Inès Longevial Julian Schnabel Theresa Chromati
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Spring 2018 ISSUE 205
Swiss Perfection in the studio of Serge Lowrider
Studio Time James Jean’s Clean, Well-Lighted Place to Paint
18 The Report The Kandors Experience by Mike Kelley
22 Product Reviews SALT. Optics, Carhartt WIP and Excel Blades
24 Picture Book RFK, memory and The Train at SFMOMA
Color and Comfort by Calle Del Mar
42 Influences Silhouettes and Stories in Pejac’s World
Asheville’s Mountains, Murals, and Moonshine
134 Events Superchief NY, MOCA Tucson, LSU Museum of Art, Jack Shainman, Carriageworks
50 In Session Visual Development Developed at AoAU
54 On the Outside Art In the Ordinary
96 Franco “JAZ” Fasoli
Six Pack with Morning Breath
Book Reviews Wackers, Ballen, Bernhardt, Tal R, Skate Fashion and Artists Who Make Books
Sieben on Life
Miami, NYC, Copenhagen, Los Angeles, San Francisco
106 Rebecca Louise Law
142 Perspective RIP, Ed Moses
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Right: Inès Longevial, Summer I See You, Oil on canvas paper, 24” x 32”, 2017
66 InĂ¨s Longevial
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Juxtapoz ISSN #1077-8411 Spring 2018 Volume 25, Number 02 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 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
8 SPRING 2018
Cover: Inès Longevial in her Paris studio, Photo by Fiona Torre, 2017
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Issue NO 205 “I always wanted to be an artist, nothing else interested me.” I use this as a starting point for the Spring 2018 issue because rarely do we get such a succinct and simple declaration of intent that sums up all that will come after. I’m not sure it’s a case of arriving at a particular age myself, or maybe a few questions raised in an interview I did a few months ago with fellow writer/curator, Jeff Hamada, but I have been obsessed with the timeline in which creative people just sort of… go for it. They push away the societal pressure, or the ﬁnancial comforts of maybe being a doctor, lawyer or hedge fund manager to become what is at times the best thing to tell guests at a dinner party, and the most in need of explanation. I am an artist, and nothing else interests me. Spoken by Rebecca Louise Law, the London-based installation artist who you will read about later in this issue, these words echo in the interviews with Serge Lowrider, Theresa Chromati, cover artist Inès Longevial, recently-graduated art school student Abigail Muñoz, street artists Franco Fasoli and Escif, and even one of contemporary art’s most famed painters, Julian Schnabel. The interviews
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in this issue are about a certain kind of boldness in defying expectations. Regardless of the country of your birth, or how ingrained artistic culture is within your life, to follow through and actively participate in the arts as a profession might feel like an insane thing to tell parents, friends or teachers, math test in hand. I assume that more than 50% of the people in your life thought you were crazy if you did this. I’m sure people told Serge Lowrider that traditional and classic hand-painted signs were outmoded, a career of the past. I can only assume James Jean shocked a few family members when his love of illustration made him one of the most famous comic book artists ever. Inès Longevial could have continued to successfully focus on commercial art for the rest of her life, but a love of ﬁne art painting was such a constant exploration, she is now known widely around the world for her beautiful works. “I always wanted to be an artist, nothing else interested me.” It makes so much sense for so many artists.
would listen, but school structure, at times, can thwart such interests. Be an artist. Be a writer. I didn’t have that encouragement, nor do I think many people do. And so, sometimes I think it’s powerful that a kid from England wanted nothing else but to be an artist, and, 20 years later, created a breathtaking ﬂower installation at Art Basel like Rebecca Louise Law did. Artists make art because they can’t help it. Theresa Chromati, born in Baltimore, showed paintings at Untitled in Miami Beach this past December that ﬂipped perspectives and were some of the best works I’ve seen all year. Serge Lowrider saw the beginnings of the digital age take over design, and 30 years later, he’s running a studio producing some of the ﬁnest screen printing the world can buy. From Argentina to Asheville, this magazine will always celebrate the artists who defy trends and traditions. Enjoy Spring 2018.
It’s important to reiterate these words because I wish more people in my youth had told me to go for it. I seemed to be screaming it at anyone who
Inès Longevial, Sisters on the Beach, Oil on linen canvas, 118” x 79”, 2017
WHAT DO YOU SEE… AN AMOEBA? A MELTING EYEBALL? OR SOME RORSCHACHIAN BLOT? SHOW US. OR DON’T. IT’S ALL GOOD.
The Lagunitas Brewing Company • 1280 N. McDowell Blvd, Petaluma, Calif., USofA, Earth, Sol, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Space
James Jean A Clean, Well-Lighted Place to Paint My studio is an old home and art gallery originally designed by Frank Gehry in Los Angeles. The house was on the market for over a year—it was in bad shape and the neighbors were worried about it being demolished. I think it was waiting for someone foolish like me to come along and spend two years renovating it. My friend, the architect Dan Brunn, did an amazing job designing a beautiful, inspiring environment to work in, and that’s what I've been doing here for the past couple of years. Since I work from home, there's always a lot of activity around with visitors, kids, and the noises of a busy kitchen. Sometimes it can be distracting, but I ﬁnd that I need some kind of stress or resistance to keep my momentum up. I used to work in a huge, dark warehouse studio in downtown LA,
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frequently alone, and the fog of depression and inactivity easily settled in. In my new studio, there's a large pivoting wall that closes off my workspace from the rest of the house, but I can easily travel between the different spaces and alter the mood. I suppose it's like wandering between the different chambers of the mind. The studio opens up to a landscaped garden past a large, panoramic sliding glass door. Hummingbirds visit daily to drink nectar from the ﬂowers. Squirrels come by and nibble on bamboo shoots, and when it's dark, possums walk along the fence and set off the motion detectors, reminding me that I'm not the only nocturnal animal busy through the night. Even though the renovations are complete, I still need to ﬁgure out storage and organization. The space is still new, so I expect it will keep evolving
as the other members of the family learn to stop eating paint. Consequently, I'm unable to explore more toxic and hazardous techniques at the moment; but the current work is produced in a very immaculate and methodical way, so that hasn't become too much of a problem yet. My next solo show is called Azimuth and will be at Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo. Since I share the studio with my three-year-old son, I'm surrounded by coloring books, toys, and children's books from Japan and the US. The aesthetics of design for children has affected my paintings as I try to compete with the ultra-saturated colors and kawaii iconography that surround the studio. —James Jean Jean’s’ solo show, Azimuth, will be on view at Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo from April 6–May 3, 2018.
Studio photo by Brandon Shigeta
FEBRUARY 17 — MARCH 17, 2018
MARCH 31 — APRIL 28, 2018
MAY 12 — JUNE 9, 2018
D A N I EL AG D AG JOHN JA C O B S M E Y E R
K O RA LIE J A M IE A DA M S
KAI & SUNNY
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Mike Kelley The Kandors Experience Regarded as one of the most influential artists of his generation, Mike Kelley was a maverick in his explorations of the relationship between American low culture and elevated conceptualism. As the subject of one of his last projects, he chose to focus on the ﬁctional city of Kandor, which he discovered while reading Superman comics in his youth. As the legend goes, the city of Kandor, Superman’s birthplace on the planet Krypton, was miniaturized and stolen by the villainous Brainiac. The superhero ultimately rescued the tiny city, encased within a laboratory bell jar to preserve the Kryptonian atmosphere its inhabitants required, and brought it to his Fortress of Solitude for safekeeping as he searched for a way to restore it to full size.
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The iconic construct of Kandor had multiple meanings for Kelley. It was a metaphor for Superman’s alienated residence on the planet Earth, as well as an illustration of the imagined cities of the future. For the ﬁrst time ever, the entire series of work based on Kandor, created from 2006 to 2011, was brought together in the sprawling gallery spaces at Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles. This comprehensive exhibition combined all of the disparate elements of Kelley’s immersion into a conjured reality which inevitably led to his personal obsession with social isolation. Sadly, Kelley committed suicide in 2012 after battling depression for most of his life. Viewing the show induces a disquieting sensation that reverberates with a dark foreboding presence of the artist.
Upon entering, the viewer encounters an introductory assemblage of signs and objects centered around a proposed internet communication forum called Kandor-Con, a direct reference to the Comic-Con community. Kelley’s original concept was to fabricate a creative hub based on nostalgic imagination; however, the proposed gathering of like-minded fans never materialized. A collaborative sculpture of a metropolis, created from strips of white foam core, evolved during the course of the exhibition. Also dominating this ﬁrst room is a video loop of an actor portraying Superman reciting sections of writer Sylvia Plath’s lauded and lamented, The Bell Jar, a direct reference to the container surrounding the city of Kandor, and perhaps, an implied connection to the notorious suicide of
All images: “Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011,” Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2017, Art © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. All Rights Reserved / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Above: Kandors Full Set,Tinted urethane resin, glass, silicone rubber, acrylic, celluloid, polyurethane, medium density ﬁberboard, wood veneer, and compact fluorescent lights,Dimensions variable, 2005 – 2009
the author. Was Kelley relating a premonition of things to come—perhaps a foreshadowing of his own fate? The eeriness permeating the exhibition continues into the next room where enormous bell jars containing multi-colored silhouettes made of translucent resin are illuminated from below, glowing in the darkness. Borrowing from details in panels from the Superman comic book series, Kelley repurposed the utopian cities into his own striking interpretations. Since the design of the city was never copied in the same way by
the different artists who illustrated the stories, resulting in hundreds of different images of Kandor, Kelley chose 20 versions and created reﬁned cross sections as the basis for sculptures that alternate in shape and color. The ﬁnished vessels, hand-blown in Spanish glass, happen to be the largest ever produced in this manner. Appearing as jewel-like relics glowing mysteriously in the darkened space, they set the tone for the rest of the show. In other rooms, lenticular light boxes transform from one image to another as you move through a maze
Top left: Installation view, “Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011,” Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2017 Top right: Lenticular 1, Lenticular panel, lightbox, 29.6” x 45.25” x 3.5”, 2007 Bottom right: Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude), Mixed media with video projection, sound, 900” x 600” x 114”, 2011 Bottom left: Still from Superman Recites Selections from “The Bell Jar” and Other Works by Sylvia Plath,Video,1999
of industrial-sized gas tanks connected by hoses to glass jars, each one swirling with atmospheric particle storms. These air chambers refer to Krypton’s life-sustaining native atmosphere and the tenuous instability of Kandor. Wall-sized video projections depict the storms with sight and sound, as if to immerse the viewer within a container of breathable sustenance. In the next room, a constructed movie set is entered from “backstage.” Within the theatrical setting, a disturbing projection, based on a found picture of a high school play production, depicts
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wandering troll-like creatures stuck in a mindless limbo, immune to the forces of urban renewal. The omnipresent feeling of loneliness and longing lingers in perpetual purgatory. Kelley has brought together these seemingly incoherent connections to represent Superman’s conﬂict in dealing with his superior powers and unresolved identity issues. The last gallery, a vast warehouse space, is ﬁlled with the artist’s interpretation of the Fortress of Solitude. Here, Kelley constructed an ominous black lava-covered cave forming a molten diorama. A pair of enormous air tanks appear
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to supply air to a cavernous grotto containing a control room secreted within the conﬁnes of a sustainable apparatus nurturing the city. Another wall-sized video projection features ﬁve ﬂamboyantly dressed characters who prod, poke and torture each other, conﬁned to what seems like their own personal hell. The culmination of the journey ends in the discovery of a jewelencrusted crevice that radiates like a beacon signaling the remnants of a discarded treasure. The Kandor series does not ultimately uncover any deep, dark secret into Superman’s
superiority, but instead reveals the inherent in a projection of human fantasy. The fate of Superman and his co-dependent Kandorians remains spectacularly unresolved. Ultimately, it’s an irrational enlargement of a minor, mostly unknown detail from a famous comic book, its cryptic layers of “context” opening a window into the tormented psyche of a notable artist’s soul. —Gregg Gibbs Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011 was on view at Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles in January 2018.
Top: Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude), Mixed media with video projection, sound, 900” x 600” x 114”, 2011 Bottom left: Kandor 7, Mixed media with video projection, sound, Dimensions variable, 2007 Bottom right: Installation view, “Mike Kelley: Kandors 1999 – 2011,” Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2017
Things We Are After For a Sharp Spring
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Excel Blades K18 Grip-on Knife Beyond just a household arts and crafts project, the right knife blade for your art studio is just as vital as a good paintbrush. Look through the pages of this issue: from collage compositions to hand-crafted sign painting, you need a sturdy blade. Our favorite on the market is Excel Blades’ K18 Grip-on Knife, the strongest, most minimally designed artist-centric cut tool you will ﬁnd. Why do we like it so much? Your blade won’t fall out every time you want to make an angled cut, as Excel has damn near perfected the secured placement on the K18. excelblades.com
22 SPRING 2018
Carhartt WIP x Vitra Toolbox This is like the Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett of smart collaborative duos that make sense. Carhartt WIP, known for their tough and timeless brand of work and streetwear, and Vitra, Switzerland-based industrial design specialists, team up in perfect utility for a smart toolbox. Considering most of your working desks at home, studio, or office are either a mess or in need of something that prescribes smart Swiss design tactics, this cypress green Arik Levy-designed toolbox for Vitra and Carhartt WIP will be a systemic step into spring cleaning. carhartt-wip.com
TIEKEN GALLERY | LA
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Fred Tieken Art Imitates Art • acrylic on canvas w/ handcrafted tableau in LED-lighted shadowbox w/Plexiglas • 36” x 36” © 2018 Tieken The Studio & Gallery LLC
The Train Light At the End of the Tunnel “He took an assignment and made a work of art.” Clement Cheroux, Curator of Photography, condenses while expanding, in response to my question about Paul Fusco’s photojournalistic essay on The Train, opening at the SFMOMA on March 17, 2018. He and Assistant Curator Linde Lehtinen started with a great acquisition, photographs from the last portfolio of Fusco, whose books range from Chernobyl Legacy to Sense Relaxation: Below Your Mind. Seeking to enlarge the scope of the collection of photos taken from Robert Kennedy’s funeral procession, the curators sought other artists who were inspired by Fusco’s 2008 book RFK Funeral Train. Dutch artist Rein Jelle Terpstra has explained, “in my work as a photographer and artist, I’m always trying to reverse the relationship between photography and memory.” His archive of the snapshots and amateur movies, taken by the people who actually gathered along the tracks on June 8, 1968, includes a wall-sized reproduction of the route, accompanied by these personal memories. French artist Philippe Parreno’s ﬁlm dramatizes the mourners, concluding the show, but not the memory. The soundtrack of clicketyclack and chirping birds wafts in and out through ﬁelds of silence in a dreamscape, capturing the melancholy motion of the train. As Cheroux observed, “The view from a train is different. You see something, the track turns and you lose it. The train is the perfect space to talk about loss. Now you understand why this is not an historical exhibition, but an art exhibition.” The Train is on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on March 17–June 10, 2018, right on time for the 50th anniversary of RFK’s funeral.
“Suddenly, unexpectedly, the train broke out of the tunnel into daylight, and I was astounded. There were hundreds of mourners crowding together on platforms, almost leaning into the train to get close to Bobby. I jumped up to the window, slammed the top panel down and claimed it as my space and photographed everything I saw.” —Paul Fusco
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Clement and Linde expanded on their research and curation of the exhibit during our conversation: The chief editor probably said, “Go there and get photos.” They were probably interested in celebrities, of shots of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Arlington Cemetery. He took all of those photographs but they
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were not as great as those he took from the train. The burial was private, but people came to the tracks. Nothing had been organized for the people that day. Remember, there was no Facebook. They came to present their last respects to RFK. The assassination was such a shock; it was the peak of the Vietnam War. People needed an occasion to gather and this emerged as a civic moment.
We talked about whether it was important to talk about every aspect of 1968. The show is about an historical moment. You remember the Ambassador Hotel, but our subject is the train, the way people reacted to it and to that day. Robert Kennedy had just spoken about Martin Luther King, who had just been shot months before, so that makes it even more poignant. So many communities came: men in white business shirts, nuns in habits, African American children with ďŹ‚ags.
What Fusco did was not only function as a photographer, but he understood the potential of the subject. Some are blurry, but that is part of the quality and it is something beautiful. The train started at 1:00 pm; it usually took four hours. But because of the crowds, it took eight hours. You can see the light change at the end of the afternoon, and as the light goes down, it becomes more blurry. The last photos are almost abstract.
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Dutch artist Rein Jelle Terpstra purchased Fusco’s 2008 book and became fascinated, especially when he realized that many in the crowd had cameras. He was interested in reversing the viewpoint, in showing the opposite point of view by collecting and sorting the photos they took. The idea percolated in 2011, and he launched the project in 2014. First he went along the actual train route and, at one point, actually knocked on doors. He went to historical societies, but couldn't ﬁnd them. The level of bearing witness was not in archives or museums; it still resided with the people. Realizing this, he visited train enthusiast websites and Facebook groups where he built up trust so that people invited him to their homes where the pictures had been held in families for generations. What fascinates is that, although the images from the snapshot may be blurry, imperfect or creased, this is what makes them part of memory. How interesting that this how history endures.
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Perrano re-enacts some of Fusco’s photos and creates some of his own in the 7-minute movie made in 70 millimeter. The camera is on the train, and as the route is re-enacted, you can hear with click of the wheels, the rush of the grass and sound of the wind. You can hear everything moving. The actors are standing as if in a photograph, so you engage in the photo, in the tension between the still and the moving. The people are standing as if in photograph, which creates an uncanny effect because people are usually moving in a ﬁlm. This feeling of suspension, this feeling of ﬂoating, he refers to as the point of view of the dead. Kennedy is present, but in a very different way.
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The Swiss Handyman Lowrider of the Alps Serge “Lowrider” Nideger is a beautiful anomaly. Switzerland gave him the work ethic, precision, discipline and modesty of “just doing your job.” His travel experiences and countless trips to the United States helped develop a unique visual language that is 180 degrees away from his motherland. The result? A uniquely rich career balanced between producing art prints for famed artists and galleries, and developing his own identity applied across the globe through handpainted signs, walls, T-shirts, stickers and, of course, screen prints. We chatted from his studio in Fribourg, Switzerland on a cold January day, reminiscing about early silkscreens, starting his own business, and the Lowrider World. Kimou “Grotesk” Meyer: Hello, Serge! How are you? Glad I can ﬁnally interview you. We met back in 2001, in Geneva, to talk about my ﬁrst silkscreen. We have become very close friends since then, and you have been the only person printing my ﬁne art. There have been so many exciting creative projects since we met! Serge Lowrider: Hello Kimou, it's going very well. Life is beautiful. Tell me a little bit about how you started to print and what gave you the urge to learn the craft? You also told me that, at the time, your apprenticeship included sign painting, right? I started to collect stickers around eight or nine years old. At the same time, I discovered screen printing at a family friend’s house who was a decorator. It made me realize that there was a job where I could make a living producing what I loved and collected. I didn't need much more to realize that this was going to be my job. After this family visit, for years I kept saying that when I grew up, I’d be printing stickers! Stubborn as a lion, I never changed my mind. After my mandatory and painful school years, I quickly found a place to do an apprenticeship in a small company that also employed graphic designers and sign painters. It printed signs, banners and, of course, stickers; but also art editions, which I immediately liked a lot. During my apprenticeship, I loved mixing colors, learning that a medium too big to be printed must be done with a brush, and I quickly learned to handle the
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pounce wheel. It was only in my last year there that my boss bought his ﬁrst cutting plotter. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of the 1990s and the computer era. I have often said to myself that I learned my trade ten years too late! In Switzerland, the training of an apprentice takes place in a company with one day of courses per week in a professional school. I rubbed shoulders with the sign painters, book binders, and more or less, all the trades of the graphic and art production world, and after three years, got a federal diploma of capacities. There is nothing better in Switzerland to begin your professional life. Outside of your exceptional printing and signpainting skills, you are a great typographer, illustrator and painter. When did you realize that you had creative talent and passion for art?
