracy theories and The Illuminati need look no further than right here.
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A PORTRAIT OF THE ARMPIT AS A YOUNG MAN INTERVIEW BY KRISTIN FARR // PORTRAIT BY LOUISA EAGLETON
AMBER BOARDMAN WORKS INTUITIVELY TO PAINT FEELINGS and nearly abstracted portraits of oddballs. Inevitably influenced by the pop cultural zeitgeist, she explores beauty ideals, intimacy, and the most prominent peculiarity of contemporary life: awkwardness. She recently made a triumphant return to the easel after many years in animation, and Dr. Boardman is now a painting outlaw on her way to a PhD in cartoons. She was born back East and now lives Down Under.
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below Kiss System Oil on canvas, ink on panel 22” x 33” 2016
Kristin Farr: What are your current obsessions and themes in painting? Amber Boardman: I try to look at the normal things people do, but with a curious mind, and then I imagine ways I can characterize them. An example is my long-standing fascination with women’s beauty rituals and the industry around them. I think of the women I paint as artists who use makeup, spray tan, hair dye, plastic surgery, etc. as their art mediums. I’m also exploring their motivations. My characters are usually insecure and have anxiety about looking good or being fashionable. I’m especially interested in how people can distort their bodies to look better but end up looking grotesque. It’s important
to note that I’m not making fun of these characters. I have sympathy for their feelings of insufficiency, but I don’t exactly share them. It’s like holding up a mirror to normal behavior. When you really look at something commonplace, it starts to seem pretty strange. I’m obsessed with creating characters with unique personalities. I’m also obsessed with weird things like neck braces. I guess it’s because of the awkward way people have to turn their head when they move. I love painting distorted bodies, weird skin tones, body hair, pimples; the things people want to cover up. But these things can change over time. Having your roots showing used to be a no-no. Now it can be seen as cool or edgy. A theme I’m concerned with at the moment is the interaction and tension between two characters. It’s different from single portraits because the feeling between the two people becomes a character in itself. In Kiss System, I tried to imagine the feeling between two people kissing, which catalyzes a Rube Goldberg machine of affect. Are any of your figures self-referential? It’s my vision of what’s around me, but mostly these characters aren’t me. I do have one self-portrait called Middle Aged Selfie Hand Knitted Sweater. I like the idea of a selfie being a painting made at arm’s length, rather than a photo taken at arm’s length. I was imagining myself older, retired and bored, taking up knitting and making sweaters. But because this selfie takes place in a world made of paint, the sweater is really just some abstract smears of paint “knitted” by a paintbrush. In general, I love turning sweaters and hair into abstract paintings. Sometimes portraits are just an excuse to create abstraction. The faces becomes an anchor point and I can really let loose on the clothing. How do people feel when you make a portrait of them? My boyfriend just looked down at his armpit and asked it to respond. The armpit replied, “pretty good,” in a fake falsetto girl’s voice. So there’s your answer. He’s referring to Portrait of Sweetie’s Armpit. I don’t often make portraits of real people, they are almost always imagined. But the people in my life know that I get inspired by what happens around me. Sometimes they’ll tell me a funny tale of what happened to them in the grocery store, or all about the unique choreography that takes place while you’re getting spray tanned. They’ll say, “This sounds like one of your paintings!” perhaps hoping I’ll paint what happened to them. There was a time when I saved all of my voicemails and made songs and animations out of them. If your subjects talked, what would their voices sound like? What music would they be into? It totally depends on the character. I finished a painting last week where I considered clarifying through the title that the woman has a New York accent—a really raspy one. Most of my characters have more colloquial ways of speaking. There’s not much elite private school proper speech happening. Slang abounds.
Some of them listen to the peppy mall dance music. You know what it’s like when you’re in a mall when it’s not busy? No one is in the store but there is this overly loud upbeat music playing to make you feel happy and excited about buying new clothes for going out on the weekend? That forced cheer effect is what I’m going for with the younger characters. My middle aged characters mostly listen to smooth FM. Streisand. Carly Simon. Ambrosia.
dressed beautifully but, in flip-flops and those toe-separator things, walking out of some pun-titled salon like You’ve Got Nail. I like thinking about the very small details of life. Like the factories that make toe separators and the designers that figure out the optimal one-size-fits-all for toes. It’s an odd little contraption that relates to a very specific part of the body for one single weird purpose. Plus they sort of look like brass knuckles. Love that.
Maybe some Phil Collins. What’s a specific visual that has inspired you? I once saw a woman standing on the bus, her arm wrapped around a pole because there were no seats free. She spent the entire 40-minute bus ride on her bathroom routine. Makeup, hair, deodorant: the whole thing. It was interesting watching a stranger perform things you would usually only see if you were her lover. I thought her casual nature in front of all of those strangers was an engrossing display of intimacy. Either that or there was an I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ness about it that I found appealing. Savage. I was in suspense imagining what might happen if the bus hit a pothole while she was applying lipstick or mascara.
What about IUD Ashtray Bottle? I don’t usually paint still lifes but I thought it would be fun to paint objects that would be inappropriate for a traditional still life. The stuff no one would want to paint. I was also thinking of how I could tell a story about an off-screen character with just some objects on a table. This might seem graphic (especially to all you IUD wearers out there, myself included) but I was imagining someone being really cavalier, saying, “fuck contraceptives!” and just ripping their IUD out and throwing it in an ashtray. Maybe it’s been there for a while, and now there is a need for a baby bottle because she got pregnant as a result. Or maybe it was never inserted in the first place. There are lots of ways you could read it.
Does Pedicure Bike Commute have a backstory? It’s another painting inspired by the odd things women do. When I was living in New York, I used to love seeing women
What’s your general approach to sexuality in your paintings? Glad you bring this up because it’s fun to talk about but not
above (clockwise from left) Hair Loss and Eyelash Extensions Oil on canvas, ink on panel 21” x 20” 2016
Blond on Lawnchair Oil on canvas, ink on panel 49” x 43” 2016
Portrait of Sweetie’s Armpit Acrylic on Canvas 9” x 12” 2013
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above (from left) Pedicure Bike Commute Acrylic on canvas 19” x 23” 2015 Dad Inspects Your Dye Job Acrylic and graphite on paper 19 x 18” 2016 opposite Resting Bitch Hair Oil on cavas 12” x 16” 2016
many people want to go there. In general, I’m interested in the moment when something breaks down into its opposite. Take porn, for example. It’s meant to be titillating but there are these moments when the camera gets too close and it’s just abstract slimy parts moving around. I made an animation about that years ago called Inside. Perhaps the women out there can relate to the vibe I was going for in Exam. There can be a razor-fine line between something stimulating and something uncomfortable. I’m interested in the ways people try to make themselves attractive. I’m fascinated by really extreme plastic surgery. One now-illegal procedure involves having string laced through breast tissue. The irritation causes your boobs to keep filling with water so you have to get them drained regularly or they will explode. How amazing is that? Barf! Do you feel like your paintings have a dark side? I try to balance out dark and light in each painting. I’ve found that how they’re interpreted says a lot about the person looking. In one of my exhibitions, I watched people walking around the gallery just cackling! They focused on the humor. And in the same exhibition, a friend said to me gravely, “These are really dark!” Why was it important to start displaying your titles framed with the paintings? I had an exhibition earlier this year where people had to walk around the gallery following a numbered exhibition list to figure out what the titles were. That seemed really complicated and indirect, especially during the chaos of the opening. I kept saying to my friends, “You gotta get the list
and look at the titles—they’re so important!” Then a friend presented this frightening scenario: “Ten years from now, one of your collectors may be sitting around drinking with friends, point to one of your paintings and say ‘Great painting. It’s called Major Life Events.’ But the actual title is Feeling Nothing at Major Life Events, which gives the picture a very different meaning. Don’t let that happen!” If you get the title wrong, it either doesn’t make sense or it dilutes the impact of the piece. I wanted to experiment with ways of making one complete work, an inseparable title and image. I’ve been thinking a lot about The Far Side comic as well as internet memes. The captions are essential. It’s the same with my work. Do overheard phrases often end up as titles? I file things away somewhere in my mind, and they resurface as I’m painting. I’m fascinated by fads in general, whether in language or image. My painting, Resting Bitch Hair, is an obvious reference to the phrase fad “resting bitch face.” Another example I can think of is a collaborative painting with artist Teelah George. I painted this woman who looked slightly anxious, slightly horrified and definitely uncomfortable. I wanted a title that would capture the feeling of being out of your element. I titled it Introvert at an Extrovert Rally. The phrase just sort of came to me and then I realized it was inspired by a joke from Family Guy where Stewie says, “That’s like a crocodile at an alligator rally.” Look it up. It’s worth your time. I did. “What a croc!” Speaking of cartoons, tell me more about your music-related animations. I’m a closet musician, myself, and often visualize scenes, colors and atmospheric information when I listen to music. I think of my animations as visual representations of music.
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right (from top) IUD Ashtray Bottle Acrylic on Paper 16” x 20” 2015 Exam Acrylic on Paper 7.5” x 11” 2013
One of my pieces, The Garden of Love, was a companion work to Dutch composer JacobTV’s Concerto for Boombox and Flute. Now musicians play alongside my animation live onstage all over the world! Great project to be a part of. I can tell William Kentridge is an influence. Seeing Kentridge’s work changed my whole direction when I was in college. I was so excited to find out that animation could also be art. I think he was really the first artist to bridge that gap. I loved the idea that I could make my characters move. I was a painting major at the time of seeing his films, but I had a teacher named Joe Peragine who taught us how to make rudimentary animations in Flash. I found it really difficult and I almost dropped the class. But a friend gave me some extra pointers and I was totally hooked. Incidentally, that friend and I both ended up getting jobs animating for Adult Swim a few years later. Tell me about working there. An incredible experience with wacky and talented people. There were jokes and foosball games going all the time. Of course we worked really hard too. To meet deadlines, we often worked days on end. I vaguely remember having a nervous breakdown in the bushes outside the studio, calling my mom crying after not sleeping for two days. People’s marriages broke up. It was intense. It made me feel better to learn that the Disney guys all ended up in the hospital trying to get Snow White out the door in time for the premiere. Animation is not for the weak. I learned so much about drawing, motion, time, and what I was capable of accomplishing. It made me a better artist. The first show I worked on was Squidbillies. We had to draw these morphing tentacles, and I loved how we could make them stretch and do whatever we wanted. I possibly do that now with paint as a result. So, for a while, you completely left painting for animation. It was partly due to my MFA in New York. I couldn’t shrug off what I perceived to be cool around me. Painting seemed so boring. So traditional. Now I think of painting as unencumbered and immediate. It forces me to take risks and be vulnerable in saying what I want to say without the filters that come with planning and technology in animation. How did it feel to get back into painting, and how was your work different when you picked it up again? I felt shy and guilty about it because I had denounced painting. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be let back into the club. It seems so ridiculous now! If painting police exist, I’m an outlaw for sure. The new paintings actually have a lot in common with the way I used to draw in my twenties. I was making up characters all over the place back then, but I didn’t think they were serious enough. Ah, youth. My paintings are a lot more confident now. And weirder. I try to let my inner weird really fly these days. I love School Photo With Lasers and Turtleneck. I had that laser background in my fifth grade photo. I don’t know who was responsible for the school photo laser movement but they deserve recognition. Such an inspired
move. The person in this painting isn’t me, but obviously you know what my answer was when it was my turn to have my photo taken: “Do you want a pink background, a blue background, or lasers?” Enough said.
