JAMES JEAN // JUXTAPOZ x SUPERFLAT // DAVE EGGERS
Every Photo Tells a Story.
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Family Fiesta: Double Negative, Video installation, 2015, Photo by Mikayla Whitmore
ISSUE 188 / SEPTEMBER 2016
JUXTAPOZ X SUPERFLAT
ELISABETH HIGGINS O’CONNOR
CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA
ELISABETH HIGGINS O’CONNOR: POWER POSING
TOM SACHS IN OUTER SPACE SARAH HOTCHKISS AT LEWIS AND CLARK A NEW KIND OF GETAWAY MICHAEL MARCELLE’S RED STRAWBERRY
FLAVOR PAPER REINVENTS WALLPAPER MORPH KNITWEAR FOR ALL SEASONS
104 TRAVEL INSIDER
TILTING THE BASIN
MARY IVERSON IN SEATTLE
BOSCH, ICY & SOT, AND FONTS
ROLLING WITH RUSS POPE
120 SIEBEN ON LIFE 122
THE DELIGHT OF DISCOVERY
MODERNICA, MEMORY GAMES, AND DENIM
SIX PACK WITH MEL KADEL
LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO AND BROOKLYN ROBERT WILLIAMS ON GUNS N’ ROSES
S TA FF FOUNDER ROBERT WILLIAMS EDITOR EVAN PRICCO ART DIRECTOR ROSEMARY PINKHAM MANAGING EDITOR ALEX NICHOLSON CO-FOUNDER GREG ESCALANTE CO-FOUNDER SUZANNE WILLIAMS CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER NICK LATTNER DEPUTY EDITOR KRISTIN FARR EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS RACHEL CASSANDRA, LAUREN YOUNG SMITH INTERNS KIMY LECAMWASAM, KATIE PECK CONTRIBUTING WRITERS KRISTIN FARR, MARY IVERSON, AUSTIN McMANUS, DAVID MOLESKY, EVAN PRICCO, GABE SCOTT, MICHAEL SIEBEN, GWYNNED VITELLO, ROBERT WILLIAMS CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS JAMES ARZENTE, IAN BATES, DAVID BROACH, SHANE BUSH, ALAN GONZALEZ, SAM GRAHAM, TODD MAZER, RAMIN TALAIE CONTRIBUTING WEB + PRINT EDITORS JOEY GARFIELD, AUSTIN McMANUS, GABE SCOTT, MICHAEL SIEBEN PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR AUSTIN McMANUS CONTRIBUTING PHOTO EDITORS ESTEVAN ORIOL, DAVID BROACH, BROCK FETCH AGENCY DESIGNER MAX STERN ADVERTISING + SALES DIRECTOR MIKE STALTER firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING SALES EBEN STERLING MARKETING DIRECTOR DAVE SYPNIEWSKI email@example.com AD OPERATIONS MANAGER MIKE BRESLIN MARKETING + AD MANAGER SALLY VITELLO PRESIDENT + PUBLISHER GWYNNED VITELLO CFO JEFF RAFNSON ACCOUNTING MANAGER KELLY MA CIRCULATION CONSULTANT JOHN MORTHANOS WEBSTORE COORDINATOR YOLANDA RODRIGUEZ MAIL ORDER + CUSTOMER SERVICE EBEN BENSON, TOM SHATTUCK firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 415-822-3083 PRODUCT SALES MANAGER RICK ROTSAERT 415–852–4189 PRODUCT PROCUREMENT JOHN DUJMOVIC SHIPPING MITCHELL CLARK, CHARLIE PRAVEL, IAN SEAGER, ADAM YIM TECHNICAL LIAISON SANTOS ELY AGUSTIN
JUXTAPOZ ISSN #1077-8411 SEPTEMBER 2016 VOLUME 23, NUMBER 9 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
3 days of fine art, tattoos, workshops, music & more
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: email@example.com juxtapoz.com
Cover art by James Jean Bouquet Acrylic on Canvas 36” x 48” 2016
COLOR ME IN. OR DON’T. PETALUMA, CALIF. & CHICAGO, ILL.
Beer speaks. People mumble. @lagunitasbeer
NOT LIKE THERE’S ANYTHING IN IT FOR YOU. OR IS THERE? FORGET WE SAID ANYTHING. SAID WHAT? DUNNO. NICE WEATHER TODAY.
ED I TO R ’ S L E T T ER
ISSUE NO 188 IN REFLECTING ON HOW WE GOT TO THE BRINK OF opening our special Juxtapoz x Superflat exhibition in Seattle with co-curator Takashi Murakami, I suppose the genesis of this project began with a predicament and an honest observation by an artist beloved to Juxtapoz readers. James Jean and I were having a discussion with Takashi on the opening night of Jean’s Zugzwang exhibition at Takashi’s Hidari Zingaro Gallery in Tokyo last year. It circled around the idea that the barriers surrounding the contemporary art world not only extend to a younger generation of art fans who are learning about art history, but also to the many emerging artists reaching a level of success who find it harder and harder to receive critical acceptance. That there is this secret society of the blue chip gallery, or some sacred text that defines strict rules of the art world. As James and I were, in a way, giving our side of the story, Murakami, one of the most successful and critically accepted artists in the contemporary art world (albeit an artist who continually sets his own rules), simply suggested, “Well, why don’t we make our own show and make our own rules?”
Murakami’s influential and groundbreaking Superflat concept, but also the definition of Juxtapoz’s mission to make art more accessible, while creating a legacy for the outsiders. By joining together both classic and new works from some of Murakami and Juxtapoz’s favorite artists, we applaud art in 2016, both as fans and curators, as passionate followers of history and the contemporary. From Urs Fischer to Paco Pomet, Otami Workshop to Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, we are excited to acclaim so many different styles and mediums that inspire us to put the magazine together each month.
And so here we are now, with Juxtapoz x Superflat showing at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle from August 4–7, 2016. We want this show to not only be a celebration of the many different genres and ideas that make art, but an amalgamation of high and low cultures mixed together, standing side by side, or one on top of the other, into one aesthetic experience. It is both an extension of
Not every artist in this issue will be presented in Juxtapoz x Superflat but each one champions the spirit of why we wanted to create this exhibition and make it happen. From author and artist Dave Eggers’s brilliantly clever works, Camille Rose Garcia’s fantasy world, Robert Williams keeping things a little perverse, to Tom Sachs transporting us to outer space, the September issue is a reminder of how wide the art world extends, and how exciting it is when it’s just a little more… flat.
above Paco Pomet Social (Diptych) Oil on canvas 110” x 48” 2016 Courtesy of Richard Heller Gallery Santa Monica
J AY H O W E L L
A R T I S T A N D A N I M AT O R VA N S . C O M
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STREET DOG BEST FRIEND
ELISABETH HIGGINS O’CONNOR
POWER POSING IN SEATTLE
I HAVE TAKEN A SUMMER STUDIO AWAY FROM HOME for two months in Seattle to concentrate, live in a city where I feel powerful, and get away from summer Cali-valley heat. The studio is massive and has great light all day. I can swing lumber around and not bump into anything. I am hip-deep and midstream in the building of new work, a suite of four large-scale figures that are starting off, process-wise, differently from my normal comfort zone. Although I’m using the term “comfort zone” relatively here. Intentionally and subconsciously, I invite situations that undermine my abilities or my comfort zone. Having the studio kitted out with everything that I need (within my budget) so that I never have to leave during the day is crucial. Gathering tools, materials and prepping them takes time. Going offsite for a coffee or lunch break is to break the spell. I bring my lunch, water and coffee to the
studio. If I have errands to run, it must be in the morning before I go into the studio, or I will do an entire day of errands. If it’s a studio day, that is all I will do. Being “in the zone,” for me, means that I’m not constantly fussing with music or looking online; so some days, if that’s been a problem, I actually banish all devices, and leave them at home, even though music is vital. I recognize that I need my own austerity plan to get something done. Ideally, I would have my own personal studio DJ. —Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor
Read our interview with Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor on page 58 and see her work in our new exhibit, Juxtapoz x Superflat, at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle from August 4–7, 2016.
Photo by Ian Bates Seattle 2016
E V EN T
SPACE PROGRAM: EUROPA AT YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
MISSION TO THE FINAL FRONTIER WITH TOM SACHS IN SAN FRANCISCO TOM SACHS IS PERHAPS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS simulated outer space adventures made possible by a DIY aesthetic and absurdly delightful details. If you’re not already there, get yourself to San Francisco for the opening or closing of this highly anticipated exhibition where you will be transported to another dimension as the latest mission is set in motion. Or visit mid-exhibition where the operation will be open for observation, alongside a storefront coffee shop that offers meditative screw-sorting opportunities for space program volunteers on the ground. As if “a gigantic thirty-two-foot NASA ‘meatball’ logo relief sculpture of painted plywood,” that can be seen from strategic aerial locations wasn’t enough to look forward to, YBCA revealed more, “Sachs will also host a tea ceremony during the opening and closing weekends, featuring hand-sculpted bowls and ladles, scroll paintings, vases, a motorized tea whisk, a shot clock, and an electronic brazier created by the artist himself. The ceremony is Sachs’s take
on the ancient Japanese tradition of chanoyu, the ritual of preparing and serving tea. Sachs treats the culture of the tea ceremony and the scientific and space exploration communities with a combination of reverence and ignorance that allows him to reinvent the rules to tell a broader story of ambition, transformation and faith.” You may remember the May 2016 feature where we sent our special agents to uncover the secrets of Sachs by distracting him and his Satan Ceramics crew with a tattoo machine, which only filled us with more anticipation to climb aboard Major Tom’s next mission. We’re so ready for liftoff.
Space Program: Europa launches September 16, 2016–January 15, 2017 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. ybca.org
above Landing Excursion Module (LEM) Steel, plywood, resin, electronics, assorted found objects 263” x 277” x 263” 2007
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P R O F E S S I O N A L S K AT E B O A R D E R
LEWIS AND CLARK COLLEGE
SARAH HOTCHKISS TURNS BACK TIME ARTIST SARAH HOTCHKISS IS REMARKABLY reflective, creating sculptures for humans and birds, designing adventurous field trips, and turning experiences into eloquent objects. I spoke to Sarah in the midst of her artist residency at Lewis and Clark College. Kristin Farr: What have you been making at the residency? Sarah Hotchkiss: I’m at a two-week writing workshop called Fir Acres as their artist-in-residence. High school students from all over the U.S. spend their time in workshops, and I spend my time in an ad hoc studio and lead two sessions with the participants over the course of my residency. I’ve been making sculptures out of cardboard, paper clay and papier mâché that tread the line between useful and useless, utilitarian and decorative. These brightly colored objects borrow from the visual language of games, toys and optical illusions. I’m always trying to make things that both puzzle and delight. On Instagram you mentioned talking to the students about pop music history. The Fir Acres participants are really open to exploring different creative approaches to art. In our first session together, we combined, covered and invented objects of varying usefulness. Some highlights: a drone capturing device, a high ropes course for ants, and an hourglass without sand. I don’t spend a lot of time with teenagers, so I was surprised when the students unleashed their impressive knowledge of music on me. They seem to be
familiar with all of the music from my teenage years. They know all the lyrics to “Semi Charmed Life.” That’s brain space I’ve been trying to get back since 1997 and they’re eating it up. I can’t tell if ’90s music is to them what ’80s music was to me in high school, or if the internet has just kept these things alive in a way that makes decades completely collapse into each other. It’s definitely eerie. That’s like Murakami’s Superflat concept, a focus of this month’s issue. Have there been other discoveries you’ll explore when you get home? I’m considering my sculptures in relationship to interesting spots on the Lewis and Clark campus and making decisions in the studio based on how I want these objects to move across or sit in the landscape when I photograph them. I’m learning to make stop-motion animations, and the sculptures are less static now. Since they’re the characters in these videos, I’m thinking a lot more about their movements, sounds and motivations. It sounds like the writing workshop’s character studies are wearing off on me!
The Fir Acres Workshop and artist residency at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon launched in the summer of 1989 and provides a community atmosphere for young creatives. sarahhotchkiss.com lclark.edu
above Conch Comb cardboard, paper clay, wood, acrylic and gouache. 6” x 14” x 6” 2016
A NEW KIND OF GETAWAY
KEVIN PETERSON TALKS SOLO SHOW AT THINKSPACE GALLERY I ALWAYS HATE SEEING AN AWESOME ALBUM COVER with credit to the artist nowhere to be found. Scour Instagrams and Tumblrs looking for an answer, and you might conclude that an anonymous gift was bestowed upon a band to represent their creative output. But when it comes to the newest Red Hot Chili Peppers album, The Getaway, the art is so identifiably Houston-based Kevin Peterson’s, no extra research is needed. That is the great advantage of having a style and precision all your own. We sat down with Peterson on the heels of the album’s release and talked about his new body of work set for a solo show at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City this August and why the children he paints aren’t afraid of the future. Evan Pricco: First off, congrats on the Red Hot Chili Peppers album! How did that come about? Did you get to meet anyone in the band? Kevin Peterson: It’s pretty surreal to see your painting on a billboard or at freaking Target! I guess Anthony Kiedis saw the painting online and showed it to Flea. They were into it for the cover, but they didn't even know who the artist was. Flea shared it on Instagram and his followers quickly pointed him in my direction. I didn't know about any of this though, until I got on my Instagram later and a bunch of people had right Offering Oil on panel 55” x 38” 2016 opposite Coalition II (Used as the cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers The Getaway album) Oil on panel 36” x 17” 2015
tagged Flea in some of my pics. He had already deleted the pic of my painting. So, I was just like, "Huh, what is this about?" I just forgot all about it, but about a week later their manager called and said the band was interested in using the image for the new album. I have not met the band, but they will definitely get the invite to my show at Thinkspace Gallery when I'm down in LA in August. In the Juxtapoz Hyperreal book, you talked about being a realistic painter, but that your scenes are "rarely actual moments in time." Considering that the work looks so cinematic, how do you prepare? What’s the process? Sometimes I start with a background image I like and sometimes I start with a picture of a model I want to use; it doesn't always come about the same way. I work pretty closely with my reference photos, but the final scenes are composites of my images. I have tons of images of urban blight that I've taken over the years, and I also have lots of pictures of models that I've taken at my studio. I use Photoshop to lay out a composition that I will use to paint from. The Photoshop composites are never perfect, though; they are a framework. The challenge comes in working out
THE REPORT JUXTAPOZ.COM
all the details during the actual painting process to make the scene come alive. My goal is to create a scene that is both implausible and fantastic, but at the same time, totally believable to the viewer.
adjust your trajectory, reevaluate your priorities. I suppose the kids in my paintings are a reflection of a hope that I have that people will learn from past mistakes and face the future with a sense of calm reason.
The new work looks, dare I say, a lot more post-apocalyptic? Not in the “end of the world” sort of way, but also not subtle, as in The Leftovers sort of way. What ideas and themes were you channeling? I don't believe in an end of the world, apocalypse-type situation. The earth will persist, but the only question is what stage it will be in. Time and how things change over time are always themes in my work. I like thinking about our world in different stages. Seeing how the things we make crumble and decay. Seeing nature take over when it’s allowed to, but even nature is cyclical. A forest burns down, but it grows back stronger. It’s just a matter of time.
Over the past few years, Texas has emerged as an art center. Has that been exciting to see evolve? Yeah, it’s a good place to be as an artist. There seems to be a good appreciation for art here. There are amazing collectors, there is money here, affordable studio space, so it all works together to make a nice creative environment.
The kids you portray never look scared, even though they are in situations that perhaps should cause alarm. Is that an accurate description? Yes, that's accurate. They're not scared. It’s hard for me to explain exactly what the look on their faces is saying. Contemplative might be a good word for it. They're considering this new world where things are crumbling, but it’s not a reason for fear. It’s a new beginning, a clean slate. I personally hate and fear change, but it’s important to remember that change can lead to good. It can make you
Who are some of your favorite artists making work today? Who gets your juices flowing for your own work? I love Jerome Witkin. The work of Josh Keyes has always meant a lot to me. I love Aryz and Etam Cru. Simon Stalenhag, Tim Lowly, John Brosio, Colin Chillag, just to name a few.