I am still learning every day and I am still doing my daily exercises, so the “talent” comes from training like an athlete everyday. As far as my passion for art, it came later, when I started to travel and meet inspiring visual people. As a kid, I was drawing a lot, but all kids do it, no? When I became a teenager, I was bombing and it taught me how to manage scale, letters, size and space. So, in a way, I nourish and feed a passion that has been there since I was a little kid. What made you realize you needed to start your own business? After my apprenticeship, I quickly realized that I needed to create my own screen-printing shop in order to practice my craft. The beginnings were slow and it allowed me to do self-promotion material for the studio where I learned a lot about mediums. I explored a lot of different graphic
Portrait by Julian Martin
and illustration styles as well. Pretty quickly, artists and galleries asked me to produce editions for them. This brought a lot of excitement and inspiration in my daily life. It pushed me to be a better craftsman and better artist on a daily basis. You are a crazy picker. Since I’ve known you, I have seen your vintage collection growing so much. You have hundreds of vintage advertisement signs, sports memorabilia, mid-century furniture, not to mention all types of toys. What’s the importance of those objects in your work? They look to me like a giant mood board that surrounds you constantly. I see you through those objects! Sometimes I wonder if it’s not a mental disease [laughs]. I think it’s hereditary. My mom passed it on. As a kid, I would go pick with her in ﬂea markets, estate sales and antique stores. I started to collect by necessity to furnish my apartment and studio when I was young and broke, and then it grew into a full passion. I think I have a really good eye in scoring rare artifacts. I found a lot of inspiration in ﬂea markets, just browsing: type on
All Lowrider studio photography by Kimou Meyer
book covers, a color palette on a vinyl, or a vintage T-shirt. I love to dig and I am patient. I can wait months to score something I want. Never eBay! I am proud to have an eBay-free collection. I guess there is also part nostalgia in this. A lot of the objects I have purchased have a production quality that’s long gone with the mass-produced, made-in-China, throwaway culture of today. You live in the middle of hills full of cows in central Switzerland, in a village of eight houses, and your studio is in Fribourg, an historical and medieval town with a rich history. How come you know so much about streetwear, basketball, graffiti, surﬁng and everything that comes from the States? You literally know more about the American underground culture than most of the people I know in Brooklyn! That’s a hard one to answer; I don’t know. I guess, since I was a teenager, I was alway hungry and interested to learn about what was going on in
the States. As far as I can remember, I was always fascinated with it. I always lived in a rural area, and we only got a TV when I was 14. While all my friends wanted to play soccer, I wanted to play basketball, breakdance, do graffiti. I was the only kid around who was skating. In 1986, I asked my mom to go to NYC, and instead we went to London. She has only one memory of that trip. All I wanted was to ﬁnd the kicks that Michael Jordan was wearing! You know, when you come from a small village, you can’t quickly travel and see what’s going on. That’s where this passion for America started, and it never stopped. It's crazy to think that you are still “young” and in your prime but already have 25 years of practice and experience. You were an artisan before becoming an artist. Many artists quit their day jobs the minute they can. In your case, it feels to me that you don’t really care about what’s art or what’s commercial since your art is heavily inspired by old commercial sign painting and all your commercial jobs are
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inspired by your personal typeface development and illustrations. You kind of developed a perfect balanced world for yourself to evolve. It’s amazing that I can walk around your town and see so many signs and posters that you’ve done for local businesses and it’s still 100% you. Same when I see your work in a gallery or on a wall in Berlin or Miami, it just adds to the Lowrider World. Do you have a need to leave a visual and cohesive trace, or is it just a natural and subconscious approach for you? I don’t think it’s a need. I think it’s more of an obligation for us kids of the 1980s. Growing up, we were surrounded by such a rich handmade and hand-painted graphic heritage that I feel obligated to carry it on for the future generations. I do my best to produce screen prints, walls and signs that I know can last for 100 years or more. Nowadays, nobody knows what will really happen with giclée prints, vinyl signs, and all those hard drives full of virtual art. Everything is made not to last, in a way. I pride myself (and I think it’s really a Swiss habit) to produce work that will last at least a century, rain or shine. Whether it’s a sign for a client or an art print, I want it to be something that can be passed along for generations.
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There is an observational mix of nostalgia, emotions and anthropological analysis in your illustrated travel diaries. It’s sometimes a real trip, sometimes a basketball game and sometimes just improvised. Are those daily, illustrated notes a way to escape your daily routine, a way to travel mentally, or simply a personal life diary? All of that. Some of it is based on experiences, some of it comes from my daydreaming and thoughts. At the end of the day, it’s kind of a visual diary. When I travel, the pages get ﬁlled much faster. Same for the few weeks following a trip full of great memories. I slow down when I am going through ﬁve months of straight screen-printing and local work. I also draw to trigger forgotten memories. It helps. My wife, Valérie, and I have been traveling a lot since we were young, and it’s a complete part of our lifestyle. I need to travel to be inspired. Now that our kids are almost young adults, we are looking forward to going back on the road. You’ve achieved so much already in your professional and personal life. How do you see the next 20 years of Lowrider Studio?
I see these years more focused on traveling, sign painting and big murals. I still have a bunch of tricks of the trade to learn, and I still want to develop and push my typography. I won’t completely let go of the screen printing, as I still have a bunch of artists that I want to print, but after so many years, I am trying to think about preserving my health too. It’s a physical job, and I use pretty strong inks and solvents that I can’t avoid breathing. I want to spend more time outside, painting signs directly at the client’s location, painting huge public walls. So, basically, I want to take the studio on the road and spend less time in the shop. Since my kids are almost out, I see it coming soon. Deep inside, I have a secret dream that my kids, Ulla or Lee, will take over the business. What do you think about Lowrider and Daughter? Or Lowrider and Son? It’s sounds pretty good to me! Serge Lowrider has collaborated with Juxtapoz in What In the World at Urban Nation Berlin and at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Miami. Grotesk is the designer and artist behind the Juxtapoz Newsstand and various projects with the magazine. Get in touch with Serge Lowrider at lowriderteeshirt.com.
Aza Ziegler Just Add Sneakers Punk rocker, beatnik, priest, witch. Leather jacket, boots, leggings… black is basic, it’s the convenient camouﬂage. But when sunshine peeks through the curtains, you just have to ﬂing them open and let in the sun. California-based Aza Ziegler lets loose the snap, crackle and pop in her buoyant, home-sourced and made designs that slip right on for a brisk walk or bonﬁre at the beach. These are clothes that delight in color and comfort, that feel good. Leash up the dog or lounge on the couch, Aza’s got you covered in Calle Del Mar.
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Gwynned Vitello: Looking at your Instagram and runway looks, it’s apparent that color is very important to you. How does it inspire or set the mood? Aza Ziegler: I like to think I look at the world like a David Hockney painting. Why can’t trees be fuschia pink, lawns cobalt blue, oceans chartreuse green? And while everyone wears black, why can’t sunshine yellow be my best-selling color? When looking at a Hockney landscape, the colors he sees feels so strangely natural that you forget they’re not reality. When customers put on my colorful pieces, I want them to be a bright and bold choice,
yet ﬁt effortlessly into their wardrobe. I want the yellow to be just the right tone of gold so all those people who say they don’t like yellow can feel fabulous. I want to color the world my own way, just like Hockney. As a child, I would assign colors to people. I guess you could say I’ve always been attracted to it. I also believe color is greatly tied to emotion. There have been phases where the colors I use are causing me more anxiety than inspiration, and a simple change of pallete can calm the mind.
Left: Aza Ziegler in the Sundown Stripe, Photo by Jordan Topf Right: CDM Locals Bria & Indira Scott, Bria (left), wearing sundown stripe, Indira (right) wearing sundown stripe & Poppy, Varsity T-shirt, Photo by Shriya Samavai
How did your mother’s artistic soul inspire you? I went to school with her and remember her earthy, primal and warm drawings. My mother is one of the most creative, stylish women I know. I am in awe of her ability to master anything. One day she is picking up leather-making, the next day her bags are better than anything selling at Barneys. And the next day she’s making sculptures out of driftwood she found on the beach. And then there is my Dad, another very artistic soul. His thoughts are free, his narrative unique. He has this incredible ability to organize creativity into concrete plans and visualize the fruition of ideas. He couldn’t follow directions if he tried, and there isn’t a rule he doesn't know how to break. Together they have taught me the value of hard work and the power of intuition. Being surrounded by vintage clothing and artifacts from your parents’ travels must have been a natural inﬂuence, but so would growing up in Marin County, where sun, sand and woodsy trails demand ease and function. How has your style evolved, and has there been a constant that guides what you wear and design? Everything in my house had a story. My mom wore a tooth around her neck that she pulled out of a sleeping tiger; there were puppets from Burma my parents had traded for ballpoint pens. The couches were draped in African mudcloth, and the rugs were from a roadtrip the time they almost moved to New Mexico. My dad would tell me about the time he ate monkey brains in Israel, and my Mom ate guinea pig with her bus driver in Argentina. So, even though I grew up in this
small, northern California town, I learned the expansiveness of the world at a young age, and my head swelled with curiosity. My mom had all these amazing clothes from her travels, too, and she would take me vintage shopping for my clothes as a child. My style is very similar to my youth. Effortlessness is a huge part, but so is adventure, always has been. After school, growing up, we’d go up on top of Mt. Tam to watch the sunset, or drive to the city to thrift on Haight Street. Weekends, I’d spend my days at the beach. I think this constant activity has added practicality to my wardrobe, which has to be easy to throw on, to be dressed up or down. Did you already have a design vision when you started at Pratt? What would you say are the most important things you learned there? Vision is lifelong. My vision grows and changes as I grow and change. Pratt gave me the environment to explore and evolve. I grew a tougher skin and learned to work extremely hard, and that failure is just a stop away from success. I was pushed with a rigorous workload and challenged far out of my comfort zone. Going in, I had a strong idea of who I was as a designer, but I think coming out of Pratt made me a more self-aware human being. If you enter an education in the arts, viewing it as time gifted to you for exploration, it’s worth every minute. How long afterward did you stay in New York, and how did the pace and climate of a big city on the East Coast affect your style, and maybe even you, personally? I often talk about how California is such a huge
Right: Britt Haegglund in the Hanalei Stripe, Photo by Jacqueline Harriet Middle: Shriya Samavai in the Long Sleeve Varsity in Poppy, Photo by Jacqueline Harriet Left: Britt Haegglund in the Rockaway Stripe T-shirt & the Tomatillo Skirt, Photo by Jacqueline Harriet
part of my life, but New York is too. There is so much energy that is so alive and motivating. You’re a small ﬁsh and you have to make a name for yourself. Things move fast in New York, so you get a lot of things done. People are direct and don’t beat around the bush. Style-wise, I think it’s strengthened my belief that you need to be ready for adventure. I always needed to be dressed in something I could wear day-to-night and be comfortable on my feet. I moved back to California because I missed nature, I missed space, the things that are deeply rooted in my soul. What are your favorite fabrics to wear, to work with, and are there any you just love for their own special properties? Viscose! I’m obsessed with it. It is a sustainable silk-like ﬁber that comes from trees. It’s extremely absorbent, odor repellent and has a luxurious weight. The vintage athletic wear jerseys are made of it. I just think it’s such a cool ﬁber. When and how did you start using embellishments to create pattern? Do you think prints, for example, distract from fabric and line? My junior year of college, I was painting my own patterns and printing them on fabric. In a critique, a professor suggested that I make them somehow three-dimensional. I started exploring quilting and embroidery. Entering my last year, I knew I wanted to do a lot of textile exploration. I had a huge notebook I ﬁlled with swatches and swatches of ideas. I was coating denim in latex and sanding it off to distress it, weaving fabric strips together and laminating them in PVC. I started cutting my own plexiglass
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embellishments from hand illustrations. I embossed leather and stuffed sequins between organza. As my design aesthetic evolved, I have moved away from prints and toward unconventional fabrications, which I think is a natural progression as I evolve into knitwear. I make my own fabrics and yarns and dye my own colors. With textiles, there is always more to explore, and it’s the most artistic part of the process, in my opinion. Sometimes design itself can feel sterile because it seems so much has “already been done.” So my fabrication being unique makes it a critical part of my process. Diana Vreeland declared that pink is the navy blue of India. Apart from California and New York, is there any place you’ve visited that really resonated, any travel destination that really woke you up? Travel always stimulates color senses. I was in Todo Santos, Mexico in June, and the colors were unbelievable. I shot lots of ﬁlm. Two years ago, I did an amazing shoot in Marfa, Texas. And last
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May, I drove from New Mexico to California. I laid Calle Del Mar against the deep red rocks in Arizona. I have wish lists of colorful destinations. I know that you’re like a one-woman band, but it’s also apparent that relationships are essential. It seems that the thread of community is woven through your professional life, from artistic inspiration to sourcing of materials. Working alone is isolating and challenging. However, it has been so rewarding to see how much I can accomplish by myself. It’s also important to know when you need help. I have an amazing community of friends who act, not only as a support system, but as my collaborators. They stand in when I need someone to model or photograph. I also have a terriﬁc team of knitters, who are also my collaborators. Without them, I wouldn't be able to make the product with so much care. If you follow any sort of a schedule, what are the rituals? What is essential in your studio?
I am always working. I converted my garage into my studio and love the convenient access of being able to work from home. I have gone through periods where I follow a 10:00 am to 6:00 pm schedule ﬁve or six days per week, and I really like that. I think it’s important to maintain structure when you are working for yourself. However, I am focused, so I don’t have to hold to that structure 365 days a year! When I have trouble getting things done, I know it’s time to take a long walk. Self care is critical when working for yourself. I travel a lot, so I’ve learned to be ﬂexible with my hours and work spaces. I’m guessing that aquamarine is your favorite color? Even if I’m wrong, I want to know the correct answer. I cannot possibly discriminate. I love color in general! Right now I’m very into lilac and chartreuse. But I would say yellow and blue are my true favorites. www.calledelmar.us
Left: Michelle Mojescik in the Poppy Sparkle Tank, Photo by Jacqueline Harriet Top right: Venice stripe, Photo by Charlotte Fassler Bottom right: Charlotte Fassler in the Stinson stripe, Photo by Aza Ziegler
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The Ghosts of Pejac Silhouettes and Stories from Barcelona With pencil or chalk drawings as favorite methods to tell relatable narratives, Pejac creates poignant images that look like memories set in a dreamscape. While the accuracy of his works was what ﬁrst got my attention, it was the ingenious way he employed these techniques that won me over. The Barcelona-based artist produces a versatile range of work, from drawings and paintings, to sculptures and major public interventions. He and I have met on a few occasions, but it wasn't until this conversation after opening his solo show in Venice that I got a better understanding of his work and relationship with the world, as well as a chance to look inside his beautifully sensible mind.
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Sasha Bogojev: What attracts you to silhouettes? They are a consistent element in your public works. Pejac: I think that, with silhouettes, you can connect with yourself in a very easy, fast and honest way. And from there, you connect with other people from yours and other cultures. I ﬁnd them to be a universal way to express what I could be saying in a more conceptual way. The same thing can be said in thousands of ways, and I choose them because they’re fast and easy. You've been doing fewer public interventions lately. Is there any particular reason?
The last three years, I've been working a lot out of my studio and out of the country. I've been traveling, meeting people from different countries, which was really great, but I felt that I needed some time to recharge my battery. To travel was amazing, but when you do it a lot, it becomes a problem. I hear the same thing from artists who travel frequently, that you can get artistically stuck as you have fewer opportunities to try out new things in your studio. In my case, it was more of the human factor. When you travel, you meet a lot of people who want to help,
Left: Portrait by Maui Rivera Right: Stain,Santander, Spain, 2011
want to meet you, want to know about your work, etc. I like to spend time with people when I feel comfortable, but when you know somebody for a few hours or even minutes, you are interacting in both a very enthusiastic, non-natural way. I ﬁnd it a bit stressful to have that for a long period of time. I never thought of it in that way. Also, I'm not used to company when creating work. But since human interaction is very important to me, I try to be honest and connect with people, while being honest and making the best possible work. So trying both at the same time makes me a little bit stressed. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling that way. You use a wide range of techniques and mediums, both in the studio and in public. What motivates you to try new ways to produce and present work? People think that if you're an artist, the work you
A Forest, Charcoal and comté on paper, 79” x 51”, 2017
do is very emotionally driven, very dynamic. But if you don't experiment continuously, it will become routine in the end. I try to have a new idea for each new piece, but I also like investigating new techniques along the way. For me, personally, I have to keep experimenting, otherwise it starts to feel boring. Are there certain techniques that you'd like to try or master? I feel that painting is the one where I keep improving. It is like a journey—I don't know if I'll get to the destination, if I'll have enough fuel, but I deﬁnitely don't want to go back. With drawing, I feel like I have more control, and the painting process is very exciting. I love drawing, I love sculpture, but painting—the canvas and colors, along with the smell—is like a drug. How often does it happen that a certain idea or concept for a new technique just doesn't work?
In my head, it happens a lot. Continuously. What people get to see on paper, on canvas, on a wall, or as a ﬁnished sculpture, is the end of a very long trip that starts inside of you. When I start painting or drawing, that is the end, not the beginning of the process. Before that happens, I have already tried so many different ideas and made so many choices. Maybe it's like a race of sperms—all the ideas are going towards that canvas, and the one that gets painted is the winner. So far, you've been breaking windows and scratching concrete. Do you have any particular concept you ﬁnd most challenging? Sometimes I go to a new country and I try a new technique, just for that country. That might not sound very professional, but you can't recreate the exact same setting and wall texture to practice. So, in the ﬁrst ﬁve or ten minutes, while I'm trying a new method on the actual location, there is always a crisis. But then I start thinking, "I'm here
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for this. This is the best choice. I can do it." So, in the end, even with the mistakes, I'm proud about my ﬁnished pieces most of the time. I used to be very proud of my mistakes. Perfection is very satisfying, but it's not so personal. So you plan a lot of your interventions way ahead. How much improvising happens on the spot? I think improvisation is when one part of your brain ﬁghts with the perfect plan. I always arrive with what I think is the perfect plan, and then it's like hearing the voice that wants to change, just to see what happens. I am usually very focused on exactly what was sketched, but in the end, the sketch doesn't include everything that you might ﬁnd on location. You will ﬁnd a structure that you didn't take into account, hear noises that can interact with the work, so the thing I love most about urban art is that the improvisation isn't in your work, but in the street itself, so you can't do 100% of your sketch.
