San Francisco based artist John Felix Arnold III is with us this week to shine light on his work, inspiration, events, audio and all things good. Check the DLC team in S.F. with him Feb 4th for the “The Love of All Things Above”
What are you currently working on?
It’s 2012, the end of civilization as we know it!!!! Ha Ha Ha. This is a pretty serious year. I have more on my plate than I am used to and I am really excited to be pushing my own boundaries further than ever. 2011 was like a hardcore training ground to see how much I could accomplish under some pretty intense times and stress, so I am excited to blast out of the gate with a pocketful of “to dos” on my list. I am doing a show with you and the rest of Daylight Curfew, as well as Erlin Geffrard aka Kool Kid Kreyola and a new duo, Him Downstairs, in San Francisco called the “Love of All Above”. I am building a big art installation altar that acts as a stage for you guys to perform inside of as a full conceptual art experience. It blends my own traditional narrative painting and assemblage work into a huge full room installation, environment piece in this post apocalyptic imaginary future world I have created called “Unstoppable Tomorrow : The World of Future Antiquity”. It is going to be a sick fusion of all these different artistic disciplines to create something that I feel is fresh and new, a new way to involve the audience in the artistic process, delivery, and thinking that goes into making work and exploring why we make work. It’s like a huge ceremonial night of rituals inside of a giant living breathing graphic novel I am forever creating and expanding on. The whole experience really is the piece, all of our building blocks really are components for one big energetic happening.
I am also working on drawings right now for a show I have with Christopher Burch (who is a really incredible Bay Area artist via St. Louis that I have known for a long time, he is currently doing a residency at the Luggage Store Gallery). We are going to Brooklyn to show drawings and build a conceptual installation at Littlefield NYC in Gowanus, and are going to have Ninjasonik and the band Ken South Rock, whom I performed with in Japan, be our musical partners in crime on the opening night. That opens Thursday March 1st, and its going to be live!
I have a solo show in July at my favorite spot in Oakland, hell one of my favorite places in the world, period! It’s called Old Crow, it’s a tattoo shop with an amazing gallery and their curator, Terry Addison has been a long time friend and constituent here in the Bay Area. The Old Crow Homies are exactly that, they are family and I have been part of two group efforts there so I am really excited to rock the whole space. Its going to be a huge blend of large paintings, smaller found object pieces and relics, drawings, mixed media work, and installation work. Then pretty much immediately after that opens I am going back to Japan to go on tour with Ken South Rock and do live painting with them/. Then its on to 2013 I guess, its going to be a trip man.
Tell us about your process from inspiration to execution.
Wow, well, that’s complicated and not at the same time. I could go into pages of really specific techniques and multi media approaches, but I’ll try to sum it up in more of an overall approach. On a very basic level, I wake up every day, I have some coffee and I think about what I need to do for any number of things coming up in any number of parts of my life, what I want to say with what I am making, and go over what sort of influences or people, places, things, and ideas are really getting me going and inspired, as well as purely aesthetic things that I want to see happen. When I finally get all of my prep work done, and am at a place where I am collected ( not necessarily calm lol) and ready to go, the work really comes together very organically, and in bursts. I am not a slow, calm and consistent painter and drawer, I am spontaneous, anxious, and energetic. I feel much closer to Basquiat, Twombly, Kent Williams, Duchamp, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, in that I am I think then I make a mark, think, then make a series of marks, and sometimes just go at it based off of feeling alone. It’s simple in that I feel like a wave in the ocean, I build ideas and energy and materials and brew and swell, and then BAM, I get to a point where it all has to and does come out in a very natural explosion as I break on to my project space. When I am actually painting and drawing and making things, I can literally trust my years of training, technique, discipline and instruction to meld with my intuition and natural talent for gesture, design, space, color, line, and composition and become like, like a conduit for my creative energy and the creative energy of a power much greater than myself. My process of making art really involves putting all of my tools, techniques, and approaches I have learned throughout my life into the trust of an energy bigger than myself to express things I feel need to be shared with the world and to create something that will inevitably communicate with people in the here and now and long after I am gone.
I also collect piles of refuse materials to build assemblages, panels, installations, and more. Finding these materials, renting a truck and going “trash hunting” as I call it, is a huge and very enjoyable part of the whole process. It really gets me in touch with my surroundings, and lets me talk to the streets, and neighborhoods, and vacant lots, and wherever I find materials. The process of doing this keeps me grounded in my surroundings and reminds me that I am part of the world and must respect it and thank it for being there to provide for me. It really drives a deep sense of respect and gratitude into my psyche. It also keeps me from isolating. By creating things with these materials I feel like I am giving back and showing the world that I am grateful and am willing to take the time to build and learn with things that others have regarded as useless.
What have you been listening to lately?