Kevin Peterson’s solo show at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California will run from August 20—September 10, 2016. thinkspacegallery.com
above Scrap Or Die Oil on panel 40” x 25” 2016
Floral painting by, Miguel A. Gonzalez, miguel-a-gonzalez.com
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN
Miguel A. Gonzalez LCAD Drawing + Painting Alumnus
BFA DEGREES Animation, Design + Digital Media, Drawing + Painting, Game Art, Illustration
MFA Art of Game Design, Drawing, Painting MINORS Art History, Creative Writing, Sculpture
HOW WE CAME TO THE RED STRAWBERRY WHAT IF HURRICANE SANDY BLEW A HOLE INTO SPACE and time, and that hole continued to get wider, skewing what we perceive as reality? People’s noses could unexplainably disappear, the light outside would make you feel as if you’re sitting in the bed of tanning booth in the middle of an afterhours party, and the sight looking in the mirror might result in alarming goosebumps. With heavily influenced aesthetics resembling horror and sci-fi films, Michael Marcelle’s obscured narrative is often otherworldly, deeply intense and residing somewhere in the occult. But the uncanny familiarity, difficult to identify, begs the question, is that a digital manipulation or not?
Growing up on the coast of New Jersey, the infamous hurricane that ravaged the Northeastern seaboard triggered a turning point in the artist’s career. With little to do, virtually marooned at home as a result of Sandy, his lens focused on his own home life. His father, sister and mother, who is apparently camera shy, became recurring subjects whether they liked it or not, making all his work deeply personal. While a myriad of ideas and questions are examined throughout his work, nostalgia and mortality continually surface as focal points in his visually constructed world. Growing up with a darkroom in his basement and studying under the renowned photographers Stephen Shore and Tim Davis while at Bard, it’s not surprising that Marcelle has cultivated such a unique approach to a saturated medium. Others have also been taking notice, as his talent is requested for editorial commissions by The New Yorker, New York Times and Vice. —Austin McManus
Michael Marcelle: Until about a year ago, I had been making work exclusively about my family, using my childhood house and hometown as an extension of my studio to make work about the fallout of Hurricane Sandy. I was interested in turning the devastation into a uncanny, alien world, referencing schlocky horror movies and the queer world-building of James Bidgood and Kenneth Anger.
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ.COM
Many of these photographs here are from a new series called Red Strawberry, which pulls away from a familial background and into a wider, more brutal perspective. Where the previous work was using a very specific language of horror, these photographs are more interested in the syntax of science-fiction, and more specifically, its visual limitations. Everything is too bright, too colorful, a cloying, hyper-ripe piece of fruit from another dimension.
PICTURE BOOK JUXTAPOZ.COM
Though still in its early stages, I keep imagining the work as something like a hallucination of a CGI rendering. It's both primitive and futuristic, maybe a depiction of the post-Sandy world in the previous photographs thousands of years in the future, or maybe a very vivid interpretation of the present.
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WALLFLOWER NO MORE above Wild Thing Pattern Designed by Ghislaine Viñas
THINK OF WALLPAPER, AND CHANCES ARE, LIKE ME, your grandma’s house comes to mind. Maybe you think of her smoking a cigarette, a memory framed by her wallpaper in the background. That’s how far back we are talking when remembering the heyday of wallpaper décor. But times are-a-changin’, and Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper has turned the business of wallpaper into industrial design, fine art, and site-specific installation work. We sit down with President and Creative Director Jon Sherman to discuss a new wave of wallpaper design, Warhol, and transforming your dining room into Wayne White at home. Evan Pricco: When I was a kid, I had some sort of baseballthemed wallpaper in my room, but my mom quickly went with a more mature style when I got older. Did you have wallpaper in your room as a kid? Jon Sherman: I didn't have wallpaper in my room, but we did have some bright, poppy yellow 1960s-style paper in the kitchen. We have family photos of me at my first birthday, partying with cake on my face in front of it. My mom was always a wallpaper fan, but she took a long time-out from using it in the ’80s and ’90s like most of America.
How did Flavor Paper start? From what I read, it went from Oregon to New Orleans, and now Brooklyn. FP was a total accident. I was working on an interiors project in Miami and a friend showed me some wallpaper she was trying to source for a client. The guy who owned FP called her back to say he was literally dragging everything outside and burning it on site. She showed me some samples and I thought it was beautiful and flew out to rural Oregon to check out what he had left of the equipment. He told me I could have the 48-foot long, 6,000 pound table and 300 screens if I got it out of his hair. I hired a log lifter, a truck driver, and loaded all of it into a 54-foot trailer and sent it off to New Orleans, where I was living at the time. I got a warehouse under contract and rolled it all in Egyptian style. Then I had to teach myself how to make wallpaper as there weren't any books or guides. It was 2003, so the Internet wasn't much help. Our printing system is hand silk-screening using a 48-foot flatbed vacuum table, which is quite unique, and large screens that gave us huge repeats of 62 inches. I made an early decision to go water-based, which ended up making life
a helluva lot harder, but was definitely the way to go. I wanted to use Mylars and foils as ground materials from the get go, and mixing those with Day-Glo inks really helped set us apart early on. Our UK competitors snarkily called us the "shiny wallpaper" people, but to me, it was a vast improvement on their dark and somber aesthetic. I wanted people to be happy and inspired in their interiors, so bright colors, fun subjects, infused with humor and whimsy was key to finding our voice.
twists that turned wallpaper design on its head, yet respected tradition. I reached out, and we’ve been making great wallpaper ever since.
Our first collection was released at ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in NYC in spring 2004. People were completely divided. Veteran designers who had been through the wild Mylar movement of the 1970s said they couldn't go back, but younger designers loved the bold, colorful metallic vibe. We got some great press and things took off, only to be shut down by Hurricane Katrina. I thought FP was over, but we rebounded and were back in action in by November 2005.
Did wallpaper really, dare I say, go out of style and then come back into style? Or is just that since I'm now of the adult-settled age, I notice it again? Oh, it definitely was gasping for breath in the late ’70s and early ’80s after it became a mass-produced, low quality background concept. We helped bring it back by concentrating on making wallpaper full wall art. High-end, hand-painted wallpaper never went away, but was also so expensive, it never hit the mainstream. There has been quite a comeback over the past five years, with pattern becoming much more popular throughout society, assisted by the death of the white wall movement. Our first year showing at ICFF, there were three wallpaper companies, while this year there were hundreds.
We first used the original patterns made by FP’s founder, but released original work for our second collection. I found Dan Funderburgh’s work in a graffiti book, and he was doing exactly what I wanted to do with wallpaper design, and better than I ever could have pulled off. He had the classic design angle down, interjected with all sorts of modern urban elements, comical bits and unexpected
Wallpaper, obviously, enhances the home. But what's really cool is that yours is like installation art, really transforming and tying together a fully immersive project. Was that an intention early on, or a really cool evolution of the brand? It was something I liked about wallpaper from the beginning, and because we had such large-scale patterns,
above Patterns from the Andy Warhol Collection
it was evident that size and scale had a truly dramatic effect and helped realize my goal of bringing wallpaper to the foreground from the background. We focus on immersive work with a dramatic impact. People love to be transported, and a wallpaper installation can deliver that economically. The Warhol stuff you are doing is so perfect. How did that collaboration come about? We worked with the Montclair Art Museum on the Warhol and Cars exhibit in 2011, where we turned Andy’s Twelve Cadillacs print into a wallpaper. His foundation, apparently fans of the work, had been contemplating releasing Warhol art as wallpaper, so when they approached a number of companies, we were asked to present. We were extremely interested and felt our style and aesthetic were right in line with Andy’s, down to our Factory-like studio with its mirrored ceilings and experimental angle. We took a lot of risks in our presentation and used work that wasn’t well known, so the Foundation granted us the global wallpaper license. It quickly became our best selling, with Flowers and Crowd leading the way. We have had so much fun developing the Warhol wallpapers as we try to work in all of Andy’s styles and approaches. For example, we spray yellow toner into the Flowers screens in homage to his piss paintings, use lots of Mylars to mimic his Silver Clouds, and paint into the screen to produce monoprints as the base for Marilyn Monroe.
Wayne White is a cool story because you based the wallpaper pattern on a mural he completed at his home. I met Wayne through Josh Liner and have always loved his work. I own his Smartest Artist painting, one of my prized possessions. We discussed wallpaper and he told me he loved Chinoiserie-style French murals and had been working on such a mural in his dining room with his son for ten years. It was a genius and perfect application of his style, and I indicated that I would love to make it into wallpaper. He initially thought he’d have to paint something in order to make a wallpaper, but I explained we’d rather shoot what he’d done and capture all of the wabi sabi elements of this personal project. I went in with Boone Speed and shot it in great detail, then built it out into a mural style wallpaper with all of the texture of his plastered walls. We even had Wayne paint over a printed section of wallpaper where a built-in cabinet was in his home. The final mural has a section that is painted over wallpaper, but built back into the original painting! It won “Best of ICFF” this year, so we’ve been pretty psyched. It’s a truly transformative piece and I absolutely love it.
above Waynetopia Designed by Wayne White
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PRZM member artwork, L to R: Will HÃ¼bscher, Alessandra Sulpy, Ileana Collazo
FA S H I O N
COZY IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING THE BLANK CANVAS OR MOUND OF CLAY INVITES THE artist to create an image, make a statement. An unfurled bolt of soft knit from Morph Knitwear welcomes anyone to dance, stride or hide, depending on whim, weather or whatever. I’m not sure if Angela Thornton’s Morph Knitwear is certified organic by the USDA, but it defines the word by nature of inception and adaptability. The designer creates from inspiration, not by color or silhouette of the year, and definitely not by body of the moment. And it may depend on how you feel at that moment. Working in neutrals of white, gray and mostly black, each flowing form can “morph” to suit the mood, and magically end up being your coat of many colors. Gwynned Vitello: Did you grow up sewing, or did you just decide to take up knitting? Angela Thornton: I grew up doing all kinds of arts and crafts, everything from sewing and drawing to gardening and building objects. My mom has always been a huge inspiration in terms of creativity and productivity, and she raised us to be as imaginative and creative as possible. I learned how to knit as a kid, but didn’t have the patience or interest to really pursue it until my early twenties. Can you describe the process of making your clothes? How are machines involved, if at all? My design process is probably the exact opposite of what any school would teach. I don’t sketch anything. When I get an idea for a piece, I immediately begin swatching yarns to find the gauge and texture I want the material to be, and from there I start a prototype. Sometimes I’ll nail it on the first try (so gratifying) but usually I’ll end up working on a piece a few times before I get exactly what I want. I use both manual knitting machines and traditional hand knitting in my design process, though recently I have been much more focused on the machine. They are entirely manual, so though they do dramatically cut down production time, it is still a hugely intensive process to create garments by using them. I love the juxtaposition of the fine gauge machine knits and more open or large gauge hand knits, as well as the technically different but completely complementary skills needed for both. You must have started out making clothing for yourself, right? Or was clothing design something you always wanted to do? When I was in high school I started modifying my clothes a lot (mostly with sequins, let’s be honest!) as well as sewing some simple clothes for myself, even though I’m a miserable seamstress. I’ve always expressed myself through what I wear, so it was natural for me to go from DIY as a teenager to knitwear designer. That process did take a long time and was incredibly frustrating. I tried and failed in so many
different creative pathways before I rediscovered knitting and determined that it was something I was both good at and naturally inclined to do. I have lots of friends who are always happy to get another black sweater. Has that always been, and will it always be your favorite color? Black has been my favorite color to wear for years, and it honestly probably always will be. To me, wearing black is natural and comfortable, simultaneously safe and mysterious, simple and complex, and I feel it echoes my expression of self in just the right way. Wearing black is also a pragmatic decision. If I only have one color in my closet, I’ll have far fewer garments, and I can really invest in each one. Removed from my own wardrobe, though, I love color! I especially admire people who pull off monochromatic
All photography by Jon Duenas
outfits in all hues, and if I had the time and patience to explore other colors, I certainly would try and introduce other monochromatic looks into my wardrobe. White is associated with the tropics, and black and gray seem natural for the Northwest. What makes Morph Knitwear feel right at home in Portland? I’m very affected by my environment. The long, dreary winters here are something I cherish; they enable my creative process like nothing else. I grew up in this town, and have seen it change so much. But there’s always been a pervasive attitude of artisanship and creative exploration that has made being an independent, self-funded little business seem realistic and supported. I love that customers are able to buy patterns from you. Are they complete packages, or do you suggest the kind of yarn that should be used? And how do you source your materials? I’ve really enjoyed making my patterns available to customers! I sell the patterns alone, but I do give recommendations
for yarn based on what I’ve used. I love it when people get creative and use fibers or colors I’d never have thought of. I source the fibers I use for production from a range of places, though I always place emphasis on sourcing ethically and/ or domestically produced yarns. I have a few local shops with whom I work closely, as well as some national and international fiber mills. Sometimes, when I’m extra lucky, I’m able to source handspun wool from my mom’s sheep. Do you get involved with the marketing aspect of fashion design? Since Morph is a one-woman business and I do literally every aspect, from production and emails, to social media and advertising, I’d say yes, I do! However, I do not buy into the fast-fashion aspect of marketing. I’m not trying to sell a fad, and I don’t appreciate the creation and dissemination of trends just to fuel thoughtless capitalistic consumerism. When did you make the choice to design unisex clothing, or was it even a conscious decision? I want people with all bodies to wear my designs, regardless of
FA S H I O N
how they define their gender. I definitely have more pieces that can be read as geared toward women, and my designs come from a place of creating things that I want to wear. Overall, though, I think separating clothing into a gender binary is dumb. Anyone should be able to wear whatever they want Do you have a personal muse, and what else inspires you? How do you come up with a series or collection? My inspirations are constantly changing, ebbing and flowing, so it’s definitely hard to say. My latest collection was heavily influenced by my great-grandmother, who was a Croatian emigrant to the US in the early 1900s, my European peasant ancestry, and traditional functional “work clothes” from the early twentieth century. Often I’ll be inspired by a feeling I get from whatever is around— nature, music, stories, television, wind, texture, clothing, a beautiful view—and I’ll try and evoke that feeling in my designs. I don’t give much thought to how a collection comes together. It tends to be organic and usually starts with an idea for two or three pieces that I feel fit well together, and from there it just flows into coherency.
Can you put into words your philosophy? It seems that you design for many bodies, many moods. The philosophy of Morph Knitwear is to create beautiful, functional things, to explore texture and fiber, to enable thoughtful consumption, and to re-establish an intimate relationship between clothier and customer. With Morph I aim to express myself, connect with others, and challenge our current environment of exploitive consumerist capitalism. The goal is to give value back to something that’s become trash—to create a culture of valuing hard work, humanity, and lasting quality in garment production. And from and through that ethos, I want to create garments that all bodies can wear and feel beautiful in, regardless of age, gender or shape.
BACK TO THE FLUETURE
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I N FLU EN C E S
LANCE CYRIL MOUNTAIN
SUBTLE AND SAGE Portraits by David Broach opposite (clockwise from top left) Esoteric Angles #6 Acrylic on paper 11” x 7.5” 2016 Esoteric Angles #4 Acrylic on paper 11” x 7.5” 2016 Wood Comp. #1 Aerosol on cut wood 8” x 9” 2015
LANCE CYRIL MOUNTAIN’S ART IS IMMEDIATELY seductive and appears to be deceptively effortless. In reality, it takes a very sophisticated artist to master the tense intersection of abstract painting, color theory and dynamic design. The shapes, textures, and colors in Mountain’s art are perfectly balanced in their boldness and nuance. Mountain proves that minimal art can be simultaneously structured and organic, as well as meditative and electric. —Shepard Fairey Thrasher and Juxtapoz Photographer David Broach paid a visit to Lance Cyril Mountain at his Mountain Manor to shoot some portraits and ask a few questions. He got to know Lance and his dog Dirtbag a little better, though Lance answered all the questions. David Broach: Tell me about your studio. When we shot your photos, we had a pretty good time. The space is unique, even comes with a Junkyard Dog. Lance Cyril Mountain: My studio is located in an oil field. The whole lot is privately owned, so it stays quiet for the most part. Dirtbag is a dog that wandered into the field as a pup and hasn’t left since. He’s a good guard dog.