above Feeling Nothing at Major Life Events Acrylic and graphite on paper 15” x 22” 2016
Why do you have a tendency toward painting eggheads? That, my dear, is a mystery even to me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s related to something I read in Siddartha years ago. As you grow and change in life, you break out of your shell to see that there is a whole world outside you didn’t know existed. Life is a series of shells you keep breaking through. I also like that eggs are both very strong as a whole but if you put pressure on a small surface area, they are quite fragile. Humpty Dumpty
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is a character that morphs in and out of my paintings. A fallible being heading towards entropy but trying to enjoy the ride. Do you do any sketching or are your paintings all spontaneous? I never sketch anything. There is a mysterious or magical part of my process that I don’t entirely understand but I’m sure a lot of people can relate to it. It’s that part of creating something that doesn’t feel like it totally comes from you. Perhaps it’s from the collective unconscious. My process begins with mixing lots of flesh tones and a few other colors on my palette. I put a blob of paint down and then I start asking questions. Does that look like a face? An arm? I keep following this line of questions, but I also feel that I’m not entirely in control. I let the paint lead. As the painting progresses, I ask different questions: Is this the face of a person who is satisfied? Anxious? What are they thinking
about and what are their concerns? What is their family like? Who are they trying to impress? I want to create individuals with consciousness that comes from a world made of paint, and the rules of this world are governed by that fact. So if I’ve painted two people who are in a relationship and the woman wants to break up with her man, I can just scrape the paint away. Done. Relationship’s over. But the history of the markmaking remains, similar to our world. Mind blown. No wonder you’re in the middle of a doctorate. Is it a PhD in awesome? It’s actually a PhD in cartoons! More specifically it’s about the influence of cartoons on contemporary painting—a fun synthesis of my backgrounds in painting and animation.
above (clockwise from left) Humpty Dumpty in an Art Gallery Oil on canvas 18 x 28” 2015 Effective Exercise Video Oil on canvas, ink on panel 41” x 36” 2016 School Photo with Laser Beams and Turtleneck Oil on canvas 10” x 12” 2013 opposite Introvert at an Extrovert Rally Collaboration with Teelah George Oil on panel 8” x 10” 2016
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MIKE MILLS OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD INTERVIEW AND PORTRAIT BY AUSTIN McMANUS
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above Annette Bening and Billy Crudup in 20th Century Women Photo by Merrick Morton Courtesy of A24
I WAS A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN DEFORMER came out. The film about skateboarder Ed Templeton and his wife Deanna had a revelatory style and narration, and I never forgot it. It was my first introduction to the vastly creative, multidisciplinary artist Mike Mills. While his last two feature films, Thumbsucker and Beginners, have become what he is most known for, his multi-media creative output has been expansive for over two decades. Highlights include designing for the now cult clothing company X-Girl, as well as album covers and T-shirts for The Beastie Boys and Sonic Youth. Mills has directed music videos for Air, Moby, Blonde Redhead and Yoko Ono, and with Roman Coppola, he co-founded a highly influential production company, The Directors Bureau. Attending a screening of his latest film, 20th Century Women, I laughed out loud with the rest of the audience more times than I can count, sang along to many of the soundtrack songs and found my eyes welling up. When I, admittedly a little nervous, met Mike at his Los Angeles studio a few days later, an easy conversation began as soon as I walked through the door. Austin McManus: Before this film, I didn’t know the phrase “Black Flag Art Fag,” but I was really into Black Flag as a kid. As one of a couple skateboarders at school, I remember having to fight all the time. I just remember
being an outcast focused on skateboarding. Is that something that you made up? Mike Mills: It's really hard to describe to people how uncool skating was. People would ask, “Why do you spend all your time doing that?” In Santa Barbara, the skate park was connected to a mini golf place, like they often were. Batting cages, mini golf, and then a bad skate park. I remember one of the first times I wore red and blue low-top Vans, in the late ’70s at Santa Barbara High School, jock dudes would come up and want to get into a fight about your clown shoes. I can totally relate to that. Then, once you start dying your hair and stuff, you got hit walking down the hallway. Like blind sucker punched. Or you would get chased around the parking lot by the Rolling Stones stoner dudes, ha ha. My horrible band would play at my then-girlfriend's house, and the combo of guys wearing white felt jackets and stoner dudes (the jock dudes could hang out with the Rolling Stones; we called them hicks back in the day, but they weren't hicks—hesher kind of guys, pre-heavy metals, on their way to being heavy metal dudes) came in, and we were wimpy, me and my emo friends. They beat us up while we were playing. One guy punched my guitar player in his hand, right into his guitar!
Did he get hurt? Yeah! And the sound was also pretty amazing. They just mowed us down. Anyway, back to the art fag thing, a couple bands down the road, I was with these older guys, and we would play at Baudelaire’s in Santa Barbara, which I tried to recreate in the film. I was underage. I was in the band so I could kind of sneak in, and of course, drink my ass off. We were influenced by Bauhaus and Joy Division and all that. I didn't love Black Flag, but I loved hardcore stuff. I loved Adolescents. There was a punk house kind of thing right next to Santa Barbara where a lot of the guys that would become the Cito Rats and RKL hung out. Because I played in that band and hung out with these guys who were more cultured, the kids disliked me for being sort of pretentious. And they're not wrong, I was pretentious. They spray painted my name and a bad picture of me, and said art fag and stuff. Art fag was a term, like Jack from T.S.O.L. got called an art fag. I was called skater fag. Anything with “fag,” basically. Yeah, bad news. So that's where it came from. You know how I have Koyaanisqatsi in the movie? Yes, love that movie. Love all of Godfrey Reggio’s movies. Right. So I was really lucky to get it in the movie and it
illustrates what's going on in the car speech when the kid runs away to L.A. and goes to the Circle Jerks show that's in The Decline of Western Civilization. I even played with putting him in the audience, Forrest Gump style.
above Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and Annette Bening in 20th Century Women Photo by Gunther Gampine Courtesy of A24
But then I ended up playing a few minutes of Decline and put the title on it. We all thought I was honoring this movie, but Penelope [Spheeris, director of Decline] just so didn't get my movie. I forgot how she phrased it, she was really nice. She watched it, and at first was like, “No.” And I wrote her back— we have a mutual friend who tried to get her to write me. I'm not dissing her at all, but it's interesting in the context of punk history. Basically her deal was that I totally did not understand the punk scene and unconsciously misunderstood what it was about. I still don't know exactly what she meant, but she has a hell of a lot more credit than I do. I felt like, fuck, I was thrown back into Santa Barbara. I'm the suburban Santa Barbara poser kid! I have oodles of respect for her and that movie, but it was interesting to get shunted like that. This movie is loosely autobiographical, much like Beginners. Why do you create work based on your own experiences? Is it cathartic, gaining new perspectives? I've been going to therapy since I was 28. That's cathartic.
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below (from top) Lucas Jade Zumann and Annette Bening in 20th Century Women Photo by Gunther Gampine Courtesy of A24 Elle Fanning in 20th Century Women Photo by Gunther Gampine Courtesy of A24
My parents died before I wanted them to. I was in my thirties when they both died. Because they were born in the twenties, those kinds of people, they don't talk about their feelings or backgrounds. I miss them. I always wanted more of them. To sort of commune with them, even as ghosts, even as film character ghosts; there's some Oxycontin vibes to that. It's nice. It's comforting. It feels meaningful. It's not this revelatory thing, like, "I never knew this!" By the time you're making a film, you've been writing a script for three years, presenting it to the world. Look at Ginsberg's Howl, the way that's definitely his life and daily shit, and he elevates it into this epic poem. Or Fellini’s 8½; that's his life, the parts of his life that he hasn't figured out. But he's presenting it to us. It gives it a grip, you know? Maggie Nelson's book The Argonauts, that's her life and struggles. I just feel it's more valuable, more like collage. I like real life, real people, trying to capture somebody, though ultimately
I don't feel that's really possible. On the written page, the script of 20th Century Woman is based on my parents, but it'd be wrong to say that's all it is. My sisters would do a different version, and obviously, my parents would do a really different one. I could even do other versions. Last night, I thought, “Oh fuck, what am I going to do next? I don't know anything.” Just to fuck with everybody, I could do these two films over again, completely different, just to show that we’re all so complicated, paradoxical and layered. I could show you a totally different way of my dad coming out late in life or my mom's weird openness and closeness. Everyone in your films seems like they're trying to figure out how to navigate life, but no one really has many answers. They're looking somewhere and everywhere, whether it's in people or other aspects of life. I find that fascinating. That's nice. For me, that’s really related to therapy. I think they're all trying to figure out, what's the story I've been telling myself about myself? How did I get that story? How is it wrong and how was it maybe right? How is it putting me in a prison of my own making? Everyone's trying to get away from their false self and trying to find something else. I think that's nearly impossible. It's an inevitably failed project that everyone engages, that I'm engaging. So, of course, all my little claymation people do the same thing I do. That's my trip. With this movie, I didn't plan it, but I could smell it happening. I saw, oh, they're really different from each other, the people don't really belong together. Even the mother and son, they're the wrong ages and she's in the wrong time period, like Humphrey Bogart meets punk. They're not supposed to be together but they're helping each other. They're figuring out who they are through their relationship to this other person who they maybe really shouldn't be with, or are going to end up with, or they have as much different as they have in common. That concept became really interesting. You don't always know what you are writing for a long time, and it wasn’t until I was deep in that I was like, “Ohhh.” There's a great BARR song that goes, “Who am I in relation to you, and who are we in relation to the other kids?” That's a Brendan Fowler lyric. That’s kind of my movie. One of my favorite aspects of the movie, something you also did in Beginners, are the still image collages. They brought a new experience and are a great way to integrate your graphic design into live action. When did you decide to start using still images like that? A long time ago, I did a music video for a band called Pond and it was all stills. I've done some ads like that also. I love stills. Maybe it’s from doing graphics and coming from a 2D art world, like Chris Marker or Godard. You know who does it? It's not stills, but historical footage. Tarkovsky's The Mirror is an amazing movie, like Russian avant-garde. For every film snob nerd, he's way up there. I just watched it again and was like, "Holy shit. He did it." It adds this really cool friction. The stills add this weird kinetic-ness, especially when you go through a lot of them quickly. But
