Back Talk with Camille Rose Garcia

Juxtapoz // Tuesday, 21 Apr 2009
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It may or may not come as a surprise that Camille Rose Garcia (above left) was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the generic suburbs of Orange County. A youth saturated in visiting Disneyland and going to punk shows some how morphed her into the most charming and disarming little 'anarchist' we could ever picture, as her paintings of creepy cartoon children living in wasteland fairy tales provide critical commentaries on the failures of capitalist utopias.

 

Camille is featured in our upcoming June 2009 Special 100th Issue of Juxtapoz hitting newsstands soon, so get to know the lady behind some of our all-time favorite paintings in our Back Talk feature with Camille Rose Garcia.

 

What's the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?

 

I checked on a blue jay nest that is being constructed right outside my bedroom window. My house is kind of like a tree house, so it was a natural spot for them to build. They are doing a stellar job, many fine twigs were chosen for the infrastructure. They are currently finishing up the lining. All was well, so then I made coffee.

 

Something about yourself the average person wouldn't guess?

 

Hopefully I have many secrets the average person would never guess about me! Well, an average person might think I am depressed and take a lot of pills, but I am actually fairly upbeat and I try to avoid drugs in their pill form. I prefer my drugs in plant form.

 

If you had one day left on Earth, what’s left to be discovered?

 

What was the point of all of it? Please reveal to me before hitting our earth with a giant asteroid. The suspense is killing me.

What is your first art-making memory as a kid?

 

I made many strange things as a child that my mom insists on hoarding. I used to make very tiny dolls, only an inch or two tall. I made a green felt Kermit the Frog that was about 2 inches tall and very close to the real thing. I think I was about 5. I loved that goddamn frog.

 

Do you need long periods of time alone, or are you energized by interaction?

 

When I am making art, I prefer to be alone. I have tried assistants but it interferes with my ability to really focus. But I am a pretty social person when I leave the woods; I am a very good listener.

 

Is being in the dark with the lights out frightening or comforting?

 

I hate total black darkness like when you are camping. I have to have a nightlight or some point of reference. I don’t like to wake up and feel like maybe I went blind.

What's the most non-art involved activity you continually find yourself enjoying?

 

Hoarding food and string.

 

Have you been to jail? If so, why? If not, why not?

 

No I haven’t been to jail! God, that would be awful. I try to stay off government lists.

 

What kind of car do you drive?

 

I wish I drove a pony or a hot air balloon, but right now I just travel by raft.

 What's your biggest non-green inspired indulgence?

 

Flying in airplanes to exotic ports.

 

What is the single most important thing you did to breakthrough as a career artist?

 

Well, after I shot myself in the arm and slept with my gallery dealer while drinking absinthe and smoking heroin, I guess I just had to rely on my mad skills to get by.

 

Best hustle you ever pulled?

 

Hustle? Is that like a dance move or something?

 Are you ever bored?

 

Only when I’m watching TV; it’s like sleeping with your eyes open.

 

What excites you?

 

I have really low blood pressure, so it takes a lot to excite me. Loud noises or imminent danger. Animals escaping their cages, regimes with no leaders.

 

2023 will look like . . . ?

 

You don’t even want to know my answer to this question. I think eyes will be extinct.

 

If you could have a drink with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?

 

Heironymous Bosch, although he might try to make me drink Absinthe and that really makes me puke.

Last passport stamp:

 

Berlin, Germany

 

Can’t stand:

 

How no one ever calls me, they just talk to me through Facebook, malls, words misspelled in the paper, books that are supposed to be great that just aren’t, dwarves, puppeteers, birds in cages, whales washed up on shore, suburbia, ignorant people, lawns.

 

Can’t live without:

 

Music.

 

Words to live by:

 

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and accept what comes!

 

Keep an eye out for our forthcoming feature article on Camille in our May 2009 Special 100th Edition Issue!

 

More on Camille Rose Garcia at www.camillerosegarcia.com

 

 

Art images courtesy Jonathan Levine Gallery.
First artist portrait courtesy of Camille Rose Garcia, subsequent two portraits by George Koroneos.

 

 

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