Spraygraphic website, Interview by Chuck b.
Please tell us about yourself.
I have been living and painting in Los Angeles since 1980. I am considered one of the originators of Low Brow art and in 1993 my work was included in the seminal exhibition Kustom Kulture which investigated hot rod and custom car culture and its influence on contemporary artists. I no longer use hot rods as my starting point and my work now has a much more psychedelic influence.
Where do you currently live and work?
I live in Los Angeles and work out of my studio which is a converted two car garage. Studio garages are a pretty common situation in LA since artists' loft rents are really high.
What mediums do you work with?
My paintings are acrylic paint on stretched canvas. When I build my stretched bars I put a panel of 1/8 inch plywood under the canvas so I can really lean on it when I'm painting and bash it around when things don't work out the way I planned
Describe your working process when creating a new work.
I start with a line drawing, nothing special, just a drawing with a #2 pencil on a sheet of paper. I then scan the drawing into my computer and manipulate it with different Photoshop tools and filters. I usually begin with a drawing of a character and later I figure out what background to use and what narrative I want to tell. I don't have any real concrete idea about the subject of the painting before I do it.
What kind of things do you do when you get blocked or find it hard to create something?
Drugs can be used in a variety of ways but most people use them for recreational purposes. I find that smoking some good chronic before sitting down to draw can bring out some very interesting images. For me, the beginning stages of a painting are the places that I can get loose and afford to make mistakes; the closer I get to the end of as painting, the fewer mistakes I can afford to make. Draw stoned, paint sober.
Where are you currently finding your inspiration?
The realm of the psychedelic has always been attractive to me and the most interesting visuals of that sort that I have "seen" are the utter deconstructions of reality that the drug DMT provides. I can only approximate those grand manifestations but I'm having a good time trying to utilize the DMT distortions in my paintings.
Where has your work been seen?
America, Canada, Holland, Germany and Italy, I have shown mostly at galleries
but at a few museums. Of course showing in LA and NYC is the best way to go
but I like to do shows in smaller towns; people are much more appreciative
and hospitable in out of the way places.
Where will it be seen next?
My next show is here in LA at the L'Imagerie gallery; the show is in conjunction with the publication of the book Carnivora: The Dark Art of the Automobile. After that I'm in a three person show with Naoto Hattori and another artist at the Limited Addiction Gallery in Denver in September.
What is your dream art assignment?
To be given a functioning WW2 vintage German Tiger tank, two young female assistants, 20 thousand dollars budget for materials alone and an all bills paid trip to the Whitney Biennial show in NYC where the fucking tank is on display with my artwork completely covering it. Yeah.
What is your favorite color?
Who is your favorite artist? And Why?
I have no favorite artist. I do have strong opinions on the artist Marcel DuChamp who was the guy most people know as the artist who put a urinal in an art gallery. He did that in 1917, which was incredibly radical for the time but the fallout since then has been that a lot of artists today feel they can still do that kind of thing. And the new "readymade" pieces just don't pass as successful works of contemporary art. The concept is bankrupt and these asshole have no idea that a negation of that idea has occurred. So I like DuChamp's idea but I despise what has been done in the name of his idea.
What book/magazine are you reading this week?
I am currently reading the book The Surrender by Toni Bentley which is about her giving up the virginity of her asshole to some master fucker named A Man; it's basically the "sexual memoir" of her asshole. I wouldn't be reading it unless I knew her...
Ever do a self portrait? Where is it now?
All of my paintings are self portraits. Fact is, even landscape paintings are self portraits. Some paintings, of course, are recognizable as being self portraits but the likeness of the artist is obscured in most. My most obvious self portrait was last seen hanging in a hallway at NYC's Rivington Arms Hotel, a piece of shit hotel where had to provide my own padlock for my door but the cost of the room was only 25 dollars a night at the time.
Where is your favorite place to hang out?
I like to go into these "hooka clubs" they have out here where one can smoke flavored tobacco at a big water pipe set at a low table with pillows around it. Only thing is, I don't smoke tobacco so I go with my friends who do and I just smoke kush while they get a jangly on nicotine.
Any final words of advice?
Always have a good clean suit ready to put on at a moment's notice; plus a suitcase containing supplies for three days.