French interview, by Fanny GiniÉs
What is your opinion on the term “Lowbrow Art”?
I believe that “Lowbrow Art” was a correct description in the beginning stages of this art movement since many of the subcultures that influenced the art were indeed lowbrow. I no longer believe “Lowbrow Art” to be accurate since there are many new artists that have little or nothing to do with those cultures. For example, Kustom Kulture was once a very important source of lowbrow imagery and attitude but Street Art (Graffiti) and “Nintendocore” (video games) are far more influential now. I consider the new subcultures to be “alternative” and not “lowbrow.”
Do you think that there is a real frontier between the high art world and the lowbrow art world, knowing that some of the artists called lowbrow are exhibited in very recognized places? (for instance, in Paris, France, where I live, there was a show last year at “Le Palais de Tokyo” with Joe Coleman…)
There is no question that Post Modernism has thrown Highbrow culture into a massive freefall and there are fewer and fewer boundaries between high and low culture. Viewing Lowbrow Art is a sort of “aesthetic slumming” for highbrow viewers who would rather see a graffiti smeared vandalized car in a gallery than in front of their house. Lowbrow Art brought the street into the gallery and took the gallery out to the street. Naturally there are some art forms that have yet to be infected with Lowbrow; there is no Lowbrow opera or theater… yet.
Do you consider Lowbrow Art and Pop Surrealism as the same movement or as two distinct movements; and if so, what’s the difference between the two?
Lowbrow Art is a general problem solving approach to certain aesthetic situations. If an artistic statement is to be made, Lowbrow defines the ways that it can be made. If a landscape is to be painted, the Swiss Alps are not Lowbrow but a mountain of junked cars is. Pop Surrealism uses this lexicon of alternative imagery but is a distinct category of Lowbrow that concentrates on commercial popular culture and finds ways to subvert, deny or change it.
Do you think that the word “Pop Surrealism” fits your art?
My paintings are included in the seminal book Pop Surrealism by Kirsten Anderson so I would say my work is representative of that art movement. My work is Pop in that it references contemporary culture and Surrealist because those allusions to reality are rendered to appear fantastic and unreal.
If you had to invent a new term to qualify the Lowbrow art movement, what would it be?