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How long ago did you start doing art? As long as I can remember, I’ve always been fairly creative, whether drawing, painting, or screen printing. Things started to come into focus about five years ago. There’s always refinement though, and the work is constantly evolving. I don’t like it to get stagnant. I try to find a balance by keeping it organized, yet organic, while trying to maintain an innocence. Who are some other artists who inspire you? Really, it’s more that nature inspires, and looking around at the textures of dilapidating industry. Also, jazz music— anything from bop to Norwegian free jazz, the straight ahead, as well as avant garde. Given that your dad, Lance Mountain Sr., has been a pro skateboarder and involved in the industry for so many years, do you ever do any work for the skate companies? Sometimes I am approached to work on a product here and there. Recently Krooked Skateboards asked me to work on a series of new things.
I N FLU EN C E S
Since your Dad is undeniably a celebrity in certain circles, I am curious to know if his shadow has helped or hurt your career. The skateboard and art worlds do intersect and are often connected, yet there are many differences. For example, I’m sure Irving Blum knows what a skateboard is, but wouldn’t be able to name a skateboarder. Opportunities have come up through folks connected in both worlds, but not solely based on my father being who he is. That said, he’s always been supportive, but it’s not something I try and exploit. When we last spoke, you had stopped skating for the most part. Have you been focusing all your energy on painting? I’d say family, creating, and work, in that order. Fatherhood and enjoying time with my children, watching them grow and raising them is most important to me. I wouldn’t call you a starving artist, but you’re still in a spot where you have a day job, right? I work as an installer and art handler based in Los Angeles. I get to work firsthand with some well known galleries and established artists, so I have the pleasure of being behind the scenes in the art world and seeing who really keeps it running. Although you currently live in Seal Beach, I know you have talked about getting out of the city. You mentioned Idaho or Minnesota. What makes you want to leave, anything to do with the new baby?
Growing up in California, living in Seal Beach with my wife for close to 12 years, and having two children now, I feel like it would be best for my family and their future to venture elsewhere, outside of the state, where we could experience four seasons, a bit of land and an on-site studio and woodshop. How has being a dad changed your outlook on life? Do you feel as if you try harder to succeed with your chosen profession? Absolutely, I now feel like I have a real purpose. I see responsibility as a positive, where before having children it seemed like a burden. Even with the toddler and newborn, I get into the studio quite often. My wife is very supportive and understands the importance of my studio practice and staying active. Tell me about your latest works and where you exhibited them. I show through mid-August at Seeing Things Gallery in San Jose, California, where I had my first solo exhibit in 2014. It’s a mix of recent works on paper and some hard-edge geometric wood work. I’ve found myself working smaller recently. I feel like large scale paintings are sometimes used to conceal something, so it comes off as a statement rather than an artist who’s confident about their work.
Sept 16 2016Jan 15 2017
ADAM WALLACAVAGE ADRIAN COX ALESSANDRA MARIA ALESSIA IANNETTI AMANDINE URRUTY AMY FRY ANDREW BRANDOU ANNIE OWENS BEAU STANTON BEN FROST BILLY NORRBY BRANDI MILNE BRIAN DONNELLY BUFF MONSTER CAIA KOOPMAN CAMILLA D'ERRICO CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA CARLO CANE CARLOS RAMOS CHLOE EARLY CHRIS ANTHONY COLIN CHRISTIAN D*FACE DAVID STOUPAKIS EINE ERIC JOYNER ERIK MARK SANDBERG EWA PROŃCZUK-KUZIAk
GLAZED PARADISE GREG GOSSEL HANDIEDAN HANNAH YATA HAROSHI HEIDI TAILLEFER HENRY LEWIS HIKARI SHIMODA HIRABAYASHI TAKAHIRO HUEMAN HUSH JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER JEAN-PAUL MALLOZZI JENNYBIRD ALCANTARA JOANNE NAM JOE HENGST JOEY BATES JOEY REMMERS JONATHAN VINER JOSH AGLE (SHAG) KAZUKI TAKAMATSU KELSEY BECKETT KENT WILLIAMS KEUN YOUNG PARK KINSEY KISUNG KOH KORIN FAUGHT KRIS LEWIS
KRISTEN LIU-WONG KUKULA LALA ABADDON LAUREN MARX LAUREN YS LOGAN HICKS LOLA LORI NELSON LU CONG LUKE CHUEH MANDY CAO MARION PECK MARY JANE ANSELL MELISSA FORMAN MEREDITH MARSONE MICHAEL MARARIAN MICHAEL PAGE MIHO HIRANO MIKAEL TAKACS MIKE STILKEY NAOTO HATTORI NATHAN JAMES NICOLE GORDON NIGEL COX NOUAR OKUDA OLIVIA PAUL FRANK
PETER GRONQUIST PIP & POP R. LEVEILLE RAY CAESAR REDD WALITZKI RICHARD J. OLIVER RIIKKA HYVÖNEN RISK SAGE VAUGHN SARAH DOLBY SARAH EMERSON SARAH FOLKMAN SAS CHRISTIAN SCOTT HOVE SCOTT MUSGROVE SHAWN BARBER SIMONE LEGNO SOEY MILK STEPHANIE INAGAKI STICKYMONGER SYLVIA JI TOM BAGSHAW TRAVIS LAMPE TROY BROOKS VAN ARNO VICTOR CASTILLO YASUYO FUJIBE YOSUKE UENO
HAROSHI Skateboard Sculpture, 19.7" x 3.5" x 9.8"
COREY HELFORD GALLERY
10TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION ~ AUGUST 27TH
571 SOUTH ANDERSON STREET, LOS ANGELES / 310.287.2340 / coreyhelfordgallery.com
ls In Th e ura
1xRUN, Knight Foundation and Eastern Market Corporation present
MURALS IN THE MARKET
rket Fe Ma s
O V E R 4 0 L O C A L A N D I N T E R N AT I O N A L A R T I S T S
September 15-23, 2016 Eastern Market District, Detroit muralsinthemarket.com @muralsinthemarket
1010 Alex Yanes Apexer Ben Saginaw Ben Wolf Cey Adams Chris Saunders Clifton Perry Dabls Dalek Dessi Terzieva Ellen Rutt Emad Rashidi Felipe Pantone Freddy Diaz Ghostbeard Halopigg Hebru Brantley
Hueman Janette Beckman Jeff Gress Jeremiah Britton Jesse Kassel Kevin Lyons Kristin Farr Lauren Harrington Lauren YS Marka27 Meggs Miss Van Mr.Jago Nicole MacDonald NNII Pat Perry Patch Whisky Patrick Ethen
Paul (ffty) Johnson Paula Schubatis Pixel Pancho Ricky Powell Selina Miles Shades Sheefy Sheryo & The Yok Slick Sydney G. James Tiff Massey Tilt Tylonn Sawyer Tyree Guyton Vaughn Taormina Xenz
THE NEW SUPERFLAT
TAKASHI MURAKAMI AND JUXTAPOZ REIMAGINE THE GALLERY SHOW INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO
IT’S ALL HAPPENING, MANY MONTHS IN THE MAKING, PERHAPS EVEN centuries in the making, as artist Takashi Murakami’s Superflat concept is about all corners of time and culture being collapsed into one accessible space. Like Warhol before him, Murakami pioneered unlikely partnerships with low and highbrow entities, building bridges between fashion, art, design— mashups of cultural aesthetics. When our editor returns from Japan after visiting Murakami, he always brings back a contagious energy that further fuels our exploration of this new contemporary world where tomorrow is now and the past is in our back pocket. From August 4–7, 2016, at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle, Juxtapoz and Takashi Murakami will debut a Superflat experiment, a new exhibit without rules or barriers that invites our favorite artists to shine, unhibited. —Kristin Farr
TAKASHI MURAKAMI JUXTAPOZ.COM
previous spread Studio view Takashi Murakami Tokyo 2016 left James Jean Plant Acrylic on synthetic textile 72” x 72” 2012 above Devin Troy Strother Lazy Bitch Neon 42” x 24” 2015 Courtesy of Richard Heller Gallery Santa Monica
Evan Pricco: What is it that you particularly like about Juxtapoz? We are doing this show together, and have gotten to know each other over this past year, but I haven’t asked you this question yet. Takashi Murakami: I'm moved by the fact that, as an artist, Robert Williams took the step of declaring that he had nothing to be ashamed of, and that the work of his friends was so great and worth seeing that he decided to show it in the form of a monthly magazine. I think of print as a really high-risk medium, and for it to have continued to be read for more than 22 years is really a miracle. And I think, during your editorial direction, there's been an even greater mix of cultures and it is a genuinely interesting read. What I always like is that Robert writes with this mixture of elegance and “fuck you” authority, and it seemed to resonate beyond the page into a whole culture. I'm trying to think of when this show idea came about, and if I'm not mistaken, it was while we were talking with James Jean at dinner after his show at your space in Nakano Broadway in Tokyo. James and I were both saying how important it was for artists who come from the Juxtapoz world to get critical attention from the contemporary art world, and how that growth was so important to an artist's career. You sort of looked at James like he was crazy, letting him know how you felt that he had fans,
made art that sells, and was world famous, and that should feel like something to be proud of. You almost implied that the blue chip, contemporary art world isn't necessarily the end-all, be-all, and that you, at times, feel impaired by it. I believe this was at the afterparty at Daini Chikara Shuzoa, a rather tasty sashimi and boiled fish restaurant in Nakano. James Jean is a regular and extremely popular artist in your pages. Here he was, caught in the dilemma of not being able to enter the mainstream. And yet, he is unbelievably popular on Instagram and his work sells for high prices. He has his own particular strategy where he does not deal with galleries and sells his work directly. As he told me about his worries, I remember wondering if that very behavior was somehow contrary to the rules of the industry. It has been 24 years since Helter Skelter opened, and yet the wall between mainstream, blue chip contemporary and the emerging generation is quite thick. That struck me as strange. And then you talked with me at great length about that. JR was there, and he’s another artist who sort of redefined the rules while making a great name for himself in the art world. For me, it was like pillars of the art world, all from different parts of the world, discussing these issues of criticism and fame. When you were younger, did you feel
TAKASHI MURAKAMI JUXTAPOZ.COM
the need to be recognized, critically, as an artist, even if they were bad reviews? Was there a need to be written about in respected journals? Do you see that as something artists still really strive for? In Japan, what's lacking is high-quality criticism. That was the case then and is the case now. There are zero critics here who have immersed themselves in the fundamental question of "What is the contemporary art of post-war Japan?" As an artist, this provides a terrible lack of motivation and I felt quite lonely. Yes, I do feel the need for high-quality criticism. Even if the outlook on my work is negative, if the quality of the review is high, I accept it. Paul Schimmel’s Helter Skelter exhibition in LA seems to have had a big influence on you. Was the original Superflat show a response to that show, or were you coming from a different place? I feel like a Liz Larner sculpture in the same room as a Robert Williams painting is a good example of how you collect art. Helter Skelter opened at MOCA in Los Angeles in ’92, which was around the beginning of my career. It was the show that introduced the world to Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Chris Burden, Charles Ray, Raymond Pettibon, and others, all artists who would end up years later at the forefront of the contemporary art world. I loved that show and especially the fact that it featured artists who were not major names and were active mostly on the West Coast. It was the moment when I began to think that I too might have a license to participate in that world, and so I began to make works with that same feeling. Helter Skelter also included work by Robert Williams, and though that certainly caught my interest, it has not been one of the elements that has received a lot of closeup attention as the years have gone by. As for me, I have gone on to have the curator of Helter Skelter curate one of my own exhibitions, and have my work featured in print in Juxtapoz, so the world of my youthful fantasies has become reality. Meanwhile, I feel like the magazine and Robert Williams have refrained from playing in the overground of contemporary art and are still operating in the underground; in some ways, what you cover appears to be less art and more like subculture. But what is the line between mainstream and subculture? Art has always been concerned thematically with high and low, but what about mainstream and the underground? I guess, in a lot of ways, there seems to be this difficulty in defining what the viewer’s role is in the blue chip world, and that always bothered me. It’s almost as if appreciation of art, the act of enjoying it, means that you don’t count or that you are a nuisance to certain parts of the contemporary art world. I really like how museums are starting to be a lot more inclusive and smart, and really broadening their scope without weakening the institutional platform; including film, fashion, music and design into their programming. I think that sort of breaks down the barriers between perceived high and low cultures.
Even though I never saw it in person, the Superflat show really influences the way I think about Juxtapoz. I loved that indecipherable collection of high and low right next to each other and on a completely equal playing field in a museum setting. Painting, toys, fashion, products, all of it in one presentation. I like creating this feeling where on one page you have a blue chip, Gagosian-level, established artist, and then on the next, there is some underground graffiti artist or illustrator who’s never even had a gallery show. I think that is an honest way to look at art; more truthful. It takes into account people's sensibilities and experiences as they walk into a gallery or museum, acknowledging all the creative possibilities. I agree. Actually, I myself am astonished at the breadth of vision every month. I found myself wondering if it was even necessary to collaborate, but since you seemed daunted by that wall between you and high art, or better put, the depth and size of this channel that divided you, I thought maybe I could provide a rope across that channel. And that's really how we began this collaboration.
above Erin M Riley 09 12 12, 5 04 AM Wool cotton 100” x 96” 2016 opposite (from top) Otani Workshop Chiho Aoshima
Honestly though, the fact that I have been able to remain in the contemporary art world, or in other words, the high art world, is the result of a lot of coincidental factors coming together. It is mainly because I am a Japanese artist that the high art world opened its gates to me. Or if we look further, it was Paul Schimmel who selected Superflat for exhibition at MOCA and later curated ©MURAKAMI, which means that I entered high art from the Los Angeles, West Coast side of things. And yet, as an artist, the elements that form my foundation have a deep subcultural essence and a shallow high-art essence. In every
TAKASHI MURAKAMI JUXTAPOZ.COM
opposite Todd James Untitled Acrylic on canvas 5’ x 6’ 2016 left Austin Lee Smother Flashe acrylic on canvas 53” x 94” 2015 Courtesy of Postmasters Gallery New York City
TAKASHI MURAKAMI JUXTAPOZ.COM
sense, I have a Juxtapoz mind, so I was actually surprised to hear that the divide you spoke of still exists! Do you think the art world appreciate the themes of Superflat more now than it did when the namesake show first happened? I feel like people didn't realize how much their appreciation for art was aligned with the Superflat concept until you explained it to them. I feel like, in the last 20 years, the behavior of appreciating art itself has become more mainstream, and that is why our ways of appreciating it have changed. For example, now if you see a show at a museum you like, you can look up that artist's name, find them on Instagram, and then you find out that your favorite idol or singer also likes that artist, and that makes you all the more happy. In that environment, reviews and critiques are no longer taken into consideration.
lexicon. But I also really wanted artists who create work in the traditional arts in a new and refreshing way. I'm thinking of Ben Venom's quilts, or Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor’s sculptures, or Todd James’s paintings, or even how Trenton Doyle Hancock treats the comic, narrative medium. I didn't want everyone to be so underground that they needed a ton of background info, but I wanted people that pushed those core elements of our history. Most of the artists were unfamiliar to me, so I've enjoyed seeing the images and I'm really looking forward to encountering the actual work in person.
above JH Kagaku opposite Christian Rex van Minnen Coat of Arms Oil on linen 48” x 72” x 1.5” 2016
Juxtapoz x Superflat will be on display at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle, August 4–7, 2016. Artists selected to appear in the show include Chiho Aoshima, Urs Fischer, Kim Jung Gi, Kazunori Hamana,
You are so right. Maybe it’s the internet that sort of lets the casual observer make connections within the art world a lot easier, and sort of breaks down the barriers. I was thinking, when we were narrowing down artists for the show, that I wanted to mix styles and backgrounds, to gather a group of people who were either on the cusp or about to make that leap into that elusive gatekeeper, the contemporary art
James Jean, JH Kagaku, Friedrich Kunath, Takashi Murakami, Kazumi Nakamura, Otani Workshop, Mark Ryden, David Shrigley, Katsuya Terada, a selection from Toilet Paper Magazine, Yuji Ueda, He Xiang Yu, Zoer & Velvet, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Todd James, Austin Lee, Rebecca Morgan, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor, Paco Pomet, Parra, Christian Rex van Minnen. Erin M. Riley, Devin Troy Strother, Sage Vaughn, and Ben Venom.