with Beginners and the new one, I really wanted to show the historical lineage of how we got to this place. I wanted to situate my fictional characters and bump them up against reality. When the kid runs away to L.A. and you see all those pictures of a Masque-centric version of the L.A. punk scene, I really love the frisson of that. It’s not just this character, it's this scene, the culture. It makes it more real, and contradictorily, points out that my film's a fiction and the character's a construction is sort of a Godardian trick. I like going back and forth and spending time making the characters as real as I can. We have amazing photos, Joseph Szabo, Richard Verdi and Jenny Lens photos. I wish I could have labeled each, but they're going so fast and there's so many different photographers. I love putting the labels on the books like Koyaanisqatsi and the Carter speech, and having that in the movie. I'm trying to make a book or a zine with just the punk photos in the movie and then more from each photographer. I wonder how you came up with the dialogue. The obvious one to mention is when Annette Bening's character says, "This is the really hard part. And then it gets better. And then it gets hard again.” And, “Look, wondering if you're
ever happy—it’s a great shortcut to just being depressed." My personal favorite is Greta Gerwig's "Whatever you imagine your life's going to be like, know your life's not going to be anything like that." They’re just my little therapized self talking. Annette has a lot of zingy one-liners. My mom was a little like that. My mom was really great. I'd come down in all my punk regalia, and she'd go, "Did you mean to get dressed like that, or did this happen to you?" She was really great at wise cracking. My mom loved Humphrey Bogart, and she looked even more butch than Annette in the movie. Hard drinking, hard smoking, Humphrey Bogart-ish woman, you know? She’d say, "In my next life I'm going to marry Bogart," like in the movie. So I started watching a lot of Bogart to help me figure out how my mom talked or what her sense of humor was. And those movies, Stage Door and To Have and Have Not, and even The Thin Man movies, all William Powell's, they're filled with such ironic, sarcastic, anti-authoritarian, funny-as-shit lines. The women had stronger lines than they do now. ’30s America was a much more socialist, anti-authoritarian, anti-upper class place, and that's very much my mom's sense of humor. She loved to diss the rich, loved to mess
above Annette Bening and Lucas Jade Zumann in 20th Century Women Photo by Merrick Morton Courtesy of A24
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with dudes. In a lot of ways, this is part of my portrait of my mom. She had these one-liners very much out of the pre-code films, and then there's sort of life-y truth shit in there that is, like you said, people trying to figure out how to be a human or how to be somewhat free, so they end up having those kinds of conversations. And the funny parts too, they were all evenly distributed. The scene where they're trying to understand Black Flag and the Talking Heads and they're dancing. I've heard my mother say those same things when I played Adolescents or Wasted Youth. My mom used to let my band practice at our house and she'd come listen sometimes, and she took it really seriously. We would go play somewhere, and she and my dad would come, dressed up, to our dumb punk show. Dressed up how? Like they were going to the theater. My dad always wore a suit and tie, and my mom, some female version, because my dad's an art historian and museum director, and my mom's very art adjacent. I think she wanted to be an architect and a pilot. Ideally an architect who flies planes. I think being from the ’20s, growing up in the Depression and being kind of Bohemian, she wanted to understand it, to be open minded or take it seriously. I was trying to show that part of my mom... what's the new revolution thing going on right now and how can I deal with it? As in the last scene? Yeah. My dad used to get her trips on this biplane in Santa Barbara, so that's all from life. We even tried to get the same biplane but couldn't find it. We'd take off right over UCSB. Annette fucking loved filming that. Biplanes are kind of trippy. They feel like they're paper. She was like, "Let's go!" A lot of people wouldn't have done that. In that way, she's kind of like my mom, who really was a pilot. She didn't get into the Air Force in World War II, but she tried, and the war ended before she could. She was a daredevil herself and watching me skate, she was always like, "Why don't you just acid drop over there?” I’d say, “Mom," you know, "That's hard." And she'd be like, "Oh, maybe next time." She wasn't like the other moms at all and she really liked the freedom in skating; she'd always say it's like flying. I think she got it. My mom was down with rebellion, and she got that this was my rebellion, so she wanted to be supportive, though she couldn't relate. I noticed that graffiti was present in your last three movies. To me, naive, primitive, innocent graffiti is often the most fascinating—when you want to just write on the wall with no real purpose of a message. Yeah, the white man graffiti artists. I guess I just like it. In Beginners, it felt like it was a great way to describe his character. That was me, and that was the the kind of thing that I would do. Brendan Fowler was my ambassador into graffiti. I've been in the same scene as you and I respect it. Then there's also the Godard, the French ’68 side of it. Graffiti played a huge role in the Paris riots of ’68. But they're more political messages, not art. So my stuff is very
related to that, about the content of what you're saying more than visual art, in a way. So my deal is equally that, as it is ESPO or the other things I know. I like the ESPO style of, "I'm gonna wear a painter's outfit and do it at noon." To a real graffiti person, I'm a tourist for sure. What do you hope people will take away? Whatever they want. “The customer's always right” is my motto. I want them to have a good time. I watched so many of these ’30’s and ’40’s movies and fell in love with them.
above Poster for the film Thumbsucker Written and directed by Mike Mills 2005 opposite Mike Mills Poster for Commune 2011
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Those movies are not afraid to be entertaining. Coming from punk and all that, being entertaining is more than a little bit of a no-no. But part of me thought, I'm really proud and happy with the menstruation dinner party scene because it's very funny, but some real shit is also being discussed and some character-defining things are happening. I really am proud when I hear people laughing at this movie. I worked hard on that. Maybe more than ever, I embrace that. It's not just low-hanging fruit. Comedy's hard, and it can be super subversive and help you get to a layer you didn't see coming about a person. I'm really into emotional lives and inner lives as a part of history and what's possible to think and feel, and what's not. For my dad as a gay teenager in the 1930s, it was, not just illegal, but a highly dangerous feeling. That's an exaggerated example, but there's all different ways. Just like how, as a straight dude, I got called an art fag because I was into too weird, arty music like Morrissey. Liking Morrissey was super illegal to the Adolescents kids. And like, “Fuck you all. Really?” I think Morrissey is at least as politically advanced and subversive as any of those other guys. And I'm not a huge Morrissey fan, but just how illegal that was is uncool to me. What were some of the most rewarding aspects of doing this particular film? I love shooting. I love film crews and actors. Actors are so fun and emotional and great, wonderfully not shy. I'm forever a little restrained and tend to be alone too much and too self-reliant, so when on a set, all of a sudden there's 30 to 60 people, and I've got to help them work together. I become this very loving sort of Roman Italian
person who hugs everybody. I love that version of myself. And I love photography. I love figuring out how we're going to shoot something. And some parts of making the music, because I'm a frustrated musician. When I work with Roger Neal, an uber-genius, classically-trained teacher, I can say to him, "What's the chorus of TVC15 again?" And he'll hum it. It's beyond pitch. It's as if he understands the matrix of music. That's really fun. And then the scary, fun thing: the roller coaster that is showing it to people. We just premiered it in New York at Alice Tully Hall, which is really big. I watched a video of Lou Reed doing “Walk on the Wild Side” there in ’72, ’73, and people seemed to be following it. David Byrne was in the audience. That's as good as it gets. I guess I left art school not wanting to be in the art world because it's preaching to the converted and it’s kind of about smart toys for wealthy people. So when you're in a big theater somewhere and the crowd is diverse, not so much at Alice Tully Hall, but on tour at, like, a Phoenix Film Society free screening, you'll meet a whole bunch of different people. It sucks when it doesn't work, but when it does, "Oh my gosh. Humanity and communication and connection exist." It's wildly anti-depressing. The best evidence that life's okay.
above Book cover for The First Bad Man by Miranda July Art Direction and Design: Mike Mills Design assistance: Thea Lorentzen 2015 oppostie Album cover for Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love Band photography: Brigitte Sire Art Direction and Design: Mike Mills Front cover photo: Mills/Lorentzen Back cover photo: ESO “Colour-Composite of the Sky Field with Several High-Redshift Galaxies”
20th Century Women is scheduled to be released on December 25th, 2016. mikemillsmikemills.com
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ANATOMY OF A PAINTING
TODD SCHORR’S LIQUID UNIVERSE INTERVIEW BY GREGG GIBBS
THERE IS PERHAPS NO ARTIST WHO CAN create a mind-blowing, expansive landscape filled with a myriad of comical characters better than Todd Schorr. His ever-expanding menagerie of eyepopping creations and his meticulous technique make him a true, original master of the lowbrow art movement. He recently completed a new masterpiece titled Liquid Universe, commissioned by Nike executive Sandy Bodecker. I got the inside scoop on Schorr’s unique process behind this seven-by-nine-foot painting, along with a detailed diagram of his densely-packed composition. TODD SCHORR JUXTAPOZ.COM
previous spread Drawing 24” x 30” Graphite on vellum 2015 above Color study 10” x 12” Acrylic on board 2015
Gregg Gibbs: The theme of the painting is childhood imagination. What was the genesis of this idea for executing a major work, and how did you approach the theme? Todd Schorr: Initially, Sandy approached me with his idea for a painting that would use childhood wonder as its theme. He wanted the painting to serve as a point of inspiration for the design studio/think tank he was developing in Portland. He feels that experimentation and imagination, when nurtured and encouraged as a young child, will help to set a course for further evolution as an adult. How to develop this idea into a painting was left up to me. I began by giving Sandy a written description of the scenario that I envisioned, the Liquid Universe idea. I wanted to incorporate various images into the painting from subjects like history, art, literature, science, music, and humor that I felt were important to a developing imagination.
I understand that you started with concept drawings, through the layout designs, moving onto a color study, and finally, completion of the finished painting. Can you explain the process and how long it took to complete? Once I had my idea, it took about two months to work up the finished pencil drawing. For me, the drawing stage is always the most crucial step in the process of creating a painting, especially with a painting that involves many separate elements. To create a pleasing and dynamic composition tying all these bits and pieces together is always a challenge. I also strive for a certain amount of rhythmic flow running through my compositions. Once I have the finished drawing complete, I do a small color study so I can see how my idea for a color scheme will work. I do color studies only for large canvases where corrections can waste a lot of time. With a color study, I’m at least in the ballpark of where I’m trying to go. From there, it’s on to the final painting.