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What is the most important part of it for you? The message, the concept, or something else? I always think about this when listening to music: is the song done after the lyrics, or were the lyrics written after the song? In my case, I can't even get out of my bed without a concept, in all honesty. But once I start materializing the concept I have, the poetic aspect of the image can become the main thing of the piece. I work with the poetry and beauty of the image, and I construct these ingredients into a conceptual idea. You seem to like using recurring imagery and concepts, like all these different animals, for example. Do you feel like these evolve with you, or do you re-use them for a different reason? I think of nature as a precious treasure. But with the human activity, we are making it shine less and less. Animals are universal and can be used as a metaphor or allegory. So, I often use animals to tell different ideas about we humans,
about how we relate with each other and with the world. I'm a city person, and luckily, or unfortunately, I'm more in touch with human nature than with any other. I think we are fatal guests on the planet: instead of paying rent, we charge it every day. It's like this interview. If you were to look at it in a few years, even knowing it was the thing you wanted to say in that moment, you might think differently later. In art, you have the choice to express that same thing, but as a different, changed person. For me, it's an emotional way to say the same thing from a fresh point of view. That way, you can see creative evolution as a painter, as an artist, and as a person. It's not a way of producing work, but more of an experiment or opportunity to see how you're evolving. pejac.es
Mountains, Moonshine, and Murals Arting in Asheville with Mike Shine Lewis and Clark. Kerouac and Cassidy. Thelma and Louise. It takes two to make a travel adventure, so when Gabriel Shaffer of Red Truck Gallery hooked us both up with mural projects and a show in Asheville, I immediately offered to ride shotgun on the road trip from New Orleans to North Carolina. Being a Californian, I was as intrigued by the journey itself as I was by the ﬁnal
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destination. Plus, Gabe is a funny guy, and I knew the drive would be a kick. Our trip was a sundry traverse of the Deep South as we jumped into a van full of art in the bustling French Quarter, drove across the bayou and wetlands of NOLA, through the ﬁelds and plantations of Mississippi and Alabama, climbing the rolling hills of Georgia to forested mountains of western North Carolina.
We hit roadhouses, sampled some sticky BBQ, and made good time while managing to avoid the state police along the way. Appalachia holds a stubbornly backwards reputation in our country’s history. As industry, urbanization, technology and globalism progressed for most of the country, the isolation of the
All photography by Mike Shine Above: Shine’s mural, in-progress, on Lexington Avenue, Asheville
Appalachians left much of its rural culture intact. It also left the region with high poverty rates, helping perpetuate its hillbilly image, a perception furthered in pop culture. The Li’l Abner comic strip, Beverly Hillbillies TV series, and iconic ﬁlm Deliverance reduced rural mountain dwellers to outof-touch hicks to be chuckled at, even feared. But if hillbillies were derided in the last century, they are practically revered in the present. As ubiquitous restaurant and store chains standardize our palates, décor and fashion,
we’ve become more culturally and materially homogenized, and the appeal of our deeply rooted traditions has re-emerged. We are again romanticizing the arts, crafts, skills, and traditions of our country folk. Think artisanal, hand-crafted, urban farming, farm-to-table, buy local, and so on. Today, hillbillies are hip. And so, perched in the center of Appalachia, Asheville is, not so surprisingly, urban and upscale, which explains why it evokes the sense of a boomtown. Peppered with artisan boutiques, galleries, cafes, and bars, and bustling with well-heeled
Clockwise from top left: Horse and Hero Gallery, Mural Sketch, Cletus and Jeriah mural (ﬁnished), Double Crown Bar, Opening night a Horse and Hero Gallery
tourists, it feels almost like a Colorado ski town, but without the snow. Instead, the attraction here is the timeless authenticity and quality of the local folk art scene. In addition to proximity to centuries of Appalachian craftspeople, Asheville was also the home of the notorious Black Mountain College, alma mater of legendary names like Gropius, Albers, Rauschenberg, Twombly, and Motherwell. The town is stupid with arts and crafts cred.
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Gabe and I did a Red Truck pop-up opening at the Horse and Hero Gallery, an unpretentious Asheville version of a hipster art gallery, which means an emphasis on both crafts and art. Owner Justin Rabuck has done a great job building a place that’s part store, part social hub, a place where tourists and collectors can mingle and converse with local artists like Andy Herod, Noah Prinson, Hannah Dansie, and Justin himself. My first project was to create a mural for a downtown intersection wall outside the Forever Tattoo parlor. Inspired by the town’s clash of old and new, I painted a young Appalachian boy holding his rooster. His face could be interpreted to express surprise, and perhaps even fear of the modern city that he unwittingly helped to build. My next project was for the founder of the Eda Rhyne Distillery, Chris Bower, who commissioned me to paint artworks for their
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tasting room. It became one of the highlights of my art travels—painting inside the distillery and hanging out with the distillery crew, who were a fascinating bunch. Rhett is a farmer who grows and forages the ingredients for their hooch. Pierce is a carpenter who fashions the coolest recycled bar tops and walls. Andy is a helicopter mechanic who has become the head distiller. Chris owns two of the most popular bars in town and is an acclaimed scifi filmmaker. (Much of the distillery houses movie sets and props. You can’t make this shit up.) They patiently answered my questions, and generously shared samples, leading to a fondness for their Appalachian Fernet, strongly spirited and herbaceous. When I asked Chris what herbs he used, he said he’d have to kill me if he told me. He’s nearly seven-feet tall, and even with his easy smile and low-key demeanor, I didn’t ask again. Chris is descended from some notorious moonshiners, and is proudly continuing the legacy, albeit legalized. But trade secrets are still thick as blood in these parts.
Throughout my stay, I met more and more Ashevillians like the Eda folks; smart, creative, entrepreneurial, often eccentric. Asheville is a town that seems nearly devoid of chain stores, and even established brands. It has over 100 local beers, a dozen distilleries, and countless locally roasted coffees and cafes, all sharing the streets, shops, and storefronts with local yarn and fabric weavers, furniture crafters, woodworkers, metalsmiths, printmakers and glassblowers. It was a really inspiring visit. I made some great new friends, learned some new tricks, ate and drank well, and developed a new appreciation for true folk craft. The hillbillies may be gone, but their legacy hangs around like the burn of strong hooch. Thanks to Justin, Ellis, Noah, Andy, Pierce, Monica, Chris, Rhett, Micah, and everyone who else showed us true southern hospitality. —Mike Shine See more travel adventures with Mike Shine at @shinanov.
Top left: Eda Rhyne Appalachian Fernet Middle: Shine painting at Eda Rhyne distillery Top right: Finished wall art Bottom left: Distilling progress at Eda Ryne Bottom right: with the Eda Rhyne crew Eda Rhyne bus front
LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART + DESIGN
Artwork: Alla Bartoshchuk, Saluga, 48” x 62”, Oil on canvas, 2016
IN SEARCH OF THE REAL II: LCAD FINE ARTS FACULTY EXHIBITION
MARCH 01–28, 2018 | RECEPTION: THURSDAY, MARCH 01, 2018, 6–9PM
GRAPHIC DESIGN + DIGITAL MEDIA EXHIBITION
LCAD GALLERY 374 Ocean Ave. Laguna Beach, CA 92651 ADMISSION IS ALWAYS FREE LCAD GALLERY HOURS 11–4 Wednesday through Sunday CLOSED Monday and Tuesday
April 05–26, 2018 Reception: Thursday, April 5th 6-9 pm
FINE ARTS SENIORS EXHIBITION May 03–31, 2018 Reception: Thursday, May 3rd, 6–9 pm
BFA ALL MAJORS SUMMER EXHIBITION June 07–August 31, 2018 Receptions: Thursday, June 7th, 6–9pm Thursday, July 5th, 6–9pm Thursday, August 2nd, 6–9pm
The Illusion of Life A Lifetime of Art School Some of the most rewarding creative jobs start with an “ah-ha” moment. As a kid, I wanted to know how a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists got their breakthrough, or what professor stoked their creative ﬁre. I wanted to know how it all started so I could understand the profession better. Animators and their earliest endeavors have always been a fascination, having been nourished on Saturday morning cartoons. I sat down with Abigail Muñoz, who recently earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Development from Academy of Art University, San Francisco and is currently the 2018 General Track artist at the Nickelodeon Artist Program in Burbank, California to talk about how an animation career develops, the years of study, early inﬂuences and when she had her “ah-ha.” Evan Pricco: Do you remember the ﬁrst thing, whether movie, animation or cartoon, that really made you want to create art? Abigail Muñoz: Animation just fascinated me from a very young age. I mean, every kid loves cartoons, but I was interested in the process of how animation is made. I discovered that process by accident one day by pressing buttons on the remote control while watching a cartoon on VHS tape. This button made the ﬁlm play slowly, frame-by-frame, and I could see how one drawing led to another. I started watching all of my movies like that, and I would notice the camera angles and how the character changed in perspective.
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Then, I tried to draw my own characters doing the same kinds of actions and whatnot. So, at that point, I knew I wanted to do something related to animation. Oh, and my favorite ﬁlms at that age were deﬁnitely The Lion King and Balto, but I also loved watching Pokémon on TV and imagining that I could create my own show like that one day. Did high school nurture your interest in art? I ask that question because I was in a graphic design class for three years in high school, and never once did a teacher encourage me to pursue it. The art class at my high school wasn’t really serious. Sometimes we’d draw and paint, and other times we’d be assigned fun projects like paper collages, papier-mâché masks, and things like that. I didn’t feel like I really learned true art foundations until I got to college. However, my high school years were really important because I spent a lot of time reading about art and animation during my own time. One of the books that I read cover-to-cover was The Illusion of Life by Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, and it might still be my favorite. Of course, I also drew a lot, every day, because I was designing my own story and characters at the time. When you are getting into something like character design and visual development, I feel like art school is really helpful. The classes were really challenging, so that kicked
me into shape. I came into art school with a lot of conﬁdence and quickly realized I was nowhere near as good as I thought I was. I learned how to draw characters that are solid and appealing, with really clear silhouettes that have good construction, so I can turn them at any angle and they’ll still keep their shape. In regards to visual development, the classes emphasize the importance of value, color, and composition to convey the mood you want to express in your story scene. They also make you think cinematically—you have to consider where you’re placing the “camera” in every scene, and how that’s helping to tell your story, because every design decision has to be intentional and supportive of the story. And, of course, the foundations classes were super important—you shouldn’t jump into characters and visual development without understanding human and animal anatomy, clothing folds, color theory… there is so much you gotta know, and I learned a ton in art school. So, in 10 years, you want to be... I often think about what it would be like to be an art director on an animated show, but I think I’d be pretty happy as a character designer or visual development artist. I still have a lot to learn, and I think that in the next few years, I’ll get a feel for what creative roles I really like, and what to aim for next. Check out Abigail’s work at abigailmunoz.com and learn more about Visual Development at academyart.edu.
Monster Camp, Marty’s Family, Character work by Abigail Muñoz
ON THE OUTSIDE
Walls Are The People’s Canvas How Street Art Can Be a Public Forum I seem to have been involved with “walls” all my life, both the literal and metaphorical. How I ended up curating them instead of behind them, I’m not quite sure, but they always seemed to represent a challenge, and I like a challenge. This is a little story about walls, boundaries and fences and how they’ve impacted my life thus far. I’ve been working on a theory recently about how the professional cultural class working in institutions have, like cultural bureaucrats in public art before them, started stripping visual art of any real subversive potential, its teeth and claws, primarily, I think, in fear that it may get hungry and turn on them. Can there be any other genuine reason for the art establishment waiting until our heroes are dead before granting them access to the hallowed halls of fame? Basquiat’s debut London show Boom For Real took place just last year, and shortly after, an expo on Rammellzee surfaced. Do we have to wait for the likes of Futura and Saber to shuffle from this mortal coil before gaining recognition? Here in Norway, curator and head of the art fund for the Norwegian Arts council, Geir Haraldseth, went out hard in Art in America against Nuart’s practice and street art in general. Situating it sneeringly alongside developments in “urban fashion” and demographically alongside local Porsche Cayenne devotees. He created a carefully crafted comic book caricature of Frankfurt School thinking, a spectacle of bad taste was washing through the city and you better watch out. The article won him plaudits amongst the local art set and led shortly after to the announcement that Nuart’s government funding was to be “phased out.” Quelle surprise. It took me a while to process the source of the attack, what was driving it, why an otherwise privileged and empowered cultural bureaucrat working in visual art would use his platform to attack and undermine the range and interest in art propelled by street and urban contemporary art. Surely this would lead to increased attendance from a broader audience at museums and institutions, lead to greater diversity. And then It clicked. They don’t really want diversity. They have created a space away from food stamps and
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frozen chips and dirty ﬁngernails, booze and bad sex, and great sex, and motor oil, cheap speed, kebabs and dirty basement techno and Vermeer, Duchamp and Caravaggio and ultimately art, ultimately life. Ordinary heroic, getting up on a wall dodging the third rail life; to curate life. I saw a short promotional video on the BBC on artist Ciaren Globel, a Scottish Steve Powers if you will, where he admitted the difficulty in calling himself an artist. “A bit wanky,” he said, adding, but possibly not as wanky as “artisan”. Needless to say, I booked him immediately. But still, it was this typical use of humor that, in reality, masks an issue that if resolved, I thought could potentially solve many of the worlds problems, and possibly prevent the march of the Right, and if the evening news is to be believed, pending nuclear annihilation. The solution? A simple broadening of the terms art and artist, expanding the deﬁnitions, and thus, removing the sense of working class white collar shame that comes with repeating the words outside of the comfort of your own home. The Imposter Syndrome. There is certainly a set of predetermined historical and cultural biases attached to the terms art and artist that make it difficult for ordinary people to employ, let alone engage with them in any meaningful way. In order to maintain their position within the cultural hierarchy, these biases, prejudices and stereotypes are, of course, maintained by the art establishment. These guardians of the canon perpetuate the myth that only a select few adherents with special talents and understanding can participate in the making of art, and that vast bureaucracies either complicit or ignorant, are required to police and administrate it. The truth, as you know, is quite different. Artists and curators are not “special” people; we’re not, in fact, closer to god the creator or even John the Revelator. Most artists are just like you and me, working class people with working class concerns, who worry about paying the bills, who get up at 8:00 and work until 5:00 and like a drink or two on the weekend. Art critic Dave Hickey has split the world into pirates and farmers. There are right wing pirates
and left wing pirates, right wing farmers and left wing farmers, but there are only pirates and farmers. He tells how farmers build walls and control territory, how pirates rip down fences and cross borders. Many pirates recognize the good work that farmers do, but farmers always hate pirates. One of the ways pirates come to recognize themselves as pirates is through the experience of being recognized and persecuted by farmers. I don’t really remember the blow from the policeman that was delivered in the elevator whilst going to be booked, how it actually felt. But what really struck, apart from his ﬁst, of course, was the sheer look of hatred on his face as he delivered it. A farmer, a crossburning, shoot-your-dog-and burn-the-horsesin-their-stalls, pirate-hating farmer. I began to slowly realize, they were everywhere, and they were quick to prosecute when boundaries were transgressed by marauding hustlers. Street art is now being challenged, shut down by the persuasive architectures of institutional authoritarianism, undermined by the cultural elite, sidelined as a hipster pastime and presented as Williamsburg wallpaper used instrumentally to gentrify swathes of run-down real estate. But dig a little deeper. If you’re questioning the validity of street art these days, of its power to build communities that celebrate the true expanse of creative possibilities in the spaces between, ask yourself why? Who wants you to think this way? The most direct route between art and the public, unmediated by government-funded institutions or career-ladder sporting curators with a stake in the game and a finger in the pie, is the wall in public space. They build them, we paint them. Together. There’s a radical commonality about recognizing and accepting street art as part of everyday life, of not separating and managing the wonder, but accepting and cheering the very ordinariness of our creations, of our art exploring our extraordinary lives. —Martyn Reed Martyn Reed is the founder of the Nuart Festival. Nuart Abderdeen will take place in Aberdeen, Scotland from April 12–15, 2018.
Escif, Fuera Droga del Barrio, Valencia, Spain, 2017
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WHAT WE’RE READING
You Are Welcome Here: Paintings by Paul Wackers
Ballenesque Roger Ballen: A retrospective
The French painter Paul Cézanne was quoted as saying, “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” Amidst the art world, we are seeing more emerging and mid-career painters today ﬁnding new ways to approach the still-life painting. Paul Wackers’s body of work is a good study in this development. Painting fascinating evolutions of still lifes over the past decade, Wackers advances the aesthetic of plants, ceramic objects and almost-bookshelf compositions on panel and canvas. A viewer can feel like they’re stepping into a living room, and yet oftentimes, Wackers compartmentalizes that universe quite deliberately. After his recent solo show with Alice Gallery in Brussels, Parts Of Everything That Are Pieces Of Everything Are All Around Us, a title that perfectly exempliﬁes still-life, Wackers and Alice published a new monograph, You Are Welcome Here, featuring a decade of painting from the Brooklyn-based artist. Even as Wackers himself has evolved to include ceramics within his shows, the book shows not only the work, but also photographs the paintings in environments that resemble his subjects. “There is a personal relationship that I have with a lot of the objects, but I don’t know how important it is for people to know that.” Over 240 pages, so we can, indeed, ﬁnd out what’s important. —EP Alice Gallery, alicebxl.com
Roger Ballen is perhaps the most haunting current documentary art photographer. Born in 1950 in the States, Ballen has worked out of Johannesburg, South Africa since the 1970s. His black-and-white photographs document staged compositions that lyrically challenge our humanity. This is the ﬁrst retrospective monograph on Ballen’s work, although others have previously been released about speciﬁc series. This thorough presentation of Ballen’s oeuvre spans four decades. His most iconic images and previously unpublished works are accompanied by Ballen’s personal anecdotes, which lend us insight into his studio practice and artistic journey. The book, most signiﬁcantly, offers a deep analysis of the qualities that make Roger Ballen’s work recognizable and distinct; in particular, that strange feeling we get when looking at his work, that we have stumbled upon an incredibly rare occurrence taking place within a perfectly constructed chance moment captured on ﬁlm. Ballen creates ephemeral installations that incorporate his own drawings, graffiti, and sculpture to use in his photos and photo collages. The book’s 300 photographs traverse Ballen’s rediscovery of boyhood, using his camera in the late ’70s, to his seminal monograph Outlands (2001), to his most recent project, The Theatre of Apparitions (2016). NYU Professor of Comparative Literature, Robert JC Young, has written an essay that provides a scholarly roadmap to our deeper contemplation of what it is to be Ballenesque. —David Molesky Thames & Hudson, thamesandhudsonusa.com
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Artists Who Make Books There are a few ways to read the title of this book, recently published by Phaidon and edited by Andrew Roth, Philip E Aarons and Claire Lehmann. It can imply “artists” who make books, as in, for the sake of deﬁning an artist, a book that Picasso, Duchamp or O’Keefe would have made. But the title infers the book itself is an art piece, and in this survey of 32 artists who have taken the construction of a book into their own creative practice, the object and subject engage in the ambiguity of classiﬁcation. I would argue that the editors here are presenting the artist-designed and engineered book as a compliment of the artist’s output. The book even states in its introduction, “The art dealer and publisher Harry Ruhé once observed, ‘Artists who make books are generally precisely among those who do not conﬁne themselves to a single medium’.” Generally and precisely—there’s that ambiguity again. Artists Who Make Books covers a wide range of artists and practices in book making here, from Tauba Auerbach and Sol LeWitt, to Maurizio Cattelan and his Toilet Paper Magazine, to Ed Ruscha’s eclectic and eccentric collections of babies and cakes. There are ideas on books here, experiments in printing, publishing and design, as well artists engaging with the printed form in a way to tell a narrative that doesn’t always exist in a gallery presentation. —EP Phaidon Press, phaidon.com
Also available at SmallworksPress.com
“Finally, a book made for micro-dosing! James Stanford is the artist whose photography, digital illustration and painting has culminated in a series of works he calls Indra’s Jewels, a group of digitally reinvented mosaics of patterns that are influenced by the Mojave Desert and landscape surrounding Las Vegas.” –Evan Pricco, Juxtapoz Magazine
Pfaffl’s art is mystical and mysterious, full of marvel and message. Drawings composed of many threads involving myth, psyche, and imagination.