TAKASHI MURAKAMI JUXTAPOZ.COM
ELISABETH HIGGINS O’CONNOR
THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER INTERVIEW BY KRISTIN FARR // PORTRAIT BY IAN BATES
IT SHADOWS AND HOVERS OVER THE VIEWER AND demands that one backs away from the work to take in its scope, but also, at the same time, up close, pulls the viewer into an experience of delicacy, specific intention, as well as a riot of formal encounters in the physicality and materiality of the processes that went into building the piece. —Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor There are no better words to describe the impact of a colossal Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor sculpture aside from her own. Her resilient figures lumber into the world with a powerful clash of juxtapositions, comfy in their awkwardness and inability to hide, sweet and scrappy, steady and wild; they’re just like you. For anyone who’s
ever had to bounce back or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, (e.g., everyone), these sculptures gently reach out and connect. They are alive with the history that made them, and their gestures suggest a triumphant rebound from whatever metaphorical pile of crap they’ve had to wade through. Constructed of familiar materials and towering precariously, you won’t know whether to hug them or run from them—an acute mirror of life’s everyday interactions. Currently, Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor is likely singing and dancing to the music in her Seattle summer studio as she works toward her new crew’s debut in our Juxtapoz x Superflat exhibition at Pivot Art + Culture. ELISABETH HIGGINS O’CONNOR JUXTAPOZ.COM
Kristin Farr: What are you making right now? Seeing your process always makes me think of the lyrics to that Tom Waits song... what is she building in there? Elisabeth Higgins O’Connor: Well, Tom Waits is definitely an influence! For this body of work, I have been working more from drawings and maquettes, building wood skeletal armatures and laminating foam insulation sheets into giant cubes, then carving them into the foundations for the bodies and heads. Previous work either accreted like a pearl, with bedding, cardboard and all manner of glues, drywall screws and paint, or were hollow, many-layered cardboard constructions, and had become prohibitively heavy, unwieldy, and after time, tended to deflate or deform during transport and storage. I normally work very intuitively, and will follow a form toward what it might suggest to me. Something that I perceive as dog-like might morph eventually into something sheep-like, for example. Because of the time-crunch, new materials and processes, this work is forcing me to factor in more planning and engineering than ever before. The styrofoam may be peaking through in places, but will get layered with stressed or processed domestic textiles, scavenged cardboard and goo. It’s an aesthetic of buildup and erosion. Is your use of the mule head shape mostly in relation to your fondness for Goya’s Los Caprichos? The mule characters from Los Caprichos have been imprinted on me and I’ve been building a mule-headed figure in my work on and off over the years, ever since my undergraduate time in the early ’90s at Cal State Long Beach. I have always seen its use in my work as a way to describe a hybrid, something caught between two worlds, belonging to neither. I invite cross-cultural, universal interpretations of mule-ness, of course. Was your recent sculpture of a mule creature falling down stairs a response to the space, or something else? A mule-headed figure falling down an actual or implied staircase is something that I have built a few times in the past year and a half, initially as an installation response to the staircase at Suyama Space, Seattle in 2015. For me, there is an embedded element of the personal in the work, via psychological readings of posture, gesture or expression, but in the past few years, the work has become increasingly, although oblique and opaque, more autobiographical in nature... so yeah, it’s something else. The latest iteration may have this character splayed and sitting at the bottom of an implied staircase post-fall.
opposite Studio view Seattle 2015 Photo by Ian Bates
Do you call your sculptures creatures? Do they all have names? I just call them “the work,” or sculptures! For many years, I referred to them and titled them No-Names, such as, NoName #10, Blue Arm. This was inspired by Elliott Smith’s early song titles, like “No Name #3.” Then the titles evolved into words like Until, Because, and Otherwise—connector words in language that might allow the viewer to come up with a before and after.
The work is titled less generically these days and uses song lyrics, my own poetry or internal monologue, and pop culture references. They are fragmented embodiments or containers of my influences, intuitions, anxieties and history. Do the sculptures tell you when they’re finished? How much of your process is spontaneous? There is a whole host of formal or conceptual considerations that need to be addressed before something is truly finished. Sometimes the work is “finished” because of a deadline! Sometimes there could be two or five “finished” versions of the piece layered and buried under what I’ve done. Art making for me is a process of finding and losing, finding and losing. I am happiest if both these events can be happening simultaneously in a finished work. The facial expressions are really important. When they read “right” to me, that part is finished. They need to elicit a certain pathos, and since I am generally using pretty clumsy, blunt materials to try to capture this, there is a lot of adding and ripping off of stuff. A piece is finished when it straddles a gap between opposing conditions; tenderness and the grotesque, lightness and darkness, sweet and horrific, and so on. In the early stages of engineering a piece, I am forced to be more logical. I build the armatures with lumber, a nail gun, chop saw, power tools and ladders, but once the wood armature is stabilized and steady, the layering of materials can start happening. This process is like painting or drawing for me, and I suppose I naturally fall into more of a flow state of invention, intuition and play, following the piece’s internal logic, and delighting in my own. There are elements of my practice that can be very satisfying for the zen and repetitive-task part of my brain, such as spending an entire day cutting floral motifs or stripes from stiffened bedsheets, or an entire day painting cardboard. There is a lot of preparation in getting to that spontaneity or state of flow. It is something that takes a while to build. It is not something that can be visited one day a week. It is about building a momentum with successive days, weeks and months with the work. I do think of your work like drawing or painting; your paint is cardboard and fabric. Sometimes the materials seem thematic. How do you choose them? I gather the fabric at thrift stores, and it is generally some form of bedding: sheets, quilts, pillows and afghans. There is an entire spectrum of texture, weight, pattern, fashion, era and color to be sourced, so there is a palette and an inventory of material. There is a language of the forlorn, the languishing, the out-of-step (style-wise and fashion-wise) in the castoff textiles. Like, really, who is going to buy that shit? That’s the stuff I gravitate toward. All the cardboard is found behind stores or on the street. Most of the paint is from the “oops” paint section at Home Depot or hardware stores, and then I might tint that with acrylic paint. Since I generally work on a number of pieces simultaneously, I try to set up contrast in each one. One may be very floral,
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clockwise (from left) Wanna Do Right, But Not Right Now Lumber, knit afghans, bath rugs, mattress covers, blankets, bed sheets, blankets, doilies, cardboard, packing straps, paint, paper, drywall screws, pins, acrylic matte medium, twine Approximately 7 1/2’ x 6’ x 7’ 2014 Fever to Tell (detail) Lumber, blankets, bed sheets, cardboard, paint, paper, drywall screws, acrylic matte medium, twine Approximately 8’ x 8’ x 8’ 2014 No-Name (Jackpot!) (detail) Lumber, blankets, bed sheets, knit afghans, bath towels, thread, twine, glue Full piece approximately 8’ x 6’ x 7’ 2011
topiary, fecund, and its neighbor will be composed of only striped bedsheets, then perhaps the next will be composed of only doilies, afghans and knit materials. As well, an emotional component in each one will begin to emerge differently; rage, heartache, despair... I do see it as drawing or painting: broad brushstrokes, graphic lines or pixels of color. Up close, a color field; step away, it comes into focus. I am doing a lot of restatement of lines or edges of forms and shapes with the material too. There is a lot of just looking at the work in the studio, having up close and personal scrutiny, affixing tiny elements with glue, thread or drywall screws, and then stepping back, walking around, or getting off the ladder to see how that passage “reads.” Do you make big work to create a physical impact, or do you just love it? I enjoy working, period, and I have been lucky to have gallerists, dealers and curators invite me to fill spaces. Could I work smaller and have the same impact on the viewer, and pack as much of a smorgasbord of content into the work? I don’t know. As the work decreases in scale, it becomes more precious, cute and doll-like, and I wonder about that. Does the small, cutie work diminish the power of the large-
scale work? I do welcome the challenge of returning to working smaller. It’s a time thing. The work that I am known for is large-scale, and has tended to be in the larger-than-life or twice life-size range, which is a disconcerting scale. It is a bombastic scale. It pulls on one gravitationally. Did you have imaginary friends as a kid? No! I have 3 younger brothers, we are all very close in age. We were a pretty bratty, rambunctious lot, we argued and fought a bunch, drew a lot together, made our own comic books, dug holes and built a treehouse among other adventures. We ran wild. Were there any children’s books that thrilled or terrified you? The original drawings by John Tenniel in Alice in Wonderland made me very anxious, very curious. They terrified me. That world looked intensely cruel. The illustration of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare shoving the sleeping dormouse into the teapot has stayed with me. It is so sadistic! And then my mother told me that the Mad Hatter had brain poisoning from the way the felt in his hat was cured. Ack!
We had that Time-Life Nature series and I pored over those, never got tired of looking through them. I loved things like Ripley’s Believe it or Not books and the encyclopedia. I was always reading things way beyond my years. I read Irving Stone’s biography of Michelangelo, The Agony and the Ecstasy, in fourth grade. I repeatedly read that. Also, all the Born Free books about the lioness in Africa, loved those. Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange in sixth grade, that was terrifying times a million, but I was fascinated with the language he invented.
I grew up and lived in southern California in working class neighborhoods for most of my life, El Monte, San Pedro and Wilmington, the L.A. Harbor. Right next to my grade school and junior high in El Monte was a 22-acre barrio called Hicks Camp. It was a dirt-street, farm laborer shanty town, torn down in the 1970s when I was a kid. I have very strong memories of looking through the school fence into Hicks Camp. It was a little island or vestige of rancho life encircled by our a barely middle class subdivision just east of LA.
I’ve interviewed you before, and you talked about shantytowns being an inspiration, as well as the idea of being marginalized. What makes you relate to certain communities and structures? First of all, I do not want to come off as someone who aestheticizes grinding poverty, but I do respect the ingenuity, absolute necessity and resourcefulness that go into building these structures. Making do with what’s at hand is a way of being that corresponds to how I work in the studio. I believe in a democracy of materials in my art making—materials that anyone can have access to. I save most of my floor scraps and studio detritus until I’m done with a body of work because the ideal scrap may be right underfoot.
I currently live in Oak Park, Sacramento, an area that was hit tremendously hard by the housing crash, foreclosure boom, and a surge in homeless encampments. A favela-style structure is not foreign to these neighborhoods where I’ve lived. It might be someone’s carport, shed or unpermitted home addition. I am translating my own surroundings. Perhaps they remind me of the cobbled together forts and two-story treehouse my brothers and I built as kids.
above Installation view Head in Hands, Heart in Throat, Tongue in Knots, Heart on Sleeve Suyama Space Seattle 2015 Couch skeletons, couch cushions, lumber, knit Afghans, bath rugs, mattress covers, blankets, bed sheets, cardboard, pillows, paint, paper, drywall screws, pins, acrylic matte medium, twine. Left figure approximately 12’ x 5’ x 5’ Right figure approximately 9’ x 7’ x 6’
As far as the concept of marginalization, there is an implicit social justice component in the work. The figures’ imperfections, the layers, describe a condition of being burdened yet burgeoning, peeling and covering, armoring
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above Installation view Head in Hands, Heart in Throat, Tongue in Knots, Heart on Sleeve Suyama Space Seattle 2015 Couch skeletons, couch cushions, lumber, knit Afghans, bath rugs, mattress covers, blankets, bed sheets, cardboard, pillows, paint, paper, drywall screws, pins, acrylic matte medium, twine. opposite Spill/Spell Suyama Space Seattle 2015 Lumber, blankets, bedsheets, cardboard, paint, paper, drywall screws, acrylic matte medium, twine, string. 10’ x 5’ x 4’
and exposure, disruption and mending, cloaking and erosion. On one of many levels, these competing aesthetic qualities are a place that I thrive in; a history of buildup and takedown. On a another level, this kind of visual language is the language of the street, of marginalized materials and brutal processes. They stand valiant, yet are gravitychallenged. They slump and trudge, despite whatever has happened to them. I would never claim that the work represents the pain, anxiety and struggle for dignity that actual marginalized communities have to live with constantly. But I attempt to invoke empathy in the push and pull of horrific versus endearing. I make sense of the world through a lens of cycles and circles. Through that lens, why do textiles hold meaning for you? I respond to the embedded concepts these castoff household textiles carry: domesticity, comfort, childhood, familial history, birth, death, sex and dreamtime. They are all found at thrift stores, so it is very inexpensive material. I like that part! They hold different sets of meanings for other people as well. I like that certain fabrics could be compelling or repulsive, depending on who’s doing the looking. Textiles can describe droopiness and gravity easily. I’m interested in that kind of physical language. I think about the connotations of what verbs could mean in conjunction with bedding like ripped bedsheets, or patching things out of necessity or fashion.
Your pillow pile drawings are unbelievable. What role does drawing play in your work now? Thanks! I had a studio right after grad school in an old gas station. It had a big space with two smaller rooms with large expanses of walls. I made sculpture in the big space, and hung paper up in the other rooms. I had berms of blankets, pillows and bedding piled up everywhere to put into the sculpture, and I had been making small drawings of thread and yarn and blanket scraps—the things that would fall to the studio floor—so I think it was just a logical progression that I started drawing the blanket heaps. Some of these drawings are small, rendered very tenderly in blue ball point pen, but there are also very physical, large-scale drawings, at least 80” x 100”, obsessively crosshatched in charcoal, chalk pastel and gouache. I have a desire to be really illustrative in my work, and the sculpture has been intentionally clunky, rough or awkward, so I think the drawing is a way to satisfy or dance with a certain crispness or clarity. I kind of see them as heroic portraits of really humble things.