BREAKDOWN OF TODD SCHORR’S “LIQUID UNIVERSE” A character known as Scuzz Fink Santa opens a sack of polyhedral
Creativity, experimentation and imagination exist in an ebb and flow. In the center, an enormous monkey in the guise of a Genie hovers above on a magic carpet—a reminder of our simian origins, he serves as a benevolent guide into the mysteries of the universe, while offering no concrete answers. His gaze is directed toward a huge winged brain carrying a boy and girl. The boy with the skateboard is Sandy at around 11 years old with his girlfriend, cupping in her hands spinning atomic particles. A Howdy Doody TV set-headed cowboy rides a Horace Horse collar powered Buck Rogers spaceship while dragging a lassoed upsy/downsyfaced crescent moon. Below on a distant cliff, a line forms composed of various characters from fact and fiction.
while a Neanderthal caveman contemplates a glass flask of nuclear fission. A cotton-tailed magician unleashes a laughing jester jack-in-the-box while in the distance a demonic plume of ash and smoke from an erupting volcano holds a stream of molten fire forming a figure of Jimi Hendrix. Above, a frozen custard cartoon character sits astride a fire breathing Druckgon. Before that, a surfin’ hodad catches a stray ribbon of cosmic ocean as his surf bunny companion balances a geometric illusion on her tiptoe.
I start with a monochromatic underpainting of raw umber and then gradually build up my color layers—thin for shadows, thickest paint for highlights—the same methods as used by the old masters that have been handed down to painters over the centuries. The entire work from concept to finished painting took about a year. How did you decide to feature elements from Sandy’s biography as a boy and to include members of his family? What were some of the personal specifics Sandy wanted to incorporate? Among Sandy’s many accomplishments over the years at Nike, he was responsible for the company’s success in action sports, which includes skateboarding. Since this was a painting centered around childhood, I asked Sandy for photos of himself from when he was around 10 to 12 years old. Thus, I have Sandy posed with a skateboard. I asked for similar
In the lower left, a weathered edifice symbolizing evolution stands calmly as a young Tom Sawyer hooks a fish. King Humpty Dumpty balances on molecules as an ever-evolving stream of aquatic creatures dissolve back into the liquid sky. In the foreground, an amoebariding clown bids the viewer to enter the picture, while he holds a hoop of fire through which gelatinous frog eggs are transformed into tadpoles, culminating into Froggy the Gremlin. Sandy’s father is depicted as a great Viking warrior, striking the chain that anchors the winged brain, thereby setting it free. Imagination unbound!
photos of his girlfriend who stands next to him atop a winged brain. Sandy also wanted his niece and nephew included in the painting, whom I depicted as the two little pixies floating along in the middle-right portion of the composition. His nephew George is a musician, so I have him holding a guitar, and Astrid, his niece, is an artist, so she holds a palette and brushes. Sandy’s father was an illustrator who had a great handlebar mustache. When I was considering various historical references, I thought it would be fun to have his father serve as the model for the burly Viking warrior who’s shattering the chain of the tethered brain. Tell me about the concept of the Liquid Universe landscape and the meaning of the cosmic ocean dream world. Were you trying to convey the idea that imagination is rooted in a surrealistic consciousness? Sandy has a fondness for the comic book character Silver
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Surfer, who’s basically known to surf the universe. Building on this theme, I developed this concept where the universe is like a cosmic ocean. That is, an entity that is in a constant state of flux or ebb and flow like the waves of the ocean. I also wanted the atmosphere to have a psychedelic feel, so I graphically translated this notion into a sky that appears to be the liquid pulsations similar to those found in a lava lamp. This concept also ties in with the idea that experimentation and imagination are characteristics that are in constant states of flux as well. Can you fill me in on the mid-twentieth-century cultural references that correspond to your childhood years and figure prominently in your body of work? I’m interested in so many subjects from many periods of time, but yes, mid-century cultural references are prominent in many of my paintings. These references, picked up in early childhood, have had a strong and enduring hold on my imagination, probably because, as with all children, the strongest impressions are implanted in your developing brain by the age of nine. So this mulligan stew of Saturday morning cartoons, cowboy and puppet shows, vintage monster and fantasy movies, comic books, styrene plastic models, as well as an obsession with prehistoric cave men courtesy of old National Geographic magazines, formed the core of my developing aesthetic sense. All this absorbed while living under the Cold War threat of nuclear devastation. Recently, you and your wife, artist Kathy Staico Schorr, became bi-coastal homeowners with a new studio in Connecticut. How does being in a bigger studio setting affect the way you work? It’s a world of difference having a new studio space with 20foot ceilings. It’s just a better work environment all around. I’m currently working on two huge canvases and have also invested in some really great metal scaffolding that can be easily adjusted so that I can work at any height. You know, the problem when working on large canvases is not so much getting to the top of the painting, but being able to work comfortably at the bottom of the canvas. When I was working on a large painting, I had to sit cross-legged on the floor while working at the bottom because, at over eight feet in height, the canvas was rubbing the ceiling when it was only a foot off the ground. Not very comfortable when you’re trying to do very detailed work. I know you can work on un-stretched canvas laid against a wall and rolled to size, but I’ve always preferred working on tightly stretched canvas that has that nice little soft give as the brush caresses the surface. The plan now is to work on large canvases in Connecticut and smaller works while in LA. How did it feel when you made that last mark on the canvas and laid down your brush, having completed this massive painting? That’s always such a satisfying moment after months of chipping away to completion… always a cause for celebration.
left Liquid Universe 84” x 108” Acrylic on canvas 2016
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THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME INTERVIEW BY GABE SCOTT // PORTRAIT BY BART NAGEL 86 |
JUD BERGERON JUXTAPOZ.COM
AN FRANCISCO-BASED SCULPTOR Jud Bergeron is a storyteller. Classically and formally trained, he navigates the channels of life, death, love and loss, using his own object-based language to inform and connect with an audience through a unique perspective. Cleaving his love of all things metallic, a softer side has presented itself, integrating digital technique to further expand his expression of spatial orientation, allowing ephemeral materials to help build the blueprint for a new series of geometric possibilities. However, the use of technology in his process does not provide a shorter path to the end result. On the contrary, Bergeron uses these tools to augment potential, not to abbreviate the labor. This enables a fractal expansion for each piece, each modification determining the next, like watching a snowflake crystalize in slow motion. Fascination with natural phenomena integrated with the departure of traditional anatomical elements presents a new visual discourse, ripe with possibility. Gabe Scott: In the last five years, you’ve leapt into some very different creative territory: a greater interest in the abstract, as opposed to figurative, a shift from metallic and earth tones to the vibrant, and a willingness to embrace permeable mediums such as fiber-based materials. What factors in your practice prompted such a bold change? Jud Bergeron: My work has always changed radically with each show I do. It’s hyper-narrative and self-reflecting in nature. One of the games I play with myself is always asking the question, “How can I tell a story using only objects?” Part of the narrative has always been the choosing of materials to help drive the story. For 16 years, bronze was the material most available to me and I worked at foundries all over the country. I became so
All photography by Kevin Twomey (except where noted) right Paper Plaster Bronze 2015 opposite Cyanescens Fabricated paper and spray paint 16” x 35” x 14” 2016
reliant on that medium that I felt burnt-out, but things changed when I moved to New York City in 2006. Bronze became less available and too expensive, so I started experimenting with other materials, and my work evolved in a huge way. In 2008, I had a solo show, I Will Wait Quietly, at Sloan Fine Art in New York. That show dealt with the death of my childhood friend from a heroin overdose. His name was Bill Reynolds and he was an amazing poet. The challenge was to create a sculpture that dealt with his life in letters, as well as his death and my relationship to both. I chose to create works using only text and only materials that were black or white, such as steel and wood, like the written word. The show was a blend of abstract and figurative works that were all created by using a single material in a direct manner to make the statement. In December 2008, my son, Fletcher, was born, and two years later, my daughter, Storey. I began to examine life as a parent and that led me to my next solo show in 2013 in San Francisco at Mark Wolfe Contemporary, Becoming. Being a parent to little kids is fucking insane, filled with joy and tears and lots of multicolored items that hurt when you step on them. It’s also full of fear and anxiety, and I wanted to represent that. In choosing cast resins and bright automotive paints, I made nuclear explosions out of rubber duckies, piles of candy-colored abstract babies, and brightly colored wall works of floating ceramic candies. In 2011, we moved back to San Francisco, and I began again to take a long look at psychedelics, which has led to a more fractal path in my work. I began working in paper. It was direct, quiet and contemplative and there was no pressure, monetarily or otherwise. If it didn’t work, I could
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throw it away and the only thing I lost was time. Either way, I would make huge creative gains with each piece. I began to develop a process of mixing current technology and bronze casting so that paper pieces were realized into permanent sculpture. That all culminated in 2016 with two solo shows From Analog to Digital and Back at K. Imperial Fine Art and A Collection of Objects at Carneal Simmons Contemporary Art in Dallas, Texas.
below Becoming Installation view 2013
How would you trace the evolution of your practice from the austere use of metals and human anatomy to the application of scientific knowledge and less permanent materials? I trained classically at The Old Lyme Academy of Fine Art in Connecticut, where my 80-year-old teacher was one of Bordelle’s students. For two and a half years, I studied only the figure. My classes were eight hours a day sculpting the figure, portrait or bas-relief, and we were required to have an encyclopedic knowledge of anatomy. It was all I knew. When I left, I began working at foundries, first in Santa Fe, then in Boston, and finally, in Berkeley, where I got to work with Peter Voulkos, Stephen DeSteabler, Nathan Oliveria and Ruth Asawa, to name a few. Seeing how DeStaebler approached the figure, heroic and dystopian, visceral and beautifully
ugly, was a revelation My mind was blown and I began to create figurative works that eliminated anatomy and were loose and direct and raw, and they began to incorporate architectural elements. That was where I broke free from my traditional training and started to see. Then 3D printing came along and people kept asking if I thought it would render the sculptor irrelevant. I thought just the opposite and became inspired. I saw a huge opportunity to create multiples, scale existing works, and use it as one more tool in my kit. I can work out my patterns in paper, refine them on the computer and print them, or have them carved in foam to monumental size. It’s pretty incredible what you can do these days, and a number of artists are working with these tools. Check out my friend Mars-1’s molecule project, really cool stuff. At some point, do you see an intersection of the future and primitive? Have you developed any kind of digital dalliance with computer-based processes? I guess I see that in my current work. Some of the paper pieces have a very figurative feel and the process of going from analog (paper) to digital (3D scanning and printing) and back to analog (bronze casting) touches on all the various methodologies at my disposal. As the price starts to come
“ ONCE YOU LOSE THE HAND, THEN EVERYTHING STARTS TO FEEL A LITTLE BIT COLD AND LIFELESS.” down on 3D printing, I can see being able to print directly in bronze at a monumental scale and virtually eliminating the foundry process, which will be a major game changer. In terms of technology-based processes, if I’m honest, none. I still toil away in my studio the old-fashioned way. The big difference now is there are more toys in the sandbox and a bunch of experts that I trust to help me get my vision across. I work with my high school friend, game developer Rich Larm, to create all my 3D models. We work really well as a team. I use Metalphysics Foundry in Tucson to further develop the projects. They get the 3D prints made, refine them, and ultimately cast them in bronze. Those guys are amazing and I highly recommend them to all artists. Can you explain the process of 3D printing directly in bronze? How do you feel about virtually eliminating the foundry process? Is there a level of romance that gets lost in terms of general interaction with the materials? You can print in metals now, and the process involves a
vat of gel filled with particles of either stainless steel or bronze. Lasers will focus on points within the gel, solidify the particles and build the model, which is pretty rad stuff. That being said, I've never done it. My hesitation with that process is that you remove the hand completely. Once you lose the hand, then everything starts to feel a little bit cold and lifeless, which is the beauty of bronze casting. You can employ some of these 3D techniques in concert with traditional methods.
above My Pal Foot Foot Cast resin and automotive paint 2013
Then what's the difference, and is that a fair question? I feel like we will lose something for sure, but I also feel like that's the way things are going and there is really no avoiding it. On the other hand, if you look at the potential of what you can do, consider a blur, for instance. When you blur your eyes, you see one thing, but when you ask a computer to blur something, it is entirely different. Being able to 3D-print a computer blur is something that was never possible before, and that’s exciting. I've got mixed feelings about it for sure.
