Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with Johnnie JungleGuts

q)Introduce yourself, name,age, location.
a)I'm Johnnie JungleGuts, I'm 24 years old, and I live in Highland
Park, Los Angeles.
q) Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really
get into it?
a) I first started taking art classes in high school because I wanted to
be a comic book writer. Then during my senior year of high school I
did a volunteer project with Dolphins in the Bahamas. The dolphins
were really queer and it was really inspirational for me. They seemed
so free, and I didn't feel so alone as a gay human learning that there
were many other queer animals. I felt like I owed the animals
something for these revelations and my artistic focus shifted to being
about animal welfare and wildlife conservation.
q) Describe your ideals and how they manifest in your work.
a) I'm a proud queer and I'm a conservationist, with my focus being
wildlife. I also know that even if someone doesn't look like you or
talk like you they could still be feeling and thinking the same sort
of things that you're feeling, even when we're talking about other
species. Most of my work features animals in some way but I try to
take this subject matter a step further and make people consider and
appreciate other kinds of living in new ways. Steve Irwin said that
people want to save the things that they love and I make my work under
that creedo. If I can help people love nature they're going to be more
likely to make choices that support our threatened ecosystems. If I
can get people to understand big gay me then they might understand the
gays a little better.
q) Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?
a)My favorite thing to listen to while I work is slowed and throwed
versions of R+B and Diva House tracks.  My favorite song is a chopped
and screwed version of Show Me Love by Robin S. My favorite band is My
Bloody Valentine. My favorite solo artist is Dolly Parton.
q) How would you describe your work to someone?
a)I usually tell people that I make drawings of animals and videos with
animals and I have a radio show where I interview people about
conservation issues. When they ask me what kind of animals I work with
I'll tell them a few and go from there. I mostly like to let the work
speak for itself and I try not to brag too much about petting wolves.
q) Influences?
a)I hate to admit it because I don't like everything she does but I
think that M.I.A. was a huge influence on me because I was obsessed
with her in high school. We're both  multimedia artists who try to be
political and cool at the same time- it's a risky business but I
suppose it's a good model if you want to gain influence for a cause.
AA Bronson is an artist whose influenced me a lot. He's an artist and
a healer and it's often hard to tell when the art begins and the
healing ends. I'd like to simultaneously be an artist and healer as
well, and I see my painting and performance work as part of the same
practice that includes the hands on conservation and care taking work
I've done with animals.
q) Describe your process for creating new work.
a)My painting process sort of revolves around me trying to paint
something, making little mistakes, and then leaving them in because it
actually makes the paintings weirder in these subtle ways. In my video
and performance work I usually try to take something that I'm already
doing in my life and make it weirder. I already sing in the bath tub
but why don't I do it in front of an audience? I'm already in South
America getting groomed by monkeys but what if I was singing while
they were doing it?
q) What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?
a)To get out there in the art world you have to get out there in the art
world. Go to as many art events as possible. But don't forget to
actually make work.
q) What are you really excited about right now?
a)I always look forward to my radio show on Kchung Radio that happens
every Wednesday, at 8:30 pst. You can listen to it online at
kchungradio.org or if you're in Chinatown Los Angeles you can listen
in at 1630 AM.
q) What do you love most about where you live?
a)Being an environmentalist I often feel like some sick secret part of
me wants the human race to fail, and for that reason I have a fetish
for apocalyptic wastelands. Los Angeles is an apocalyptic wasteland.
So I love it!
q) Best way to spend a day off?
a) Hiking or camping though I rarely get the chance to do either.
q) Upcoming shows/ projects?
a) I run a drawing club called  and we're having a show in mid June at
the Concord Gallery in Cypress Park. My band, American Grizzly, is
going to start recording very soon for our first record.
q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?
a)Johnniejungleguts.com is the best place to look at my  work. Also,
JohnnieJungleGuts is my video channel on YouTube.