Waking to a leaky nose and struggling to resist involuntarily shivering as the sun rose over the metal beam of a deep-dish grainer, I realized that this uncomfortable situation could have easily been much worse.
The night before, as I was drunkenly trying to gather my bag and other provisions for an impromptu overnight joyride on a freight train, Sluto, who I had only met a few days prior, suggested that I borrow his sleeping mat for the outing so I wouldn’t freeze sleeping on the raw metal. I assume that besides a sleeping bag, this was the closest thing to a mattress he owned and his innate kindness provoked him to offer it up. I hesitated on his advice due to its bulkiness, but he pressed, expressing its importance. The loan of the mat was undoubtedly a savior in disguise; a simple act of selflessness that has resonated with me long-term.
I haven’t been able to keep up with Sluto’s whereabouts since then. He is a permanent tourist in his own country with no city to call home. Early this year he was as far north as Alaska and just a month ago he was as far south as Atlanta. Through his travels one facet of his life stays consistent, he continuously paints abnormal scenes on the side of North American railcars or in overlooked spots out of view from regular commuters, never repeating the same imagery. And on the rare occasion that he does find a place of solitude to focus and gather his thoughts, he attempts to make work that’s not on other people’s property, which is sort of the excuse for doing this interview all together. Not Even, published by The FlopBox and set to be released at the 2016 Los Angeles Art Book Fair on February 12, is a collection of illustrations, paintings, doodles and anecdotes from Planet Sluto.
For a kid, something as simple as a sticker can play a significant role in defining identity.
Commonly, it begins with sticking them to a locker, trapper keeper, binder, skateboard, bicycle, guitar and so on, inevitably graduating to public application without permission. PEZ began hand drawing his own stickers at the age of 12 and has continued applying them everywhere he roams or rides. He’s created a distinct and instantly recognizable style. They are playful and welcoming, and well, doesn’t everyone like stickers?
I initially became familiar with PEZ through his prolific sticker street presence. Years later I would stumble on a zine of his, revealing that he was also a photographer who created playful, childlike art on an eclectic mix of found objects. Our paths would eventually cross through a mutual friend and when PEZ first visited my house he bestowed a staggering archival collection of zines made over the years to my possession that would leave a lasting impression of inspiration for years to come. PEZ is reserved and quiet and the last one to boast about past or present accomplishments, true to a fitting title PEZ uses for many of his projects, “Shyness is Nice.”
I was lost and wondering around the basement of Tom Sachs’s studio when I came across some ceramic tablets printed with photographs of flying pigeons resting on one of the work tables.
A few minutes passed and a bottle of Scotch that was part of one of Sachs’s sculptures caught my eye…after a few gulps my focus turned back towards the tablets…I started to lean over one when a stern voice piped up from behind me, “Hey, can I help you?” I didn’t blame him, as my light blue Oxford collared shirt had a large rip in the shoulder from a bicycle accident earlier that evening and my shorts where covered in bicycle grease. “Sorry, I got separated from the group,” I managed to say, wiping the excess liquor out of my beard. “Hey, these are great!” I motioned towards the tablets. “Does Tom know you’re down here drinking?,” he snapped at me. I then mentioned a few projects he might recognize and his demeanor changed. “Nice to meet you,” he replied, “Yeah those are mine.” He gestured for the bottle I was still holding and took a few swigs.
A few days later we were climbing the ladder to his roof in Bushwick where he keeps and flies his pigeons—a practice which has become a conceptual life/work extension. Although Pat’s sculptures are aesthetically pleasing, they are also shelters that have to maintain functionality. It’s a fascinating relationship because instead of the work becoming inundated with artspeak and exhibited strictly in a white cube setting, it constantly has to change to serve its utilitarian purpose and survive the elements. Does this make the work more successful than retinal art? Is it too easy to call it a form of relational aesthetics? Yes, because it actually serves a purpose where most relational aesthetic art practices are full of holes.
Pat doesn’t have any kind of social media or online presence. Besides this culturally responsible gesture, it’s because the kid is hustling at double speed. He is a scene. It’s refreshing to work with a younger artist that doesn’t have a preoccupation with the market which can lead to an unhealthy obsession and an incorrect definition of success. –Andrew McClintock
“FUD” by Barry Mcgee & Todd James published by V1 Gallery. Featuring the work of Alicia Mccarthy, E.B. Itso, Lina Josefina Lindqvist, Dan Murphy, Magnus Vind, Josh Lazcano, Lydia Fong, and Todd James.