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In itself, does removal of the hand risk the integrity of the process? It feels like we're moving more and more in that direction and there's plenty of artists who just design their work in a computer and skip the analog portion entirely. When working in analog, you're making all decisions in real time and in real space, and you're also making mistakes in real time and in real space. Sometimes those mistakes lend themselves to the end product and change a piece completely, whereas, in the computer, you can make all the mistakes you want and there are no repercussions. You can do a thousand iterations of a piece and lose track of where the soul is. Then is it more about creating a perfect object or is it the physical and interactive journey to reach the appropriate conclusion in each piece? I love the process of refining something until I can make it the most perfect example of itself, but I also like the involvement of chance. below Payday Chinaman Bumming Lilies Off the Damned (detail) Steel and wood 2008 Photo by Eddie Watkins
How do you think the application of those processes affects the more classic elements of sculpture like mass, shape, volume, gravity and color? On the one hand, you can work out all of those tenants in
the computer, so you're spending time but not necessarily money making mistakes. That's a really nice shorthand for sculpture and it's a helpful tool. But on the other hand, it makes creating sculpture so easy for every Tom, Dick and Harry who might not have a good eye for form, ending up with a bunch of shit in the world that is clunky and dumb and not formal. Does that then also present more of a positive process of illumination for the people who naturally do have a feel for form and those who don't, an instance where natural selection comes into play? I guess, but as we all know, there are plenty of people who have terrible taste. Have you developed more of a fascination with possibility and less with the known, at least in terms of geometric abstraction? There is never a “known” with the geometric works. I begin with a single shape and build from there. Each edge informs the next shape. It’s like building a puzzle in space with no box top for reference. The whole time, I’m trying to push the boundaries while still maintaining a formal sculptural quality. Occasionally there will be outside constraints, like in the case of the Crystalline Baby, where I had the chair and I
needed to build the form to fit that space. But, in general, the process of creating the abstract pieces is a pure stream-ofconsciousness endeavor. There’s no doubt your formative years were probably informed by your work with Ralph Steadman. Being lucky enough to collaborate with him a couple years ago on a bronze sculpture of his iconic Vintage Doctor Gonzo drawing, what was it like working with a personal hero? How did the partnership come about, and what were some favorite experiences or takeaways? It came about through my good buddy Brian Chambers, who is a collector and an art dealer. He called one day and and asked, “What if I can get Ralph Steadman to collaborate on something with you, would you be interested in it?” Of course I jumped at the chance! Weeks
went by, and the next thing I knew, I was working with Ralph! Seeing an email in my inbox from Ralph was one of the happiest moments of my life. I still don’t know how Brian did it because there is nothing on my website to suggest that I could pull off a figurative piece like that, but he did. The guy is a wizard like that! Both Steadman and DeStaebler hold a similar place for me in how they approach the figure in a raw, visceral way. My friend Rich Larm once said that Steadman taught him that there could be anger in a line. I always liked that.
above (clockwise from top left) Paper to Plastic #1 Cast resin and automotive paint 24” x 24” Storey High polished bronze 8” x 20” x 10” 2012 Paper to Plastic #2 Cast resin and automotive paint 24” x 24”
With your work focused more heavily on a figurative and human element, particularly within the bronze work and casts, has the Steadman piece been the most definitively figurative piece thus far?
JUD BERGERON JUXTAPOZ.COM
right Monolith Cast bronze 8” x 21” x 10” 2015
Yeah, definitely. He took a leap working with me, and we collaborated beautifully. I would sculpt, send him pictures and video, and he would send me back a funny poem or some crazy rant. In some strange way, this felt approving and encouraging. When we finally got on the phone, he imparted valuable knowledge when he said, “All the information is in the drawing,” and I thought, “Ha! he's absolutely right.” So I went back to the drawing and back to the drawing until I got it right. I think we are both really happy with the result. We are starting to work on the next piece based on his drawing Bats over Barstow which was on the cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Working with him is a life’s joy, and I love his family so much. They are saltof-the-earth folks. That project must have certainly been conducive to rekindling the occasional psychedelic tryst. How has that affected the optics and perceptions of your production? I have a long history with psychedelics. From age 13 to 19, I followed The Grateful Dead all over the country, I went to something like 65 shows. It was an amazing experience, and sadly, one that I don’t think my kids will ever have. It was a
relatively safe place to expand your mind and I certainly took advantage of the opportunities to do so. Then real life hit, and my generation got angry and complacent, and for me, that magic was lost for a while. I decided to explore that part of life again after my daughter was born. It’s been so interesting to approach those experiences from an adult perspective, rather than of a teenager who just wanted to get high. I feel like it has given me the gift of being open to new ways of seeing and not being so rigid in my practice. Plus, it’s damn fun!
above I Will Wait Quietly Installation View 2008 Photo by Eddie Watkins
What do we have to look forward to from you as we close in on 2017? I’ve got a couple of huge commissions in the works that I can’t really talk about just yet. I’ll be showing at Context Art Miami with K. Imperial Fine Art and at SCOPE Miami with Alexander Chambers Gallery this year during Art Basel Miami, and I’ve got a solo show scheduled for September 2017 at Cordesa Fine Art in LA.
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ARON WIESENFELD LIMINAL STATES
INTERVIEW BY DAVID MOLESKY // PORTRAIT BY MONICA WISENFELD
ARON WIESENFELD’S WORK IMMEDIATELY TRIGGERS childhood memories of my explorations into the woods of suburbia. Wandering these fringe landscapes between civilization and wilder nature, I simultaneously forged new territories and discovered myself. In the stillness of being alone in nature, we can watch our own thoughts as moods drift by like clouds. Aron’s work perfectly captures these mind states, blurring the boundary between his art and personal reflections.
ARON WISENFELD JUXTAPOZ.COM
Colloquially, we say, “communing with nature” when referring to the universal experience of emotional or spiritual responses that arises outdoors. Aron sets a stage by often dwarfing the scale of his figures within enormous spaces. His youthful subjects seem caught in a melancholy of reflection and realization as they stare off into the enigmatic abyss. Child psychologist David Elkind’s describes the concept of “personal fable” when adolescents commonly have experiences of “irreparable sadness,” believing that no one has ever felt the way they do. When I was younger and felt upset, I would often escape into the woods, amazed at how quickly I could be reconstituted by simply staring at patterns of leaves and plants, and hearing a forest rustle as a wind passed by. Nature is both healer and teacher. Out of its immensity, awareness of a greater sense of connectedness whispers to us. These revelations are capable of elevating nearly anyone out of a rut of detached despair. Perhaps this is why, in the Renaissance, melancholia was a revered trait, and the people affected by it were considered to be closer to God. You may have noticed that religious music is always in a Minor key. Most of us experience some kind of normal emotional growing pains as we transition from child to adult. Nowadays, parents seem to forget their own childhood and react to their children’s trials with prescriptions of Prozac, Adderall, and other pharmaceutical inventions. Nature is a much more, pleasant pill to swallow. To feel small, and to realize our place within a larger ecosystem helps give appropriate scale to smaller upsetting events. It’s hard to make mountains out of molehills in the face of real mountains.
of nature. His paintings of lone figures staring into vacuous space are in family with Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818. The pastoral narrative painter, Nicolas Poussin, was one of the first to visually show the concept that “the tragedy of Mankind is small in the big Nature” in his painting Landscape with a Man being Killed by a Snake, 1648. These paintings transmit real, sincere, emotional states where we can project ourselves into. Perhaps it is the exercise of having empathy for these deeply melancholic figures that fortifies us to face the truth and inevitably of the loneliness of our existence. It is counterintuitive that pleasure might come from feeling empathy for a person or a figure in a painting who we recognize as going through a difficult experience. And yet, I find myself pleasantly immersed in Aron’s paintings-returning to them because of that unexpected jolt of pleasure-pain. Merging his imagination with techniques that harken back to old master painters, Aron builds compositions that powerfully transmit mood and childhood nostalgia. I caught up with Aron at his studio in San Diego as he made the final touches on works for his first solo exhibition with Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC, his ninth solo exhibition in 10 years.
opposite Greenhouse Oil on canvas 33” x 30” 2012 below Pearl Oil on canvas 28.5” 26” 2016
The fragility of Aron’s innocent youth conjures up concern and empathy. Their bodies verge on sexual, but their sinewy limbs and oversized features secure them in the world of childhood. Even those carrying the markers of the adult—a briefcase, a string of pearls, breasts and hips—read childlike with their opaline skin and rounded foreheads. Their heavy eyelids with a hard-to-read stare help transport us into their inhabited landscapes and psychological worlds. The universal appeal of a child’s face also adds to the projection into our own childhoods. Aron creates fictional, soft, fairy tales about lingering adolescence. The landscapes in Aron’s paintings are also stylized. He takes the time to carefully paint each leaf and blade of grass with finesse and delicacy through confident applications of paint. The tactility and sensual understanding of the plant shapes and textures makes the landscape believable as an extract from reality, which enhances our scruting of the painting’s main character. Like a master chef balancing flavors, Aron creates a perfect visual feast, pairing subtle color palettes with suggestive narratives, atmospheres and moods. Aron’s work is a hybrid that occupies the liminal space between illustration and traditional painting. His ability to mimic an array of surfaces and materials carries on the tradition of many great landscape painters. His rendering of detail brings to mind Durer’s Great Piece of Turf - 1503, and John Ruskin’s Victorian ideas about the careful observations
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above Bunker Oil on canvas 32.5” x 44.5” 2016 opposite (from top) Dropout Oil on canvas 33” x 24.5” 2012 The Well Oil on canvas 67” x 83” 2011
David Molesky: I recently discovered that your painting was on the cover of a poetry book. How did that come about, and were the poems written about your paintings? Aron Wiesenfeld: There is a book of poems and paintings that I made in collaboration with Bruce Bond, or I should say he made it. Bruce was a collector of my work and we talked a lot about art and books. I asked if he would ever want to do a collaborative project, not really knowing what that might look like. Three days later he sent me a poem based on one of my paintings, and maybe forty days after that he had written enough poems (all based on my paintings) for a whole book. It was really fast. I was so happy to see what he had written, every poem had a progression that started with the image, and went off somewhere with it. It expanded the time and space of the painting. Have you made paintings based on poems? I've been inspired by poems, but I never did a painting based literally on a poem. It would be an interesting
challenge I think. I wouldn't want to make an illustration of it. Maybe it could be liberating; I think I would want the art to be about a feeling rather than the story. It's not poetry, but I love the drawings Balthus did of Wuthering Heights. They are really emotional. Taking a closer look at your new painting Bunker, it looks like you’ve painted the foliage on top of a warm brown underpainting. That painting was a little different as far as the approach because I wanted something really specific with the foliage. I started with a couple layers of dark brown and green paint, scumbled roughly to have a texture underneath. Then I painted the plants that were close to the ground, and last, the shoots that came up above. It is detailed, but the texture underneath gives it the impression of being more detailed than it actually is. I love the way Waterhouse paints foliage, very loosely, but with a few sharp areas—the eye creates the rest of the information.