YES! MUSIC! Lately I have been listening to Cassettes Won’t Listen, getting oriented with his stuff as we lead up to the show. I have had a play list consisting of Japanther, Jay Electronica, a lot of Dipset, the Ghost in the Shell Anime movie soundtrack, my own tracks, yourself Bisc 1 and Grimace, some Baltimore Club stuff, Ninjasonik, TV on the Radio, and more. I have also been listening to Big Boi’s Sir Luscious Left Foot album back to back with Kanye’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Joint, and have been really paying a lot of attention to the difference in the Kanye’s production and Dungeon Family/ Organized Noise’s production. They are both such solid pieces and it’s interesting to really listen to all the sounds and details of each crafted sound, and how different they are. You can hear that the Outkast camp has been around a lot longer and their sound is cleaner and almost more effortless in my opinion. Kanye’s compositions are so brilliant and anxious, while Big Boi’s production is so smooth and effortlessly complex and the execution of every detail is so precise.
If your work had a soundtrack what would it be?
I actually have made my own soundtracks for two exhibitions, Astronknots 3 : “The World of Future Antiquity” and then “Unstoppable Tomorrow”. I am in no way a musician, but I can crank out some pretty interesting things. I would really like a get a lot of the talent that was on the Akira soundtrack together with you guys and Japanther/Ninjasonik family with some of my own input. That’s a really hard question to answer dude, their are so many musical talents I would want to be on it for so many reasons. I have always wanted to do something with Kareem Bunton from the Juggs and his brother Jaleel from TV on the Radio. Koto drums homie, mad Koto drums for sure!!!! Wu-Tang! Ha Ha Ha It would dope to just record the audio of an entire Sumo Wrestling match, and a couple fucking like really passionately and intensely, and then splice the two up into a sound scape and play that during an entire exhibition opening. People would bug out.
What do you want people to take away from your work when they see it?
I want them to literally take away whatever they can and whatever it arouses in them naturally. I would ideally want them to think about their place in the world, I want them to question the speed and ferocity with which humanity is moving forward. I want them think about how love and respect and passion plays into their own lives, I want them to feel good when they look at it, I want them to feel like they are communicating with whatever is in the piece and be able to make connections to elements in their own lives. On the flip I don’t generally like to tell people what “I want them” to feel or think when they look at it. I grew up creating my own relationship with art and have always enjoyed being able to create my own alternate reality, or reference someone else’s work to my life and issues without being told what it is for or how it should make me feel. I said ideally earlier because the point of art for me is for people to enjoy it, or not, based off of what ever it is they connect with and why they connect with that thing. So I guess what I really want people to take away from it, aside from thinking its rad ( laughter), is that it communicated with them on some level that was profound or as close to profound as can be, and that they will remember it.
What does the future hold for you?
A lot of good things and probably some tough ones as well. I really want to work on more zines and start pitching some of my work to graphic novel publishers, I want to reach a wider audience this way. Traveling on the wings of my artwork. I can’t stop making art and bringing people together so I guess that is my station in life for the future. There is talk of doing something at the Luggage Store Gallery in 2013. I want to organize some sort of project in North Carolina where I was born, because places like that need some crazy artists around for sure. I would love to follow in David Ellis’ footsteps for sure on that tip. Slowly but surely working out proposals for huge project I want to make happen in Japan in the next few years. Aiming high but still making time to get in touch with myself and take a step back to make sure the machine is running strong ya know.
Where can we find you?
In my awesome new studio accross the street from Lake Merrit in beautiful sunny Oakland, CA. And in July you will be able to find me roaming the countryside in Japan making art on tour with Ken South Rock!!!! I might not come back.
for more on John Felix Arnold III check out http://felixthethirdrock.com/
and take a listen to Curfew Cast Vol. 5 while we chop it up with the man himself.
check DLC and Felix out in February.
“The Love of All Above”@ Queens Nails Projects
Saturday, February 4th 2012 6pm-12pm
3191 Mission St., San Francisco, CA, 94110
“The Love of All Above” is one part solo art show, one part performance showcase, and one part audience participatory ritual ceremony to show gratitude for the lives we live and the struggles we have endured.
John Felix Arnold III, from the days of Babylon Falling and who who brought you Past From the Blast with Japanther last March at Kitsch will be teaming up with a new team of amazing performers and collaborators consisting of Daylight Curfew ( Cassettes Won’t Listen, Bisco Smith, Grimace, and Turnbull Green ), Kool Kid Kreyola, and Him Downstairs, to bring you the newest installment in his long running series of exhibitions and experiences know as “Unstoppable Tomorrow : The World of Future Antiquity”. According to Arnold the series aims to bring you the feeling of “walking inside of a giant graphic novel where Arnold is the documentarian and scribe, and the performers are his musical cohorts, collaborators, and ritual leaders in this post apocalyptic future world.”
Arnold will be presenting new mixed media painting works, relics, and a new installation piece that will act as an altar and stage for the performers to use as a vehicle to showcase their talents and bring the audience together in one huge ceremonial experience inside of Arnold’s realized environment. The performer list is indeed epic and the performers will have CD’s and more available. Arnold will also have a limited edition zine for the “Love of All Above” as well.
Show Opens Saturday February 4th 2012. 6-8pm Artist reception with complimentary refreshments and h’ordeuvres 8pm-12am Live Performances Show runs through January 21st Closing reception and live performance showcase on Saturday February 18th from 8pm-?
Press Release and Media Contact Information please contact John Felix Arnold III email@example.com
917 543 5261
Link to Press Release can be seen immediatley by viewing http://johnfelixarnoldiii.les.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-love-of-all-above-press-release-2012.pdf
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