Elisabeth’s new sculptures will be on view in Juxtapoz x Superflat at Pivot Art + Culture in Seattle from August 4—7, 2016. elisabethhigginsoconnor.com
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THE ART BELIEVER INTERVIEW BY EVAN PRICCO // PORTRAIT BY RAMIN TALAIE
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SITTING DOWN TO INTERVIEW DAVE EGGERS SEEMS LIKE a test of focus. There are the countless books and stories he has written, including his newest novel, Heroes of the Frontier, which I am happy to acknowledge, though we never got around to discussing it. There is A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, The Circle, A Hologram For the King, and You Shall Know Our Velocity, all of which I devoured as each was published. He conceived the influential McSweeney’s publishing powerhouse and the incredibly smart quarterly The Believer, and of course, spearheaded numerous tutoring and learning centers that he founded under the 826 National name. Not to mention, he has written major screenplays like Where the Wild Things Are. This just means there’s a lot we won’t get around to talking about. Dave Eggers is an artist. And not just the happy-accidentbecause-I’m-a-successful-author type of artist. Dave studied art, worked and curated in galleries, art directed magazines and books, and is a visual artist whose work shows up in fairs around the country. His career in fine art took off in 2010 at Electric Works in San Francisco with a solo show that contained the now iconic and quirky, humorous, almost existential portraits of animals and house pets accompanied by sayings and biblical proclamations fit for a highly literate Twitter universe. Consider a morose ox with the words “Let’s Get this Party Started” floating around its head, or a mouse commenting, “I have talked to the flowers. I find them pushy and superficial.” You stop and laugh, and then conclude, “Well, why wouldn’t the mice think that? Who am I to know what the ox really feels right now?” I bring some of this up to Eggers as we sit at his new tutoring center, 826TLC, in downtown San Francisco, on a warm summer afternoon. We talked about his admiration All images courtesy of Jules Maeght Gallery San Francisco right Workers VII Oil on canvas 144” x 84” 2016
for Robert Williams as a rebellious draftsmen, his work one summer in a blue chip gallery in Chicago, and how his McSweeney’s titles pioneered connecting contemporary literature with the likes of Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama and other heavyweights of the art world. But mostly, we talked about how art shaped his life, and how regardless of where being a best-selling author takes him, there is a still a studio in his garage where he can paint. Evan Pricco: This is a funny antecedent to the interview, but did you know I was an intern at The Believer in 2005, right before I started at Juxtapoz? I was probably the worst intern you guys ever had. Dave Eggers: Yeah, we have a monument... it must have been you. But then you took over Juxtapoz, so you couldn’t have been that bad. I just wasn't good as an intern. But I remember wanting to work there because McSweeney’s and The Believer were really one of the first publishers to help bring those worlds of art and literature together. You guys had Chris Ware doing a McSweeney's quarterly and books with Marcel Dzama. That was a really nice kickstart for how art and artists have become so integral in twenty-first century culture. The Believer was conceived before we had one word inside. Charles Burns was hired before we had a magazine yet. I did a sketch on a piece of paper, a tic-tac-toe board, basically, a grid of nine boxes, and I thought, “You want faces on the cover of the people inside, but what if it was illustrated?” Charles Burns is one of the great stylists of all time with such a muscular style that can hold up on coated stock and any kind of printing technique. The ink is so heavy. I wanted it to be able to compete at 50 feet away from other titles. So we asked if
he would do some covers, and I mocked it up with some of his old portraits. Luckily, he said yes. He joked always about how many portraits he'd done, and how maybe the work was mindnumbing at a certain point. But we were always trying to give work to illustrators and comics artists because that's where I'd come from. I was a cartoonist for SF Weekly for a lot of years and so I got to appreciate just how hard it is to do it well. But when it comes to the special McSweeney’s packaging, or The Believer, you want to be able to ask Chris Ware, or Tony Millionaire, or Burns, “Hey, would this be fun for you? Do you want work like this? If not, don't worry about it, but we're here. We'll run you anytime you want.” Was it a way for you to connect with people that you liked? Yeah! But that's why you start magazines, right? With Might magazine way back when, we had an entree to reach out to David Sedaris in 1994, right after Barrel Fever had come out, and say “You wanna write something?” We had the entree to say hello to Rick Moody, David Foster Wallace, people that were only six, seven years older than us, but we loved their work, and maybe could run something that they had sitting around in a desk drawer. So a magazine is a way to curate a group of people you admire, do something together with your friends to create a mini-curated world of taste.
You guys kind of turned it into an art piece, too. McSweeney's? Yeah, it has that element. Because with Might magazine we tried to be good designers and sometimes we were. With McSweeney's, we would do everything. I had worked in glossy magazines for a while, and I just thought, I'm gonna put every constraint possible on the basics. One font, uncoated stock. And work within that and make it a little more pure. And then the art major in me, I guess, was like “Well, what if every issue was unique?” And at that point, it was being printed in Reykjavík, so I would go out to Reykjavík, walk the floor... Wait, hold up, why Reykjavík? So, this is a good story. I was living in New York and walking around the galleries in Chelsea, and I wandered into some gallery. I can't remember which one. And it was a show by this guy named Peter Garfield, who was a photographer, and I bought the catalog and I was looking at the pictures in it, which were these homes flying through the sky. In the catalog, it explains how he would pick up prefab homes, like with an industrial crane, a helicopter, lift them up 2000 feet in the sky, drop them to the earth and take pictures of them while they're flying through the atmosphere. I tried to get in touch with him. I wanted to write something about it. I love that heroic scale of these artists like Christo who
clockwise (from top left) Heather Has Sent You A Link Acrylic on wood 12” x 12” 2015 There Have Been Complaints About Your Smile Acrylic on wood 12” x 12” 2015 The Era of Suave is Upon Us Acrylic on wood 30” x 20” 2016
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would do things on that level. He had me out to his studio in Williamsburg and as we were walking around, I said, “I love what you're doing. I can't believe the scale you're working in, and it must be so incredibly complicated to hire a helicopter and hook that up.” In the catalog, seriously, there are photos where he's got a crew with hard hats. He said, “You're kidding, right?” I said, “What do you mean? Those weren’t real houses, and that catalog wasn't a real catalog?” He then picks up a model from his table, and all the images were these little tiny models, like train houses from a model train set. He said, “I just throw them in the backyard, I take a picture.” But I'd been duped and really happy to have been because it was genius how he had created an alternative universe of how he made his art. In the catalog, there was a fake interview with an Italian curator, there were fake pictures of him with his crew, fake helicopter, everything. But one thing that really made me think was that the catalog was printed in Iceland. I thought, that's weird, they can't print in Iceland, there's no trees in Iceland, there's no pulp in Iceland. There's around 300,000 people in Iceland, you would not think that book printing would be a priority as much as say, dentist or plumber. I found their rep in New Jersey, told them I was thinking about printing a quarterly journal, to give me an estimate; and he gave me one that was really competitive, and I'd always wanted to go to Iceland. It gave me an excuse to go back every three months, so I spent a lot of time in Iceland. But every time I was on the floor, I would see some other book that they'd done. They printed all the bibles in Iceland. So, I would say, “Well, how much does it cost to do this? Like foil stamping, how much does it cost to do that ribbon marker? How much does it cost to do a three piece cloth package with a tip in and die cut.” Well, it would be, “That's two cents, that's ten cents.” All of these techniques I hadn't seen in years, and rarely seen applied to regular books. But all together, the guys on the press and those of us in Brooklyn, would come with a lot of ideas. And we had a blast, inventing new forms and saying, “What if there were four different covers for a 5,000 unit run?” I learned so much on the job with experimenting and having a printing partner who tells you, “We can do this, we can do that.” The guys on the press are excited to have something unusual. We got ourselves in a spot where we actually did need to reinvent every time because our subscribers expected it. We would just sit there and think about how we had an issue that was going to be bound in glass; then it was plexiglass, then that didn't work. An issue that was held together with magnets. I do think we have hit a Renaissance moment in the last ten years; there's been a lot of publishers, because of the rise of e-books, they've had to fight harder and make the object more beautiful and more want-able and unusual.
above (from top) Has Been Auditing Your Dreams Acrylic on wood 24” x 24” 2015
Read Your Diary Has Some Suggestions Acrylic on paper and wood 22.75” x 18” 2016
I think it’s that “collectible” part of publishing that may never go away. Then you've had this corresponding rise in attention paid to graphic design, typography. As with magazines, it's the same thing. When you see a magazine read and recycled after a day
or two... these things are hard to make, as you know. There's nothing sadder than when you have two months of sleepless nights of putting a magazine together and it's deemed not worth keeping, the object isn't worth keeping! I've seen stacks of Believers in people’s houses because they feel like it's perfect bound, it's nice looking, it would be unfair to recycle it… For your art, and I mean Dave, the fine artist, not the author or publisher, when you were studying art in school, did you feel that you hit a point where you thought you couldn’t paint as a profession? When I was young, I was sent around to have extra enrichment training, because when I was seven or eight, some teacher said, “This kid knows how to draw.” I was sent to the Japanese watercolorist who lived down the street for private lessons, and then I was sent to the somebody who would teach me drafting, then I would go down to the Art Institute of Chicago as a teenager to take night classes. Did you like all these courses? Yeah! It's all I wanted to do, all I did all day is draw. I would do other schoolwork and writing because I had to, but I would keep drawing. I went to college as an English major
but I knew I was going to study painting. I was a painting major for two years but was lazy as all hell, and I was around a lot of wayward peers; nobody knew what they were doing. It was the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, it wasn't like the place for... we weren't at Parson's or anywhere near that. It was no fault of the school because they had a good art museum and a real program.
above (from left) Worker VI Oil on canvas 48” x 72” 2016 Worker III Oil on canvas 48” x 60” 2016
I really find it hard to believe you were lazy. I was doing other stuff. I ended up working for the school paper and was a cartoonist for them, and a photographer and designer. I loved that. And I'd go to my studio and hack something out that was very mediocre, but enough to get away with, I guess. At a certain point there was a professor who said, "What are you doing? You gotta get serious. You’re gonna have to get a portfolio together so you can get your MFA." What's an MFA? I had no idea, I'd never heard this before. I have to do two or three more years of painting? I couldn't be in school three more years, I wasn’t gonna do that. And at the same time, I was like a lot of arts students of that era, with this real conflict between those of us that wanted to do figurative, representational, maybe even narrative art, and the professors at that time who were mostly Abstract Expressionists.
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opposite Worker IV Oil on canvas 48” x 60” 2016 left (from top) It Is Time For Jennifer Acrylic on wood 12” x 9” 2015 The Sky Lied Because the Sky Lies Acrylic on wood 21.5” x 14.5” 2015
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And with that, a painting MFA, sometimes your only career path is gallery representation, which is fascinating but really hard to do. Whereas in getting some figurative chops, illustration and design, for example, there are options for you that are a little more approachable. Exactly. When I was twenty and still a student, I interned at a gallery in Chicago in the River North area. It was on the fourth floor of a building, so it was like a destination to get to. I hung shows and got to know a little about that world. After we hung the show and had the opening, we would sit among the art for the next four weeks and I remember one month, six people came in. I was there every day; I saw six people. There would be a lot of days no one would come in. At one point, they didn't have anything for me to do. I was their first intern. I volunteered. I was a terrible intern. So they took three jars of screws, bolts and nails that were all mixed together, and asked me to make one jar of bolts, one of screws, and one of nails. So that's what I had to do for two days, sort out bolts and nuts and screws, and I thought, isn't this such a glamorous life? Something's wrong here. This is not what I want. That gallery went out of business, and I thought if I was going to stay in that world at all, it had to be much more democratically accessible, it had to be on the street level, interacting with actual people. Did you have a reluctance to come back to art? Did you wonder if, because you made a name for yourself doing these other big things, people would accept you for being a fine artist? Was there part of you, too, that thought, “This is what I like to do. Who cares if people have an opinion or a preconceived idea of what I should be doing?” Reluctance to do a gallery show? Yeah. It wasn't until eight years ago that Noah Lang at Electric Works invited me to do a show. I think I had done some drawings and started talking about a show. I had these paintings of animals with random text attached. You can be very precious about yourself and your name, but I’ve never had that problem. I feel like if you can keep things separate and keep the quality of your writing the same, and take that as seriously as you ever have, and then over here, do the best as you can possibly do with your artwork, maybe it will be allowed. It's funny to think about it that way: “Oh, will they let me do this?” But it's hard to turn off that self-doubt, that feeling of “is this appropriate?” When I'm sitting there painting an egret or a prairie dog and writing random text on it, on the one hand, it's the purest joy I know. Creating a form. Unlike a book that's four years in the making, this art piece is done in a day. You can do something in one sitting, and there's a satisfaction in that. As long as it doesn't suck. There's nothing quite like it. And then there's that other voice that says, “You're 45 years old, this is not an appropriate use of your time.” But then you have to remind yourself, if it makes you happy and you find joy in it, and it makes people happy in some way, you can't overthink it. If somebody laughs at one of those and finds it interesting and wants to put it in their home or bathroom, it makes me beyond happy. Animal first or phrase first? I have a lot of phrases that I like that I will write down and attach to works later on. But usually with dogs, there's
something about them that speaks, because they're all so stupid looking in the best way. I love them, but they do have an inherent lack of dignity that makes it funny to put something dignified next to them. “Not a factor in 2016” with the Tibetan Spaniel is so good. I’ll get on a kick where everything is political, or they're all biblical. It’s the first time I’ve ever worked in series. I would always study artists and see these twenty paintings in a certain series, and thought how I'd never done anything like that and didn't really know how it worked. I would always do one-offs, but now I see the fun in a series, see how one thing can lead to the other. I just staged a photo shoot near Rodeo Beach with a bunch of friends dressed up for construction because I have more construction worker paintings in my head. I have no idea why, but it feels like it’s something I have to do and want to do, and whether anyone likes them, I don't care. We had a talk in the office recently about the animal work, how they are feeling our burden, feeling what we've done and how fucked up we are. The animals are just talking back to us, repeating our dumb sayings, left to try and understand the crap we’ve done to Earth and ourselves. It started as a conversation between them and God. They're frustrated with their frailties and limitations, and either they're complaining to God, or they're quoting the bible back at him. If anybody had reason to be upset, it would be them because they get a raw deal every which way. But then a lot of it is how sometimes you can get at the ridiculous elements of humanity,
like the idea of saying aloud or writing to your fellow man, “Marcus has sent you a link.” Those sentences that we have to speak on a daily basis that are so embarrassing. But if you put it with an animal... It makes it ten times worse. Was painting more and more part of a confidence thing? With writing a book, it was the old Malcolm Gladwell thing; however many times I get to the finish line, I feel like I know the course. So it doesn't mean that everything will always work out, but when you start something, you know the work ahead. It's generally true with painting now. Maybe not with this construction series, but when I sit down to paint a dog, I know how to do it at this point. I keep laughing because I can't get over the fact that it's something I'm doing. But there's my 18-year-old self that expected to be doing this, though I imagined creating big tableaus with a lot going on. It was a combination of the same kind of assemblage of characters, so the construction worker stuff is the closest thing to what I thought I was destined to do as a teenager.
opposite (from top) Let’s Make A Mistake Acrylic on wood 16” x 20” 2016 Bear Pedicab Kinetic Sculpture 2016
Dave Eggers is creating kinetic sculptures as part of the ongoing Juxtapoz art program at the Outside Lands Music and Art Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, August 5—7, 2016. His newest novel, Heroes of the Frontier, is at bookstores now.
below Bison and Worker Oil on canvas 144” x 84” 2016
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CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA
PHANTASMACABRE AT COREY HELFORD GALLERY INTERVIEW BY GWYNNED VITELLO // PORTRAIT BY DAVID BROACH
A PLATTER OF MAHOGANY BROWNIES SITS on the table, cut in perfect squares, the aroma inviting. How simple to pick one up and enjoy that honeyed, unctuous chocolate. But as that sweetness lolls around your mouth, the slow kindling fire of ancho chile warms its way inward and there’s more bite to the bite! That Camille Rose Garcia, she’s a clever cook, the mistress of bitter and sweet. Sloeeyed maidens and kitties cavort, birds prey and pray. Like Snow White’s apple, sugar and symmetry might transport you to another state of mind, might disclose thorns among roses, pollution in the babbling brook. Mother Nature’s valerian might transport you to Camille’s own magic kingdom. CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA JUXTAPOZ.COM
Gwynned Vitello: When I moved to a smaller house, I didn’t know where to put all my books. I ended up boxing most of them, but did find space in the shelves for the so-called children’s titles. Would you have made the same choice? Camille Rose Garcia: This is a poignant first question. When I was around six or seven, I was an avid collector of illustrated children’s books. We had to move and my mom was out of town. The person that moved us ended up throwing out my entire book collection, and I remember, even at a young age, wanting to enact a great revenge. I felt like my life was over. I think I’ve been collecting children’s books ever since. Have you always had the capacity to remember dreams in narrative form, not to mention, in color, and do you really draw from that ability? I have always lived a bit too deeply in my dreamworld. Sometimes it’s hard for me to define any difference between a dream, a daydream, and actual reality. When it all becomes just part of memory, it blurs together, and in this way, I think my life is stranger as a whole than it might appear to a casual observer. The paintings that I make often are trying to reflect the way I remember a dream. Full of layered symbols, not always a tangible solid atmosphere, and telling me something that I might not really understand at first. I feel like this is the language of the subconscious. This is very ancient, and we as a species need to really start listening. This might require withdrawing from the reality created by modern civilization, which wants to keep humans splashing around in the shallows of our minds like toddlers. If we are to evolve, we need to listen to a more ancient language.