Stanford understands the allure of Las Vegas, the glamour, the dizziness, and the ecstasy of it all. Indra’s Jewels are unique patterns originating from vintage neon Las Vegas signage.
SHIMMERING ZEN Format 300 × 300 mm | Hardback | 264 pages | Limited Edition Ianthe Press, London | Publisher • Smallworks Press | USA Distributor All images © James Stanford
Now Available at
In beaches, bars, and bedrolls, Fitzwater’s quest for Zen consumes wives, lovers and friends; pursuing the hounds of heaven on desert drives and tequila sunrises.
Smallworks Press specializes in arts and culture publications. We treat each book with a commitment to impeccable production, design and marketing. With over forty years of collective experiences, we have enjoyed collaborating with a wide-spectrum of artists, authors and talent.
Skateboarding Is Not A Fashion: The Illustrated History of Skateboard Apparel 1950 to 1984 This book may be 628 pages, but it also may be the only one you read cover-to-cover this year. Yes, Skateboarding Is Not A Fashion: The Illustrated History of Skateboard Apparel 1950-1984 covers some very early years of skate history through clothing, equipment and accessory design/trends—that much will be obvious. Edited by Jurgen Blumlein, Dirk Vogel and Cap10 in association with the Skateboard Museum in Berlin, Gingko Press and Vans, this book is dense, and, we would argue, even heavy. And seeing that Juxtapoz shares the home office of the bible of skateboarding, Thrasher, many of the things in this book are familiar. This book comes from the history of skateboarding at a unique angle. One of the greatest attributes of skateboarding’s earliest days is the overlap of skaters, designers and photographers, so the words and documentation here, especially in the 1970s and ’80s portions, fascinate, because they don’t focus on what was to become—his book stays right then and there. Highlights from Illustrated History of Skateboard Apparel 1950 to 1984: “Gentlemen on skateboards,” literally the early 1960s Makaha team wearing suits when going from exhibition to exhibition. Also, photos from the 1966 National Skateboard Championships Association rule book and competition are a good emphasis. —EP Vans, vans.com Gingko Press, gingkopress.com
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WHAT WE’RE READING
Katherine Bernhardt: Swatches
Academy of Tal R
Everyone was floored by Katherine Bernhardt’s charming solo at Canada NYC, one of the most Instagrammed shows of the new year, including a shot of art critic power couple Saltz and Smith sitting atop one of KB’s ruddy pink sculptures. But now the artist’s new book is here, and you ain’t seen nothing yet. This is the guts. See her actual studio, her spray cans, bottles of color, piles of weird bean bags, and most prominently, her obsession with Swatch watches. Paying tribute to Heidelberg Project creator and fellow clock painter, Tyree Guyton, Bernhardt recognizes this object as a part of cultural history and aesthetic balance. She astutely points out that growing up in the ’80s, “one of the only interesting things to look at design-wise in real life was the Swatch watch.” Latching onto the nostalgia and reflecting on the “urgency of time” during pregnancy, her proliﬁc use of this literally time-based Swatch imagery and other pop iconography makes her work accessible, but layered with contemplation. Bernhardt can make any object look great, and it’s not just the seemingly effortless technique, or the color or content. It’s the unique way all this symbolism is smashed together, with the artist’s personality and interests pushing through, that makes you want to know her. It’s a thrill to see behind the curtain of Bernhardt’s production, how she stacks and piles her stuff, layering cardboard between paintings that lean against each other like buddies, resulting in a space that looks just like your own studio, only better. If you like paint, color and healthy obsessions, Swatches should live on your shelf. Get it or regret it. —KF Karma Gallery, karmakarma.org
Tal R is a legend from Copenhagen whose influence stretches across all ponds. One glance at the catalog, Academy of Tal R, published by Denmark’s lovely Louisiana Museum, shows the warm, cheeky, obsessive nature of the artist’s proliﬁc output. There are rich stories told in the singular simple frame of his line drawings from the ’90s that gave way to eye-popping paintings, effortlessly diving between abstraction and symbology. Do these paintings remind you of other artists’ work? Sometimes influence creeps far and wide, and the origin doesn’t claim credit. All the feels course through Tal R’s work, with images that evoke tiny gasps and intrigue. The book’s interview with the artist reveals that his ﬁrst museum show happened not through a studio visit, but by bringing curators to his hoarder apartment full of found objects. His work has a visual dialogue with countless other artists because he navigates mediums and styles in the best, most nimble and messy way. It’s as if his every thought and whim has been materialized through the art, every single thing he’s ever seen and every imagination is fabricated gloriously. You can’t call it hyperbole until you see the book itself and submit your application to the Academy of Tal R. The catalog closes with a twopage spread of his 2017 lifesize sculpture, Horse in Pajamas, not to be outdone by the book’s portrait of the artist with his enormous dog, Fanny. Need I say more? —KF Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, lousiana.dk
Add Fuel for Nuart Aberdeen 2017 â€” photo: Ian Cox
Life in the Balance Interview by Evan Pricco Portrait by Fiona Torre
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Soleil Bleu 1, Oil on Canvas , 15” x 22”, 2017
While wandering around in your favorite museum, there are many ways a work of art may move you emotionally. Stunning ancient sculptures evoke wonder about how the artist achieved such perfection minus modern tools. Standing in front of an early abstract painting can sometimes channel the historical and revolutionary spirit of an artist choosing to challenge the ﬁgurative standards that preceded. But there is always something about portrait painting that captures our attention in special ways: the who, when, where, why, time of day, and conversations that were had during the process, or even the dialogue between artist and subject. Freud, Neel or Hockney, the great portrait painters, create these scenarios for the viewer. An even more striking observation is an artist’s choice to do a self-portrait. What were the feelings that day? Why did the artist etch in time their subject, let alone their own self? In a way, Parisian painter Inès Longevial is a revivalist. She paints portraits of herself, yes, but of her friends and subjects in a way that is both timeless and of-the-moment. Her unique aesthetic channels the studio artist of the the early twentieth century, but also bears a contemporary angle that speaks to daily life in the twenty-ﬁrst, whether through commercial projects with Nike or Levi’s, or subtle clothing details in her ﬁne artwork. After a standout exhibition in late 2017 at HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles, as she prepared for a solo show in early 2018, we sat down with Inès to discuss her early start in the South of France, her preference for portraits, and the romanticism of Paris. Left: Drawing 2, Research for Sous le Soleil, HVW8 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2017 Right: Drawing 1, Research for Sous le Soleil, HVW8 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2017
Evan Pricco: When you wake up in the morning, do you make painting goals for yourself? Are you structured that way? Inès Longevial: When I wake up in the morning, I don’t really know what I’m going to do. I try never to do again what I already did. I gradually ﬁnd new ways to approach the color, to pose the material and to compose. It’s quite complicated, because even as my vision evolves, I still want to be understood in 150 years. I don’t know if it’s a weakness for the present, but my biggest question is whether my work will always have an impact. I've read in past interviews that your preference is to do nothing but paint, but you do have a background in illustration and commercial projects. Even then, are you only thinking about painting? No doubt! I know this sounds simple, but tell me what you like about painting. Without real preparation and under the inspiration of the moment, painting has an instant eloquence, it has as an irreducible force. I like not having to explain my paintings. You grew up in the South of France where there is this historic romanticism about
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painting in that region, or the Spanish countryside, and that seems to hold a strong influence in your work. But you moved to Paris, which also hold its own deep, romantic, artist-as-career history. How much of that storyline resonates with you? Are you conscious of that sort of romantic history? I don’t know if I’m aware of that every day, and I know that this idea is controversial, but I believe that the work of an artist cannot be appreciated without taking into account his or her life. Was oil paint your favorite from the start? The ﬁrst time I started painting, I was seven years old. My mother wasn’t there, it was a Saturday afternoon, and I was being supervised by my aunt. For Christmas, I was given some oil paints. After taking out all the tubes and starting to paint, I already had it all over me and put it everywhere. My aunt panicked and made me clean it with turpentine essence. After that, I did ten years of acrylic before returning exclusively to oil. Were your parents artists? No, but perhaps they were artistic and creative in their way of living and raising up my brothers, my sister and me. If you can look back to the young Inès, what did your ﬁrst paintings and drawings look like? My ﬁrst painting was a portrait, I think that it was for ease. But today, if I still paint portraits tirelessly, it’s because I choose this ease spontaneously, which has to do with the psychological acuity that I want to give to my portraits. My colleague asked this question of an artist last month, and I really liked it, so I wanted to ask you: who are the people you are painting and what are they most often experiencing? My paintings are like a personal diary. So they’re self- portraits, in a sense? For many, they are self-portraits. Your subjects always have a serious pose, and rather somber expressions on their faces, though there is this calm and sort of quietness to them. I think that has a lot to do with your choice of colors in the faces and skin tones. Are you even aware, when beginning a painting, that there is such a reﬂective expression? I feel that there is this interesting tone of serenity in a gallery full of your work. I am not really aware of this aspect and it was never so well-formulated. I am not an especially calm person, so I think the contrast expresses a need for hypnotic serenity. Perhaps my work, like many others, is an effort to make the world look like a stable and ideal form. I am looking for a kind of peaceful joy.
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"This idea is controversial, but I believe that the work of an artist cannot be appreciated without taking into account his or her life." In your mind, what are the elements of a stable and ideal world? It's impossible to answer that question in a fair way. For me, it's indeﬁnable by words. That’s why I paint.
You have a show in Paris opening in March, and I assume that is where all of your energy is going at the moment. What are you working on, and do you give yourself particular guidelines when it comes to a solo exhibition?
Stolen Kiss 2, Oil on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2017
Mural for Sous Le Soleil, HVW8 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2017
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Top: Sunbath 1, Oil on linen canvas, 46” x 35, 2017 Bottom: Sunbath 2, Oil on linen canvas, 46” x 35, 2017
Stolen Kiss 1, Oil on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2017
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November Self Portrait, Oil on canvas, 2016
It will be my ﬁrst solo exhibition in France, and I just want to continue working without compromise while staying as sincere as possible. I don’t have speciﬁcations or rules to follow like a mathematician. Do you have art heroes? I know you have referenced some of the Masters in the past, Kahlo and Rodin, for example. Are there certain styles or contemporary references that inspire you? Even if it’s something like wallpaper designers, I’m curious, because you seem to have your own unique thing going on right now. I keep quoting him, but Pedro Almodovar inspires me a lot, and has always touched me. His sense of framing and color is both natural and personal! I also saw the ballet, Tree of Codes, which made a mark on me recently. Light is probably what I notice the most, even if it’s pearly, bright, cut... this is probably the starting point for my questions around harmony, balance and proportions. I really wanted to see that ballet, of course because of the Jamie xx soundtrack and Olafur Eliasson visual concept. What can you learn, as a painter, from such moving art like a ballet, or lighting design from someone like Olafur? It looked like towers of successive magic, but I did not try to analyze or ﬁnd the tricks. I let myself be amazed. There are, of course, lots of games of symmetry and geometry, as Olafur’s main vector is color. Do you actively seek stunning light, or try to capture speciﬁc lighting in your paintings, or do you just appreciate its everyday permutations? Since I live in Paris, I have noticed how important light was in my life. In Paris, the light is very beautiful, but is almost always the same. I like traveling to ﬁnd new lights. What’s the last stunning interplay of light that inspired you? The light of the Basque Country, pearly, perfect for painting. What time of day is the best time to paint? The ideal time is at tea time or very early in the morning. What is your favorite part of the body to paint? The nose. It's to smell you better. I was talking with a painter friend from California the other day, and he told me he just can't escape California, like it’s always right there in his paintings, something he can't shake, but is proud of. Do you have that same feeling with your paintings? Like they come from a very speciﬁc place in the world?
Biarritz, Oil on canvas paper, 6” x 8.25”, 2017
I don’t know if my work belongs to a place, certainly a little, since I'm not a nomad. I think that part of Paris and France is in my work, and I don’t know if it's good, but there is always a little bit of me in everything and a little bit of everything in me. In 200 years, when an art historian looks back at your work, you want them to say... I like this question and I often ask myself secretly without having found the exact answer.
I wish, in hindsight, it is stated that all the work had not yet been made, contrary to this feeling of “the end” (perhaps very European, but very present)—that my personality, my life and my work were undeniably linked, and that the novelty still existed and could have a strong place and an impact, that the questions of pure and hard aesthetics are inexhaustible. Inès Longevial’s new solo show opens at Galerie M in Toulouse, France on March 13, 2018.
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Julian Schnabel Painter, Director, and Ensemblist Interview with Max Hollein by Gwynned Vitello Portrait by Evan Pricco
A case could be made that Julian Schnabel is the most American of painters, New York Jewish, born and bred in Brownsvillle, Texas, where he discovered Mexican culture and Catholic iconography. Though he felt fenced in at the University of Houston, the vast state spawned a passion for big ideas and a big canvas. Back in NYC, he entered the Whitney Independent Study Program, showing his paintings wherever possible and cooking at a local restaurant where he served and slayed gallerist Mary Boone. The rest is art history that is still unfolding. On April 21, Schnabel brings a body of work to San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. Director Max Hollein, who organized this exhibit, maintains that, “Paintings are physical things that need to be seen in person.” Fittingly, for an artist who is energized by painting outside, the ﬁrst of the trio is created speciﬁcally for the outdoor court. Editor Evan Pricco visited Schnabel at his studio, and we both got a chance to talk with Hollein, who already organized the artist’s major Frankfurt show in 2004 Juxtapoz: People are certainly familiar with Julian Schnabel’s name, and they associate him with the big broad stroke. What initially attracted you to his work? Max Hollein: His paintings create a particular environment, and an important thing to say about
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his work is that people always comment on the scale, and I would say they misunderstand it as some kind of act of grandiosity, of wanting to do the biggest scale of all. But, actually, I believe it’s different, and he would probably agree. Julian makes paintings that have a kind of physicality and human scale, and to that extent, the works have a direct relationship with you as the viewer. By deﬁnition, because of their scale, and obviously, because of the materials that he uses, they’re really also objects, and they are architectural in their sheer existence, transformative of the space that surrounds them. It’s something different than a painting by an artist who kind of uses it as a window to something else. I think Julian’s works always kind of embrace you. They immediately transform the space they inhabit. There is also the very simple observation that the larger his canvases, the more reduced his pictorial language and painterly gesture get. Can you compare that to another painter? The exact opposite approach can be seen with artists like Mark Grotjahn or Mark Bradford. Bradford’s become more detailed, multilayered, simply full with a whole lot of paint and pictorial ideas as they get bigger. Whereas Julian’s work, well, it gets to the point, even more reduced. He has a very good way of dealing with proper scale and what he wants to convey and express. It’s an
extremely persuasive and moving physical and psychological environment that he is creating. I think he has shown with his art that he can apply that artistic sensitivity to very different areas. Of course, there are the movies, but also his environments; so if you go into the Gramercy Hotel in New York, the interior of which he kind of reimagined, you are entering rooms designed by a painter But he became famous from the plate paintings, and those weren’t minimal. I would certainly not call Julian Schnabel’s work minimal, but if you look at the early work, which was already extremely radical, and we’re talking about pieces from the late ’70s and early ’80s, the so-called wax paintings, he was basically painting with wax, which is a very old Masters’ technique. The paintings, again, were like objects because these were not ﬂat planes, and then what he did with the plate paintings was that he expanded the canvas even more into three-dimensionality and transformed the existence of the painting as something that does not live solely on a ﬂat plane, but has a presence, a volume and an inherent complexity. There were, of course, numerous inﬂuences, but I think the plate paintings really created a base and established a complex representation of the world on which the artist reﬂects.
All images courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Above: View of Julian Schnabel’s studio, New York City, 2018
Top and bottom: Installation proposal of Julian Schnabelâ€”Symbols of Actual Life Legion of Honor, San Francisco
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Though he doesn’t need to be categorized, he is considered both a ﬁgurative and abstract painter, right? Some of the paintings are obviously very figurative in the sense that you can decipher what is being shown. But Schnabel’s work always oscillates between reduced, gestural abstraction and some figurative elements, and I think you see that through all of his works. There is no real sense to try to categorize them one way or the other. If you look at the more recent work, you will, again, conclude that differentiation is not important. In a sense, there is also no definition for a thought, a memory, an emotional status, a word. Is it figurative or abstract? It is, of course, both, and none at the same time. In a certain way, the past, things that already happened, are also figurative components, and he incorporates them by including materials or using textiles as a surface in the work. He also blows up found footage materials, like photographs, as the starting point, and then adds a painted gesture. Like the goat paintings? Exactly. They’re another example, and we could cite numerous other groups of works. In any event, for whatever reason, people still look at his work mainly through the perception of the plate paintings. For some, it is possibly the only thing that they really looked at. And this is a fairly uninformed position regarding Julian’s general reception as an artist. If you were to poll the art world and ask what people think about him, you get mixed responses. Either the greatest painter, or the worst. Right, and then what you encounter is that basically a lot of people who have a particular opinion have not actually seen much of his work. So you have this ﬁxed notion, which is more of an opinion about a vague idea of his persona or reputation, and I would say that a lot of those people have not looked at this work in a long time. On the other hand, I think that Julian is fairly inﬂuential for a new, younger generation of artists. The most obvious is Oscar Murillo, but you have a whole other set of artists. And it’s not the plate paintings that are the big inﬂuence. It’s really the work from the ’90s and onward, as well as the very early work, this absolutely stunning, emotionally and poetically charged, yet reductionist, large kind of canvas. Having been involved with his work for quite some time, it's very interesting that a whole number of people have formed such a strong opinion on fairly little information or exposure to the work. When I look at Schnabel’s oeuvre, I see one of the greatest and most important painters of his generation. We arranged a big retrospective in Frankfurt which then traveled to the Reina Soﬁa in Madrid, and I have written about his work a couple of times.
