When did you start drawing? Were you naturally attracted to this medium, or is this a more recent concern and engagement?
I've drawn for as long as I can remember. I remember getting in trouble for drawing in class, making up really really bad comic book characters, drawing little demons (it was the 90s), things like that. I think I was first attracted to drawing because it was available. I didn't try painting till I was 15.
What do you make of the traditional idea of 'mastery', which despite a lot of innovation, continues to have an ongoing association with drawing?
Honestly I really don't know what mastery is, I've tried to define it all my life, tried to attain it, but I think its so elusive because it only exists within certain conditions. To call something mastery or not right now as independent of race, class, location and other factors seems indulgent.
What is a good drawing? What is a bad drawing?
A good drawing has immediate impact whatever it is, even if the impact is WTF, and sustains it. Which seems to be the same with most good things in general. A bad drawing is one you don't remember.
How important is a notion of 'process' in your drawing practice?
Now I'm far more focused on the image first, but the process of drawing and leaving evidence of that in the handling is always necessary. I don't have the patience for hyper-realism, so I've learned other tricks.
The main theme of our project is 'OnBigDrawings'. What do you make of big drawings / or small drawings, and why does it matter?
In the first show in 2014 I saw the scale as necessary for big big impact. Especially in present circumstances during the pandemic working that size is simply not possible. But more than that, I really don't feel the need at all to make such giant piercing statements, most of what I want to say now doesn't require it.
What kind of relationship do you want your work to have with its audience?
I want them to laugh or empathize depending on the subject, sort of share in some snideness, and laugh with me about ourselves. There's always a more serious point and theme, but the joke's usually on me.
What do you make of small, intimate drawings, sketchbook pages, beer mat sketches, and scribbles. Are these sheets more 'personal' or can they be art?
Pretty much every drawing I make now falls under those categories! I think artists are rethinking what art actually does in the world, because making aesthetic statements seems hollow, at least it does for me. The small intimate drawings we make when we're feeling vulnerable say way more than any history painting.
The current student generation is hugely influenced by graffiti and Manga culture, as well as a desire to represent things in more classical ways. How do you relate to this trend?
It’s a generation finding their own language, drawing about what's important to them. My generation did the same, we just had different (maybe worse?) things to work with.
How would you define the fundamental differences between painting and drawing? (A quote: 'A drawing is a painting made with less paint', ... Henry Matisse).
I'm not sure that distinction matters much anymore. Images made today are just as likely to be combinations of what would be traditionally considered drawing and painting. It’s more an issue of making images, less about what specific medium one uses.
In 2010/2011 MOMA in New York staged its biggest drawing exhibition of the 20th century, and it was called 'On Line'. Do you think drawing is necessarily just about 'lines'?
Not at all. Drawings are more about images. Abstract, figurative, anything. Even drawings about line are images about line.
Asian drawings are known to celebrate a notion of 'emptiness'. Do you seek 'emptiness' in your work?
Rarely, and only for emotional effect. I've been more attracted to making everything dense, in fact most of my mistakes are from making things too dense.
Traditional drawing is a more intimate and 'personal' artform, yet a lot of contemporary art practice seeks a more social and participatory dimension. How is this reflected in your projects and drawings?
I think drawings are all those things. It definitely can be social and participatory because most everyone can do it! It’s a foundational activity, we draw before we write, so it’s a primary mode of communication.
Drawing is often treated as a very technical medium in art education (especially in US art schools). Do you think there could be other ways to teach drawing?
Drawing is a great way to learn how to think visually. It exercises and trains your brain as well to adjust to other modes of communication, like learning a new language. I think drawing as thinking could be any interesting teaching method, but having never taught I would have no idea how to successfully implement it.
One question foremost on my mind, was: how do the artists respond to Covid-19 and the global crisis, and do you think the new situation has an impact on your creative practice, your exhibitions and projects, and the nature of work being affected by working from home for extended periods of time? Perhaps artists start making smaller scale, more intimate works, made from simpler and easily accessible materials ?
Covid has changed everything about how I think about art. The art world is still reeling from the blow, and it’s hard to think of shows, exhibitions, and theory that seem more and more irrelevant. Having to work from home brought me back to what I loved about making drawings, but also led me to seriously question my motives for my ambitions. What has remained is outrage mixed with a somewhat uplifting realization that art doesn't need to be taken so deathly serious to be timely and enjoyable.