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Back Talk with Van Arno

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 01 Oct 2009

Los Angeles artist Van Arno’s upcoming solo show “A Change of Skin” is all about transformation. In his latest series of oil paintings, this lowbrow artist brings a series of fantasies to life. Werewolves, centaurs and women shed their original skin, emerging as new breeds of enchanted beings and barbaric beasts. In anticipation of his show at Corey Helford, we recently caught up with Van Arno…armed with our Back Talk questions.


How do you feel right now?



Elated to have finished all the paintings for my Corey-Helford show last night!


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


Antwerp, Belgium. Waffles! French Fries! Orval Ale! Mussels! Two of Ruben’s altarpieces in one church!


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


I don't know, which is odd because I think about it all the time. That, and going blind.


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


Bruce Springsteen

Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?


No, but my last one was.


At what point were you particularly happy?


Right now. It's too late to paint anymore for this show and too early to worry about sales.


No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


I could have done lots of things different, but I don't know where that would have led me. There are people I should have treated better. And worse.


What trait do your friends have in common?


God! Nothing!


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


My cat, Anya.

Greatest love of your life?




What is your favorite vice?


Smoking Beedees (indian cigarettes)


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


A Kidney Transplant. Seriously.


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


Are you just trying to piss me off?


Do you ever lie?


Yes, but I could be lying now.

Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


I hope so. I work hard so that they can. I used to write a paragraph explaining each piece, but I think my new pieces are either self-explanatory, or unfathomable.


What virtue can you do without?


In myself? … in others? Is virginity a virtue?


Do you even notice when you're swearing?




What has been your proudest moment?


Being loved.

What would you like to be remembered for?


Having a style and set of aesthetic sensibilities that distinctly mine.


How would you prefer to die?


Not from kidney disease in 2010.


Every image in one place


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