INGUINE .NET WEBSITE, INTERVIEW BY CLAUDIO PARENTELA, SEPTEMBER 20051) YOU IN 1-2-3... IN HOW MANY WORDS YOU WANT...
I have been living in Los Angeles, California since 1980. When I first arrived I began doing collage for ads and flyers for punk rock bands but eventually concentrated on painting. There weren't very many galleries in LA at the time that would show the kind of art I was doing so I showed at clubs and artist run galleries. After the artist Robert Williams hit the scene in the late '80s, rock stars and famous actors began to buy "alternative" art so a lot of galleries showing "Low Brow" and "Pop Surrealism" opened up. I consider myself to be among the first wave of Low Brow artists along with Pizz, Coop, Williams and Georganne Deen. It was a pretty wild and wide open time with lots of collectors and not too many artists. Later though a second wave of artists began to crowd things up and there were a lot of people painting hotrods, monsters, girls with big tits and stuff like that. The competition made me change my work and I began to explore more psychedelic imagery. At this point I'm trying to work in the area between representational and abstract painting.2) DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST DRAW YOU MADE?
My parents were pretty cool about letting me mess the house up with my drawings and weird constructions. They encouraged me to make art and I went to art classes and visited different museums. The first drawing I remember doing was a little guy in a flying saucer yelling for help. The weird thing is that I always drew a horizon line so that the characters I drew were firmly set in physical space. I couldn't stand to have them just floating around on the piece of paper.3) WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DRAW AND WHY?
Almost all the characters in my paintings are cats. I like to paint cartoon style animals because I'm tired of always seeing people; wherever I go it's always people, people, people so the last thing I want to see in art is more people. My paintings have been called "a vacation from reality" and that pretty much sums up where I'm trying to take the viewer of my art. I paint cats because I like them as pets and fellow passengers on this spaceship we call Earth. Plus, cats are self-cleaning mechanisms and that makes them easy to live with.4) OTHER ARTISTS DO YOU LIKE...?
There are a lot of very good artists in Los Angeles right now; the current art scene is the strongest I've ever seen. Local heroes include Thomas Han, Luke Chueh and Lola but there are so many talented young painters that even with a list of 100 there would be some good ones I'd have to leave out! The older painters that I like include Robert Williams and Mark Ryden but again, there are so many it's hard to list. Historically speaking I like Surrealist Art and a lot of the Italian illustrators from the 1960's.5) WHO AND/OR ...WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES?
The most important concept that I was ever introduced to was Punk Rock. The "alternative" music and art scene back in the late 1970s and early '80s was all about the D.I.Y. ethic: Do It Yourself. See, the art scene was so fucking dead in the water with shit like Nagel and Warhol's cruddy late work that it was impossible to get a show anywhere...except in artist run galleries, nightclubs and weird one night events. This kind of freedom from the mainstream was a very important influence for me. I was on my way to becoming a fucking idiot until I discovered Punk Rock and Punk Art.6) IN THESE DAYS YOU'RE WORKING TO...YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS...
I have a show in 2006 in Houston, Texas with Gibby from The Butthole Surfers, Ron English and Clark. The dealer wants really big paintings so I'm looking forward to working on a big scale. I'll be doing a CD cover for the ambient/soundscape collective Froxel. There's always something about to happen that's making me freak...7) WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE AND YOU LISTEN...AND IS THE MUSIC IMPORTANT FOR YOUR ART...?
I like Heavy Dub music the most but I really enjoy Asian Massive, Rai, Bhangra, Pre-electric American Blues, Boogie; I just go from one internet station to the other checking out what's going on all over the world. It's amazing how Techno has blended with traditional ethnic music in so many cultures. These days I listen to standup comedy when I paint; the constant jokes and punch lines keep me awake and aware.8) WHAT IS CREATIVITY FOR YOU?
Creativity is the most important practice/emotion there is. Without creativity a person is a lousy lover, a lame mechanic and generally dull asshole. Creativity means taking all the things you know and by them, learning something new.9) FAVOURITE BOOKS?
I like the books of William Burroughs because he describes a world full of mean spirited fools who eventually get busted by the few smart people on the planet. The most important book I ever read is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Classical Greek literature is a must.10) WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK ON?
I work mostly with acrylic paints on canvas.11) WHAT ELSE ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BESIDES VISUAL ARTS?
Literature, movies, theatre, just about everything gets my interest for a while.12) GOT ANY PROJECTS PLANNED...?
Quit smoking cigarettes!13) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART TO SOMEONE WHO COULD NOT SEE IT?
I believe that a painting is a window into which one can stick ones head, look all around and see parts of the painting that aren't there. A successful painting is a brief glimpse into a parallel universe.14) WHAT DO YOU FEAR MOST?
Severe physical torture.15) WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST AMBITION?
After death I want to move on to the next plane. I sure don't want to come back to this world.16) HOW IMPORTANT IS SELF-PROMOTION FOR AN ARTIST NOWDAYS?
Self promotion is the second most important skill that an artist can learn. The most important skill is to learn how to make great meaningful art, of course. Self promotion without the core of sincere art is vapid empty shit.17) A MESSAGE FOR THE READERS FROM YOUR HEART...
Look at my art and decide for yourself what it's worth18) YOUR CONTACTS...E-MAIL....LINKS...
Email: A2@ausgangart.com Website: http://ausgangart.com/