What’s your general process for developing an image? Where do the ideas come from, and how do you capture and develop them into paintings? Ideas come from anywhere... places, memories, movies, art, etc. A book called Art and Fear said, "notice what you notice." I thought that was great advice. So many times something that flashed by my consciousness might be lost just as quickly. There is a kind of discipline to saying, “Wait, there was something interesting there, what was it?” Memory is so transitory; it's hard to keep an idea in my mind when that happens. I want to get to my sketchbook as quickly as I can. It's difficult to sketch that inspiration, and replicate the thing that was interesting in the first place. But then the sketches evoke other ideas too, so I end up doing a lot of sketches at a time. When starting a painting, I usually work from a sketch that I like. It's painted as much as possible from imagination and memory. A lot of times, I will get an idea of a better image along the way, and make some drastic changes, sometimes destroying weeks of work. The paintings are usually started with no color, just value, to get the forms and the light, and color is added at the end. I love your charcoal drawings. What is your method for making these? The charcoals are really fun to do, and come more naturally than oil painting. I tape a big sheet of toothy paper to a panel, and cover it with rubbed-on vine charcoal, to get a medium grey tone. Then I erase out the lights to start getting the form (usually a figure) and add some soft vine charcoal shapes for the dark areas. I keep it in that loose state of big shapes until it looks good, and then go in with details using charcoal pencil and compressed charcoal for deeper darks. It's a great medium because it's so easy to make changes, and very quick to bring it to a finished state. That malleability is also its drawback, though, as the finished drawing is very fragile. What were you going for in Night Grove? I love that sense of imagined presence that we feel lurking in the dark that makes us fearful to look. I think presence is the right word. It's not a question of "what" is in there, but "who.” I think a dark entryway is a very potent symbol that can evoke a lot of things; it's a matter of the mind filling in the blanks. Probably the first thought is that it's something threatening, but it doesn't have to be. It’s like the Jungian shadow—it's all the things you can't accept about yourself, the bad but also the good, including your own greatness. Have you ever been psychoanalyzed? Or have you ever had a child psychologist study your work? I was in analysis for years. I learned that the unconscious is not just a sleepy, animal level of thought, but it's really a second mind underneath, just as intelligent as the one on top, with its own personality and agenda. So in the dark places, that's the unconscious. Dreams are a good way to access the unconscious, and painting is also. Once you have let the unconscious speak, the question is, what do
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you do with it? One of the main functions of analysis is to translate the dream, and receive a useful message from it. In art it's more ambiguous. I think it's enough to simply let it out and say to the audience, "Here's what I got, make what you will of it." My analyst wanted to interpret my paintings like dreams, but I resisted because I don't want them to be reduced like that. A dream is a problem to be solved, but for painting to have any universal relevance it should be an open question. Do you think it is possible that these are actually selfportraits? Yes, I think they are. They are how I feel, and my memory of how I felt when I was younger. It's often an internal thing, a deep feeling of doubt, uncertainty, and not knowing what to do. Female figures seem to express that best for me most times. I don't know why. What does the lone figure in the landscape mean to you personally? It means that we are all alone, always. "The world" will never be anything other than the perception of my own senses. I personally was aware of that more acutely, maybe more than is usual, that sense of being separate.
What do you think elongating the figures does to the viewer’s experience? Right off the bat, it says that it's a fantasy; the painting is not trying for an imitation of reality, so I suppose it gives me some license, and tells the viewer that he or she doesn't need to judge it on that criteria. But it adds a responsibility in the sense that, with any stylized alteration like that, the artist is saying this is my world, and it has to have its own logic and believability. I didn't set out to make elongated figures. I set out to make figures that were constructed from imagination, so there were going to be oddities to them. When I started painting I gave a lot of thought to what the medium of painting could do that was unique to, that other mediums like photography couldn't. My thought was that I could make them unique by putting realism into an invented armature, if that makes sense. In other words, give my fantasy world as much verisimilitude as possible, to try to create a world that was different but logical as well. I'm not sure I ever really succeeded, but that was the intention.
above The Source Oil on canvas 50” x 40” 2012 opposite Night Grove Oil on panel 19” x 24” 2016
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T R AV EL I N S I D ER
DETROIT IS THE JOINT
CURATOR JESSE CORY’S FAMOUS TOUR OF “THE D” LAST FALL, DURING THE MURALS IN THE MARKET festival, we soaked up the exciting, lively energy found in Detroit as the city rebuilds itself with a spirit of resilience that is unmatched. It’s unlike any other American city and you have to be there to believe it. Our friends at 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery have been holding down the art scene in Detroit during its latest creative renaissance, which has attracted artists from all over the world, delighting local folks who are happy to see creative community transformation. We asked Jess Cory, co-founder of 1xRUN, to describe his enlightening driving tour through town.
below Belle Isle Photo by Jesse Cory
Jesse Cory: Vacationing in “the D” is becoming more and more of a usual occurrence and I have logged some serious miles over the last few years giving tours to artists, friends, collectors, journalists and just about anyone who will give me their ear for a few hours. I often tell people that I have a two-hour, four-hour, eight-hour or two-day tour. It wasn't until Roger Gastman was in town in 2014 that we went deep into neighborhoods once riddled with crime to find pedestrian graffiti that he snapped with his point n’ shoot. It was on this drive that I was able to look at the city from an outsider's point of view by driving past the traditional landmarks to see my city from different perspective—as a tourist. Reflecting back to the Detroit I moved to from a northern suburb in 1998, the city was a bit more dangerous, and getting jacked was a definite possibility on the daily. After losing nearly half our population, main thoroughfares once filled with small shops
are now empty and the city seems filled with vacant lots and burnt-out houses. But optimism and friendly surprises of community and art in unconventional places are sprouting up and can be found around every corner. When departing from our block on Service Street where Inner State Gallery and 1xRUN hold down a three-story, one-hundred-year-old former furniture factory in the historic Eastern Market district, we head towards a spot I’ve been visiting for over 20 years. With my pug, Oscar, on my lap and intrigue in the air, our journey takes us to Heidelberg Street. More often than not, Tyree Guyton is there creating art in his outdoor studio. If you’re unfamiliar with Tyree or the 30 years of work he has put into this massive outdoor installation, The Heidelberg Project, then I would suggest this is the first place you stop when visiting Detroit. We’ve been fortunate to work with Tyree over the years, and since he has a soft spot for Oscar, he’ll take a few moments out of his day to share his insights and philosophy on life, art, and the world around us. After taking in the Heidelberg Project, we head off and hit Belle Isle, a nearly 1000-acre island park that straddles the Detroit River between the US and Canada. As we circle the island and see Detroit and Windsor from the middle of the river, we hit the Boulevard heading north and swing by the Packard Plant. In the early 1900s, Packard Motors opened a 3.5 million square-foot automotive manufacturing facility that was the most advanced factory built in its day.
I’m not a huge fan of “ruin porn,” or showcasing pieces of Detroit history that most would like to forget, but the sheer magnitude of the 40-acre site with 6-story buildings literally falling into themselves is incomprehensible until seeing it in person. It’s also the first place I went to a rave and heard techno, so revisiting the Packard is a bit nostalgic for me. We quickly pop off the freeway and swing by Ford Piquette Plant where the historic marker states that this site was the building where Henry Ford invented and tested the assembly line and Model T that would go on to revolutionize the world of driving as we know it today. Just a few blocks away is one of Detroit’s most important architectural gems: the 30-story Fisher Building, constructed with cash the Fisher family made by selling their factories to General Motors and often referred to as "Detroit's largest art object.” I pull up to the front of the Art Deco skyscraper constructed of limestone, granite and marble and let my guests walk through the three-story vaulted arcade with its meticulously hand-painted frescos and epic bronze chandeliers. I pull
around to the back of the building, wait for them to come out, and watch their faces as they enthusiastically gush over the epic experience of Detroit’s power to build and construct some of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
above (clockwise from top left) Photos by Daniel Isley Dabls and Oscar Heidelberg Project
Just three miles north of downtown, in the New Center district, we pull around the corner and head West to one of the spots that is most dear to my heart. We quickly pass the Motown Museum on our way to the MBAD African Bead Museum. Olayami Dabls (or Dabls, as most people know him) has, over the past two decades, built a large, outdoor installation entitled Iron Teaching Rocks How To Rust. Alongside his multi-acre art installation is an African Bead Museum that has the uniqueness of a gift shop that feels like it’s been there forever. This might just be due to the fact that Dabls has amassed a rare collection of African beads that are hundreds or even thousands of years old. Many of the beads are for sale, and Dabls will quickly take a strand, add a clasp, and visitors can take a piece of history home with them and help contribute to keeping places like MBAD
Packard Plant Photo by Selina Miles Ford Piquette Factory
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T R AV EL I N S I D ER
open for future generations to visit. When Dabls acquired a set of row houses on the corner of Grand River and W. Grand Boulevard, he set out to invoke the power of African heritage and the use of iron, wood, rocks and mirrors. With 18 outdoor installations, Dabls, once a museum curator, set out to use metaphors to communicate across cultures. Throughout the installation, and inside the bead museum, an open heart and open mind can feel the tremendous energy Dabls has harnessed into this place of reflection through art and creativity. Now about four hours into the tour, we head back to Inner State Gallery and swing through Eastern Market for a tour of Murals in the Market walls. In 2012, we moved our business to this historic neighborhood, and in the spring of 2013, we started painting murals throughout the district. In 2015, we produced Detroit’s first international mural festival and, within just a few short years, have compiled over 100 works of public art. Taking a drive past former slaughterhouses now slated to be condos, this part of the tour hits a bit closer to home. Many of my passengers will recognize the work of familiar artists like Miss Van, Sydney James, Kashink, Rone, Fel300FT, Askew and Hebru Brantley. Eastern Market, one of the largest, oldest and most active farmers markets in the country, is still thriving with retail and wholesale food businesses occupying 100-year-old buildings, and our collection of murals and public art that is based in community building and making our neighborhood
more walkable and diverse. Working alongside the Eastern Market Corporation, in just a few short years, we have created an arts destination that invites the public to visit the neighborhood. As street art can be about discovery and exploration, so can the experience of shopping in the unique Saturday farmers market. As the sun fades to the west, we head towards the Lincoln Street Art Park. Driving up to the park, visitors are hit with a sign painted across the train viaduct that reads, “Danger: Reality Ahead.” With a large fire pit next to an active freight line, parties go till dawn at this decommodified art space where artists have erected sculptures of recycled materials and cars modified into moving art pieces that breathe fire 20 feet into the air. Matt Naimi, owner of Recycle Here, follows the “Share Your Candy” philosophy, as this site also hosts the city's recycling center, along with artist studios, all inside of a former Lincoln Motor Car factory. Detroit is a unique city with a unique set of challenges but just put that aside for a second and take into account that rent is still modest, the people here are authentic, and with open fields, the mind can wander and beautiful ideas can flourish. Come to Detroit, stop by the gallery and let's take a ride.
