An Interview With PoseJuxtapoz // Friday, 18 Nov 2011
With POSE opening a solo show, White Wash, (with KC Ortiz) at Known Gallery this Saturday, November 19, we asked contributing writer Roger Gastman to have a conversation with the Chicago-based artist. And he did.
Aren't you all sick of me talking to POSE? I know I am. You know what's awesome? Dominos commercials with the dressed up walrus at the end are awesome. I wish their pizza was as awesome as the walrus. Pizza in LA not so great - GINOS East in Chicago is great! POSE - bring me a pizza! —Roger Gastman
You use to be really cool - go to jail, sleep in bushes - you know stuff like that. You kind of suck now. You call me with real life problems. WTF happened?
Yeah oddly enough I've been working really hard on sucking the past few years with the whole daddy, family, responsibility, productivity thing. It's been going well, really well. Things have been so solid that I'm thinking about spicing things up in 2012… Possible bush tours, jail time, drugs, you know, get back to my roots and fuck my shit up a bunch, maybe even get the ol' EBT card working again, the possibilities are endless. But seriously Rog, all good things are wild and free. Nothing gold can stay.
Tell me about the process of painting the Plexiglass pieces? I know you learned the skill from graffiti, but why cause yourself all the stress? You are indoors!
The fun thing about graff is the challenges are never ending. “How do I get up, get good, get in there, get over, get better, go bigger, not get caught, etc, ect.” It goes on and on, which is why it's so electrifying and totally consumes your life. I guess I am still addicted to new challenges of diving into the unknown and trying to concurring new things. It's incredibly gratifying. I always try to create new challenges for myself with process and medium whether in the studio or on the street. But yeah, the process of painting completely backwards, definitely made me second guess the self-imposed stress and frustration. I'm happy with the end result, but the process wasn't that buttery.
You spend A LOT of time traveling to paint on walls. What are a few good travel tips? And which cities have the best alleys?
Decide in advance if you want a really solid tour guide or if you want to experience and discover everything complexly on your own. I feel it's going to be a much better experience if you commit to one or the other and don't half step in between. Lets see what else, don't be scared. Although you think you might be back and have another opportunity at it you probably won't, so do it while you can. Just cause the locals love it definitely doesn't mean its good.
Chicago has the best alleys period. They are hyper defined and reminiscent of any comic book depiction of an alley. On the other hand, many places I travel to outside of the U.S. the line between alley and street gets super blurred. Alleys get used like major streets and streets are the size of bike paths, it's pure chaos. Thank you for reminding me how interesting alleys are - I'm going to continue my research and get back to you in a few years.
If this were a hip-hop or graff mag interview circa 1999, I would ask you for shout outs - well it's 2011, gimmie 3 shout outs and why, your family doesn't count. Oh and KC Ortiz has to be one of them.
Hmmmm, I have too many people to shout out. Only 3 makes it really serious and hurts feelings, and you already shouted out KC for me so I'm gonna' shout out my 3 favorite things this week. “Peace to (spray painted on a scroll) any Oldsmobile Cutlass made between the late 1960's and late 1980's (Cutty Club 4 ever), tax free money and San Pellegrino Aranciata.
I could totally be wrong here, cuz I suck at research, but it looks like at least a few of your paintings for White Wash have mushrooms in them? What the FUCK is this?
To me, mushrooms (especially when they are depicted in a cartoon way) are one of those universal symbols that mean all sorts of things to different people. They are all over my daughter's room (on pillows, posters, books etc) and seemingly convey a really cute approachable message. Since they grow in the wild, they also signify really hard to find over grown places where nature has been less tampered with. Which not only makes me think of discovering these secluded untapped places, but also plays into the analogy for White Wash.
Discovering a real mushroom in the wild is like finding some incredible piece of graffiti in the city that still exists. Graffiti is a wild forest and the buff is deforestation. It's probably clear from my strange analogy and answer as a whole that there is another signifier for mushrooms, their psychedelic properties. Since a lot of the paintings for White Wash are drawing on my youth, inevitably drugs creep in as a heavy part of it. Certain events will be with you forever and end up infiltrating your work. As many others have, I went on a really strange long trip one time as a kid that ended up in lifelong OCD, mild schizophrenia and all sorts of other weirdness. So I guess boomers just stuck with me.
441 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Opening Reception Saturday, November 19, 2011 from 8 11pm
On View November 19 -December 10, 2011