Julian Schnabel’s studio, Montauk, 2017, Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Copyright Julian Schnabel Studio
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Julian Schnabelâ€™s studio, Montauk, 2017, Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Copyright Julian Schnabel Studio
It seems that, though he’s exhibited in Europe, here he is remembered for parties and celebrity. Well, at least from a certain group of people, and yes, it’s for them that he became the poster boy for something excessive that they see connected to the art scene development of the 1980’s. On the other hand, he has a large and loyal following of collectors, though surprisingly, there is less exposure to his work here in the US than in Europe. Even if you have a negative opinion of the work, people will admit that he is one of the defining artists of his time. So, in a sense, there is an intriguing nuance about the perception of him. And people might just think of him as the painter who also makes movies. Again, after his major achievements in this medium, some people try to pigeonhole him; “Well, he’s an okay painter, but the movies are great.” I would say that, regarding the movies, The Diving Bell and the Butterﬂy and Before Night Falls, in particular, though there are differences, of course, they are extremely painterly—poetic, experimental, spontaneous and persuasive. He would insist that he’s a painter doing movies. When I asked, “What did the movies really do for your career?” he replied that, “Suddenly people could start talking about what I do.” And he’s right, because it’s hard for people to speak about painting. Everyone can speak about movies and their narration. Once I moderated a panel with Albert Oehlen and Julian about painting, and it was revelatory in showing what a different language we need to use to describe artistic intention. If you would have to speak about what you like, say, about the goat paintings, it’s much harder than speaking about what you like about The Diving Bell and the Butterﬂy. I would say that he is the visual artist of his time who has made the best ﬁ lms—but I admire his paintings ﬁrst and foremost. Nevertheless, the genre is so different. If you decide to do a painting, you do it, and you don’t need anyone else. Doing a movie is a major, major organizational effort, and you need to motivate so many different people. And he can do that. If you look at his movies, especially the ﬁrst ones, they’re really on a shoestring and done by sheer dedication, vision, and force of will. You can see that the actors playing in Basquiat are really his friends, participating and acting somewhat for him,so he could have David Bowie be Warhol and Dennis Hopper play Bruno Bischofberger. And he got the best out of them. He wants to use the best people, and in The Diving Bell and the Butterﬂy, he worked with the famous cinematographer Janusz Kaminski. Obviously, this guy had all sorts of lenses, but Julian had this idea, for the cameraman to ﬁ lm through Julian’s own glasses. So in this very typical, impromptu way, the world is seen through his own personal lens. It’s like when he stands in front of a painting, and makes
Top and bottom: View of Julian Schnabel’s studio, New York City, 2018
a white splash from the left lower corner, and then sees how it develops into something else. I think he uses some sort of the same artistic elements in the ﬁ lm medium, which usually is not as prone to improvisation. He’s almost reminiscent of a Francis Ford Coppola, an expansive and operatic artist. He certainly has an ego and a clear sense of what he wants to get accomplished, which I have to say, every artist should have and needs to have to basically pave through these kinds of walls they have before them. It’s fairly amazing how Julian knows things, memorizes them and points them out. He kind of digests and absorbs so much of his
surroundings and is sensitive to what’s happening around him; whereas, some other artists certainly are not. Okay, he did a ﬁlm on Basquiat and he’s now doing one on Van Gogh, who are both romantically tortured artists. But he’s not tortured? His attraction to such iconic souls is interesting. I think he has this somewhat old-fashioned idea of artistic struggle in life. I mean, he certainly shows that in his movies, although it’s more difficult to decode in the paintings. It’s very hard to make artworks that are beautiful and emotionally charged, but not be kitschy or
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superﬁcial, or kind of stereotypical. I think he kind of treads on that border on purpose, which is not always a safe space. He still does portraits, doesn’t he? Yes, commissions and plate paintings, as well. Some might say this caters to the market, but Julian, like Warhol, has a signature style for portraiture, and one that’s recognizable for many. And for some people who want to have a Schnabel, that makes them very happy. On the other hand, I would say that Julian’s paintings, in general, given their monumental scale, their complex and coded narrative, their challenging materiality and different approaches and styles are almost the opposite of what the “market” would want. Since the Legion will be showing some of his signature massive paintings, we’d like to know more about them. I feel that among his most important paintings are probably the Treatise of Melancholia series. These were done for an exhibition at an old monastery, the Cuartel de Carmen in Seville; 24 paintings on olive green tarpaulin he found in Mexico. It was an extraordinary exhibition of major, very large paintings in a highly connotated environment. An element that is important about his work is that the paintings have a history already ingrained in them before he starts, so it’s not like a blank canvas. His basic canvas could be the landscapes reproduced in his goat paintings or fabric that a street vendor used to cover his vegetables. He just buys stuff that he is inspired by as the basic surface material for his stretcher, which gives his work a kind of history, a narrative. It’s already charged, to a certain extent, before he even starts painting. Your show will feature some of these big, bold pieces, right? When he came out here to the Legion, he kind of jokingly said, “So, Max, where are my galleries?” We were standing in the courtyard, and I played along, saying, “Well, we are standing in it.” That kind of stopped him in his tracks, and he asked, “What do you mean?” And I said, “I want to have a show of your works in the outside courtyard.” Because he paints these large canvases in an outside studio which he built, and because his paintings are so much about architecture in their context, I thought this would be a perfect kind of environment. And with our new overall contemporary program at the Fine Arts Museums, work is not supposed to be presented in a gallery of white cubes, one, two, three, but as bold and playful interventions using our premises in an unusual way, sometimes creating tension between the classical and contemporary art context. Out of that came a new series of paintings that Julian Schnabel custom-made, so to speak, for the courtyard. I also felt we should exhibit three
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Top and bottom: View of Julian Schnabel’s studio,New York City, 2018
“He likes creating an ensemble for now, as wel l as eternity.” seminal bodies of paintings from the ’90s to show in the three galleries housing our Rodin collection. So, in these galleries, we’ll present the Jane Birkin paintings made from the reclaimed Egyptian sails that Julian saw on the Nile, the goat paintings and the abstract Mexican paintings whose canvases are from Mexican fruit and vegetable market stalls. Paintings inspired by Jane Birkin, the actress? The name evoked a time and mood for him. He sometimes includes in his paintings the names of people he relates to, that are close to him, or just foreign words that he just heard, words that resonate. So you will ﬁnd Pope Pius IX, Ozymandias, or William Gaddis in some of his work, or his surfer friend Chuck, or something
fairly mundane or haphazard in another. Again, some of it seems very impromptu, but it is about the possibility of having a reaction to the different elements that surround us, showing that all sorts of things can be reference points, inhabiting a psychologically charged room of reception. It is not a diary. It’s just him being open and applying his artistic hand to everything in life, even to the design of the chairs in his house, or in choosing an eighteenth-century piece as background in one of his works because he likes creating an ensemble for now, as well as eternity. That’s also what I really like about him. Well, that’s the director in him. You’ll be visiting the studio and he’ll say, “You need to see this painting. But you should see it
Jane Birkin (Egypt), Oil, gesso on sailcloth, 204.25” x 228.5”, 1990, Photo by Tom Powel Imaging, Copyright Julian Schnabel Studio
in this light—and then in that light, and then in a third context. And he starts moving the paintings around by himself, like on a theater set where they take center stage and where he is extremely sensitive to their place and relation to the spectator. And the Legion of Honor is his next theater. How will you take care of the paintings in the courtyard? We don’t take care of them, I mean… If it rains, it rains. Right. Well, it’s not the most important thing that they’re going to deteriorate. These are paintings being part of the environment. And they will have, so to speak, that history of having been exhibited here at the Legion ingrained in them wherever they end up afterwards. Julian Schnabel is on view at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco April 21–August 5, 2018. He is currently working on a movie about Vincent Van Gogh.
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Theresa Chromati Grace In Her Space Interview by Kristin Farr Portrait by Bryan Derballa
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A silver lining, a rainbow, or a sprout pushing through pavement—there are countless ways to analogize the subversion of negativity, but togetherness is key for positive transformation. Theresa Chromati’s paintings celebrate the unparalleled power of community among black women, and her work inspires a hard examination of expectations as her ﬁgures are set free to dance, be natural, and own the space they have always deserved. She is quite literally turning scars into sparkles. Chromati is a Brooklyn artist who has already lived other lives as a designer and clarinetist, and she’s now a multi-sensory storyteller, making mixed-media work that moves, shakes, and expresses the depth of female bonds, among other personal and universal tales. Kristin Farr: What are all the mediums you work in? Theresa Chromati: Mainly painting and collage, primarily acrylic paint. I use glitter, vinyl plastics, silk fabric, and I have also played with cotton and bandanas. I’m really interested in adding textures and different elements. I’ve worked digitally, and I’m working with wood now, and I’m trying to move in the direction where the surface plays into the context of the work. I’m working on a series about events that happen through the eyes of people who are stoop sitting, spending a long time sitting on the steps, including certain events that happen on the street. It captures people on these steps doing nostalgic things from my childhood, like eating sunﬂower seeds. Another painting is called Stoop Rapunzel, and it captures a young woman walking down the steps, her hand being held by a boy, and the mother’s looking out the door—little
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moments like that. The wood I painted on was shaped like a house. I remember eating sunﬂower seeds. They’re a lot of work. They are. It was just something you did, even if you didn’t really like them. My mom never bought sunﬂower seeds, but the kids in my neighborhood loved them, so I just ate them because it was like a way of belonging. The gateway to smoking. Right, it’s the same structure. We’re clearly from two different places, but you still have the same memory of something that most people would never talk about unless it came up, so I’m trying to consider those things and put them into the work. We should talk about glitter. I just have a natural attraction to glitter. A lot of what I’m trying to say in my work is about the beauty and conﬁdence of black women, and depicting moments of partnership among them. There’s also proximity to people who don’t quite understand us or see our shine, so I like using a shimmering medium to play into the context. I really like texture and how one area of the painting can be matte and one is shiny, which makes it seem three-dimensional. I want the pieces to have a cinematic feel when you see them in person. How do the fabrics relate to the content? Silk represents quality. It’s very delicate, and the silk I’ve used recently is yellow, so it’s bright and positive. When is your next solo show? In September, in my hometown, at School 33, and I purposely chose Baltimore because the work is about home, and the moments are
reﬂective of my life in that city. It’s inspired by personal memories, and imagination on top of that—just things that I want to see or talk about. I’ve realized that the things that relax me are also considered research, so I’ve been exploring Baltimore City on Google maps. I’ll type in an address in a neighborhood that I know, just to see how it’s depicted. A lot of the images capture people, so I take screenshots of people on stoops for consideration. What else about Baltimore comes through in your work? I’m feeling some kind of way that’s driving me to create something nostalgic that talks about a speciﬁc community, but my overall focus is on partnership among women. Body language and other references come from women who grew up in Baltimore City, my mom and my aunt, women on my block. They are just ingrained in me and how I see the idealistic woman. I often make this alternate dimension world, but in my last show, Strange Noise on the Rooftop, there are images of women standing on homes, and some of them are single-family homes, or row homes with a speciﬁc brick pattern that I’ve only seen in Baltimore. Certain elements pop up, but I wouldn’t say all my work is about the city, because that would box me in. But I do currently focus on the emotions and the structure of those communities where I grew up. Are you still doing design and illustration work? I do quite a bit of freelance work for Vice, and I used to do a lot of posters. I went to undergrad for graphic design, but I didn’t feel like I was being challenged, so I surrounded myself with peers who needed illustrations. Some friends were throwing a really inclusive and diverse music festival called Kahlon, and I was the overall
Left: Looking (2 Women With Eating Sunflower Seeds), Acrylic and glitter on custom wood panel, 24” x 48”, 2017 Middle: I Take Care of Mine, Acrylic, glitter, and vinyl collage on paper, 47” x 39”, 2017 Right: Stoop Rapunzel, Acrylic and glitter on custom wood panel, 30” x 48”, 2017
BBW (Between a Braider’s Weaving), Digital print, glitter, and fabric collage on paper, 48” x 72”, 2016
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visual person, creating the brand identity. Noisey came down and covered it, and it was something really special that helped me at an early age. This was my introduction to sharing my work, which started as posters or album covers. It was an interesting way to see reactions through comments online. I’ve been developing my characters since I was 18, but I kept them really private. One had arms but no legs, so she walked on the arms. That’s one I’m working with more and more. I didn’t use her much at ﬁrst because I didn’t know how she survived. How come she has no legs? She also has six ﬁngers. Sometimes I do extra ﬁngers. She’s just odd, and to me, that’s enough explanation. I want to continuously show diversity with black women, and maybe you don’t quite understand her, but that’s okay because she’s breathing and she deserves space. Do many of your characters recur? I have like a little vault of people that I can reference, and I try to reference myself. I think it’s safest that way. Most of the characters are depicted with masks, and they also have pussy lips, and those are both examples of armor. They represent something you have to put on before you walk outside, referencing how what you see is not the entire person, just a shell of
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a person, and it’s about that identity. It’s also protection against harm. As a black woman, I feel you need a protective layer just in case, so I often show them doing happy or joyous things, though they’re still wearing these elements. It’s protection against anything that could take your balance away. It’s also a source of pride, the armor, but now I’m showing women without it in really serene places. Tell me more about how the pussy lips are symbolic. The foreground of the paintings is the beauty and conﬁdence in the relationships of these black women, despite the negative things that are in proximity to them. I made the pussy lips based on the whole situation that black women have full lips and have been really made fun of and tortured because of that, and to see that exaggerated lips have now become such a phenomenon across races feels really odd. So, the pussy lips in the paintings are armor, but also my innate feature that I wear proudly, and it’s at the center, where your vagina is, so that’s a connection for women, and it’s a really loaded image. It’s not exactly self-portraiture, but your own image is related to the work. There are deﬁnitely elements that are directly from me. I haven’t ﬁgured out if I’m making self-portraits or not. Right now I’m saying no, but there are deﬁnitely elements, like scariﬁcation
and keloids, the hair and the feet. There’s tons of elements, but I think they survive without me, so I don’t know if that still counts as a self-portrait. I always ask ﬁgurative artists what their characters would say out loud. I create soundscapes because I want to get closer to relating a sound of the environment I’m tapping into. When people view the work, they can hear that and get closer to that reality. Humor is a strong part of my work, and I like to add whimsical qualities. In the soundscapes, I use my own voice, but it’s really distorted. Tell me more about what you want to communicate about the experience of women. I want to talk about the beauty of black women because I look at my relationships, and it’s one of the most beautiful things when you have love and support, and you balance one another. I show the relationships with a sense of community I haven’t felt anywhere else besides with women. It’s important to show. Depictions of black women in media throughout history are not often aligned with what I see as important, so I feel it’s my responsibility to create as many positive and realistic images of us as possible. I also want to show how we get hurt, and how we support, how we laugh and get dressed, literally everyday things that I ﬁnd so special. Tell me about your BBW show and if that’s been a theme all along.
Reclining Woman (Wig Connection), Acrylic, glitter, vinyl, and silk collage on paper, 71” x 40”, 2017
That was my ﬁrst solo, and I was focusing on reclaiming an acronym that is oversexualized in porn—Big Beautiful Women. I thought it was interesting and funny to reintroduce the acronym and focus on black women, but not in an oversexualized way. There is a painting with a woman braiding another woman’s hair, and a piece with a couple where the woman is in front and very grand, and the man is behind her. It’s titled Behind Bae’s Worth, and I wanted to show a woman being conﬁdent, but also having a partner who gives the space for her to shine, and he’s not being demanding or controlling. What does your work say about space and identity, and how they are linked? The space I’m creating is a positive environment
where women can completely be themselves in their entirety. The idea of home as a structure is a metaphor representing ignorance, pain, misunderstanding, misogyny and all these things that can place a woman in a space that she does not want or need to be placed in. So I depicted women on top of houses to show the idea of being close to this structure but also overcoming it. I was thinking more literally, that it was about people invading your space. I’ve had experiences that felt like my energy was being sucked out of me for entertainment, just to make other people feel comfortable. I’m not focusing on things like that now, but when I did the BBW show, there was a piece called Beneﬁcial
Boot Wearer, and it showed a white woman trying on a boot, but it was literally skin, like a whole leg, and that was an example of trying something on. It’s a whole leg from a person, something from their body that they needed, and this person is just trying it on. Also, in my Tea Time series, which was a public installation, women were protecting their serene spaces, and everyone was surviving in a teacup or a tea kettle, and I wanted to relate this twisted love of tea. I enjoy tea, and it’s calming, and it became this important thing in my family. My dad’s side is West Indian, and a lot of Caribbeans that were colonized by the British admire things that were left there. Drinking tea is something I wanted to question, so I depicted all the women in teacups feeling great, basically showing us as a community of black people who are often placed in spaces that aren’t our intended spaces, but in order to survive, we make it okay. We do what we can to survive in this space that wasn’t even intended for us. The women are ﬁnding ways to be calm, but there is another portion of the piece where one of the ﬁgures is carrying a carton of milk, and a few of the angel-like protectors are saying no to mixing their tea with milk. It was more about having black tea. The whole thing was twisted. My focus is the space being taken, actual objects being taken, and what it looks like when so many things from your community have been taken, and you are still trying to successfully ﬁnd comfort within a very uncomfortable situation. There’s always someone trying to take, and there are so many forms of taking. I’m interested in nostalgia. If I only made work focusing on being wrong, I’d be doing myself a disservice. Overall, I want people to see that, despite these negative things happening, this woman in this piece is still going. You said people often ask who’s behind the mask in your paintings. Right now I’m just showing fractions of who’s behind the mask, and I’m not ready to show the whole face. I have a smaller piece that shows only the legs and feet of a woman standing in front of a mask, which is on the ﬂoor, so she’s looking down at it. It’s about looking for this self that you have to put on in order to go out. This woman, while in this safe space, is feeling something when she is faced with putting on this persona. It’s the contemplation right before she bends down to pick it up. Tell me about the patterns and design elements in the stages you’re setting. There’s always something happening, and it’s so busy in the environments where I feel most comfortable. My community is constantly innovating, and all of that is inside me when it’s time to pick colors and create movement. I want to get into creating more depth in the work, because
Artist clothing collaboration with Print All Over Me, Linen dress and digital composition design by the artist, Campaign images by Theresa Chromati x Maroon World
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Dancing With The Stars, Acrylic, glitter, and vinyl collage on paper, 77” x 24”, 2017
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BBW (Beneﬁcial Boot Wearer), Digital print, glitter, and fabric collage on paper, 48” x 72”, 2016
I feel like people don’t consider the depth of my community and the history. I’m really excited about pushing that forward for however long I have on this earth to do so. I’ve put basic insecurities into the pieces, and it’s helped me in the process of seeing them as beautiful. It’s been therapeutic. I have big ol’ feet that are kind of strange, with wide toe gaps, and it’s odd but interesting, so I’ll make ﬁgures that look like that, too. The hands have become more stylized and ﬂuid, and it felt natural to mimic that same style in the backgrounds. I use keloids on a lot of the ﬁgures, which you can’t really see in the photographs. I have a keloid, and it’s hereditary, a scar on my chest. There are certain trigger areas where you can get this type of scar, and people with more melanin are more susceptible to forming them. Your skin heals too quickly in certain areas. My grandmother had one from putting perfume on her chest, which irritated the skin. The same thing happened to my mother, so, growing up, they always told me not to do the perfume thing, and I never did. But I scratched my chest one day, and it didn’t heal properly, and the scar started to grow. I was upset, but at a certain point, I realized I had to ﬁnd conﬁdence with this scar that’s right at the center of my chest, and I started to ﬁnd the beauty in it. My mom has it, and my
grandmother did, and she’s no longer here, so it feels like this weird connection. I put them in the pieces because there’s no right idea of beauty or perfection. All of these things people would see as imperfections, I’m trying to ﬁnd conﬁdence within them, and I make the keloids with globs of paint or glitter.
storytelling, and people do not feel like doing that. If someone says they had a great time, I’m like, “What conversations did you have? What was the vibe? Who performed? What did it look like?” If you had a good time, I want to be placed there. But other people are like, “I just said I had a great time, so that’s it.”
There’s not a lot of research on them and there’s no treatment, because if you mess with it, it could keep growing. A lot of women have it and don’t know what it is. Dermatologists would just want to remove it, but the whole reason you have it is because your skin can’t take trauma, so it just grows back larger. You have to do research about how to holistically treat it. They’re not a focal point of the work, but it’s something that can start a long conversation.
What’s your ideal party? I often feel like every party I go to falls short because I’m looking for something I’ll never get in this time period. I often wish I could live through other time periods, and mainly for the parties. I want to see something strange, and the DJ has to be constantly playing a diverse range of music. I want lighting, installations, animals... not to be a cliche, but something like Studio 54, clubs in New York from the ’70s and ’80s. I’ve never been to my ideal party, and I always have this vision.