the family. Did you have a routine, and what was your favorite ride? Obviously, you must’ve been a Fantasyland frequenter? Well, it was a couple of miles actually, but yeah, at the time, if you were local, you could go after 4:00 pm for, like, six dollars! I was already completely obsessed with the classic Disney animations, Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, and the idea of being fully immersed in that world was something I found completely captivating. It was like I was going to this wonderful land to visit all of my closest friends, that’s how I felt about it. I think I felt more a part of that world than the one outside of the Magic Kingdom. I needed that escape into such a world, which really helped me survive the terrible banality that exists in the suburbs. My routine is still the same! I always head straight to Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion because they are next to each other, and I love to start the day with a pirate battle. Then the Jungle Boat cruise because I love the feeling of the boat on the water—and you are actually outside going down a river! It feels really relaxing. My two favorite rides from childhood are actually gone. Journey Through Inner Space was fantastic, and I actually believed they shrank me into a tiny person for the longest time. The original Submarine Voyage I loved because, of course, the Giant Squid. There’s a theory that creatives need time off to really get to the business of being creative, maybe doing something
opposite Ghost Moth Serenade Acrylic and glitter on wood 36” x 48” 2014 below Fade Into the Dark Stars Acrylic and glitter on wood panel 36” x 36” 2016
Being the child of artist parents, maybe being creative has always been a way of life for you. That has to infuse a child with the impetus, or even the confidence, to make visual art. I do feel very lucky that both my parents were creative in their careers. I grew up mainly with my mom, who was a single mother and a muralist and sign painter. I was drawing from the time I could talk, and that’s what I spent most of my time doing. I was pretty obsessed with cartoons and animation, I was fascinated with the idea of drawn pictures moving and coming alive. My father was a filmmaker, and I think that sense of narrative, of storytelling, comes directly from him. When I was around six or seven, we lived with my mom’s boyfriend who was an extremely abusive alcoholic. That’s really when I absolutely used my imagination for survival purposes. I would create entire worlds to inhabit in order to escape the one I was actually in. I think this is why I find the writing of Philip K. Dick so compelling. He a depicts these parallel universes, worlds within worlds, and the characters are always escaping from one world into the other. Legend has it that you lived a block away from Disneyland. For most of us, it was, at most, a once-a-year visit with
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completely different than the usual day to day. Do you feel that you need a change of venue? Absolutely. I really enjoy playing music when I’m not painting. I play guitar and bass, and not having pressure involved for it to be that good allows it to feel very liberating. There’s something about the pressure of having to be great that really can inhibit any creative risk-taking, so I think it’s important to remember the pure joy of creating something while trying not to overthink it too much. I also spend a lot of time in nature, hiking and swimming. That’s actually the best for creativity, to be able to relax the mind. Does living deep in the redwoods, as opposed to life on the 405 and Santa Monica freeways, affect your creative process? Do you think someone just starting out needs the fellowship and feedback that comes with being in art school or part of the gallery scene? Yeah, I still miss that camaraderie and feedback of my LA friends, who are all amazing creative people. I think it’s really, really important as a young artist to find your creative community, your tribe. It’s too hard to just be an isolated hermit. I love the people I know in Los Angeles, but I find the act of just getting around the city has become extremely oppressive, stress inducing, and anti-creative. The mind has to be relaxed to come up with good ideas, so for me, it’s become easier now to just visit. I love living immersed in nature, but it does sometimes get a bit lonely.
Do you keep sketchbooks, and are they special to you? Do you have a certain size or type of paper that you prefer? I love keeping sketchbooks, and I have kept all of them in the archives, some I even have from high school! I like a sturdy watercolor paper, I hate flimsy paper. And the size I like is maybe an 11 x 17”. I’ve tried smaller, more portable sizes, but I actually don’t like to draw around people, so there’s no reason to carry it in my bag. My favorite sketchbooks are the Holbein series, made in Japan. They have a spiral binding and cloth ties, and the paper is perfect. Why aren’t you comfortable drawing in front of an audience? Is this common with artists? I feel like it becomes more of a performance rather than an exploration inward. There’s also an expectation, especially at signings with the long line of people all watching, to draw quickly and perfectly. My quick sketches are usually kind of sloppy and not really intended to be a permanent part of someone’s book. So I end up feeling badly, as there is an expectation. It’s so pressured, it just doesn’t turn out to be enjoyable. I know Mark Ryden doesn’t like to draw in front of people either. So I’m sure I’m not alone! I even have a hard time having an assistant in the studio, or anyone helping me, as I feel like even a simple question will pull me out of my imagination, back into the tangible world. Like writing, it’s such a solitary pursuit for me.
“SOMETIMES IT’S HARD FOR ME TO DEFINE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DREAM, A DAYDREAM, AND ACTUAL REALITY.”
How did you get your first exhibit, and how was the experience? Do you approach and enjoy them differently these days? My first solo exhibit was at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in 1999, but I had actually given up on the art world prior to that. I graduated in 1994, and struggled with poverty and just trying to survive, so I actually put art-making on the back burner for awhile. It was only after I didn’t give a fuck about making it in the art world that I had any success at all. That’s why I don’t put too much importance on whether or not anyone is paying attention to what I do, because I can’t really control those things.
opposite Valerian Day Dream Acrylic and glitter on wood 36” x 36” 2016
I am always humbled and grateful to be able to have an exhibition, to be interviewed. It’s a great feeling to know that people care about what I do, and I am just still very lucky that I can do this as a career. There have been some shaky years lately, where I would think, this is crazy, I should get a normal job with a paycheck.
Is it possible to describe how you make a painting and how long it takes? I know you start with your sketches, and are they then guided by color, theme—or one of your dreams? It’s quite a process. Usually I start with writing about themes I’m interested in exploring. Then I kind of choose a palette of symbols and characters to use for the paintings. Then I do a ton of sketches. I have piles and piles of sketches by the end of things, and I’ll start to put together the layouts of the paintings. But sometimes these change drastically in the process, so I don’t get too attached to the pre-sketch. The color palette really comes last, after everything else is figured out. I usually work on one series of paintings at a time, and I often have 10 or 15 started. I like it when one informs the other, so they start working together like a band. They really take on a life of their own and start communicating, and I’m just like the orchestrator or something! I hate working on just one, if feels lonely and sad. As for how long they take, that’s kind of unquantifiable! They take all of my life, all of the hours.
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left Garden of the Toothwitch Acrylic and glitter on wood panel 48” x 48” 2016
above Someone’s in the Wolf Acrylic and glitter on wood panel 120” x 48” 2016
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above Revenge of the Lolita Phantasma Acrylic and glitter on wood panel 96” x 72” 2016 opposite The Constant Haunting of My Teeth Acrylic and glitter on wood 24” x 36”
Because he’s often cited as one of your favorite writers, I looked up William Burroughs and laughed in spite of his quote that said, “After one look at the planet, any visitor from outer space would say, I want to see the manager.” You’ve been a voice for the environment your whole career. Will that always be a theme in your work? Yes, the main theme of my work is our relationship as humans to nature. I really feel like something has been lost as humans, that we lost that connection and it’s destroying us. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as separate from nature. That kind of thinking is suicidal. Tell us about your show opening at Corey Helford and any new projects you have coming up. I’m really excited about my show, Phantasmacabre, at Corey Helford Gallery! These are some of the largest paintings I have done, and I really enjoy working on a larger scale. I like the feeling of a viewer being totally immersed in the painting, taken over by it. This is also the most personal work I have done. I’m using a language of fairytale symbols to tell a personal story, one of battling inner demons and ghosts. I’m also abstracting the pictorial space a bit by using repetition and symmetry. It kind of puts you in a weird trance looking at it.
I’m also really excited about the book I wrote and illustrated, The Cabinet of Dr. Deekay. It’s a surrealist, dystopian tale that takes place in a hospital, and has elements of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Roald Dahl, three of my favorite writers. It was inspired by a terrible reaction to the drug Ativan, which I was given prior to having gum surgery. In this same week, I had 11 root canals done, and was scheduled for gum surgery on the Friday. They gave me this pill that sent me into a strange acid-trip amnesia hell. I had waking nightmares for weeks after. This book is also being being developed as a stop-motion animation by the brilliant animator Martin Munier, who worked on Coraline and James and the Giant Peach. It’s really exciting to finally be working in an animated format. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine, and the story is exactly what I want it to be! I can’t wait to unleash it upon the world.
Camille Rose Garcia’s Phantasmacabre will be on view at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles through August 20, 2016. coreyhelfordgallery
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THE DELIGHT OF DISCOVERY
INTERVIEW BY GABE SCOTT // PORTRAIT BY JAMES ARZENTE
ROBERT HARDGRAVE JUXTAPOZ.COM
W below Washington Gouache over acrylic toner transfer on panel 24” x 24” 2016 opposite Winter Gouache over acrylic toner transfer on panel 24” x 24” 2016
HEN ASKED ABOUT MY PERCEPTION of Robert Hardgrave’s work and imagery, I remember something he said about painting and process that always rings true: “It becomes an exercise in movement and a dedication to discovery.’’ Over the last several years, I’ve watched his paintings go through a series of changes, grand, mesomorphic configurations that seemed to smolder and waft among extraordinary gradients and tonal palettes, giving way to something new. Detailed brushwork that evoked the subtle emotions began to manifest in sharper edges. A transition to working on burlap would see the brush take a barbed, grittier approach, signifying a change in navigational direction through the universe of the abstract and the figurative. What he produced at the next juncture would have been fascinating to watch in timelapse, akin to watching the buildup and teardown of two buildings, side by side. One, being slowly disassembled, its elements salvaged and recycled, then carried next door to the new structure, where many
of those older components were utilized in totally different ways. At the same time, the new structure still maintains the presence and character of the old, bridging the transition. A stylish new edifice built on a new foundation for thematics and gestural expression has been completed and is ready to be unveiled. A fresh framework, built on Bauhausian doctrines, has helped to form a new visual language. A rejuvenation of practical skills, elements of industrial tools and a new approach to the artist’s principles by incorporating printmaking, collage, and photography, merged to become Hardgrave’s intuitive superhighway. Gabe Scott: Are these more recent works of yours collage or a product of printing? Robert Hardgrave: It’s an acrylic toner transfer of a collage. I build the collage to scale with photocopies of drawings and photographs and all the leftover bits. I remix all of my work into this process, and I am often surprised. It has a lot more possibilities, which I find exciting. You are working with somewhere around 20 different panels? Usually between 20 and 27. Have you already completed the residency program underneath the West Seattle Bridge? Yes. I’m part of the Duwamish River residency. This will be our fifth year. It’s really a dozen friends spending time together by the river every year. It’s definitely been an eye opening area to explore. It’s a super fun site, but also extremely beautiful. What is your association with the residency other than being a participant? Well, a former studio mate began it with a friend and I was invited along with a dozen other folks to try it too. That’s how I got involved. There are no formal reasons why we do this annually, but we are being able to enter more of the industries down there. I find touring steel and concrete plants fascinating and exciting. I have learned to look at things with much more consideration as a result of this yearly excursion. The collage work is a really interesting transition from your older style of painting. It’s allowed me to build suggested narrative but remain abstracted, much like my earlier work, which also had narrative with a lot of characters. The transfers allow me to invent rather quickly, which is useful in generating ideas. Do you feel you had reached a bit of a plateau with your older style? I began focusing on collage more and it revealed other possibilities. The older techniques are still there, but they
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have changed through the process. I like to think of what I do as a distillation of a lifetime of learning. I move through the process hungry for more. Do you feel as if you were almost working backwards to some extent, as in a deconstruction of the process you had been working with? Or was it more starting over from a different point and tearing down some of the elements and techniques to begin anew? Exactly. Taking risks instead of relying on a look that sells. How does it feel to be working in monochrome after using such a vivid palette for so long? I love black, white and gray to make a picture. Sometimes color can get in the way of an otherwise strong image. Using a photocopier to generate content is why this happened.
Do the Xerox pieces carry any sort of linear or nonlinear narrative? There’s not really a narrative at all; repeating elements and the utilizing of figures can make it feel like there is one. There could be a storyline there, but once I’m finished with it, others have to decide. Has it been a long time since you’ve done much figurative work? No, I’ve always been doing figurative stuff; it just got kind of hidden. The figure comes up a lot in what I’m making, and that’s just kind of how it goes. I did a lot of figurative stuff in the early ’90s when I was learning how to draw from a live model, and it all just stuck with me. It’s just another thing I can bring forward out of the past. That was 20 years ago when I was making those drawings, and they’re still there.
Is the upcoming Gallery 16 show the largest exhibition of these collage transfers? I know you mentioned you'd shown some of them in both Seattle and Spain. Can you convey how you've seen the work grow during that time? In retrospect, is there anything particularly unique about this exhibit, perhaps compared to the others? I had a big local show last year at Studio E where I debuted the large-scale transfers. I also made a 48-foot scroll that was displayed on a plinth down the center of the gallery. My new work at Gallery 16 is pushing back towards painting where the transfers are being further obscured with paint. Within making transfers, I am finding some new territory, but it's too soon to really tell if it will stick or I'll move on to something new.
