O: (Bar noise, Chicago on bar speakers) Chicago, take one.
O: This is art.
I: This is what sound art is.
O: This is interview art.
I: Are we supposed to talk about art?
O: I guess.
I: I came up with questions for you, but I feel like that might kill it if I just read questions to you.
O: I didn't come up with any questions.
I:Are you obsessive compulsive?
I: No? You don't do weird things with touching doorknobs or anything?
O: No, I don't have any rituals or anything.
I: I was thinking about how you are really into the repetition thing, and I was wondering if you were into repetition cause you started printmaking and really chose this idea of printmaking to focus on or if you were drawn to printmaking cause of an obsessive-compulsive inclination.
O: Well, that's why I brought up when Willie Cole suggested we might suffer from the same "disease" where we repeat things, but it is very much different from obsessive-compulsive disorder. I am not trapped in repetition, but I am drawn to it. I am comforted by repetition.
I: You do work that is not printmaking but use repetition to make it printmaking. You treat things like the typewriter like printmaking. The crocheted items being used as printmaking base. Using this technical side of printmaking to transform items that are not traditional print materials.
O: Well that came from wanting to pull out concepts of printmaking. I am not really interested in using it just as an expressive medium anymore. I kinda like fucking around with ideas a little bit more than imagery at the moment.
I: That makes it funny, too. It's what you do when you are making prints, but it seems absurd. But it is the same thing.
O: It did just seem like it made sense with the typewriter. I thought, this is letterpress just automated.
I: Yeah, It's an impression on a piece of paper.
O: I though, this is perfect. I can make prints so fast now. (as Jim faces television to watch baseball game) Have you ever done a painting of a baseball game before?
I: No, I have thought about it though, a painting of baseball stadium at night.
O: Yeah, It seems like it makes sense for you to connect your love of baseball and your interest in painting these effects of light.
I: I actually gathered a bunch of source photos before and was going to do a painting of Comerica Park with the lights on and nobody there. I never did it though.
O: It is really intense artificial light.
I: Well, look at this game; it's at Yankee stadium in New York, it's later there than it is here. It's night time but on the field it looks like daylight. I wish I had cable so I could watch baseball at home.
O: You should get a free trial
I: Yeah I should. I can't watch playoff games online so I've been going to bars to watch them. I wonder how much money I've spent on beer and food to do that, I probably could've just signed up for cable by the time the World Series is over.
O: Yeah but you've been out and you've had beer and food, you're not sitting in your house!
I: I could have eaten food and drank beer in my house though.
O: But it's not the same, you're going out.
I: No, it's not the same. It's better when I'm in my house. You know when the last time was the Tigers won the World Series?
I: HOW DID YOU KNOW?
O: What?! I just guessed! Is that really true? I was just trying to come up with a year that would sound like, "IT WAS BACK IN '84 MAN."
O: Interview over.
I: Baseball, this is really important stuff. We should talk about art though.
O: Okay, what have you been working on?
I: Remember the carnival photos? You saw those? I'm working on something with those and it's starting to look good. The problem I'm having now is that what I like about these images is what's making hard to paint. I'm going to do a big composition where I pick and choose things from different photos. I'm doing little studies of the individual elements now.
O: And then you'll make them into a bigger scene?
I: Yeah, but it's hard to piece the elements together. Everything is lit by those saturated colored lights, and the intensity looks equal no matter far back in space things are. It makes it so the rules of atmospheric perspective are gone. It's night and there are just outlines of things framed by lights, so atmospheric perspective, to use that stupid fucking 2D design class term again, it doesn't apply. And usually that's what my shit is all about. I'm trying to figure out how to put all these elements in relation to each other. I tried today with all my photos out doing sketches, it didn't happen.
O: How big is the big one gonna be?
I: Big as hell. At least five feet in the shortest dimension. Bigger paintings are easier than small ones. You don't have to fuss over stuff with little brushes and rulers and shit. You can just use a house painting brush to do the same thing when it's bigger. You can see what you're doing.
O: I had a professor in undergrad who was very anal in the way he painted. He had this tiny brush, tiny, and he'd be holding it all the way at the back and painting shutters on this giant painting. Just painting lines on the shutters.
I: I never got that holding it all the way at the back thing. I've seen pictures of Matisse in his studio with this huge brush and he's holding it at the very back. I've heard you can get a lot more control if you learn to do it that way, but that's the biggest load of bullshit. I've tried.
O: You just haven't learned to do it right!
I: No, it's bullshit.
O: I made these implements for the thesis show I did and one of them was a baby spoon glued to the end of a really long rod after Matisse's giant brush. I did a portrait of a hypothetical child, a copy of a Nolde painting. I did it all with this spoon on the rod, which was about as tall as me.
I: Is there documentation of you using it? I'd like to see that.
O: No, but there's a picture of the implement I can show you.
I: What are these little things on it?
O: Ornamentation. It's supposed to be like a ritual staff.
I: Those look like something you'd get in a gift shop at a national park.
O: My friend gave me this stuff. She would give me clothes and jewelry she was trying to get rid of.
I: The portrait looks way more controlled than I thought it would be. Maybe there's something to that holding the brush at the back trick. I was picturing something that looked like a child did it.
O: When I was in kindergarten, during free time I would draw figures with their brains and hearts popping out. All of their organs popping out of their bodies. The most creative stuff I've ever made.
Stop me if you know this one. Josh and Jim walk into a bar...
O: (Bar noise, Chicago on bar speakers) Chicago, take one.