What’s something that feels really important to you, but less important to other people? I’m really big on storytelling, even for the smallest thing. I want someone to create a seat for me in the space, I want to know where you were and what you ordered, and all this backstory, so I can be immersed in that environment. I think I get that from my grandmother, because she’s from another country, so when I was younger, stories would be super detailed because they were about places I’d never been to or seen. So when people tell me things, I expect that same kind of
STOP! Someone’s in here (Woman Takes a Shit), Acrylic, glitter, silk fabric and vinyl collage on paper, 60” x 40”, 2017
There’s a movie called The Great Beauty, an Italian ﬁlm from 2013, and within the ﬁrst few minutes, there’s a party that looks really great, so I guess it’s possible. I’m still searching for that, but I’m not sure it exists in this day and age. I just like spontaneity and random things, and I like to be surprised. I don’t want just one shock factor, but many different ones. theresachromati.black
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Franco Fa s o l i A History of Jaz Interview by Gwynned Vitello Portrait by Todd Mazer
Trying to deďŹ ne jazz is fraught and elusive, and so is any attempt to pigeonhole the multimedia artist known as Jaz. Born Franco Fasoli in Buenos Aires, the painter-sculptor-collagist, bred in the tradition of opera, draws and draws from the fusion and confusion of life. We sat down together at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse during Miami Art Week and talked about the beautiful noise.
Gwynned Vitello: I have to admit I was skeptical when I read that you ﬁrst studied at the Instituto del Teatro Colon. That’s like going to school at the Met or La Scala. Jaz: I studied at the opera house right after I ﬁnished art school. It was like my secondary school, where you go between 12 and 18 years old, and I ﬁnished as a ceramicist. Right after that, I got interested in building props and stage design, so I got into the opera house. They have an institute for people to work in different areas of the theater, like music, dance, clothing and stage design, which is what I was interested in. It combined many skills I liked, such as painting and sculpting, but with a particular purpose. I was always interested in the theater because of my family; half of them worked at the Teatro Colon. My husband’s family was from Argentina, and on one side, the children were named after operas. My grandparents on my dad’s side worked at the Teatro Colon, one a piano player and one a dancer. Both uncles worked there, one a stage
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builder and the other, an archivist. My mother’s parents both paint, and they teach graphic design. When I was a kid, I was skilled in art and liked stage design because it was a good combination where I could put many skills in one direction. Then I taught stage design at Teatro Colon after I ﬁnished my own studies. What an opportunity to work in such a gorgeous building, like an inspiration in itself! It was amazing to work and study there from 2000 to 2008, when they started renovations. And, at the same time, I had a stage design company I had started with other students. For ten years, we did scenography for anything you can imagine: ﬁlm, theater, parties and advertising. We would build anything you wanted, so it was an incredible ten years for a young man to work with the masters of stage design in Argentina. They embraced me, so it was exciting in terms of knowledge and different ways to work. Learning all those skills helped me create languages for each. So the art background,
stage design and graffiti just mixed together— and boom! Most graffiti artists don’t start out this way. How did your family react? For me, it was a kind of self-rebellion, a way to clash against my background, a way to escape the heavy tradition. My family was fantastic, and my grandfather became a super fan. When I started to paint graffiti in the ’90s, there wasn’t too much information about it in Buenos Aires, and there wasn’t any danger around it, so I had their full support. That was then, and… It’s not like that anymore. Graffiti exploded many years ago, and now the government is everywhere, cleaning it up, giving big tickets, putting up barriers. Now it is really hard, not like when we started and they gave us walls and paint. Did the ornamental style of Fileteado have an inﬂuence on you?
Bienvenido, Collage on canvas, 71” x 51”, 2016
Top: 20 x 21 EUG Mural Project, Eugene, Oregon, 2017 Bottom: One Against One, Mural Ist Festival, Istanbul, Turkey, 2013
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Collaboration with Conor Harrington, SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, 2015
We did grab that emblematic culture for our graffiti and tried to create our own style; it was very naive. At the beginning of the movement, we got all that culture from Buenos Aires and put it in our own style. It was so easy, so cool. Tell me more about how you started. With graffiti, I started when I was a student, even before stage design, when I was fourteen or ﬁfteen. I was really into skateboarding, BMX and hip-hop culture. In our city, it was a small scene, but I had my drawing skills and we all knew each other. Graffiti came from outside, especially from Brazil, because of that ﬁrst generation of artists like Os Gemeos. They came to Buenos Aires because it was close, an empty city and easy to paint. They came, and we saw those crazy yellow things, and started to check the early internet, like Art Crimes and graffiti.art. We tried to understand what it was, and I remember that with my ﬁrst, I knew to put my name. I would put bands’ names. We started out bad, but we really wanted to ﬁnd out what it was.
Shoe Thief, Rabat, Morocco, 2015
"What do yo u k no w about graffiti, abo ut a gr o up who really risked their lives, and yo u, just going ar o und tagging? " I can’t imagine a more political and artistic place than Argentina, so I am surprised it started somewhere else. The dictatorship ﬁnished in 1983, and I was born in the dictatorship. The ’70s were extremely violent and the streets were dangerous. Painting in the street was nearly impossible. Graffiti you saw in the street was extremely political, but you were risking your life. I remember presenting myself as a graffiti artist and having a conversation with some older artists, one of them an art historian. He said, “What do you know about graffiti, about a group who really risked their lives, and you, just going around tagging?”
I realized I had started out in a democracy where everything is chill. I realized how strong it was, working in a public space in those times, and why it started so late. Also, in Argentina. the hip-hop culture isn’t as big as in other countries. It’s more rock ’n’ roll, even now. In that time, even Chile was much stronger, and it was a connection we made because of the language and proximity. Then you lived in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood of Buenos Aires. What was that like?
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Again, it was hip hop that inﬂuenced me. It was a very small district, and we knew each other so well. The ﬁrst hip hop jams were super small, super ghetto, with only one place to party. Everyone was really connected, and for me, I felt a good vibe. We had a good relationship with all the artists and the scene, Then it exploded and became a different situation.
I could ﬁnd. I wanted to go back, to ﬁnd another language that ﬁts better with a public space. In the beginning, I tried to use a simple style, more typical, like Fileteado, and realized I could use my chosen materials to show my relationship with my city. Gradually, I moved away from the streets and into the studio, but I used the mentality from the streets to have a dialogue with the pubic space.
You were into hip hop, but at the time, you were painting classical musicians. I was still working in stage design, and my next steps were to go beyond graffiti and use different materials. 2003-04 was when I decided to use the shittiest materials I could ﬁnd, and that was, like, the real beginning.
Did you have any ideas that just didn’t cut it, any materials that absolutely did not work? Almost everything didn’t work! I liked the fact that they had an ephemeral feel. Tar was one of the best because it was very cheap and disappeared! It gives a chance to work in a pictorial way. I remember going to paint with a bucket of tar for maybe two dollars. I would go to the gas station, grab the cheapest gas and dissolve the tar with it. I did a lot of pieces with just those two materials, including many big walls. With the sun and environment, the piece disappeared little by little. I would use dust from the ground, brick, a lot of coal, also a lot of limestone because, in Argentina, the advertising was done with limestone. There is a whole culture around the people who do political pieces with it, and I did a project with them. What they do is
Maybe that’s partly a result of your background in set building. I always tried to stay with the concept. When you work in a public space, you should keep it like that, push that aspect. So I started to work with materials I would ﬁnd in the walls or on the street, the least I could use and the cheapest. The spray can materials became super professional and speciﬁc, so I decided to use the shittiest stuff
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illegal, so they work at night, same as with graffiti. I went to their studio and did some pieces in that style. Little by little, the materials took over my work. That gave me the mood to work with paper, and now I’m also working with bronze. And when you work in sculpture, you fabricate the whole piece, don’t you? For me, I have no problem with other people’s methods. I understand how contemporary art works, but I’m an artist who really needs to be involved in the process. That’s the main thing driving me. I like to draw from my palette of skills and mix them to see if I can ﬁnd my own language using them. My friend from Italy 2501 asked me to make a sculpture with a machine he had. I had it in mind to work with bronze for a long time. Which led to you moving to Spain. I moved to Barcelona particularly for love. My girlfriend lives there. I had tried to work with bronze in Argentina, but it was too expensive. I asked some friends in Europe and the States, and especially Zio Ziegler from San Francisco, who gave me a hand and advised me. I found a place in Barcelona, and that opened another part of my
Madrid, Spain, 2015
brain. I continued to work in sculpture with other materials, fabric, polyurethane and ceramics, and had a dialogue with those materials. That gave me another problem in my mind! But I know you’re still painting. I’m doing more collage than anything, but still painting and sculpting a lot. Before, my work was divided between inside and outside. Now it’s more
divided between 2D and 3D; so again, I’m excited about all the possibilities. What’s the difference between working in South America and Europe? Of course, Barcelona is now a whole other story. Before, Barcelona felt divided, but now it’s divided in a bad way. There are acts of violence between the ones who are independent and
the ones who are extremely nationalistic isolationists. While it’s still a developed European city with the good vibe of Barcelona, it’s even more intense because it’s small and concentrated. There is the good vibe of tourists, but also police helicopters hovering overhead. So you went from Argentina to this? Ha, every time I put up a video of the riots, all my friends from Argentina say, “You went all the way there to see the same thing?!” But I like struggle. If you ask anyone from Argentina, it’s love and hate at the same time. Now that I live in Spain, I would miss that energy at some point. That’s evident in so much of your work. Constant struggle seems to be the theme. I talk about society, as well as my struggle, personal struggle through societal struggle. As a mixed media artist who works in many different ways, I talk about Argentine society through my subjects. But it is extremely personal at the same time. I have always been interested in history and feel so lucky to have the chance to visit other countries and see the clash of the different realities. Geographically, Argentina is far from everything, so I see what is happening, but from a distance. I do feel the loss of the vibe that used to surround me. Have you ever lived, say, in the country, some quiet, grassy, green place? I was never interested in quiet places. I love those places to visit, but I love the mess! Mexico City is my favorite place in the world (next to Buenos
Top: Primer Territorio Libre de America, Collage on paper, 315” x 157”, 2016 Bottom: Pantalón, Bronze and fabric, 2017
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El Agradecido, Collage on canvas, 43” x 51”, 2017
Aires) because it is so insane, so bizarre. In just one corner, you have more information than any other place you could be. I was just in Mexico and spent some time with a documentarian. There are so many fascinating rituals. He told us about a procession for the sun, which involves a tradition of massive hammers mixed with gunpowder. In the middle of all this smashing, there is the interaction of religion and history. The Aztec and Mayan roots are so deep. Mix that with religion, and it’s insane. I could live my whole life in Mexico confounding about these things. In Bolivia, there is a tradition where they ﬁght for the growing of the crops, a prehispanic ritual, where the ﬂowing of blood is said to enhance the yield. Despite the political turmoil, Barcelona is generally more calm, a city where every day I can see the same thing happening. I prefer living where anything can happen at some point. The horses you paint show so much strength and energy. I love the beauty and stamina of the animal. It is
Pretencion de Grandeza, Collage on canvas, 71” x 51”, 2016
also related to subjects that my family of artists worked with. There is a childhood connection, and also with tigers, for example. Your painting of the tigers in the bedroom, the one with the long red nails, tells a vivid, mysterious story. Like someone looking through the plant into the situation, I used that to show the animal side of the person, as well as their inner energy. Also, it’s a naive way to talk through childhood, to make nicer the subjects of violence. The animals turn into metaphors. I ﬁnd collage as a juxtaposition of all these things, a more formal way to work with color, paint and scissors. I make the collage with paper covering the whole surface, then paint over in oil with the same colors. After several layers, I scratch the surface and remove parts of both. I’m still learning and recently worked this way on a massive scale, a 10 x 26’ collage. All these clashing situations, but at the same time, a fragile mural hanging by wires. So I’m exploring all possibilities of the collage.
How do you feel about working alone? I used to share a studio with two other artists for ten years. We were friends, traveled together, shared information, shared a good vibe and grew up as artists. I miss that collaboration. The studio in Buenos Aires was a massive clubhouse with people coming by all the time. If someone needed a place to stay, needed paint, we would hook them up. The whole neighborhood got painted and embraced us. Art is never removed from your life, is it? Do you ever go out and maybe paint a landscape? Do you ever have down time? Art is where I ﬁnd a place of calm. But I do have a singular project where I record every bed that I ever slept in since traveling as a muralist. It is totally different from any other part of my work, and not at all commercial. The act of photographing those beds is a diary of all the craziness, a way to see those places, to remember those places. I already have more than 100. I exactly remember all of them. www.francofasoli.com.ar
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Rebecca Louise Law Painting on Air Interview by Alex Nicholson Portrait by Fabio Affuso
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Standing amid a suspended cloud of thousands of ﬂowers cascading from the ceiling, I realized that an installation by Rebecca Louise Law can be appreciated with eyes closed as well as open; physically looking at it is just one aspect of the experience. Recalling the wonder and innocence of a childhood spent outdoors, of lying in a ﬁeld or playing in the garden, Law seeks to transform the physical senses evoked by being in nature into a work of art. “I wanted to paint in the air,” she explains, and “I needed a material to help me do this.” Using the flower as sculptural material allows Law to create a space where the viewer can experience being inside the art, absorbing fragrances and textures, observing not only the beauty and colors of life, but the eventual decay, death, and preservation. Maintaining a “no waste” policy, every part of the material is repurposed into a new work of art. “I have always longed to create an art that enables human kind to have a serenity within nature,” Law said of a recent UK exhibition at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, “transporting them into a space without the constraints of time and where there is still life in death.” After
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suspending a decade’s worth of preserved materials into one sculptural piece at Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, Law spoke to me from Malaysia where she was working on several permanent encased artworks, completing the final stage in the cycle of her creative process. Alex Nicholson: In the introduction of your exhibition and book, Life in Death, you discuss how your father was a gardener and the attic of your house was always ﬁlled with ﬂowers dried by your mom. How did she use the dried ﬂowers? Rebecca Louise Law: My mother and father grew ﬂowers in an allotment in our village. They would sell small bunches of dried ﬂowers at the front garden gate of our home. My mother often made art, cards and decorations with dried ﬂowers, too. Do you garden as well? Or are you over working with ﬂowers by the time you get home? Growing up with the luxury of having a gardener as my father made me lazy in the garden. My father often prunes my tiny garden, and I have no problem with letting it overgrow time and time again. My home is full of dried ﬂowers, and if we
ever have fresh ﬂowers in the house, they would have been bought and arranged by my husband. Do you recall a speciﬁc moment when you realized that you wanted to be an artist, or was it something more gradual? I always wanted to be an artist, nothing else interested me. What is the process for sourcing all of the ﬂowers you use? Do you use local farms in the countries where you work? I like to source the ﬂowers locally, and a lot of research will be put into this. My ideal is to have site-speciﬁc artworks that come from the land that I am working in. Most of my installations are locally sourced, and I love ﬁnding out what the local cultivated ﬂowers are. Sadly, for some artworks, I have to import the ﬂowers. On these occasions, I use ﬂowers that I have sourced myself in the UK. If I need expertly dried ﬂowers, they come from a farm in France, and for any other ﬂower, I have a supplier in Holland who will hunt high and low for all species, dried or fresh. Your studio is next to the Colombia ﬂower market in London. Do you often visit other markets
Dahlia, Dahlias and copper wire, 2003, TIC Space, Newcastle
The Beauty of Decay Series, Fine art archival pigment print on Hahnemuhle stock, 2016, In collaboration with photographer Rachel Warne
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Top and bottom: The Canopy, 150,000 mixed flowers, 2016, Melbourne, Australia
around the world? Do you have a favorite? I once visited a ﬂower market in Hanoi and loved watching people balance mountains of ﬂowers on their bicycles and motorcycles and head off into the morning to sell them throughout the city. The last market that I went to that amazed me was in Doha. The baskets of dried herbs and ﬂowers were abundant, next to stalls of falcons ready to adorn a sheikh. Hong Kong is incredible for its markets, and the bird market is unique. Owning a bird for decoration upsets and fascinates me. Some markets make you feel like you have traveled back in time. I think my favourite is Spitalﬁelds antique market in London on a Thursday. I love antiques and ﬁnding old, beautifully crafted objects. From funerals to weddings, there are so many traditions surrounding ﬂowers. They convey such a wide range of emotions, from sorrow to happiness and love. How do you draw on these varying rituals and traditions in your work? Each work is made with sensitivity to the emotions that a flower can evoke. People have responded with total elation or also deep sorrow. Flowers are used throughout history to mark an occasion, happy and sad. These moments usually last a day, along with the flower. I preserve every flower to hold on to these moments, and by postponing decay, I want to create a space that the viewer can revisit, a place that may trigger a past memory or emotion again and again. With different ﬂowers having different meanings, depending on the culture, where have you encountered a wide variance of cultural differences in what a certain type of ﬂower symbolizes? Every country has a native ﬂower and its own symbolism connected to it. White lilies represent death in some countries and life in others. I’ve struggled with bringing dried ﬂowers into cultures who observe the tradition of Feng Shui, as they are thought to have a negative energy. There is much debate about this, and many patrons have argued that my work gives life rather than death. Do you have a favorite ritual involving ﬂowers that you’ve encountered in your research? After working in Greece, I can’t walk past any herbs without brushing them through my hands. China gave me so many ﬂoral teas, and I love trying new teas. I think the Japanese tea ceremony is the most sacred ritual I have learnt. My own ritual is lying under an artwork once I’ve ﬁnished and just taking it in. I was drawn to lay on the ﬂoor under all the ﬂowers too, I’m glad to know that’s one way they were intended to be experienced! Do you have a favorite ﬂower? The Garden Rose (in a garden).
I was able to visit your ﬁrst exhibition at Chandran Gallery multiple times and watch the ﬂowers slowly change. At your current exhibition there, Intertwine, the ﬂowers are already preserved. The dried ﬂowers have a very different sense of beauty to them. Can you describe the different energies emanating from fresh and dried ﬂowers? A dried ﬂower holds time. A fresh ﬂower holds a moment, and both are equally special. The beauty of a dried ﬂower is being able to revisit it and observe it as a preserved object of the earth, a perfect form of nature that holds onto its fragility. The fragrance of the ﬂowers is something else you don't really consider if you aren't able to visit the installations in person. Scent is not often part of
Top: Balthasar Van der Ast, Fine Art Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle stock: Mixed flowers, shells, model ﬁgures, insects, butterflies and props 32” x 22”, 2014, Photo by Tom Hartford Bottom: Balthasar Van der Ast Decayed, Fine Art Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemuhle stock: Mixed flowers, shells, model ﬁgures, insects, butterflies and props, 32” x 22”, 2014, Photo by Tom Hartford
an art exhibit. In your book, you recall wanting to bottle the excitement and freedom you feel being surrounded by nature. Was sense of smell an experience you were referencing? When I swapped my paints for ﬂowers, the main draw of the ﬂower was its many dimensions. Suddenly I could use a material that changed in shape, texture, colour, and smell. I loved natural art and I was excited to create something that could evoke more than one sense, a physical experience. I am not an expert on scent, but the smell of my installations always takes me back to my own childhood. I’ve always wanted my installations to either transport the viewer back to their own memories of nature, or show the viewer my own experience of nature.
