1. How did you get involved with making art with such a "difficult" iconography?
Its funny, because I've never thought about the iconography I use as particularily problematic. My relation to using that kind of visual language has more to do with my background, personal history or whatever than trying to be provocative in any way. I've always been really interested in how these images function, than how they appear i.e: what kind of frustrations are being navigated by this really angry seeming image, what kind of really basic human sorrow has to be compensated for by this type of language? Maybe not always sorrow, but I kind of gravitate towards a melancholic reading of things.
1.1- So, do you tend to think of your work in melancholic terms? I almost always see your work in terms of issues of power (and lack thereof). Your work so often deals with these brilliant gestures created via not so great intentions, or maybe I should say very unfocused directions. Why are you so particularly interested in the manifestations of aimless youth?
-I think melancholic might be a really good way to describe what I'm interested in, but I think to present that out in public kind of necessitates a little more structured approach versus just an I'm-so-sad refrain. If that was the total nature of the project, it seems like it would just dwindle into a really dull romanticism. That seems to tie into the second part of your question: why am I interested in these sorts of narratives? I think I have a lot of sympathy for the "not so great intentions" of others because I was pretty screwed up as a kid, and I'm probably trying to sort some of that out. If it was just an exercise in nostalgia it seems that, again, that sort of pin-headed romanticism would be the inevitable result.
2. How do you mediate the more negative components of Black Metal in your artwork?
I don't really think my work has that much to do with Black Metal-I've talked about it in the past because I'm really interested in how this really rhetorically frozen gesture like the hostility in Black Metal can be activated in a real one to one kind of way. If sub-cultures represent a really meaningful version of dress up, Black Metal represents the moment when the actors kind of forget they're on a stage. In a very general way, I'm interested in moments across the board that parallel that relation to imagery. I think thats a very potent idea for artists to relate to: the idea that someone could over-exceed the meaning you're trying to generate and actually believe in something too much. Again, Black Metal is just a cultural moment that reflects a bunch of avenues that produce that sort of response: "evil", racism, theater, nationalism, etc, etc.
2.1-So do you think your work is, in some way an antidote to this overexcited search for "meaning"?
-It's funny, because the notion of an "antidote" has come up a few times when other people talk about whats happening with the work, and I've really never thought about it in those terms. I think an anditote is potentially dangerous because it puts out the idea an audience can be cured of the potential to be just as wrong-headed as the individuals within the narratives I choose. I'm more interested in a sympathy for the devil sort of position where something morally ambiguous might imply the possibility we're all capable of horrible things given the right confluence of circumstance, and that looking at something is just such a circumstance with its very own potentialities that might not conform to the positive private image of our own morality.
3. Can you tell me a little more about the story behind your most recent show at team, and how these works expand on the story itself?
The last project was a perfect example of what I was trying to describe: three teenage boys in Arroyo grande, CA murdered a high school girl who was their class mate as a way to make their heavy metal band Hatred famous. During the criminal trial that followed, the band Slayer was brought in as somehow being just as guilty as the boys for producing an environment or a climate that would motivate the murder. Thats the idea I was trying to describe- these images can be activated by their audience in a manner that precludes distance; fiction can somehow be rendered real. So if thats the case, then I wanted to make a show that somehow described that physically, like if the objects and ephemera like CD cases and magazines could be submitted as "real" evidence in a criminal proceeding, couldn't you then treat that same vocabulary like something to forensically reconstruct? Or put simply, if the fiction produced a physical event, couldn't that same fiction be given a physical form? I've always been really interested in how these images function, than how they appear i.e: what kind of frustrations are being navigated by this really angry seeming image, what kind of really basic human sorrow has to be compensated for by this type of language? Maybe not always sorrow, but I kind of gravitate towards a melancholic reading of things.
3.1-That's one of the things that I liked so much about the installation. As the viewer moved through the space, they encountered these fragments which slowly create an idea of something larger. What do you think people will begin to piece together as they examine your whole body of work? What do you want to present with your larger body or work?
I'm always really leery when artists have a pat "theme" that they can identify. Hopefully, there is enough variation in what I'm involved in that the issue of an over-arching theme gets a little hazy. I think ultimately it comes down to me relating to the things I'm interested in, and then working backwards to try to figure if that might actually mean something. I know thats vague, but I'm always really compelled by certain stories and events, and the only way I can figure out why is to make work around it and that in turn allows me to clarify my original interest-sometimes I find out something interesting and other times I get a dead end.