Words: Maurice Pendarvis
Images and photos: Dave Kinsey
It’s been a long time man, what has been going on with you?
Yeah, it’s been a minute. Well, I just finished up a big solo show in NY at Joshua Liner and I’m now splitting my time between LA and Three Rivers, CA where I’m hanging out with rattlesnakes and bears and getting some fresh air.
The Painted Room at Hotel des Arts in San Francisco, how did that come about?
This crazy dude John Doffing in SF set it up. He made me a nice offer to throw down. It was all last minute, so I committed without having time to really plan anything and just went for it. It ended up being an awesome experience, basically locked in a room for a week to do whatever I wanted.
Your art has evolved into more of the fine art world. Did you consciously make a decision to move into a different direction?
No, it’s been a pretty natural progression, especially after having BLK/MRKT gallery for almost a decade. I learned a lot about all aspects of art from that experience which really helped me transcend to where I’m at now.
Speaking of, how do you feel you have evolved from a graphic designer to a fine artist, or was it always there?
I love doing both and always have. Back when I was in art school, they didn’t have computers yet so I studied traditional (all hand-done) graphic arts as well as painting and drawing. It wasn’t until my last semester of school that they introduced the first Macs. So when I graduated, I took off in both directions, designing and working on my personal stuff on the side, as well as integrating the two into various projects. The bottom line was that, at the time, design was more lucrative, which is how BLK/MRKT came about back in 1997. As time went on, I had the luxury of spending more and more time on my art and the roles started to become reversed.
When we first met, you were partners with Shepard Fairey running BLK/MRKT. You two have split up and you got custody of the name what, if anything has changed from the way it used to be and now? Is Kinsey/DesForges the new BLK/MRKT or is it completely separate?
Not that much has changed since Shepard left in terms of the design studio side of things. It was crazy-busy before and after the split, and there was the gallery as well, so I decided to bring Jana in to help run things. She has an impeccable mind for business and is also very like-minded on the creative side of things, being a designer and creative director herself. We decided to dedicate more of our efforts to the gallery with a dedicated space etc, and as time went on, we both got into the challenge and reward of it.
In 2007, we felt a need to better define a distinction between the design studio, the gallery and the print shop, so we changed the fine-art gallery to Kinsey/DesForges and began to run BLK/MRKT gallery as an online entity to focus on producing print editions with artists we’ve worked with. But you never know, BLK/MRKT Gallery may be back…
Why did it take you nearly 2 years to do another solo exhibition? Tell me about how you prepared for it, and why did you call it New Works?
Well, basically, by end of 2008, I was getting a little burnt from years of juggling design projects, painting, traveling and dealing with the intense schedule of the gallery all at the same time, then 2009 came along and the proverbial shit hit the fan. Deaths in the family, the jacked economy, giant mudslide at my house, you name it. So I decided to try and chill out for a minute and give myself ample time to create my next body of work. Prepping for the show was cool, though. I started painting in LA and then moved to the mountains to get away and focus on finishing my show. Regarding the show title, I had a lot going on in my head and didn’t want to define the body of work with just one word or phrase, so New Works pretty much said it, that’s it.
Explain the Continuum series. I saw the work and it’s a definite left turn from your personal work 4 years ago.
The Continuum series is based on my experience living in the mountains and about the natural order of life, which is something I took full notice of once I was able to really spend some time up here in Three Rivers. Seeing a decaying animal lying in a meadow with flowers growing out of it is a poignant reminder of the close proximity between life and death. As horrific as it may seem and smell might I add it made me feel more comfortable with the idea of the passing of life’s torch. So in this series, I attempted to convey that visual duality to the best of my ability.
I read this quote from you, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In this new body of work I explore emotional and environmental boundaries as I perceive them, in the context of the growing discord between humanity and nature. In the cyclical reality of our physical existence, beauty and death are ultimately dancing partners.Ã¢â‚¬ Can you expand on what you mean by Ã¢â‚¬Å“the discord between humanity and nature?Ã¢â‚¬
It’s basically about human intervention, invasion and ignorance our overwhelming disruption of the natural world and the way we think about life and death in general
as if we simply refuse to accept that we are part of nature and natural cycles. We’re always trying to make up some random shit to try and separate ourselves from it.
You seem to have a good working relationship with the corporate world. A lot of artists like you have found success within the Ã¢â‚¬Å“corporate world.” Is there such a thing as selling out anymore? I mean Banksy did the opening for The Simpsons.
This is a big topic, but in a nutshell, some companies are giving artists like myself the impetus to get involved. That’s what BLK/MRKT started off doing. Being designers and artists, we went after clients who were willing to give us the freedom to express our ideas, and to me this is part of what helped change the corporate vs. artist dichotomy. But it’s also where you draw the line. For instance, at BLK/MRKT, we’ve turned down projects with companies selling cigarettes, products that were tested on animals, all kinds of stuff that didn’t have anything to do with what we were about. I mean, do I really want to help the Army recruit kids? That was a lot of dough too. But if we took it, we’d be selling out to ourselves and that’s where you lose your cred in my book. The day you see David Choe designing diapers we might have a problem. Wait. Is that a bad idea?
What did you do with the lizard that was on your dashboard?
Ha! He hitched a 4-hour ride from 3R and is living la vida loca in LA at the Kenneth Hahn park. I think he’s an aspiring actor look out gecko!
What is coming up next for you?
A have a solo show in Munich next summer at Helmet Gallery, as well as some commissioned projects for the environmentally savvy.