above (clockwise from left) Photos by Daniel Isley Africian Bead Museum Kristin Farr at Murals in the Market
ART SHOW 2 0 1 7
JANUARY 11-15, 2017 LA CONVENTION CENTER | WEST HALL
LAâ€™s pre mie re e ve nt fo r exper iencing , co llecting , s haring & purc ha sing a rt. Fe a tur ing o ver 1 0 0 pro minent g aller ies fro m o ve r 20 diffe re nt c ou ntries - Ex hibiting painting , sculpture, works on pa pe r, installatio n, pho to g r aphy, video & per fo rmance.
T he LA Art Show pre s ents LIT T LET OPIA - a selectio n o f g alleries exhibiting a n e c le c tic blend o f lo w bro w and po p s ur realis m.
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CALIFORNIA’S ARTISTIC HEARTLAND
THE MANETTI SHREM MUSEUM OF ART AT UC DAVIS IN 1905, THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE ESTABLISHED the University Farm Bill with the mission of teaching agriculture to the young male locals. It sprouted into the Farm School, and is now known for much more than extensive bike trails and veterinary programs. Not only is the University of California at Davis considered a Public Ivy (props for a West Coast school), its Design Department is the only comprehensive academic design unit in the UC system, and Robert Arneson’s Egghead series of public art statues are hatched all over campus. Recently UC Davis has initiated a program to give Liberal Arts students the opportunity to minor in data studies as part of their curriculum. Beyond using computers to create art, Ceramics and History majors, for example, can complement employment by studying the compilation and use of data. It’s time that craft and commerce get acquainted!
and poetic. Along the inter-continental I-80, framed by plains and farmland, the building is designed as a Grand Canopy with a glass lobby ushering light and discovery, encouraging students to book space for classrooms or contemplation. Inaugural exhibitions include Hoof & Foot, a big-scale video install that nods to Davis’s reputation as the foremost school of veterinary medicine. Pia Camil’s A Pot for a Latch, inspired by the Native American gift-giving feasts and outdoor market booths, invites discourse about the economy and objects of desire. Out Our Way features 12 artists, among them Wayne Thiebaud, Manuel Neri, Roy de Forest and Robert Arneson, who were artist-teachers during the founding of the Davis art department. All said, an art utopia for the student in all of us. —Gwynned Vitello
2016 also marked the opening of The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, another visionary merger of the practical
The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art , located at 254 Old David Road in
Davis, California, opened November 13, 2016.
Aerial View of Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art Photograph by Iwan Baan Courtesy of SO—IL and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Presented by Barrett Barrera Projects barrettbarrera.com
Wo pro thro uld.. jec ug . exh t s+ h D i b i gal ece tio ler mb n is y, S er on t. L 3 vie w oui s
Miami December 2, 2016
New York City November 28, 2016
WHAT WE ARE READING
GOING THROUGH THE X-FILES
THE MOON: 1968-1972 I have the I need to defend myself here. It’s not that I don’t believe in the moon landing, I just feel like it’s the greatest of conspiracy theories, though I enjoy the conversation, debate and logic that people put forth when defending the moon landings. One thing for certain is that the astronauts who flew to the moon took lots of photos, and their ability to capture even the most routine moments (relatively speaking) are breathtaking and literally otherworldly for us. T. Adler Books has just released a special collection of photos and text from those Apollo missions in The Moon: 1968-1972. These aren’t necessarily B-sides from those missions but mostly outtakes from what has been published in history and science books for decades. Over 20,000 photos were taken on these missions, many part of the public domain, and Tom Adler and Evan Backes have edited down a clever collection that shows how the simple and accidental works of art the astronauts made on the moon reflect both both beautiful imagery and awe-inspiring landscapes. I have to assume that somewhere even Michael Stipe is happy to see these. —EP tadlerbooks.com
THE HISTORY OF MAGIC BY ALISON BLICKLE When an artist produces a trilogy of painting exhibitions that altogether tell a powerful story, a compilation book should naturally be the next step. Besides making the work accessible, a book allows the paintings to live together and be viewed chronologically, as they were envisioned. Alison Blickle recently completed the History of Magic trilogy, based on her own Jungian folktale writing, which she describes as, “full of magic and mysticism, following a woman as she goes on a long journey that helps her grow into her full self, while changing the world in the end.” The trilogy reclaims Pandora’s identity as a hardworking creator, mirrored in the work of Blickle herself. The symbology of her installations is theatrical, making you feel as if you’ve stumbled into an ancient, sacred space where altars, folk magic and alchemy abound. We featured Blickle when she was mid-trilogy and learned that her magical powers are no gimmick. She actually lives the wizardly lifestyle. History of Magic: Part I, II, and III is finished with a velvet cover, embossed gold graphics, and is the kind of book your wide-eyed grandchildren should one day find amongst the treasures in your attic. —KF anteism.com
THE THEATRE OF APPARITIONS BY ROGER BALLEN We’ve often tried to find the perfect label for South Africa-based Roger Ballen. On the whole, he is a fine art photographer, but that sells him short in that he creates a unique universe in which his subjects dwell, a parallel world that more closely resembles stage and set design as opposed to typical photography. His macrocosms are bizarre and utterly unique in their vision, and Ballen’s newest monograph, The Theatre of Apparitions, furthers a career path of original approaches to art. Based on hand-drawn carvings that Ballen saw on the old, blacked-out windows of women’s prisons, he began his own experimentations to create almost pre-historic cave paintings with spray paint. “These are spirit drawings,” Colin Rhodes writes in the book’s introduction, “in a way.” Even within the writer’s pause, this attempt to characterize the uncharacteristic captures the spooky series of works from an artist who has already spent over four decades being comfortable with the poetics of discomfort. “Lastly, I would like to acknowledge those indefinable cosmic forces that have always pervaded my being,” Ballen notes at the end. Leave it to the artist to say it best. —EP thamesandhudsonusa.com
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Photo by Bryan Derballa @lovebryan Model: Sade
PRO FI L E
STREET ART MEETS FOOTBALL Photography by Martha Cooper above 1010
IT IS INTERESTING HOW CERTAIN THEMES REVEAL themselves each year in this magazine. Often they are intentional and planned out, but more frequently, it isn’t until we reflect on the past 12 issues that we find a common thread linking everything together, hopefully one that reflects what is happening in the creative world we cover. From our newsstand installation in Times Square at the end of 2015, to Juxtapoz x Superflat in Seattle and Vancouver, much of our focus in the last year looked at how the world interacts with art, where it can be found, and the expansion of the creative process. Those same topics framed our recent visit to Miami to see another example of how expectations of where art exists are being challenged. In the weeks prior, an international team of artists, Crash, How and Nosm, Jen Stark, Logan Hicks,
1010, Dasic Fernández, AVAF, MOMO, The London Police, Case Maclaim, Vhils and Pose had been painting the walls of the newly rebranded Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins football team. Inspired by the passion for art of Wynwood Walls founder, the late Tony Goldman, his daughter Jessica Goldman Srebnick built Goldman Global Arts, a new company dedicated to expanding the Wynwood model to other public art projects. Wynwood “is a living, breathing example of the power of public art,” she enthused. “By moving it away from the traditional gallery setting and infusing it into unexpected places, like Hard Rock Stadium, we move towards a mindset that art should have a place in everyday life.” Challenging common perceptions of what a sporting arena should be, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross “wanted to create a global
entertainment venue,” Srebnick continued. “He saw what Wynwood did for Miami and the world, and he wanted to bring that same energy to the stadium.” An early pioneer of graffiti and one of the first to be exhibited in galleries, Crash painted his largest wall ever at Hard Rock Stadium, so we asked him for some perspective on the movement he has been part of since the beginning. “Regardless of what you do, it’s art,” Crash explained over breakfast, “There are a lot of people that say it’s not graffiti, or it’s not street art. Is it apples and oranges? No. To me, it’s a fruit salad. It doesn’t matter—as long as you’re being creative, what the hell do I care? Why would you deny anyone the opportunity to do something just because they weren’t active on the subways or whatever? That’s stupid. It’s all art. I had a painting come up at a Christie’s auction
once and everyone was saying, ‘Oh, a graffiti painting…’ No, it’s a painting.” On the topic of public art and city planning, Crash reminded us that he, Daze and Lee painted a subway station in Hanover, Germany back in 1984. “It’s great that 30 years later, it’s happening again. Everyone should have an opportunity, but not everyone should do it if they aren’t good. The fact that it’s so open now is a good thing, but the bad part of it is we have artists who just shouldn’t be involved. It happens with music too. And then you’ll have someone who really deserves it, and they can’t cut it. Such is life.”
