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Back Talk with Joe To

Juxtapoz // Friday, 04 Sep 2009



How do you feel right now?


Pretty damn good. I'm a bit stressed and tired but I just had a pretty amazing night. My liver hurts a bit but otherwise there’s nothing to complain about. Thanks for asking.


If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?


I dunno, maybe Spain. Maybe work on a farm.

If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?


I would be doing the exactly what I'm doing right now, a desk job. Sending emails all day.


If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?


I have no punching skills but maybe Bill Sienkiewicz. He's an idol of mine when I was growing up, with Elektra and Stray Toasters. I guess you need to kill your heroes, figuratively of course, to get your own voice.


Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?


Yeah definitely. It was sloppy and lasted most of the night. I'm sure I was doing it all wrong but there was a whole lot of enthusiasm. It was awesome.

At what point were you particularly happy?


3 or 4 am in the morning, maybe 5, waist deep in a project. At that time in the morning, I'm on my second wind, everything is quiet and my mind is totally clear and I can hear the sprinklers starting up.


No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


If I think about it there definitely are a couple of them. Usually boils down to being awkwardly shy and or self-sabotaging.


What trait do your friends have in common?


They're all really forgiving.


If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?


Dunno, maybe my passport some extra socks. I should go pack a suitcase right now with everything that might be dear to me.

Greatest love of your life?


A girl from Kazakhstan.


What is your favorite vice?


Booze, boobies, bacon. Probably something that starts with the letter B.


When you blow out birthday candles, what do you wish for?


I hold my breath sometimes while going through a tunnel, it's usually something like health and happiness for my family and friends. And sometimes I wish for a million bucks.

If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?


Maybe Dignan from Bottlerocket. Or Max Sterling from Robotech.


Do you ever lie?


Yes, all the time. Always about something totally unimportant or insignificant.


Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


No. But memories can change over time and I guess my intents have too. Their guesses are as good as mine.


What virtue can you do without?


Stubbornness. That's a virtue right?

Do you even notice when you're swearing?




What has been your proudest moment?


I won a limbo contest during my high-school graduation cruise.


What would you like to be remembered for?


Not too much. Hopefully that I wasn't too much of a douche. Maybe that I was occasionally funny or witty and that Iiked to doodle silly pictures.


How would you prefer to die?


Happy. Either with some Scotch or Rye.

Joe To and Rob Sato’s two-man show at Metropolis Gallery, curated by artist and old friend David Choe, opens today in PA.



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