Artist Interviews 2021

Plastic Jesus  
By Johnny Otto

This auction at Julien’s placed you in the company of Blek le Rat, Wrdsmth, Dave Navarro. Billy Morrison, Risk, Meg Zany and Estevan Oriol. How did that feel and how did this show come to be?

I avoid doing too many shows, if you come to LA there are ( were before covid) so many art shows and you can often see the same work at multiple show. You also get shows that claim famous artists are exhibiting, only to find out it’s actually one or two prints that have been loaned purely so the show can add the name to the flier. I’ve lost count of the number of shows with “Banksy’ headlining… This show is very different it has amazing names - Blek, Risk, Billy Morrison wordsmith and they actually have been 100% in getting their work here. My invite to the show came from Billy Morrison. I’ve worked with billy for a number of years and we’ve become friends. I think the British sense of humor has something to do with the friendship.

Dave Navarro said that you are his teacher. How did the two of you meet and start collaborating?

I’m honored that he said that. Dave reached out to me for some technical advise. So he ended up coming to the studio for a masterclass. Dave is the hardest working artist I’ve ever come across, well actually probably along with Billy. In a shortt space of time Dave has not only mastered the techniques but he been so prolific get art on the streets, creating a real movement along with Padhia (Unfukyourself)

You are auctioning off your Kanye West/Christ statue. What made you want to do a statue of him in the first place/ What's the story behind it?

Every year I try to create a satirical Oscar statue. Kanye compared himself to Jesus and I felt that played well into my worshipping false Idols narrative. It was the first piece I collaborated with Ginger.

You go your start in London, is that right? And not as an Artist but in Photojournalism? Can you tells us about the transition.

I was a photojournalist for around 25 years. The transition happened when I was trying to create a new creative portfolio for myself and I hit on the idea of recreating some of Banksy’s iconic stencil pieces, using real people as models. This really got me looking at the art of communication through the medium of a stencil.I then developed more into the medium of 3D sculpture work.

What other artists would you most want to collaborate with? Why?

I don’t often collaborate, quite simply i feel that a collaboration can become a compromise from both artists. So for me that’s a tough question which I cant answer.

We are still making stupid people famous. Is that just the way the world is now? You don't have to earn fame?

We certainly are. Until we change as consumers nothing will change. When TV, Websites, magazines are full of doing people just perforative thing purely to gain attention, rather than doing great things nothing will change,

What is coming up for you after this? Any more shows lined up?

I’m thinking about a solo show. hopefully in early 2022, with a whole load of new pieces. However with Covid still around it makes anything difficult to plan for the financial investment for a show is high so I cant just plan it, make the art and then have no show… So lets hope life gets back to normal soon.

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