Attaboy will be hosting his first solo show in San Francisco since 2001. The opening reception is on August 14th from 7-10pm at 1AM SF gallery. Here is an inside look into the intricate workings of the mastermind behind the hyper unreal art.
1. What is your inspiration for your art?
It’s the way that I cope with things, defragment the mental lentils, and put them ducks in a row, make sense of things. Annie Owens , my fiancée, puts me on the right track. Without her, I’d be in a ball, overwhelmed by the sheer impossibility of my existence. Making art is usually a completely selfish thing or self-righteous, even though I can’t spell that word without spell check.
2. How did it all begin? Painting? Custom Toy Design? Hi-Fructose?
Like most things, in the womb. I hear I drew with placenta colored markers on the inner walls of my goo-nest…
That wasn’t me kicking, but me creating a series of performance art pieces. On a more conscious level, I went to Toy School in NYC at FIT, then worked in the actual toy industry before leaving to do my own thing, which ironically led to more toy design, except of a more personal nature. They’re really just three dimensional ideas for me…journal entries of sorts that smile back, micro produced pleas for help and attention. Every time you interchange an Axtrx mouth, I get a tingle in my brain. That’s why I wake up happy and tired. Too much tingle. Not enough Jingle. Annie and I started Hi-fructose, never thinking that it would eventually appear all over the world and fill up our inboxes with wonderful readers.
It’s ridiculous and amazing to have the opportunity to keep making them, albeit now with a great staff of writers, contributors and artists who support the magazine.
It’s the first project that we worked on together, and being control freaks I’m sure we’re both surprised it worked out so well. It’s changed our lives completely.
3. What training have you had to get you to this point?
I have an art degree, I created an animation for network TV (which was like animation school), but most training comes from relentlessly working, changing, staying interested. It was a lot easier to do when I was miserable and cute. Now I’m happy and bloated, which creates it’s own set of challenges…
I hope to never to be miserable and cute again. “There was never any good old days, they are today, they are tomorrow. It’s a stupid thing we say, Cursing tomorrow with sorrow” -Gogol Bordello
4. What materials do you use? What is your favorite medium?
Lately, I’m happiest while drawing with a knife. Spray painting plastic. it’s a ridiculous medium, and I think I’m the only one doing it, at least in this way. People think my lines are printed vinyl or paint, but no! It’s stenciled meticulously, each and every line was two cuts and each piece is a thousand cuts. You kinda have to see them in person. It’s like urban stain glass.
While paintings crack and curl and yellow, my plastic pieces will cast shadows onto the crumbling walls of our spine exposed inheritors of Pappa Erf! I’ve also been doing strange “exploded view” color pencil drawings that someone described as “hyper unreal.”
I kinda like that. They’re blue-ish, ethereal. With them I’m approaching animals and ideas the way I did in the mainstream toy industry, taking things apart, as if a blind alien was trying to re-create our world only by what was being described to him.
5. What is the toughest thing you had to overcome as an artist?
Like most, all things, myself. And Hindu Buddhist-mantra spouting Yodian idiots who say such things. 🙂
6. What do you hope people take away from your art? Do you have a message?
I create it for me, but I love when it speaks to them. I start pieces without a set idea really, and then they evolve. There’s certainly themes of lust, greed, jealousy, and guilt, and I’m a person who avoids all confrontation, so perhaps thats why the many spineless denizen and brine, but the whole reason for me creating this work is to not figure things out but to work things out on the paper/plastic.
7. You are quite accomplished in many aspects of your career. What do you still want to do as an artist?
I’m proud of this new series of work, I think it’s my best yet. I have ideas everyday and when they become reality I’m most happy.
8. Who, dead or alive, do you idolize in the art world? If you could do a collaboration with another artist, who would it be?
I try not to idolize anyone. Life’s too short for that sacred cow stuff. But folks that get me revved up are Orson Welles, Spike Jones (the musician), Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marvin Glass, Dave Cooper, Mars-1, Annie Owens, Larry David, and alot of folks in our magazine.
I’d love to work with Jean-Pierre Jeunet someday.
9. Walk us through your typical day.
There’s no walking, slacker. But hunched over drawing, cutting, moping, typing, yelling and bedroom type stuff. I hope to never have a typical day strapped into a chair-cage like a passenger, responding to the demands of an in box. At least that’s my hope!
10. If you could incite a revolution, what would it be against?
Extended Warranties & Service Plans and maintenance fees.
11. If you weren’t an artist, co-founder of a magazine, show creator and director, and a toy designer, what else would you be doing?
I think I’d be dead or extremely happy! But I’m too scared to stop and see which one will be the result!
12. If you could add a song or tune to your every step, what would it be?
Minka by Spike Jones, Followed by Eric B And Rakim’s “I aint No Joke” followed by The Andrew Sisters, followed by the Bouncing Souls.
13. Do you live by any mantra? If yes, what?
Verb, fother muckers, Verb!
14. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That dogs lived as long as humans, that I got to say goodbye to my dad and grandma, that some folks weren’t so stupid.
15. Can you tell us what our fans can expect from Attaboy in the next 5 years?
Donno, but in the coming months…more behind the scenes-ness at Hi-Fructose with Annie, strange new projects, a series of illustrated books (meant for smart kids) and much much less.
16. What can you tell your fans about the upcoming show at 1AM SF?
Bring your sketch books and I’ll draw for you if you ask nicely. I’ll have my new sculpture there, the Winged Shmee, with custom painted castings and the last 5 Qwezshun figures are finally complete and available. Also, I’ve saved the last 4 green Axtrx vinyls for purchase at the show. The last four of 5000 pieces, just for you. Come see the work in person in the heart of the Franny. Not sure when the next time I’ll have a solo show in SF will be.
… Art piece you have created It’s usually the last one.
… Toy growing up Didn’t like toys too much growing up but I’ve wanted an Odd Ogg for the past 13 years and tomorrow I’ll finally have one!!
… Toy now The Cragstan Wacky watermelon and little Miss No Name.
… Artist (dead and alive) Can’t do that!
… Magazine Hi-Fructose
… Books Lord of the Flies
… Place to go to get your creative juice flowin’ Cerrito Theatre back when it served real popcorn.