John Baldessari Interview: Art is Who I Am

Well my father well both my parents are immigrants and you know they want your children to be successful, which usually means making some money and and then my I wanted to be an artist even back then and My mother trying to make a compromise with my father Who thought I should just get a job and he says well maybe could be maybe he could be an architect But I didn’t do that [now] what I? seem [to] have done is to gone into teaching and I became fairly successful doing that and I don’t teach anymore But I had California institute of the arts I Was very instrumental in their [programming] and so a lot [of] well-known? Artists like David Salle and Matt Mullican and Tony Oursler there were students of mine I think [I] you know I have a pretty good reputation for doing that But I don’t teach anymore What was the early fascination [you] said that that? Already as a child you knew you wanted to be an artist What was it that? fascinated you about Art, I guess I was in Grade school of Secondary schools I was always selected by the art teacher to do some special project like Thanksgiving day or Independence day and I made a big mural on the wall So I I think that recognition recognition. Gave me the courage you know this sort of then go on But looking back at the history of art. Did you have idols and why, who? Sure on hero was always was? Giotto Any of you go into my studio next door you’ll see a lot of painting standing With elements of Giotto’s paintings from the Iranian Chapel in Padua and Mantegna was always a big influence on me I suppose like like that So why did you decide [to] give up painting then? Well because of the Sony Portapak and then then all kinds of other things became possible you know that you began to hear this term conceptual art which I was part of and where you did art with other means other than painting and so the whole culture had moved on If you one looks at at this [level], [you’re] trying to produce an image It’s a lot faster [now] and and you can also deal with time I’ve got to say a lot of the early Art my video was pretty boring because it was either 30 minutes long or an hour long Because that’s the size of the reel of tape and nobody did editing at that time? But things have changed quite a bit since and of course What what is it that fascinates you about images because afterwards you You kind of collected images and you reassess them and you you put your own objects into them I think two interests of mine have always been a language and imagery in combination and I Think that explains probably all of my work. You know that I always put [a] word or phrase with the imagery I mean these works by Giotto I Refer to each one well, they’re all printed purple and each one The text underneath is a different word for purple. You know lavender you would so on And I continue to do that and then you have a special love to movie images you collect the quite a few. I saw work where you kind of collected romantic images and violent images and What is it it’s fascinated you so much about movies? I think years ago like I was in a bookstore in Hollywood Play was even interested in movies then for some reason anyway. They they sold Eight-by-ten glossies for movies and I was spending you know Till I got exhausted. Maybe an hour just Picking any image that looked like that maybe I can use this and Then I’d come back to my studio and lay them out all albums I have you know I have a lot of tables, and then I [begin] to Group them so one of the first ones interesting were people kissing But you get the idea of a person doing this person doing [that] and then I? Can be used [as] a source material for my work let me ask you about Los Angeles because you kind of everybody who hears your name other artists they speak of you as kind of the Not the grandfather about the grandmaster of [bad] Maya you wanna learn how? How did the City of Los Angeles? shape the artist [John] [Baldessari] shape [potential] influence I you in LA artist? I always hated that term You know because I never had any recognition as an as an artist from the [Museum’s]? I had more recognition in New York So I didn’t like being called a Los Angeles artist because I think my perception of Los Angeles is very ugly and But that’s attractive to it’s very seductive that is ugly uh so Yeah, I my work really comes out of Not so much Los Angeles what that feeling of? [it’s] really distasteful. We don’t think about Why is Art? Still [or] even getting more important in Society why is it an important part of society? Well two good things But not too good but one good thing is [that]? it seems to be a nutritional need for the public you know we build museums and put What somebody besides us art we put that in there [for] and people go there on? With our kids and they look at it and listen to an explanation on their iphone and so on So that’s good Don’t mean the bad thing is [you] know they do you know the connection with money now and so I think? They’ll go into Museum and said oh, you know think about [all] that rembrandt how much money it must cost if somebody were to buy it so that’s They’re looking at it with the wrong eyes around wrong values What keeps you kind of driving? I mean you you I think you’re 86 now. Yes, and Surely you could say okay? I’ve done my Work of art yeah, I just you know enjoy the day, but you come here every [day] in the studio working What why is that? What drives you [on]? well probably only my Psychiatrist could tell me there, but I think it’s just necessary to me is really nice. It’s it’s who I am I can’t [Imagine] a life without doing art I mean I wake up thinking about art I about an all day long and go to sleep at night thinking about art and In the shower dry feet it. That’s that’s what I do


I love this video! Seriously. I love everything about it's production. The voice over, the visuals, the live interview, sound effects. It's so artistic. I love it, sensational job!

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