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You have mentioned that transitioning from painting to working with ﬂowers allowed you to express your ideas much more fully. Do you still paint? I still paint. I’ll always paint. From a distance, the ﬂowers appear to be ﬂoating, but once you get closer, you can clearly see the wires holding everything together and suspending them in space. When did you ﬁrst start hanging ﬂowers from the ceiling and tying them together with copper wire, and what sparked that idea? In 2003, I created my ﬁrst hanging installation, inspired by the ﬂowers hanging in my parents attic as a child. I had been experimenting with hanging objects for a few years before I knew what direction I wanted to go. I wanted to paint in the air and I wanted my art to be three-dimensional. I needed a material to help me do this. First, I found the ﬂower that could be preserved in an array of colours and forms, and then in 2004, I found copper wire. I have used this material to hold all of my artworks together ever since and it has never let me down. Have you experienced anything in your own installations that has surprised you, something you didn't expect to feel or see? I’m always humbled by the simplicity of working with nature’s beauty. The cycle of life is something you emphasize in these pieces, and you also try to save all the materials. A ﬂower in nature loses its petals and eventually return to the earth, as does all life. Could you elaborate on the difficulty of ﬂowing against that natural cycle and holding onto and preserving the materials? What is the hardest part of manipulating a natural material to your own vision while trying to maintain its organic form and lifespan? It feels unnatural to hold onto a material that is intended to enrich the earth, so I suppose I felt slightly guilty postponing this natural ﬂow. However, this new knowledge in preservation has also provided so much to learn and poses a challenge that continually keeps me focused. It is incredibly difficult working with a material that is dying and decaying. Timing is everything. I recently read a book, On Trails, where the author talks about how our idea of "the wilderness" didn't really exist until we needed to escape to it from something else. And there is an often-quoted moment in the documentary Burden of Dreams where Werner Herzog, reflecting on life in the jungle, says, “Taking a close look at what is around us, there is some sort of a harmony. It is the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder... And we have to become humble in front of this overwhelming misery and overwhelming fornication, overwhelming
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The Iris, 10,000 fresh irises, 2017, NOW Gallery, London, Photo by Charles Emerson
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Top: Helipetrum Sanfordii, Antique brass cabinet, mixed flowers and copper wire, 2015, Photo by Tom Hartford Bottom: Yellow, 2016, Columbia Road Flower Market, London, Photo by Rachel Warne
growth, and overwhelming lack of order.” Because most of us don't spend our lives in such a struggle to survive, nature is, understandably, often a romantic concept, and flowers especially, so does this other side of nature, one of chaos, struggle, and death, work its way into your work? I always wanted to create an artwork that would consume the viewer in nature. But to fully be immersed in nature can be unpleasant, so there needs to be balance and control. I think the fantasy is much nicer than the reality. I’ve played with fully immersive installations and I rarely find a viewer who would step over this boundary and completely lose themselves in nature. I would like to push these natural boundaries further and experiment more with the human interaction in order to be fully consumed in an artwork. How do you plan installations? Do you create detailed drawings of what each space will look like? How do you keep track of inspiration, ideas, and concepts? My installations are dreams, and slowly
Still Life, 2016, Broadway Studio & Gallery, Letchworth, Photo by Katherine Mager
realized. Because working with flowers is so expensive, my thoughts are much further ahead than my physical work. If I have a patron who cannot visualize the concept or work, I’ll draw sketches and detailed plans. But I love to have the freedom to create without restraints. I have a constant notebook that holds many thoughts and dreams.
me make this possible by directing one chapter with me, a scene where the heroine dies. It is a new medium and I have learnt a crazy amount about ﬁlms, so I still feel completely out of my depth. I saw every scene as an installation and it was hard to let go and allow everyone to have a part of the art. The ﬁlm is a short entitled “The Death of Albine” and it will be released in March 2018.
I assume ﬂowers catch your eye in all sorts of things. Are there ﬁlms that have inspired you? I’m inspired by physically being in nature, and have never found a ﬁlm that can capture this fully, even in my own work. However, I love ﬁlm. 12 Years a Slave, Life is Beautiful and Farewell My Concubine have never left my mind.
Do you still spend a lot of time outdoors? Where are some of your favorite places to be outside, physical places that inspire your work? I love to go to remote places in nature. This year I went to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. The islands are so beautiful, completely inspirational. Today I walked through the jungle in Malaysia. I’m overwhelmed by old trees.
I’ve heard that you’re working on a ﬁlm yourself. Tell me about it. I was given a book at university called The Sinful Priest by Emile Zola. The whole book was written using ﬂowers and nature to describe a story. I found the use of ﬂowers in words so inspirational that I wanted to capture an essence of the book in homage to this inspiration. A friend offered to help
If logistics and money were not an issue, what is your dream project? The Tate Turbine Hall. I have an installation in my head that I have dreamt of making since University. rebeccalouiselaw.com
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Beyond the Mold Interview by Eben Benson Portrait by David Broach
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Hard Pressed, Latex on wood, 18” x 24”, 2018
Monumental shifts undulate all around, and at any given moment, we’re part of intersectional and structural changes that happen without our conscious consent. Three years ago, Jillian Evelyn was living in Boston working for footwear giant Converse, choosing aesthetics and designs for their wide array of shoes. By the end of 2017, Jillian had moved to Los Angeles, having just sold out her show at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse in Miami, a number of solo shows under her belt, and a mounting buzz humming behind her rapidly growing career. It’s possible that Jillian had it all planned out, that she knew she would thrive upon leaving. However, it takes a lot of faith and honesty to move away from the safe path and bare your face to the harsh wind of criticism that comes with making and selling art. But still, three years in, here she is. When I interviewed Jillian for our website last September, we spoke about the contorted ﬁgures in her work, their discomfort, her shift from acrylic to house paint, and how color choices come from the gut. Looking back, that statement about color provides insight into how she chose to leave a stable design job for a solo career. In the same instinctual way she envisions her unique selection of colors and surfaces, she banked on that intuition to emerge from the ﬂock in middle America to become one of the freshest painters in the LA art scene.
I surprised her as a kid, and she recognized that I had a unique way of seeing things, and she’s always been very supportive. With a background in footwear design, what aspects of working in commercial design jobs have spilled over into your current work as a full-time artist? At the time, I don’t think I knew how impactful my career in footwear would be on me or my art. Working for brands like Converse and TOMS, I learned a lot about the DNA that makes a brand, how to merchandise a product line, and the importance of storytelling. The experience gave me a good foundation, but I always felt a bit out of place because the work didn’t feel like a full expression of me. The experience of being unable to ﬁt into a mold and feeling a bit like a fraud ultimately broke me. As I decided to work on my art full time, I took what I had learned and used these feelings to drive my expression. You can only try to ﬁt into a mold for so long.
How do you feel that branding, especially personal branding, plays a role in being an artist today? The concept is often met with a lot of suspicion, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid. It’s probably impossible to avoid because it often just happens naturally. One of the things that characterizes an artist is that they go after a style that feels unique to them, and that speciﬁc style can come to be deﬁned as a brand. It’s been happening forever, but now we just have an established term that’s associated with the world of advertising. The tricky thing is being conscious about how you’re being positioned without thinking too much about what other people think. You have to work hard to stay in touch with yourself and not let others intrude on that process. In what ways do you feel that your femininity is expressed in these paintings, and how much do you feel like you're exploring femininity in general? I am a female artist and, like any artist, I’m exploring my personal experiences, so it’s just
Eben Benson: Since our last interview, a lot has changed. You’ve been in a number of exhibitions, you showed work in our Juxtapoz Clubhouse, and you’ve got more on the horizon. You’re hustling. Tell us what your day-to-day has been like, trying to keep up with all the changes, and tell us about some of the projects you’ve been working on. Jillian Evelyn: Honestly, its been bananas, and I think I may be a little bit in shock. I have shows lined up with my favorite galleries up to 2020, and here I am being featured in a magazine that I’ve admired for more than a decade. All of my dreams are coming true all at once, and it’s slightly terrifying, but I’m doing my best to not to think about it too much. Each morning, I wake up, drink some coffee, and make a list of what I need to accomplish for that day. If I focus too far out, my anxiety becomes paralyzing, so it’s really about focusing on one painting at a time, and how I can make that one better than the last. When did you start drawing? I’ve been drawing as far back as I remember. My mom has this story about when I was three or four and started drawing a vase with ﬂowers, and the way I approached it, she had no idea what I was drawing until I was totally ﬁnished. She says that I had a way of seeing things that was different. It wasn’t the way most kids would draw something.
Connections, Latex on ceramic, 2017
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natural that my work would explore femininity. I grew up with three older brothers in the boonies of Michigan, and my mom always used to try to get me to dress up, grow my hair long, and be more feminine. I was really aware of the classic concept of femininity and I knew it wasn’t me. I’ve been cutting my hair off since I was ﬁve years old, and I’ve been navigating this world of what I’ve been told being feminine is versus what being a woman means to me. In my work, I break down the body into shapes—a mix of curves and sharp edges to create an image of what being a woman feels like for me. We aren’t all soft around the edges and the body doesn’t have to represent something sexual. We have these limbs to hold us up and keep us in place. But that’s just my work now, and I know my feelings towards myself will evolve. I’ve been talking to my partner about having kids one day, and I know that experience will bring a whole other view of what it feels like to be a woman. I’m really looking forward to my personal growth and how it will continue to affect my work. I feel like it's not mentioned enough that you're adept at painting on a wide array of surfaces and structures. What are some things you love about painting on materials other than canvas? A lot of my work is about one’s connection to their physical and mental state, so I love to be able to
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explore different surfaces that help exaggerate those feelings. I also started painting on other objects as a way of repurposing them. Since I come from a product background, I am aware of how much waste comes from mass production. It’s my way of giving a new purpose to something that may have ended up in a landﬁll. Many of the women you paint smoke, although you don’t. What’s the idea behind the cigarettes? I’ll have a cigarette every so often. Growing up, my mom smoked, so I’ve been close to it for a good chunk of my life. For me, smoking is a way to represent fear and anxiety, or trying to calm fear and anxiety. Do you feel you were raised in a traditional atmosphere? Would you say your life has diverged from the path that you or your family expected? I grew up in a very blue-collar household in Michigan. My entire extended family worked in the automotive factories, and my parents actually met at General Motors. Work ethic was very important in our house. My dad worked a lot and still does to this day. He currently builds houses, and I don’t think many people get to say that every house they grew up in was actually built by their dad. My mom is a kitchen designer at Home Depot, and it’s been pretty neat to watch my parents work together on designing a home. Two of my brothers followed a similar path as my dad, and are both tradesmen, and my other
brother is a cop. Growing up, I deﬁnitely felt like the black sheep, but the more I step back and look at my art, I realize I’m not that different. I paint with house paint and I use wood as canvas. I enjoy picking up paint at the hardware store because it reminds me of visiting my mom at work or spending time with my dad on job sites growing up. What are some things that you appreciate about coming from that background, and what were some challenges? Having grown up on a dairy farm, I always felt like the arts were this exclusive club that was off-limits to workingclass kids like me. I can only speak about my experience, but I learned a lot about perseverance through my parents’ work life. Some years, we would have money and things felt comfortable, and then others I’d wake up and our car was gone because it had been repossessed. The automotive industry paid well but there were so many layoffs while my parents were working. They never let it get them down, though. I’ve watched my parents lose their house and go through bankruptcy, but all they did was say, “Oh, well, at least no one died,” and found another way to pay the bills. So, yeah, my parents didn’t own art or take me to museums, but they taught me some lessons that, in the long run, feel more important. I learned that you can accomplish a lot and overcome a lot as long as you persevere.
Left: The Spot, Latex on Wood, 18” x 18”, 2018 Right: The Young Guitarist, Latex on wood, 24” x 36”, 2017
In going to art school, is there something you wish you would have learned during that time that you didn’t? I had a good experience in school, but one thing I wish I would’ve learned is that ﬁnding your own style is so much about ﬁnding yourself. In school, and for much of my career, I spent so much time trying to ﬁgure out how I ﬁt in to what was established, and I didn’t realize that there could be this other path. I eventually learned to stop
Works in progress, 2017
avoiding who I really am and embrace it instead. That’s a lot of what my art is about—trying to ﬁt a mold and the struggle to do so. What drew you to California, and what are some of the beneﬁts and detriments about moving to Los Angeles? Los Angeles really inspires me. Even though I’ve lived here for a few years, I still get excited when I see a palm tree or the mountains as
I drive along the highway. Plus, I’m surrounded by artists and creatives that I respect and who inspire me. Artists are naturally products of their environment. My upbringing in Michigan shaped me, and Los Angeles feels like a place where I can fully express myself now. What are some things that you ﬁnd exciting about being an artist today? When I walk into a gallery, most people don’t
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We aren’t all soft around the edges and the body doesn’t have to represent something sexual. We have these limbs to hold us up and keep us in place.
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Leave Me Here, Latex on wood, 20” x 18”, 2017
The Giver and The Taker, Latex on wood, 30” x 30”, 2017
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I’m Still Here, Latex on wood, 20” x 30”, 2017
assume I’m an artist—even when I’m standing in front of my own work. I’ve had people treat me like I’m a fan or someone who is working the event. It’s exciting for me to have the opportunity to ﬂip these assumptions and gradually erode popular expectations for women, especially women in creative ﬁelds. What is one movement in art today that gets you excited? Are there any particular groups of artists focusing on a concept that you think opens new doors and explores new ideas? I’ve been seeing a lot of artists use 35mm film or disposable cameras to capture their lives. This excites me because there’s an intimacy to the images. There’s a certain detachment that comes with the images we see every day on our phones, and I look forward to more people exploring the feelings that exist in the honest moments of our lives. In our Winter 2018 cover story, Kerry James Marshall said, "It's a complete miscomprehension
Modern Daze, Latex on wood, 18” x 12”, 2018
to believe that you don't need to do the same things that Rembrandt was doing," in reference to traditional mastery of the craft of painting. How do you treat reverence for the style and technique of the classical Masters? And how much do you ﬁnd yourself drawing from them? What is the dialogue between technical skill and concept for you, in both your own work and the work of others? When I was working full-time, I only had nights and weekends to paint. It was easy for me to lose sight of the importance of preliminary sketches and planning. The Masters were meticulous and would create multiple studies to create the best piece, or to get the lighting just right. Whether you work full time or experience the pressure of needing to post consistently on social media, it’s easy to skip the most important steps. I fell victim to a lot of bad habits and I’m still working to go back to enjoying the process. Kerry James Marshall is certainly correct, and this year I’m looking forward to focusing more on the process.
What are some activities or techniques you use to stay grounded? Podcasts and audiobooks! I don’t have that much time to sit down and read anymore, so if I’m not painting, I want to spend my free time actually living my life. Audible has become a huge part of my routine. I also feel like a better version of myself if I always have a book in rotation. Where to from here? All over the place! I have a few group shows that I’ll be in this year, and a handful of solo shows in the works for the next couple of years. But I am also hoping to do a lot more beyond the gallery realm as well. I would like to collaborate with local furniture makers, ceramicists, and maybe even some brands! I’d also like to create a line of items that are slightly more affordable but still locally made in limited runs. Jillian Evelyn will have a solo show at Superchief NY, opening June 15, 2018.
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The Wall And I Interview by Sasha Bogojev Portrait by Daniel MuĂąoz San
It's safe to say that back in 2011, be it Spain, Brazil or the US, the world was a much different place. Whether we are talking about political climate or even the microcosm of traditional street art, the world has accelerated into a digital blur. During that year, Juxtapoz was presented with the opportunity to interview Spanish street art icon Escif for the February cover story. That was the artist’s last published interview until now, where, once again, we ﬁnd ourselves lucky, anticipating the thoughts and philosophies of one of Street Art’s beloved and important voices. Escif’s unconventional visual language manages to ﬁnd new routes for the expression of his witty opinions on politics, society, or just the personal experiences of living in the twenty-ﬁrst century. When you have a conversation with the Valenciaborn artist, you are bound to touch on the most unsuspecting topics. Honest and humble when reﬂecting and, at times, entering the realms of existentialism or quantum physics, Escif charms with the poetry of his words, often a strand of suggestions that leads to a thoughtful conclusion. Such suggestions deﬁne the critical position he's taken in life. Welcome to Escif’s world.
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Sasha Bogojev: Is there a particular reason why you took such a long break from the media? Escif: I don’t consider it essential to know the opinion of an artist to get close to the work. Many times, knowing the motivations of the painter limits our own experience about it. Or maybe it is just that I'm lazy with interviews and prefer to spend my time sunbathing, eating paella or drawing in my sketchbook. On the other hand, I think that an interview can be a good excuse to communicate and share ideas beyond your own work. Maybe this is the reason why I have agreed to do another interview with Juxtapoz, seven years after the last one. It’s been 20 years since you started painting in the street. How has your motivation changed, from those early days and the first non-graffiti works, to what you create nowadays? Everything has changed, many times. Myself, too. I try to be aware of these changes and force them into my working process. When I settle for a long time in certain patterns or style tricks, I realize that something is not working. When I paint a wall without risk, without fear, without doubts... when I feel too sure of what I do... then an alarm goes
off in my hypothalamus, indicating that my ego is gaining ground. It is time to question myself and look for a different consciousness in the new cells of the body. Everything changes all the time. It is the universal law of nature. Do you still see the wall as a, "friend to which you are able to tell your problems and share your reﬂections," as you stated in the last interview? A wall can be a very powerful channel to communicate with the world, but it can also be something else. Painting a wall is talking to it, knowing it, discovering it. Although it seems like a paradox, I want to think that the moment I paint a wall is an intimate moment of meditation in which everything disappears and only the wall and I are left. The mind disappears, the body disappears, the people disappear, the city enters a silence. Only the wall and me. It is then that I allow myself to share my concerns and problems with it, knowing that no one else will be able to hear us. It may happen that many people see the painting, but they will not be seeing what I experienced with the wall. They will be having their own experience through that moment
Prevención de Plagas, Valencia, Spain, 2017
Crash, Charleroi, Belgium, 2014
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of contemplation. Their own reading of what they saw will come out of that experience. It is different. Even if there were a thousand people watching me eat an apple, and everyone would be taking pictures of that moment, none of them would be able to feel the mixture of acidity and sweetness that is generated in the contact of my teeth with the ﬂesh of the fruit. It really is something very intimate. What you are saying is quite opposite from what we see around us. Street art has grown into a global phenomenon of massive proportions. How do you feel about that, or do you even pay any attention to what other people are creating? I don’t believe that street art has grown. The propaganda, the marketing and the institutionalization of street art have grown, but street art is disappearing. I think it is necessary to separate art, art history and the art market. Although they are three fields that communicate and sometimes confuse, they are based on very different values. Art has nothing to do with painting large walls or making millions of dollars. The cranes have climbed so high that we painters have forgotten that painting comes from the earth.
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So who working in the street nowadays do you personally consider to be making actual street art? Actual street art is created by people who don’t care about art: wall painters in Senegal, sign painters in Mexico, Pixadores in Brazil, political painters in Greece, homeless in United States and outsider people all around the world who really believe that what they are doing is a tool to change their context. You criticized the trend of contemporary street art many years ago with your street works. How do you perceive it now? I try not to criticize anyone or anything. If I have ever done it, I take this opportunity to apologize. What I do try is to take is a critical position. I think that is something different. I do not believe in good and evil. The position of telling someone how things should be, I find that uncomfortable. It would be very naive and overbearing on my part to do so. Reality is perfect as it is, with all its contradictions. The only thing I can aspire to, with many chances to make mistakes, is to build a personal opinion based on my own experience. That opinion is reflected very often in my work.
Top left: Switch, Katowice, Poland, 2012 Top right: Breath project, Rendered image by Felix Artagaveytia Bottom right: Sofá, Dakar, Senegal, 2014 Lower Left: Say It With Flowers, Watercolor on paper, 2016
I realize that the values that pushed me to go out to paint 20 years ago are very different from those that push me to paint nowadays. Before, it was less ambitious, less egocentric and more free... but also more naive. Over time, I have been gaining experience and awareness, but I have lost spontaneity. Today, I have the possibility of painting large murals in big cities, but I ﬁnd it difficult to go out to paint at night in dark alleys. I can sell drawings for thousands of dollars, but I have trouble ﬁnding time to paint something for my father. Twenty years ago, without knowing it, I was advocating the street as a space of freedom. Today, without knowing it, I am defending the privatization of the little freedom that remains on the street. It is one of the contradictions that I have to face. My ﬁght on the walls, as in life itself, is a ﬁght against myself. Winning is so easy, and so difficult, as accepting with love and compassion that this ﬁght only exists in the conscience. The mind, which limits our existence, only exists in the mind.
elements can play in our favor or against us. In any case, getting to plant almost ﬁve thousand trees with the support of more than ﬁve hundred people has already been a success for us.
