Interviewed by Vincent Uribe, Director of LVL3, Chicago
Describe your definition of a “vacation”?
Vacation is an escape from normal life.
How does this play into your current work?
I like the way vacations are idealized experiences, which are usually totally different from the actual. Think about a Corona commercial, just chilling with some beers on a perfect tropical beach; in reality there would be sunburns, sand in your shorts, the beer costs $10, and there’s a crowd of kids screaming and throwing sand-mud all over the place—not quite the same experience anymore! Painting is similar in a way, a history of idealizing the subject (or doing the opposite)—a lot of room between the idealized thing and the actual thing.
I also like the idea of escapism in relation to art-making. Making paintings is a kind of escape. It’s weird though, when making art is your job you don’t really have so much to escape from—not like some 9 to 5, weekend warrior office job. Everything is art-related; most of my traveling has to do with shows or collaborating on projects in other cities—vacation and work are totally integrated.
What is the worst vacation experience you have ever had?
I went on a cruise in 2006 in the Caribbean, which was pretty great for the first half (soft-serve ice cream everywhere) but then, along with 70% of the ship, I caught a virus that was picked up by someone on one of the islands where we stopped. It was super gnarly, the most intense sickness I’ve ever experienced. When the ship returned to Florida it was boarded by the CDC and decontaminated by a bunch of guys in Hazmat suits, Morgan Freeman style.
Five essential must haves when traveling?
Toothbrush, comfortable shoes, phone charger, shower cap, booze money.
If you could move anywhere for one year where would you go and why?
Probably Berlin. That place is amazing. It’s totally like a chill vacation, except in a major city. And it’s cheap, has great art, amazing public spaces, people walk their dogs without leashes, and you can drink beer anywhere.
One word to describe your personal style?
Dream exhibition location/space?
There used to be this gallery in Dallas called Light & Sie, it was the most pristine room I have ever seen. It was pretty huge with white walls, white ceiling, and a glossy white floor. The gallery looked like something out of a Kubrick film. It was the most beautiful space, but also pretty terrifying. Making a show there would be a major challenge, how do you improve on something that is already incredible?
Hot or cold weather?
I don’t like extremes. I’m going to go with 70 degrees always; does this place exist?
Which do you prefer: sit back and relax, stay busy sight-seeing, or party party party?
All of the above, just at different times of day. It’s a pretty natural cycle.
What’s the weirdest thing you have eaten?
7-11 hot dogs.
Where do you not want to vacation?
Somalia. The whole pirate-y kidnapping thing sounds like a real bummer. However, there is this island right off the coast of Somalia called Socotra that has the most insane, alien, Dr. Seuss wildlife and plant-life.
Josh Reames currently has a show on view at Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles.
Visit here for more information.
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