I’ve always felt your technique has the strong influence of calligraphy. Is that something that interests you? Definitely. It’s fun to paint with a flat brush. The brush automatically makes calligraphic marks, so I’m just working with its tendencies.
above Shrine of the Battlecry Gouache over acrylic toner transfer on canvas over panel 48” x 18” 2016
How do you navigate the balance of control or unconscious flow when it comes to the relationship between surface and applicator? I choose to work intuitively until I find something to describe, painting over things until the image feels right. I learn more this way. In terms of the relationship between your brush and surface, how do you find the type of brushstrokes that are appropriate for particular works? Do you feel as if each
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below Stance Flashe and acrylic toner transfer on paper 21” x 38” 2016 opposite (from top) Jamon Acrylic toner transfer and paint on paper 205” x 22.5” 2016 Untitled Acrylic toner transfer on Tyvek 96” x 72” 2015
stroke is specific to each piece, or do they manifest in multiple places? That's a good question. I work intuitively. The marks are like a bag of tricks. I've collected these tricks by learning new things about materials and tools. Some of my tricks have been around for years and are constantly reappearing, but exploring different techniques and media helps to add more variation when necessary. I move slowly and pay attention to each mark as it's being made, being careful to find the ending of the movement, and decide when and how to stop. Explain to the non-painter the development of an envisioned piece into an actual work. Does your mind operate in a particular order? Painting for me is an adding and subtracting game. I work intuitively until I find something interesting. Then I develop it to see if it is logical for what else is happening. The process of adding and subtracting can
take a long time before I find the proper thread. For me, painting feels like playing chess, minus the anxiety. Do you see it as a progression through decreasing possibilities? Is there a specific system you follow for guidance? Well, not necessarily. I have pulled work back from the dead by learning something new and applying it to great success. So I feel there are possibilities that never diminish. If something isn't working, I move on to the next and try to remain open to other avenues that I may not have even explored yet. Once I discovered the power of collage, my world was forever opened to accepting failures as unfinished work. Anything can be reused and reclaimed in some way, and often is reconfigured in a way I would never have imagined. For someone one who isn’t familiar with your work, how would you describe your visual language? My approach to making art is mostly letting the work dictate what can happen, following the material and letting the tools do what they do. I enjoy applying myself to different media, and it all feels comfortable to me. What kind of flexibility and variations of color palette are you dealing with in the toner part of the process? I’m not using color toner copies, so I am limited to either black, white or grey. Any color I introduce is by adding paint to the surface before the transfer or after the transfer. You can use color copies, but I prefer the black because I just love the way it sits on that paper. It’s not quite shiny, but not quite matte either; it just has a beautiful look. Were you looking to really flatten out the plane of the image when you started this process? Compared to my earlier work, yes. Laying paper and paint over each other to describe space is where my mind is. I refer to medieval tapestries for their way of making space. That's what I'm trying to achieve. They seem more interested in the focus of the stories than creating some sort of illusion. Tell me more about your interest in medieval tapestries and the kind of spatial references you mention. What about that vehicle do you find particularly compelling? Medieval pictures don't use linear perspective which I find elusive and distracting in reading the narrative. To describe the flattened space, they place objects in front or behind, above or below each other. I prefer to compose a picture in this way to activate a suggested narrative and allow the negative areas to play a role too. How would you explain the dynamic involving your conscious and subconscious, as well as the improvisational element of your practice? Is there an emotional component in your exploration with collage and related media? I had a bout of lymphoma back in 2003 preceded by a kidney transplant. When I was in the hospital, I found
my drawings were describing how I felt. I wasn't telling a story but rather the drawings were giving me hope for the future. It was around that time that I made the commitment to give myself to doing what I love, drawing. Circumstances at the time allowed me to not worry about a paycheck and I could focus on making things. That was the best decision of my life. Since then, I have maintained that idea to find what the work is telling me instead of forcing my will onto the picture, and it allows me to find understanding and peace within the process. In regards to the toner transfers, it has opened up so many more possibilities so that I am able to make anything and use that in the making of a picture. For instance, I use photography to generate material for collaging. If I photograph something interesting, I can bring it back to the studio and play with it. Then, while I'm using the photocopier, I can work intuitively, manipulating the copies until I come up with some of the strangest things. I prefer working without intention until I find something worth developing. You have stated in the past that your paintings "are meditations on the unpredictability of life.â€? How do you feel that mantra has evolved in conjunction with your work and practice? The statement still applies today. It means I will take what happens as it comes; negative or positive. I am looking for unpredictability. If I know the outcome, it can kill the drive to continue till the finish. I imagine that operating with creativity based on improvisation requires a degree of trust in oneself, a certain intuition. How do you navigate challenges like emotional stress or self-doubt while holding true to your creative faith'? Working in this way has taught me that there are no wrong answers. Failure is a teacher. The only thing left to do is trust myself to create imagery that is honest to who I am. Stress and self-doubt are natural human feelings. For me, I just work through them until those feelings are overpowered by the excitement of what is being made. When are you are satisfied with your level of clarity, your stated "upon later reflection" moment? How does your meditative approach govern such a dilemma? I can see how that would be confusing. Knowing when a painting is complete can be difficult at times. I am not sure how you would describe this feeling of knowing when something is finished. Maybe I use this word too much but it remains intuitive. Sometimes it's easier to identify the failure and move on having learned something new. Looking backwards into a previous painting can sometimes reveal new discoveries that were not obvious during the act. In that way, I feel I can find more understanding of what the work means to me.
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TILTING THE BASIN NEVADA STATES OF MIND
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HE COVER ON A VHS COPY OF THE 1997 movie Nevada shows a solitary woman wandering along a sand-swept freeway, framed by sagebrush and asphalt, a classic image of the area, largely desert and semiarid. But the first European explorers of the region, the Spaniards, called it Nevada, which means snowy, because of the white capped mountains. And so, in many ways, it truly is the Silver State. The Great Basin formed as a result of the Pacific plate pulling away from the continental plate, the crust stretching as blocks broke loose and dropped to form mountain ranges and 90 basins (or valleys) that flowed inland and, in time, filled, teeming with rich sediment. The exhibit, Tilting the Basin, showcases this bounty, as over 30 artists who live and work in Nevada define the land. Opening in Reno at the Nevada Museum of Art and later in Las Vegas, it pours forth thanks to co-curators Joanne Northrup and Michele Quinn, respectively based North and South, who know their way and share clear visions of the road ahead. Gwynned Vitello: Joanne, coming from the San Jose Museum of Art and Santa Clara University, both identified with Silicon Valley, what attracted you to the Nevada Museum of Art, which is geographically associated with Lake Tahoe, ski resorts and cowboys? How have your viewpoints or expectations changed, and what do you bring from that to this show? Joanne Northrup: As a curator, I respond to the community in which I am based. In Silicon Valley, my focus was on artists of the Pacific Rim, and the technology that pervades that region. I curated the first survey exhibitions of the work of Los Angeles-based digital animation artists Jennifer Steinkamp in 2006, and the New York based light sculptor Leo Villareal in 2010, which came to the Nevada Museum of Art after opening in San Jose. The city of Reno might be considered the “gateway to Burning Man” given the proximity of the Black Rock Desert where the event is held every year. Leo is arguably the most celebrated “art world” artist who shows his work at Burning Man in the context of his camp, Disorient. When we first began working on his survey exhibition, Leo and I bonded over the fact that both of us began attending Burning Man in the 1990s.
previous spread Timothy Conder, Nick Larsen and Omar Pierce I Wonder If I Care As Much (Protagonist) Plexiglas, packing tape, vacuum-formed plastic, digitally printed fabric 2015
In some ways, it seemed like a natural progression that I would come to Nevada after having such a positive experience with Leo’s show at the Nevada Museum of Art. I was attracted by the leadership at the Museum, specifically by the fearless, ambitious director, David Walker, who’s from Los Angeles, where I had also lived and attended graduate school. I was also attracted by the intellectually curious staff and unorthodox ideas being produced by the Museum; it’s a place with drive and grit. Curiously, during the Great Recession, the Nevada Museum of Art doubled its operating budget. I thought to myself, “There must be something
going on there …” And I came to find out. Within two years, I had curated Late Harvest, an exhibition that juxtaposed cutting edge contemporary art made with taxidermy with traditional wildlife paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth century. Quite a change! Being in Nevada has refocused my interests and priorities. My work on Tilting the Basin began with a challenge from David Walker—he asked me one day whether I could identify ten contemporary artists making accomplished work in Nevada. Michele Quinn has been a great partner in curating this exhibition because she has a deep understanding of the Las Vegas contemporary art scene. Yet we approached the selection with similar criteria, since we are both regularly exposed to the best international art through frequent travel to visit museums and galleries, and attend art fairs such as the Venice Biennale, Documenta and the like. Michele, In your case, I’d imagine that moving from New York City back to our childhood home of Las Vegas must have involved a professional and personal kind of adjustment. Did you find a new appreciation for Vegas, after 11 years in the national epicenter of the art world? How did you seek out artists in this modern, relatively new city—only incorporated in 1911? Michele Quinn: Moving back to Las Vegas was challenging but exciting on many levels. There was a definite “culture shock” from the New York art world, as there would have been no matter where I would have gone, as nothing compares to New York. But looking back, I can appreciate that there was a small but strong burgeoning art scene, with a close network of artists and people looking to support the arts and create something good. People were excited about what we were trying to do, bringing high level, internationally renowned artists to the cultural scene. Artists were naturally drawn to us, just by the nature of the work we were showing. Eventually, I started to hire many of them as art handlers and gallery assistants, as they were the best people to have in the gallery and explain the work being shown to the general public. Many of these artists are in our exhibition, including David Ryan, Shawn Hummel, Brent Sommerhauser and Matthew Couper, so the relationships have remained strong over the years. I usually ask them who they think are the best artists in town, since artists are the best resources for other artists. However, the list of studio visits (28 in Las Vegas alone) for Tilting the Basin grew beyond those I already knew, and we were excited to see and learn about many new artists in the Las Vegas area that I had somehow not been introduced to yet.
Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada will be on view at the Nevada Museum of Art from August 5, 2016–October 23, 2016.
Las Vegas and Reno are easily accessible, yet still remote suburbs of Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. This proximity provides permissive environments to make the art you want to see without the prohibitive costs-ofliving those neighboring cities demand. In addition, there’s a groundswell of optimism surrounding the arts in Nevada. Perhaps it is the North/South romance brewing or merely the way scenes come to fruition, but Nevada feels like a community pushing for its artists, collectors, curators, thinkers and tastemakers to claim this point in time.
above Stack #5 Acrylic on MDF 15.5” x 20” 2014
right 418 W. Mesquite-3 Acrylic on expanded PVC, high-density urethane and polyester resin 34” x 36” x 1.75” 2015
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When I returned to live in Nevada I began to spend time kayaking at Washoe Lake, a way of quieting my mind and reconnecting with a more natural environment. After a few summers of morning paddles, I started to see brown and black volcanic rocks on the beach and thought that working with rocks in some way might help me to connect my art-making process closer to my life and Northern Nevadaâ€™s environment.
above and right Details of No installation 1988-1994
Home means Nevada. I feel very fortunate to live and work in Las Vegas, the place where I was born and raised. I get to make work and be around my family and friends, which inspires a lot of the work I do. The more I travel, the more interesting I find Las Vegas, a city built to attract people from across the globe, so no matter where I travel I seem to see glimmers of home.
below The Valley of Mexico from the Santa Isabel Mountain Range, after José Maria Velasco Paper and glue on board 86” x 64” 2016
right Family Fiesta: Double Negative Video installation 2015 Photo by Mikayla Whitmore
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Living in Nevada has a sense of openness or freedom for me. I think this is partly to do with the vastness of the landscape and also the rapidly changing community of Reno where things are not completely set in stone. This allows me to take risks and experiment without being afraid of failing. I also do not feel compelled to make work that fits into what might be considered trendy or hot in a large urban area. Living here allow me to be truer to the work I want to make.
above 2067 II SE – 2167 II NE Paper 150” x 12” 2016
right 6359, 8718, 11284, 4531, 9143 Thread installation 2016
left Behind Lone Mountain Mixed-media 30” x 36” 2015
Space is what interests me most. Nevada has a lot to offer. From the outskirts of town, where I live, one can examine the composition of Las Vegas and its relationship with surrounding landforms. There are endless variations of color and light, depending on exact location and time of day. Through painting I frame the modern West; exit ramps serve sunsets-to-go and mysterious bluffs quietly exhibit the beauty of perspective from the grocery store parking lot.
An interesting part of living in Nevada is that it seems to be the equivalent of living in more than one city at a time. There are many different currents flowing, and if you can find the energy, you can hop over from one stream to the next one. Being able to find work in a variety of fields is critical when one dries up. I’ve worked as a stagehand, a set builder, a professor, a studio assistant, a coordinator, an art handler and an artist — in many cases, all at the same time! Similarly noteworthy is the scale on which things can be accomplished here, the overhanging notion that anything can be done, It’s tangential, but important that most of my gigs are behind-the-scenes, so I can see how many parts come together to create an ambitious whole.
right Untitled Silver and copper point drawing mounted on 100% rag Crescent Hot Press Watercolor Board 16” x 20” 2014
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T R AV EL I N S I D ER
WELCOME TO SEATTLE
MARY IVERSON IS OUR TOUR GUIDE IN THE EMERALD CITY Photography by Shane Bush, except G.Gibson Gallery by Gail Gibson above Capitol Hill Rainbow Crosswalk and mural by Read More Books opposite (clockwise from top left) Lighthouse Roasters Mary Iverson’s mural in SoDo Frye Art Museum AJ Power’s art The Hideout True Love Art Gallery and Tattoo
I’VE LIVED IN SEATTLE ALL MY LIFE, AND I WANTED to share with you the places I visit most often to see art; venues that are quieter than your usual big city art museum, and galleries where you can experience the art at your own pace, minus the crowds and the glitz. —Mary Iverson Phinney Ridge The enthusiasm for coffee in Seattle is infectious, and the best place to partake in this caffeinated culture is at Lighthouse Coffee Roasters on Phinney Ridge. The folks at Lighthouse consider their work to be a noble calling, and your beverage will not disappoint. While enjoying your supremely delicious cup of espresso, you can appreciate the artwork on the walls, with monthly shows curated by local artist AJ Power. Because the café does not have Wi-Fi (they prefer for their patrons to interact with one another and with the art), you can be in the moment and enjoy the good company. AJ curates work that is generally eclectic, sometimes wry, sometimes strange, and always with good craftsmanship. Capitol Hill After you are sufficiently caffeinated, head over to the diverse and inclusive Capitol Hill neighborhood, where you
can cross the street on a series of 11 rainbow crosswalks. Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray rolled out the crosswalks before the 2015 Pride Parade, and the city pledged to maintain them for years to come. As you traverse the network of rainbows, you will also encounter many fantastic murals, made possible by the organizing efforts of Urban Artworks and The Seattle Mural Project. If you are in town on the second Thursday of the month, you can partake in the Capitol Hill BLITZ! Art Walk. While you are out, be sure to visit the great folks at True Love Art Gallery and Tattoo. True Love began as an artisan tattoo shop, but co-owner George Long expanded the business to show the work of artists he admired, providing a much-needed venue for indie art in Seattle. The reputation of the gallery has grown, as much for the intriguing art shows as its great vibe on Art Walk night. According to George, “Everyone on the Art Walk winds up here at the end of the night because we have the best DJs and snacks!” But it’s not just the nightlife that keeps people coming back to True Love, it’s the sense of inclusiveness and the positive energy of the space. As the surrounding neighborhood becomes more gentrified, the shop maintains its identity as a stronghold of the city’s original LGBTQ roots.
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T R AV EL I N S I D ER
clockwise (from top left) G.Gibson Gallery Louise Bourgeois’s work at Olympic Sculpture Park
Several blocks south of True Love, you will find The Frye, one of Seattle’s lesser-known museums, with surprisingly edgy exhibitions, free admission, and a classy outdoor café where you can grab a bite to eat. While at The Frye, don’t miss the back room that houses their permanent collection. Displayed salon style in ornate gold frames, the 140 paintings in this room offer a uniquely gaudy display of sumptuous color and masterful painting technique. While we’re on the topic of salon-style displays, you can check out the floor-to-ceiling array of paintings at a bar called The Hideout, a discreet destination that is dark, decadent, and a bit off the beaten path. Established by artists Greg Lundgren and Jeff Scott, it features a rich décor of crystal chandeliers, a mahogany bar and velvet drapes that will make you feel like you are lost in the Golden Age. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, you can try the “Andy Warhol.” It’s a cosmopolitan served with a polaroid picture of yourself, taken by the bartender. Pioneer Square A collection of high-profile galleries give a heartbeat to Seattle’s Pioneer Square, home of the first Art Walk in the USA in 1981. Most approachable among these is G. Gibson Gallery,
which started primarily as a photography gallery, then evolved to include contemporary painting and sculpture, inspiring collectors to mix it up with all aspects of expression in their acquisitions. Gail (the “G” in G. Gibson) is a fan of offbeat works with humor, providing balance against the often serious world of exclusive gallery viewing. Belltown The crown jewel of Seattle’s art scene is the Olympic Sculpture Park, situated at the north end of the working waterfront, with magnificent views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and Mount Rainier. You can bike through the park, stroll around it, or set up your picnic blanket and stay awhile; it’s free and open to the public year round. Be sure to have a seat on one of Louise Bourgeois’s eyeball benches so you can consider the meaning of her fountain, Father and Son, whose cascading waters alternate their height every hour to cover one figure and reveal the other. And finally, because you are in one of the more magnificent places on earth to watch the sunset, do so (if it’s not raining). You can relax on that eyeball bench or picnic blanket and take it all in.
Ed Ruscha has long been drawn to the subject of the American West and its role in our national mythology. Through more than 80 works in a range of media, this exhibition explores Ruscha’s commitment to depicting the spare, evocative, occasionally absurd landscapes that ﬁrst inspired him as a young man and that still compel his work today.