Is getting involved in unique projects like the Breath project in Italy part of that ﬁght? Are you happy with how that turned out, and can you tell us about how it's developing? The idea of Breath is to plant ﬁve thousand new trees on a mountain that was deforested three hundred years ago. The goal is not to plant trees to make a drawing, but to make a drawing to plant trees. To use art at the service of the mountain and not vice versa.
always has a message. The message can be as radical as painting something beautiful in a poor neighborhood, or as nice as painting something violent in a wealthy neighborhood. The "decorative" paintings are the ones that have the most things to tell. Silence is full of words. I try to nourish my paintings of content in order to avoid others doing it for me.
Nowadays, we all use mobile phones and we get fretful when we run out of battery. In the same way, nature also needs to be recharged. Our civilization consumes more energy than the Earth produces. We are depleting the planet's battery, but we still worry about our mobile phone. Breath is a complicated project because we play with parameters that are difficult to control. The ground, the climate, the pests, the cattle. These
Credit War, Watercolor on paper, 2015
It feels like your work has always been more about message than artistic or decorative value. Do you think you chose art as a channel to pass on a message? Painting is a means of expression and therefore
"ACTUAL STREET ART IS CREATED BY PEOPLE WHO DON'T CARE ABOUT ART."
Do you mean you don't see the joke in your work or…? I mean... you don’t get the joke in my joke. Could you please elaborate on this? You doooooooooooooooon’t get the jooooooooooooooke in my jooooooooooooooooke. [laughs] Fair enough. We’ll move on to your painting technique. You've been always self-critical about it, and to me, your passion and ideas are what make you a great artist. Technique is a very dangerous tool. It allows you to be more precise in the way you express yourself, but it takes spontaneity away. It is very easy to be entrapped by technique because, in itself, it is very seductive, very comforting to see that you know how to do things that others don’t know how to do. The danger lies in forgetting that it is a tool and not an end purpose. Someone who knows solfeggio perfectly will be able to make a perfectly pleasant structured song, but this does not make him a musician. Painting, like music, plays with the balance between the mind and the stomach. The mind gives us the technique and the stomach gives us poetry, the irrational, the emotional. Sometimes I try to run away from technique and become a house painter, only to let poetry have more weight in the work. In a world governed by the
There is a certain dose of humor or at least absurdity in your work, which I personally relate to. Is that something you aim for, or does it happen accidentally? I don’t get the joke, ha ha.
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Top: Blood for Oil, Valencia, Spain, 2016 Bottom: Luz en la Noche, Errekaleor, Spain, 2017
dictatorship of the rational, poetry becomes a miraculous balsam. You said previously that, "galleries can appear as decoration stores." Though rarely exhibiting at galleries or institutions, you did shows at the Power Station of Art museum in Shanghai, and the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art in Russia. How did those exhibitions come to be, and what is important when showing indoors? The ﬁrst objective of an art gallery is to sell. A gallery is a store, and a store, in my opinion, is not the best place to develop your creativity. I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm just saying that I don’t think it's the best place. The best place to develop your creativity should be where you feel free, without market pressures, without social responsibilities, without the weight of your story. Sometimes museums give you these conditions, and that is very inspiring to work with. How does it feel for you to institutionalize your work? What are the pros and cons of working for a selected group of viewers? Nowadays, institutionalizing your work is not just about working inside a museum. When you paint a giant wall in a big city, supported directly or indirectly, by a government, your work is being institutionalized. I would dare to say that 95% of the murals
that we see today on the internet are endorsed by institutions. I'm not saying that this is good or bad, but I say that it is very different from what we saw only ten years ago. Art on the street is moving away from its roots. In my opinion, free art takes place far from institutions because it is uncomfortable for them. It opens doors that the power wants to keep closed. Free art tends to be violent and transgressive because it questions the values of an oppressive society. It's hard to recognize it, but free art frees us, changes consciousness, expands the universe. When you paint on the street, your work interacts with a complex context full of stories. You are modifying the daily life of many people, and that carries a very great responsibility. You don't paint for you and your friends, much less for the internet. You are painting for a city, for a neighborhood, for a community, for families that you do not know and that you will never get to know. It is very hard to carry this knowledge, but it's also very liberating. When you work indoors, it’s very different. The people who face your work are people who decide to do it. This allows you to play other cards, go a little further. You've always been focused on pointing out injustice, corruption and irregularities in the system. How does it feel for you personally to see what is happening in Catalonia and Spain nowadays? What is happening in Spain is very similar to what is happening elsewhere in Europe, which is very similar to what is happening throughout the West, which is very similar to what is happening in the rest of the world. We are afraid of the unknown and there is nothing more unknown to human beings than the reason for their existence. We do not know what the meaning of life is. That is the great question for the history of mankind. There are those who try to solve this enigma with the expansion of love and curiosity for others. There are those who settle in their fear and frustration and reject everything that is alien to them. Such fear is responsible for violence, homophobia, sexism, intolerance, wars, the destruction of the planet. It is the fear of accepting that our beloved "I" is only a lucid dream that will disappear with our death. Do you feel that the times we live in are especially inspirational for artists? Not really. There is so much input into daily life that we easily get blocked. Capitalism is based on two big rules: nobody should offer something for
Left: Life is Elsewhere, Watercolor on paper, 2015 Right: Green Yoga, Watercolor on paper, 2016
free, and boredom is totally forbidden. In other words: everything is business and amusement should be the sole focus of people. That’s the way to avoid possible disturbances in the system. If you don’t like what you see, connect your phone and buy some new likes. How do you think things will progress from here? At this very moment, while I’m answering your questions, a huge glacier turns into water, an executive eats papaya in St. Petersburg, a disoriented sparrow cannot get home, a new phone goes on sale and a young person gets upset because someone tagged him on Facebook in an unﬂattering photo. Undoubtedly, humanity will disappear one day and the universe will hardly pay attention. Perhaps if Mr. Anyone managed to detach himself from his ego and love what he discovers in the mirror, he would stop looking at his phone so much. Maybe then we could appreciate the millions of stars up in the sky. Maybe then he will lose his fear of death. It could be the beginning of a beautiful story and maybe, why not, we could talk about it in the next interview... in seven years. streetagainst.com
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WHERE WE’RE HEADED
There Will Never Be A Gallery Big Enough @ Superchief Gallery NY March 10–April 1, 2018 superchiefgallery.com There may never be a better title for a group art show. Superchief Gallery, in both its Brooklyn and Los Angeles locations, has always had a raw, unabashed curatorial eye, at times a beacon of outsider art, but also an intelligent epicenter of underground art and performance. From shows with artists from Sarah Sitkin to Swoon, gallery founders Edward Zipco and Bill Dunleavy have created a perfect haven for their artists. And, in a clever turn of phrase, Superchief NY’s next exhibition, There Will Never Be A Gallery Big Enough, is the perfect moniker. The concept centers around each artist making a few new works, and the gallery picking through the artist’s classics and pairing them together. The show will feature Jillian Evelyn (featured in this issue), Lee Trice, Lil Kool, Lolo YS, Mike Diana, Alex Yanes, Jose Mertz, Baghead, Nomi Chi, Kristina Collantes, Bonethrower, Homelesscop, Yu Maeda, Miguel Ovalle, PoshGod, Coby Kennedy (whose assault rifle vending machine sculpture can be seen here), Ghostshrimp, John Felix Arnold, Ron Wimberly, Boykong and more. To commemorate the opening of the show, Juxtapoz and Carhartt WIP will host a Spring 2018 Quarterly release party on March 9, 2018. There may not be a gallery big enough to hold all of this action, but we’ll give it a try.
Slang Aesthetics! @ LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge, LA March 8 – June 17th 2018 lsumoa.org If it weren’t for Robert Williams proliﬁc influence, not only would there be no Juxtapoz, but it’s possible that there would be no need for Juxtapoz. Williams’ effect on the art world, especially the world of lowbrow and pop surrealism, is profound, and it has directly and indirectly influenced most of the artists and galleries you see here today. That being said, it’s no surprise that his work is touring around the country, making stops in California, Arizona, Arkansas, and now at the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The exhibit, titled Slang Aesthetics! will feature works, old and new, that showcase Williams’ distinct and bold style. He incorporates absurd, ﬁgurative, and popular imagery to confront, and at times, discomfort the viewer. This technique, formed as a reaction to the shifting energy of counterculture, demands engagement, and ultimately has succeeded to get our collective attention. (I mean, you’re reading this, right?)
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WHERE WE’RE HEADED
Rose Eken @ MOCA Tucson Through March 25, 2018 moca-tucson.org Rose Eken’s replicas are delightful and endearing, ranging from everyday household objects sculpted from clay, to 100 tiny cardboard guitars. For her exhibition at MOCA Tucson, she ﬁlled three rooms with household detritus, exploring domesticity, creativity and the accumulation of tools and tchotchkes in spaces that look like they might belong to (surprise!) a couple of artists. There is The Kitchen with its glorious, tidy wall ﬁlled with a cook’s every accoutrement hanging on hooks; then The Studio, with no detail overlooked—messy buckets, brushes, and paintings leaning against the wall. And ﬁnally, The Music Venue, where everybody chills and empties bottles of booze while shredding. The details are obsessively realistic, with crushed packs of cigs next to ashtrays full of butts, a Marshall stack, guitar pedals, and even a punk’s studded leather vest hanging on the wall. Disbelief is suspended as you stumble into a private space, lurking over the details of someone’s immortalized mess without being conscious that every single object was sculpted by hand. While the optics are not exactly trompe l’oeil, the feeling of realism is, and this work follows the tradition of elevating everyday objects in art, but with a signature style and genuine attention to detail. Objects are innate in our existence, and documenting them through art is the stuff of future anthropological ﬁnds. We’re lucky Rose Eken is the one to craft the legacy of creative types through their detritus. Bonus: Rose Eken’s next big show opens April 20 at one of our favorite spots, V1 Gallery in Copenhagen.
Hank Willis Thomas @ Jack Shainman Gallery, NYC March 29–May 12, 2018 jackshainman.com Hank Willis Thomas opens a new exhibition at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York this spring, investigating reflection with mirrored materials and darkroom printing experiments. What ﬁrst grabbed us was a preview image labeled To Be Titled (Woman Biting Cop). In a timely and relevant exploration, Thomas sources protest imagery from the twentieth century, enabling viewers to face their own participation in demonstrations, willingly or not, as the reflective surfaces stare back. The source imagery is isolated, cropped, and abstracted, so that only a gesture, or a shift in movement is captured, symbolic of swift, focused efforts to motivate change. Success by protest is often indiscernible, and yet there is still a reminder to maintain hope and band together, much like Hank’s shining, neon-lit statement, Love Over Rules, recently unveiled in a new public art installation in San Francisco. Revered by his peers, Hank Willis Thomas has ushered many other artists into the light when given the chance, continuing to surprise his attentive audience with powerful, community-focused work, the kind that can shift perspectives and promote the truth we should all be standing for.
Katharina Grosse: The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Metres, Then It Stopped @ Carriageworks, Sydney Through April 8, 2018 carriageworks.com.au This is what Katharina Grosse does and does so well. The Berlin-based artist creates immersive, site-speciﬁc installations that explore color and abstraction in building-sized scale. Her works are more like experiments in architecture and painting, as she drapes large paintings across the floor of a massive exhibition space, or creates an almost psychedelic experience as she did when painting an abandoned bunker bright red near Fort Tilden in Queens, NY. A foreign aesthetic looms ahead and you want to jump right in. Grosse's newest project kicks off 2018 with a bang. The Horse Trotted Another Couple Of Metres, Then It Stopped is her new project at Carriageworks in Sydney, Australia. Using over 8,000 square metres of painted fabric that intertwine around the building and infrastructure, the monumental work is a jaw-dropping moment where the viewer steps inside a painting. As Grosse notes of the work, "It describes that moment when you go into the kitchen because you wanted to get the car keys, and then all of a sudden you don’t know why you are there… and in that moment, you realize something else about yourself, something that you can’t describe…" The most effective art installation should function in this way, to evoke a new appreciation for the act of observing and experiencing. In The Horse, Grosse once again strides at the forefront of inventive techniques in contemporary art.
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SIEBEN ON LIFE
Six Pack Enjoyed with Morning Breath Doug Cunningham and Jason Noto, aka Morning Breath, met as in-house designers at Think Skateboards in SF in the mid '90s. There they began collaborating on graphics, a practice that would not only lead to a successful design house and ﬁne-art career(s), but a lifelong friendship. I caught up with MB recently for a quick six pack (of questions) to see what's good under their hood. Michael Sieben: You guys have done a ton of album-package design work. What's an album you've worked on that might surprise people? Morning Breath: Honestly, people who follow us based on Morning Breath's aesthetic would probably be surprised at many of the albums we've worked on because most of them don't incorporate our signature style. But to be speciﬁc, you'd probably also be surprised that we did AFI's Sing the Sorrow and Kanye's Late Registration. Throughout our career we've worn many hats. Sometimes we're hired based on our aesthetic and other times we get the job based on our reputation in art direction and design. Do you have a preference between commercial work and personal work, or do you enjoy balancing the two? We ﬁnd satisfaction in both, so I guess we enjoy the balance. A good project is just as rewarding as a painting that we really dig. If you guys hadn't met and started Morning Breath, what do you think you'd each be doing? I'd probably be running a restaurant and Jason would be sitting behind the counter of a record store. If money was no issue, what would be your dream project? Our dream project would be illustrating and
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designing for our own print-based products. We've had numerous conversations about making classic novelty items in the tradition of SS Adams. What are you guys currently excited about, work-wise? Last year was busy and we're currently in the early stages with some new clients. We're still working out the details, but hoping it will be something rad. As is the nature of doing graphic art for a living, you don't always know what that next project is going to be like; but I guess we're just excited to get into something new.
What's the best piece of advice you received when you were younger? Only show what you really want to do. You get approached for work and shows based on what you present, and if it's just ﬁller or something that you did in the past and you no longer want to get that type of work, keep it out of your portfolio. Morning Breath’s new book, By the Skin of Our Teeth, is out now via HarperCollins. morningbreathinc.com
DOWNTOWN MIAMI, FLORIDA
The Juxtapoz Clubhouse 1 As part of the Juxtapoz Clubhouse experience with adidas Skateboarding in downtown Miami for Art Week, Polaroid documented the artists, gallerists and friends who made the whole project come to life. Faith XLVII and Chop em’ Down Films’ Zane Meyer were both subjects and participants in the portrait taking. 2 Olek was all shades and all smiles in front of Jessie & Katey’s colorful mural. 3 European connection. Switzerland’s Serge Lowrider with Germany's Urban Nation crew: Michelle Houston and Samuel Walter. 4 He matches! Buff Monster in signature pink. 5 Legend in the house. Ron English with wife Tarssa and Eric Allouche of Allouche Gallery, NYC. 6 Strike a pose. Jillian Evelyn mega-mirroring her art. 7 Shepard Fairey was still in avid mode over his fantastic The Damaged Times newspaper made in conjunction with his solo show in Los Angeles. He created a special newsstand for the Clubhouse release. 8 After tirelessly working on their epic installation in the Clubhouse, the Low Bros chilled. 9 We can only assume Franco “JAZ” Fasoli is looking off to the distance thinking of some beautiful opera or stunning bronze sculpture… 10 Urban Nation brought Mimi Scholz and Mateus Bailon, who both completed massive paintings on site in the Clubhouse . . . 11 … as did Rachel Harris, who also provided some military chic and was cheeky for to the occasion. 12 And what is a Clubhouse if the cool kids don’t come to hang out in front of your murals?
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All photos by Polaroid
NYC, COPENHAGEN, LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO
CANADA, NYC 1 Stormtroopers, swooshes and cigs… Katherine Bernhardt opened one of our favorite shows last winter, Green, at Canada in NYC.
Jack Hanley Gallery, NYC 3 Polly Apfelbaum (left) had work in the playful group show, Spieltrieb, at Jack Hanley. The great painter Peter Saul and his wife Sally were there in support.
Eighteen Gallery, Copenhagen 2 Meanwhile, across the pond and then some, in Denmark, Todd James’s Interior at Eighteen Gallery was another standout exhibition of the winter season.
LA Art Show, Los Angeles 4 There aren’t many people more enthusiastic about the arts than Cheech Marin, and we loved catching up with our friend in Los Angeles during the LA Art Show. 5 She’s got her own Tim Burton biopic and now… the Littletopia Lifetime Achievement Award. Margaret Keane accepts the honor. 6 Like a kid in a candy store, or an internationally famous graffiti artist doing a live installation at an art fair, Saber had it covered. 7 Juxtapoz founder, Robert Williams, Red Truck Gallery and Littletopia curator, Rachel Cronin, and Travel writer/artist/bon vivant, Mike Shine, could easily start a band.
Hashimoto and SPOKE Art, SF 8 A crew of homies in town for Pop Perspective at Spoke Art, San Francisco: Miles Ritchie, Skinner, Jonathan Wayshack, Woodrow White, Kate Franklin, Ken Harman of Hashimoto Contemporary and Dasha Matsuura. 9 It’s a family affair: Woodrow White, Mimi Pond, Wayne White and Lulu White at the opening for Woodrow's Babel Video at Hashimoto Contemporary.
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Photos: Jessica Marie Ross (1, 3), Sasha Bogojev (2), Birdman Photos (4—7), Shaun Roberts (8—9)
Ed Moses, RIP The Legend of California Cool In October of 2011, Juxtapoz brought together two renegades of the art world, Ed Moses and Robert Williams, for some gab and gossip. It was a memorable exchange, and now, especially so, since the passing of Moses at age 91 on January 17, 2018. We revisited a couple excerpts from that conversation so that you too can have a taste of Ed’s pluck and process. Robert Williams: Ed is a generation ahead of me. He came up through a very famous group of artists in Southern California promoted by Walter Hopps from the Ferus Gallery. So his credentials are
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bullet-proof, and if you want to see him as outlaw or bad boy, I guess that could apply. But he was in a group of artists that, for the ﬁrst time in the history of the West Coast, set the trend for West Coast art. A lot of famous luminaries set the style out here, and for the ﬁrst time, New York had to realize that there was another place in the United States that was very prominent and held its own without just copying New York. They took on a number of modes of art in the late 1950s and ’60s.
ideas, I have notions, and they’re built on paint and canvas. Then I start moving the paint and canvases around, then multiply the canvases and nail them up on the wall, move them around, and come up with this kind of image. I discover things moving things around. We’ll start in the painting room, and then around noon, take them into the viewing room, kicking and screaming. Then I go to lunch, take a siesta, come back and look at what I’ve done. So I never know what I’m doing in the sense that I don’t have an idea.
Ed Moses: I just fall into things. I’m just ﬂopping around like a fool most of the time. I don’t have
Portrait of Ed Moses and Robert Williams by Andy Mueller, September 2011
The Art of Skateboarding - VIVID ARTIST DRIVEN GRAPHICS - SUPERIOR WOOD DECKS CRAFTED BY PS STIX Artwork by Chris Parks of Palehorse Design
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Art and Culture Spring 2018