LATELY — 30 June 2003

Where the Landscape Painters Go

“I sell Honda auto parts. I wanted to be an artist. And I did pursue that for a while, but I became dis­il­lu­sioned with it in college. I was trying to follow a more tra­di­tional pathway, and I used to get into fights with my pro­fes­sors about that. I went to North Texas. There was a pro­fes­sor up there who did ‘sound painting.’ He ran around with a tape recorder, taping various noises. Set it up in the au­di­to­rium and you’d listen to all these sounds. His phi­los­o­phy was, the more out­ra­geous the better. Kinda, try to break the bound­aries of tradition. Meanwhile, I’m doing these land­scape paintings, you know? Trying to be the next Van Gogh. [Laughs] We’d get into awful fights. Then I saw other people who were doing well—and this one guy’s project was shaving a baby pig and then tat­too­ing it. He got an A for that. There’s another guy who went around killing blackbirds, and he would snip off their wings and their feet and gul them onto a canvas. He was getting A’s for this, and I was going, what the hell am I doing here? Why am I doing this?”

(John Dove in Gig.)