Presenting Sponsor: Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Exhibitions. Curator’s Circle: Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund and The Harris Family. Supporter’s Circle: Anonymous, Mr. David Fraze and Mr. Gary Loeb, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Peggy and Richard Greenﬁeld, and Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Presenting Events Sponsor: Ed Ruscha, Standard Station (detail), 1966. Color screenprint. FAMSF, museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund. © Ed Ruscha
JUL 16 – OCT 9, 2016
T R 6 1 0 2 L A V I T S E F
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International Street Art Symposium
NUART PLUS 8, 9, 10 SEPT
EXHIBITION 11 SEPT â€“ 16 OCT Opening Night 10 September
WHAT WE ARE READING
FONTS, FLANDERS AND FREEDOM
WHY FONTS MATTER BY SARAH HYNDMAN
It would be so simple if this review could be reduced to one sentence: Why do fonts matter? Because they elicit emotion? Because they evoke time and place? Because they subliminally brand an entity? Because fonts message you in ways you don’t even understand. All of the above and more. Sarah Hyndman goes beyond the aesthetic pleasure of fonts and typography for someone in the graphic design world and gets to the root of how font choices affect everyone’s daily lives. “Becoming consciously aware of the emotional life of fonts can be entertaining and ultimately give you more control over decisions you make,” she writes in the introduction. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of beautiful things to look at throughout the book, but you also get an understanding for why certain choices are made. It’s like workable philosophies for your aesthetic self. —Evan Pricco gingkopress.com
HIERONYMUS BOSCH. COMPLETE WORKS
This summer, Germany and Spain celebrate the work and life of Hieronymus Bosch in a series of exhibitions and events, including costumed parades, at the 500-year anniversary of his death. Can’t make it to Europe this summer? No problem. Taschen has produced a remarkably thorough look at the master painter of dreams in Hieronymus Bosch. Complete Works curated by Bosch expert, Stefan Fischer. The book explores in depth his most famous painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and even includes a 43-inch fold-out spread of the work. Also included are his earlier works which, at first glance, seem to be traditional religious renderings, but even in these, Bosch could not contain his imaginative mischief. As the book progresses into later years, Bosch completely cuts loose, exploring the corrupt morals of society and the dark realms of human psyche in every corner his compositions. —David Molesky taschen.com
LET HER BE FREE ICY AND SOT: STENCIL ARTISTS FROM IRAN
Just as you are about to walk under the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, there is a rainbow-dripped mural with black-and-white silhouettes of children, all looking to the sky with optimism and wonder. It wasn’t until some time later, watching Iranian brothers Icy and Sot working on a complex, structured mural at Nuart in Norway, that I put two and two together and realized that is was this duo putting a major stamp on the street art scene across the world. Icy and Sot grew up in Tabriz, Iran, skating around the city, like so many kids around the world, and becoming acutely aware of the unique power of graffiti and street art. With a solo show made in NYC in 2012, they were granted visas to leave Iran for the first time. As Jesse Chen writes in the foreword, “Their migration continues a legacy of underground Iranian artists fleeing the cultural policing of their homeland for a future where they may create art and live free of restriction. Let Her Be Free is a culmination of the duo’s early career with murals and work from around the world. A first chapter, indeed. —EP lebowskipublishers.nl
Marc Scheff Solo Show
SASHA IRA Solo Show
THE TEMPEST Group Show
Haven Gallery . 155 Main St., Northport, NY havenartgallery.com . firstname.lastname@example.org . 631.757.0500
PRO FI L E
DRAWINGS AND THE DAILY GRIND Photography by Todd Mazer Lexington and Allston Massachusetts 2016
DRAWINGS OF EVERYDAY LIFE ARE WEIGHTED WITH universal feelings, musings, and overheard conversations. No everyday activity escapes the pen of Russ Pope, an artist and commentator who makes subtle, drawn observations on social quirks and culture. These diaristic drawings are most recently featured in his self-published book, Life Lines, and his apparel line, the THURSDAYMAN. Thursday is his favorite day of the week. We needed to know why, so we consulted with The Pope just before he launched a book tour in Tokyo. Juxtapoz: Why do you like Thursday so much? Russ Pope: Because Thursday is the day before Friday, man. Who are your favorite kinds of people to draw? The people who look different, dress different or are peculiar. These are the people who catch my attention. Sometimes itâ€™s the crazy or interesting things people say that drives me to draw them. I hear some amazing quotes out in the wild. Whatâ€™s a recent example? "Don't do it! Don't you do it!" It was a girl to a guy on the train. They were both hammered, and the girl was telling the guy not to vomit on the train!
Do you draw people from memory, imagination or photos? All three actually. I shoot photos of people and places sometimes that I use as reference later. I often use images or memories from my past, but the most interesting is drawing from my imagination. I sometimes create characters to tell a story or illustrate an idea. Do you sketch people on the train? Sometimes I draw people on the train. More often, I will take a photo or make a mental note of what I have seen on the train and draw it later. Why do you focus on faces and upper bodies? Faces are the best story tellers. You can tell a lot about a thought, mood or idea by looking at a face. The body language of the torso conveys a lot about attitude and emotion. How do you take your coffee, and why do anthropomorphized coffee pots recur in your work? I start each day with a cup of coffee while I make a drawing. Coffee is the first thing I do after I stumble out of bed. I like dark roast coffee with cream and sweetener and sometimes a little chocolate. The coffee or tea pots, cups and mugs in the drawings are fun to make and they make me laugh a bit. They remind me of old animations I used to enjoy as a kid.
Who are some other frequent characters in your work? My family, myself, the Thursdayman, the California quail, coffee cups, skateboarders, cyclists, artists and surfers all show up often. Name some artists whose work you feel could have a dialogue with yours. Nat Russell, Rich Jacobs, Yusuke Hanai and Jay Howell. I like the characters and gestural nature of their work. I have worked on projects with them in the past and I know that conversationally, the characters we make can live alongside one another. What are your favorite things about Massachusetts? I love the foliage, the variety of trees, the color, the seasons, the different bodies of fresh water and the clear sky. I like the people. They are smart and authentic. The proximity to Vermont, New York and Maine is also a plus. Since you grew up in California, what are some major differences you notice between the coasts? Did moving
change what you draw? The biggest difference for me is how serious people are in Massachusetts versus the funny and laid back people in Southern California. I miss that. The ocean is radically different. There are new people and places here to document, so that has changed some of the subjects in my work, and the exposure to a more urban landscape has affected what I draw. But life and world situations impact my work more than geographic location. If your work is social commentary, what has it mostly been commenting on lately? I've been drawing a lot about the outdoors because the weather has changed and I've been spending a lot of time there. I've also been commenting on how busy life is by making drawings to remind myself to take time to enjoy being alive. I've also been making some drawings encouraging people to get out and get busy. Get after whatever you do. Be aggressive about being productive. Part of this is in response to people telling me they don't have time to do stuff they want to do. Put down the remote and go do something. Life is short.
PRO FI L E
Do you imagine what the party scenes you draw sound like? Yes, those big party scenes are loud, noisy places with people talking and interacting with each other. Often, the titles of these pieces tell part of the story. What are some examples of titles with clues about the image? I use the titles as descriptors such as Stop and Have a Sniff under an illustration of a guy smelling a flower arrangement. I also use them as captions that are sometimes direct quotes with an accompanying illustration. Other times, I have a thought that is expressed with a main image that represents a thought, like "please" under a drawing of a guy throwing a peace sign wearing a peace shirt. I drew that right after the Orlando shooting. Peace, please—for real. We also wanted to ask about your coin drawings. What's the significance of the coin as a symbol for you? I like coins, not for the monetary value, but for the art on them. It's fun to make them and wrap messages and images into a single circular composition. It delivers all the components of a short story in one small drawing. I noticed you drew a couple tributes to Bill Cunningham. Do you feel a connection to his approach to photography? I do feel a little connection in that I'm absolutely an observer of people in the wild. I do capture their images and share them (the drawings) as well. Obviously, we're using different mediums and he captured fashion trends, while I'm usually capturing commentary. But I will say what pulls me in initially are people's appearance or clothing. What I like most about Bill Cunningham is his lifelong commitment to his craft and his work ethic. I'm sad that he has passed but happy to have been able to have been a fan while he was alive. What are you up to this summer, and what’s coming up next? I have a show and some book signings in Tokyo for my book, Life Lines. Then I'm showing at The Antonio Colombo Gallery in Milan in September, Needles and Pens in San Francisco in November and closing out the year at AKA in Portland. Keep a lookout on my website for new the THURSDAYMAN gear. Life Lines is a nice collection of your work. How did the book come about? I usually describe Life Lines as my life in pictures, or a visual diary. I make at least one drawing every morning when I get up while drinking coffee. The book is 160 of my favorites that I've made over the last two years. None of them are very developed; they're quick drawings that I share in the morning on Instagram.
What is a pet you would like to have but never will? A cat. The rest of my family is allergic. No cats for me, but I love them. They are hilarious. What’s the last song you sang aloud? "Something about England" by The Clash.
THINGS WE ARE AFTER
SIT, PLAY AND LOOK GOOD
CLEON PETERSON CASE STUDY DAYBED BY MODERNICA Fine art doesn’t just have to hang on your walls. You can sit on it, put it on your living room floor, take a nap upon it if you want. And if you want to slumber with the beautiful violence that is a Cleon Peterson daybed, Modernica has you all set up. This summer, the modernist furniture company teamed up with the Los Angeles artist on an iconic furniture piece, creating a dichotomy of luxury and brutality rarely seen in home decor. A juxtaposition, indeed. modernica.net
BRYAN NASH GILL WOODCUT MEMORY GAME With his untimely passing in 2013, Bryan Nash Gill’s exquisite and stunning Woodcut series has become both a unique examination of the passing of time and an intricate reminder of the power of nature. Gill’s relief prints, what he described as “impressions of the raised grain of wood,” made for a wonderful book. This fall, Princeton Architectural Press has turned these woodcut images into a fantastic memory game, with 26 pairs of distinctive woodcut prints that emblemize both the beauty in Nash’s work as well as the power of the natural world around us. Memorize the rings, win the game. papress.com
VOLCOM STONE MADE DENIM COLLECTION, SEASON 3 Like anyone of good standing, we abide by our denim jeans. And like any societal member of the twenty-first century with an eye for craftsmanship and sartorial sensibility, we like our denim to be composed and created with quality materials. Volcom introduces their popular Vorta fit in a dark Indigo as part of Season 3 of the Stone Made Denim Collection, going right to the source with legendary Cone Denim, which has been making fabric in North Carolina for over 125 years. Using Cone Denim’s Conegard treatment to repel water and moisture from spills and chills, these are your new favorite pair. volcom.com
S I EB EN O N L I FE
SIX PACK WITH MEL KADEL
STAYING SMALL, LIVING LARGE
MEL KADEL CREATES RICH, HIGHLY-DETAILED MIXEDmedia pieces that explore power struggles and exude a sense of optimism and strength. I've followed Mel's work for the better part of a decade and I'm always impressed with how cohesive her output is. The world she creates is both beautiful and treacherous—mirroring most of our day-to-day existence. I recently hit up Mel to knock back a quick six-pack (of questions).
now. The larger the page gets, the more it feels like I’m strangling it.
Michael Sieben: There's a connection with nature present in much of your work. How does living in LA affect you as an artist? Mel Kadel: I lived in Philly and NY before coming here, so nature and flowers weren’t on my mind too much. This place has drastically shifted my imagery and color palette. Maybe it’s the giant lemon tree outside my window.
Do you feel like there's still a male bias in the art world? Do you think there are fewer opportunities for women artists? I’ve never once felt that my opportunities were restricted in the art world because I’m a woman. If I haven’t accomplished something, it’s up to me to prove that I can. But as women, we are often nudged into a separate category from a young age, so we must always continue to nudge back.
Would you ever consider moving? If so, what would be your dream-studio scenario? The longer I live here, the more I love it. I can’t imagine a better home base. After moving around a lot when I was younger, it feels really good not to have one foot out the door.
What advice do you have for younger artists who are trying to navigate this confusing path? In this crazy time of social media and soaking in so much of each other’s work and process, it’s really important to get lost in your own work and allow your own decisions to take shape. Jumping in and out of art trends might lead to brief moments of relevance, but there is nothing more interesting than really making it your own.
Most of your pieces are pretty intimate in scale. Do you prefer spending time on smaller pieces or is it out of necessity based on your working space? Working really small gives me a sense of freedom right
To date, what's been a favorite project you've worked on? Having shows is my favorite: committing to a really large body of work where people can interact with the pieces in person. I usually add some 3D elements into my exhibits which allows me to take a break from tiny pens and drawing.
above Gentle Nudge 7” x 9.5” Pen & Ink, Collage 2016
Buy tickets at sfmoma.org
Snøhetta expansion of the new SFMOMA; photo © Henrik Kam
P O P L I FE
SAN FRANCISCO & LOS ANGELES
GUERRERO GALLERY, THINKSPACE GALLERY, SUPERCHIEF GALLERY
GUERRERO GALLERY 1 | Andres Guerrero re-opened his namesake gallery in San Francisco this past month, with a special exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based Hilary Pecis entitled El Verano. We don’t need to remind you that we are big fans of the new work. 2 | Hilary’s husband and Juxtapoz cover artist, Andrew Schoultz, with their son, Apollo, showing family support.
3 | Artists Matt Gonzalez and Andy Diaz Hope enjoying a Sunday afternoon in the San Francisco Bayview gallery.
THINKSPACE GALLERY 4 | It’s almost like they’re getting a band back together: Travis Millard came by the opening of Jeremy Fish and Jim Houser’s joint opening at Thinkspace in Culver City. Actually, this may be a band we want to see…
SUPERCHIEF GALLERY 5 | We were very excited to introduce our new friend and a favorite artist of the moment, Sarah Sitkin, but true to form, she gave us the mask-over at the opening of her new exhibition, Trifling Matters, at Superchief in LA. 6 | And, when you have crazy heads floating in an exhibition space, people are going to join in!
Photography by Alán González (1–3) Sam Graham (4–6)
P O P L I FE
HOUSE OF VANS AND CONEY ART WALLS
HOUSE OF VANS 1 | The House of Vans in Brooklyn hosted the final show of their Summer Series with a music by Converge and Quicksand and an art blow out with all the right people. Scott Ewalt’s massive collage wall with a curated selection of vintage NYC punk flyers was a highlight. Here’s Scott representing. 2 | Converge, metalcore at its finest.
3 | Quicksand, legendary hardcore style, letting it all out and holding court.
5 | Nychos has had a busy NYC summer, so it makes sense he wants to just need kick back and lean on his wall.
6| Buff Monster. Good shades, even better jacket.
4 | Joseph J. Sitt & Jeffrey Deitch’s Coney Art Walls project was even bigger this year, as some of the world’s finest mural artists stopped by to lend even more gravitas to the already legendary theme park. ESPO, HAZE, and D*FACE, all dressed appropriately . . . well, ESPO really dressed well.
Photography by Laura June Kirsch (1) Marc Lemoine (2–3) Joe Russo (4–6)
PER S PEC T I V E
GUNS N’ ROSES
ROBERT WILLIAMS DODGES A BULLET APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION WAS ORIGINALLY AN OIL painting conceived as fine art and not intended as popular album cover art. But eight years after it was painted, it found favor with lead singer Axl Rose of the band Guns N’ Roses. This was in 1987. There were questions regarding the painting’s moral and social violations, right from the beginning. I had cautioned Axl Rose about its use. He held steadfast, and since he was so adamant, I felt compelled to congratulate him and the band’s daring gall.
Finally, a print of the lurid album cover was placed inside. With this concession, the uproars died down. Later, the contested cover was reinstated back on the outside, but the moralists missed the switch.
As I predicted, “The moralistic feces hit the oscillator.” Not only did many domestic censorship issues arise, but national publicity filled the media, fourteen million albums worth.
Guns N’ Roses are currently on the Not In This Lifetime tour around
That was almost thirty years ago, and the image still raises people’s blood pressure. —Robert Williams
above Appetite for Destruction 1987
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