Monday, May 6, 2013

In Conversation with Zachary German on Art

(Italic paragraphs ZG)

Do you want me to ask you a question?


When’s the first time you think you saw art?  Like when was the first time that something registered as quote unquote art or something like art?

There was a thing in my bedroom that had drawings of circus people.  I liked that.  How about you?

(laughter) I don’t, I don’t really quite remember because I used to like draw so I think that my drawings, somehow people told me was art and so then maybe that’s how I thought art was but I guess in terms of seeing it, I think maybe like, I never went to museums when I was little, but I remember this Frida Kahlo reproduction one time when I was little and this one where she has animals next to her, she has a monkey or something near her, I was really into animals, so yeah I think weirdly I was like that’s not like seeing.  Knowing that was a fantasy in some way maybe that triggered something about art. (laughter)  Frida Kahlo (laughter).

Yeah kids draw things and that’s, they say that that’s art but then there’s another thing where it’s not about drawing. It’s about just doing something else in whatever form that kids don’t know as much, or something.

That’s definitely true but at the same time don’t you think there is like a possibility of not knowing what one is doing but it is still valid as quote unquote art in terms of a viewer?   Like maybe the intention of the maker wasn’t like a kid or whatever, or quote unquote outsider artist or just some sort of ephemeral design or a commercial design, you know or something that can be reinterpreted, perceived as…

I guess I would largely view that the same as something in nature.  Like you can appreciate it.  But art coming from like artifice and making something I don’t know that if you don’t know what you are doing at all, that I, I don’t know.  Seems different.

So impulse is not enough?  It has to have context or reflexivity? You know what I’m saying?

Yeah I’m just saying. (long pause) Yeah intention I guess, is the difference between like something in nature.  Yeah.  Anyway, next topic.           
Do people (pause) like your parents experience art?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t really think so.  I think that maybe my one parent does or maybe understands it as a bigger concept maybe but I don’t know if my other parent, if they do.  I think it’s just like, I think that there is definitely a weird comprehension or a desire or a curiosity and additionally a comprehension that’s kind of not necessary per se, but it is kind of necessary actually, to be kind of open to and receptive to and to even let one seek or discover that they are looking at or experiencing art, you know?  I think that if you don’t have that, if you have no openness or curiosity for it, even if it’s something you don’t know about or have never seen before, or you have no reference to.  Just the openness is necessary for experiencing art at all, in a way. Does that make sense?

Sure.  Openness.  Yeah.

Do you think your parents do?

I don’t… its hard for me to grasp what anyone gets out of anything.


I was just talking more, not specifically of about either of our parents, (laughter) but about the broad thing of people that aren’t people that view art as like a thing in their life.

For sure, I definitely, I understand that as the question.

Um, it’s different though, it seems like a thing, I don’t know… like why do people eat like shit in this country.  Why do people not realize how simple it is to cook.  It is somehow something that they never where taught or experienced or don’t care to learn about.  You know what I’m saying?  How does one continue to eat like shit when they don’t need to?  It seems like a weird system of choices and desire. To live an alternative, or that there is possibility outside of just what is prescriptive, then just what’s around them.

Do you think people are born with a desire to understand art and to see art and to experience art or do you think that it is something that is learned?

I think, we are born with a desire to be a part of, to feel closeness, and...( for sure)  To be apart of something and I think that society can either make that seem like art be an important part of that closeness or just make it not matter at all in how the society accepts things. And so I think in art, in a mainstream thing, the latter is happening but. (pause) Yeah.

Do you think that something like pop music is art because it does in some ways do this, like activates closeness?

I think the intention of the viewer can make pop music be art or not, in a way.   Which is contradictory to what I said earlier about the intention of the creator.  I think that pop music on the shelf is art but I think that people don’t experience it that way.

Yeah, is it all about the participant, like not the maker then?

I think, I guess both are important…So I mean outsider art looked at by someone who doesn’t care about art is like double bad (laughter) while like Jay Z looked at by someone who cares about art is, and then there’s in betweens, yeah.

Yeah yeah yeah.  Is there like pure art, like is there like PURE art.

I think that would probably… I don’t you know what you mean by that but the experience that the artist has with their own work probably.

So that is the only form of pure art, is the maker with.,.

I would never use the term pure art. But if I had to imagine what that could mean  I guess that is what I would come up with but I don’t like to use words like pure or something like that…

I know, I know I know, its like we are limited by language so just like the concept of something that is consistently certain.  A certain way or resonates a certain way, or is itself in a certain way.

How bout you? You seem to want to say what pure art is.

Nah, no I don’t, I’m just curious about your opinion cause it seems like yeah, like you know its not ambiguous but, the way that you described what you were first saying and then what you just said.

I view the purpose for me to make art or to look at it…experience it, is to feel like connection.  Is that what you view as the purpose for it?

Yeah, I think that life, the whole everything, existence and all that stuff, is all just about connection and forms of love and connection and art is definitely a thing that I participate in because it lets me have connections with people directly.  Physically and verbally and you know interactively but also just the way people think and express themselves and it helps me and inspires me and makes me feel a closeness to them if it resonates and it does something, like it hits something in me that is like a similar idea or thought or feeling or something like that.  I think art is definitely a primary thing that I use to connect to people and I think it’s also kind of like ideas.  Art lets you and reveals ways that one, another person, another human being, thinks and it allows you to… it’s an invitation into conversing with them in a way. And then that conversation, how does that effect you and how does that change you and can you even form actual relationships based on that?  And I think that’s really very essential or powerful or I don’t know, it’s really… that’s like the point of it all.

Do you think that movement towards connection is the driving force of art makers in general or do you think there are different purposes?

I think that there is this weird thing that’s happening where there are people, I think that…whatever art… I like can’t judge cause I’m an idiot, but like um, I think there are definitely people who make art because it’s this way, it’s a tool for them to communicate plus connect, communicate thus connect. I do think there are other people that just like to make stuff or possibly be a participant in the culture of the quote unquote art world and they are good at quote unquote making stuff and thinking of things that are clever or passable or I don’t know, can be termed as art.  I guess that it is a desire for connection because it’s a desire for them to be a part of a world or validated within a world in which there are people that they think they want to have some sort of peer group with or respect or recognition or anything like that, but I don’t know, there’s something about the impulse or the intention of that, that I don’t know why but really bothers me. 

I guess its not different in terms of language, in terms of what you are saying about connectedness but it feels very different to me when I interact with people that are kind of navigating it in different ways. And I’m just arrogantly judging them (laughter) in my own scales (sure) and it’s not probably real but when I interact, when I see a certain person doing a certain type of thing and I’m like holy shit that is like a-mazing that is like so, oh my god, it’s real, it’s like it.  And then other people that I’m like oh my god how the hell does this person have a career and like how does anybody buy this, not buy it even with money like that but also like buy it even in terms of an idea, or like a form.  How does this person keep getting opportunities and validation to keep doing whatever it is they are doing which I feel like is kind of shitty? You know?


Yeah, like it seems like that is very transferable, like you can transfer that to any industry of art making though, you know? In some ways.

Anything else you want to talk about there?

Um. I guess we should ask one final question because that felt like a hanging question.


So…(long pause) This is a dumb thing but… If art could be a color or object or a word that is not the word art, like if there was a sculptural or representative stand in for the way that you are feeling about art at this moment what would that be?

A nice, a nice looking women.


All right cool.