above (clockwise from top left) Jen Stark Crash Momo
At the opening game, fans were greeted with murals, some as big as 150 feet wide, on every level of the newly renovated stadium. Many of the artists involved are part of a growing family who have been a part of Wynwood Walls
PRO FI L E
from the beginning, but ultimately the ongoing project seeks to include a balance of emerging and established artists from all mediums, from graffiti, to stenciling, to photorealism. “I chose artists and styles that would give life to a very gray environment and encourage people to be curious,” Srebnick said. “Street artists are storytellers. The story we are telling at Dolphin’s Stadium is an international one, one that reflects the flavor of the Miami community.” Currently based in Los Angeles but originally from Miami, in recent years, Jen Stark’s colorful artwork has spiraled out of detailed paper sculptures, dripped down canvases, and across music videos and MTV award stages. Stark’s mural at Hard Rock Stadium seeps from the edges of the open industrial ceiling, dripping down the walls in candy-colored psychedelic waves. “I think it's exciting that the murals are inside a football stadium because it's a totally new audience that might not otherwise see my work,” she told us. “My idea of an artist's cultural role has been evolving since I first began my career. For the first few years, I would only show my work within gallery settings and was hesitant to become involved in commercial projects because of how
I thought the gallery world would view that. Nowadays, I feel that there is more freedom for artists to be able to express their art in whatever medium they like, and working within mainstream culture is being accepted and encouraged. I'm reaching a much greater audience and being able to inspire more people with my work and cultivate my dream projects. I want to create artwork that can be accessible to everyone, not just art collectors—whether it is a large sculpture, painting, T-shirt, speaker, or even a postcard. I believe an artist's role in culture is to influence and inspire it through whatever medium possible.” Crash’s historical perspective and wisdom contrasted with Stark’s experience in the contemporary art world, and both provided a unique frame of reference for this project and the evolving perspective on how and where we consume and create art. There are no boundaries; it’s a superflat world. —Alex Nicholson
above Logan Hicks
f e at u r i n g w o r k s by:
J a s m i n e b eC k e t- g r i f f i t h
Jeffre y giLLet te
k a z u k i ta k a m at s u
C h e n dao L e e
n i g e L Cox
Jaime bret t tre adweLL
solo e xhibition
grouP e xhibition
Fulvio di Pia z z a
th e shape o f th i ngs to co m e
januarY 7â€” januarY 28, 2017 oPening receP tion: satur daY, januarY 7, 6 â€” 8 Pm
529 w e s t 20t h s t r ee t | ne w Yo r k , n Y 10 011 | j o n at h a nl e v ineg a l l er Y.co m
THINGS WE ARE AFTER
WINTER WILD STYLE
VAULT BY VANS x HORWEEN COLLECTION We have noticed recently that for any fancy event, or in this season’s case, holiday party, we have to go to, we just want to wear our Vans. And because Vans knows all of us so well, they have teamed up with the seminal and venerable Chicago-based Horween Leather Company for a collection of Vault by Vans SK8-His and Old Skools that you can dress up and dress down for all your holiday gathering needs. Even Grandpa may need a pair. vans.com
IAN REID x GIRL SKATEBOARDS One of the things we love about Ian Reid is that, for a photographer, he does not lack the quality of boldness. His salacious and often sexuallycharged imagery always makes you stop in your tracks, as you don’t often get invited to an S&M showcase in the woods. Ian’s work is now the subject of a collaboration with Girl Skateboards, featuring decks, tees, a wallet, and your very own bondage mask, all created on the occasion of Ian’s first Los Angeles solo show, A Day’s Work. And if you can’t pull off a bondage mask on Christmas Eve, when are you going to pull it off ? girlskateboards.com
BRIXTON FLEET RIGID OVERALL Artists need workwear, but they also need to look presentable for studio visits and paparazzi. Brixton consistently has the goods to make you look classically fresh while keeping it real in the studio or on site with gear that is utilitarian and good looking. The new relaxedfit, straight-leg Fleet Rigid Overalls have reinforced knees and pockets galore to stash your art implements for easy access. Whistle while you work, but don’t dress like a jerk. Let Brixton keep you looking flossy. brixton.com
S I EB EN O N L I FE
LETâ€™S GO GREEN
BRING PEPE BACK TO THE SIDE OF LOVE BY NOW YOU'VE UNDOUBTEDLY HEARD ABOUT MATT Furie's Pepe the Frog character and his unfortunate appropriation by political hate groups. If you haven't, just read the article about it in this very issue. Essentially, Matt's intellectual property was stolen from him, turned into a meme and later used by trolls to spit poison throughout the wide world web. I've previously written a column regarding Internet appropriation, something which is happening at an increasingly alarming rate. In this digital age there seems to be an attitude of: I found it on the Internet, so it's fair game to use however I see fit. Seemingly gone are the days of content ownership in regards to online subject matter. I'm dating myself, but I favorably remember the days when plagiarism and outright theft were frowned upon. But rather than complain about it (which I suppose I just did in the previous paragraph), I'm jumping on Matt's #savepepe bandwagon and doing my part to bring Pepe back to the side of love. I urge each of you out there to join the cause
and draw your own kid-friendly, love-filled version of Pepe. Let's all help Matt reclaim his beloved frog and strip the imagery away from the unimaginative and uncreative sludge that has tried to claim him as their own. Let the world know that, although it's easy to steal art online, we, the art makers, have the power to steal it back and empower the imagery even more by working together. It's worth noting that this issue of Juxtapoz is going to print on Tuesday, November, 8th, 2016. As I'm writing this, I don't yet know the results of the presidential election, but I gotta tell you, if the Oval Office is going to be occupied by a frog-stealing, pussy-grabbing, wall-building, hate-spewing, reality-television-show crybaby billionaire, I might have to check out some Canadian real estate listings. Anybody want to start an artists' commune north of the border? They have yet to build a wall to keep us out. â€”Michael Sieben
Art by Michael Sieben
CURATED BY TAKASHI MURAKAMI AND EVAN PRICCO NOV 5, 2016â€”FEB 5, 2017
Image by James Jean
Image by James Jean Presenting Sponsor:
Brian and Andrea Hill
P O P L I FE
DALLAS, NYC, LOS ANGELES
CIRCUIT 12, SPOKE ART NYC, LIBRARY STREET COLLECTIVE
with Kevin Umaña, Sahara Johnson and Jessica Ross.
1 | Dallas has been a hub for great shows over the past few years, and Juxtapoz’s friends Casey Gray and Clark Goolsby enjoyed the opening of their two-person exhibit, Abundant Plains, at Circuit 12.
3 | Vandalog’s RJ Rushmore and Caroline Caldwell stopped in and probably made themselves an interactive burger while they were there.
SPOKE ART NYC
LIBRARY STREET COLLECTIVE, LA
2 | Spoke Art kicked off the opening of their NYC space with a special show in tribute to FOX’s Bob’s Burgers. Looking satisfied are Spoke Art’s Ken Harman
4 | Former Juxtapoz cover artists, unite! Andrew Schoultz and Cleon Peterson caught up at Jason REVOK’s solo show, Systems, at Detroit-based Library
Street Collective’s pop-up space in Los Angeles. 5 | The man himself, Jason REVOK, fronting one of his dizzyingly great pieces from his new series. 6 | Two people it’s easy to be friends with… because they are friendly. Painters Kenton Parker and Manny Prieres check in on REVOK.
Photography by Dustin Orlando (1), Joe Russo (2,3), and Sam Graham (4, 5, 6)
P O P L I FE
LOS ANGELES AND SACRAMENTO
THESE DAYS GALLERY AND AFTERSHOCK FESTIVAL
THESE DAYS GALLERY
1 | Photographer and skater Ian Reid kicked off his first solo show in Los Angeles, A Days Work, in a special collaborative collection release with Girl Skateboards. Brian Atlas, Rhianna Yates, Ian Reid and Nino Scalia celebrate in style.
4 | During the two-day, often very heavy metal Aftershock Festival, performer and Mr. Baroness, John Baizley took a moment from stage life to tag on the Juxtapoz wall. . .
2 | Eric Fischer, Jay Howell and Melanie Pierce somehow found a wall without a bare breast. 3 | Stephen Ziegler of These Days Gallery and Girl’s Mike Carroll check in.
5 | And then he went back to what he does really well… play very good music and look good doing it. 6 | Sacramento–based Shaun Burner added some fierce texture to the Juxtapoz graffiti wall.
Photography by Sam Graham (1—3) Cassandra Goddard (4) and Mike Stalter (5—6)
PER S PEC T I V E
FEELS GOOD AGAIN, MAN
PEPE THE FROG’S JOURNEY FROM THE DARK SIDE “I’m declaring that Pepe the Frog is a love symbol.” —Matt Furie, creator of Pepe the Frog PEPE THE FROG LIVED TO PARTY WITH HIS THREE BEST friends in Matt Furie’s cult-classic comics, Boy’s Club, produced in the early 2000s. Pepe was chill as fuck with his famous catchphrase, “Feels good, man.” When Pepe rose to prominence as an internet meme and became something much bigger than the artist ever imagined, Furie responded the same way (“Feels good, man”). But then things took a turn and trolls trapped Pepe in a vicious hate cycle, using his likeness to spread vitriol that snowballed throughout election season. And this did not feel good, man. Nor did it feel good when the Anti-Defamation League added Pepe to their database of hate symbols. How did Furie feel when his work work became appropriated in a despicable way? At first, he wasn’t surprised: “It’s the internet.” But the ADL’s label caught the attention of many, and Matt was getting press requests non-stop, including interviews with The New York Times, The Washington Post, and an invitation to write about Pepe’s true nature for TIME Magazine. And then, for the first time ever, the ADL decided to help clear the name of one of the hate symbols in their database. Together with Furie, they put out a call to action: draw positive Pepe memes and share them widely. So far, it’s working, Furie tells us. “The response has been amazing. Having the character in the news and associated with hate has been a great opportunity for me to reach out to friends and the community and see the bigger side of Pepe— the side of love. It’s great to see all of these artistic and poetic interpretations of the frog, and it would never have happened if Pepe was not such a hot topic at the moment.” As for Pepe’s rise to power and his future, Furie says, “I hope he gets happy. I think he became so powerful because he was sad. Pepe is a cartoon casualty of election politics for sure.” So far we’ve seen many Jux favorites drawing for the cause to reverse Pepe’s tarnished image, including Mel Kadel, Skinner, Andy Rementer, Matt Leines, and Travis Millard, who all infused a lot of positivity and heart into their froggy interpretations, and you’re invited to do the same. Pepe originated as part of a cool clique, but Furie assures us the Boys’ Club gang is unaware of this drama. “Original Pepe and his roommates exist on a different plane. They have no idea about the internet stuff. They are farting on each other and getting hella stoned forever.” As for what’s new with his art lately, the artist revealed a secret:
“I recently made a drawing that took me two years to casually finish. It's a large vortex of phallic skeleton demons spinning towards a mushroom growing from the tongue of a ghoul.” Sounds good, man.
Send and share kid-friendly, positive Pepe images: email@example.com #savepepe
Art by Travis Millard 2016
2016 KEVIN CYR RAVI ZUPA 2017 HELL’O ANTHONY AUSGANG JOSH (SHAG) AGLE MIKE DAVIS JON TODD +more...
217 St Laurent Blvd, Montréal QC Canada, H2Y 3T9 | 514-903-1987 firstname.lastname@example.org www.matthewnamour.com IG @matthewnamourgallery
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Juxtapoz art & culture magazine