You grew up in North Carolina and love telling stories about your childhood. How have these personal experiences found their way into your work?
I think if I kept the stories all in my brain my head would explode and I quite like my head, so... These stories usually end up manifesting into scripts or poetry or just tales for the smoke circle. It’s helpful as an artist because I’m never out of material to pull from; I like to think that above all else, I’m a storyteller. Right now, I’m working on a script that’s really just a character study on everyone in my family, so stay tuned for that exposé.
You’re currently working on a large wall painting that will greet people as they enter our department. Can you tell us about your process in designing it?
Coming up with a design was a nightmare— first, it was going to be a subway scene, then it was going to be an alien playing pool, then a cowboy duel!. I don’t actually remember coming up with the idea for Bodega Cat, I just woke up one day with a sticky note stuck to the wall next to my bed that said “cat.. but he is the owner of the store and he’s at the front and he’s like ‘cash or card?’”. I found a very loose sketch in my notes app and here we are.
Working on "Bodega Cat"
What is Hell Bathroom?
Hell Bathroom was originally a digital 3D model I created for a class called Technology in Action. The assignment was to design a room in Tinkercad. The idea was that all the demons in Hell were threatening to unionize if Satan didn’t give them bathroom breaks. Satan agrees to have an employees-only bathroom to avoid litigation. Still, it’s Hell, so Satan decides that the bathroom will be modeled after the worst bathroom known to mankind: a lower east side club bathroom. After I presented the digital 3D Model, I made Hell Bathroom into a real life model using a 3D printer and hot glue. Hell Bathroom now sits on a shelf in my living room next to a wooden pack of Marlboro Reds I laser printed for a different TIA project.
How is living and studying in NYC?
Going to college in the city feels like you’re micro-dosing the real world, so you mature quickly while still being able to do all the silly, “college” stuff when you’re on campus. You kind of end up leading this double life as a “real adult” and as a student. It’s good for you, I think.
If you could learn something new, anything, what would it be?
I wish I was just naturally musically inclined.. If I had to pick one thing I’d want to learn how to play it's guitar. I started getting into 70s/80s california-guitar-hero type bands (Van Halen, Motley Crüe, etc) when I was around 11, so I think that’s where the desire stems from.
What music are you listening to right now?
Currently on rotation for July:
“I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Rose
“Onie” by the Electric Prunes
“Love To Love You Baby” by Donna Summer
“Mary On A Cross” by Ghost
“Blouse” by Clairo
“Charmless Man” by Blur
“Working My Way Back to You” by The Spinners
“Can I Call You Rose?” by Thee Sacred Souls
“The Diary of Horace Wimp” by Electric Light Orchestra
“Gimme All Ur Luv” by hemlocke springs
“Shooting For You” by The Cars
“Never There” by CAKE
“Love Galore (Alt Version)” by SZA
“Mortal Projections” by DJO
“Different This Time” by Cornelia Murr
I’d also highly recommend Steve Lacy’s new album “Gemini Rights” and Oingo Boingo’s 1981 album “Only A Lad”