Interview with Brian McDonald
q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.
a) Brian McDonald. I live and work in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, USA.
q) Why do you make art?
a)It's a way for me to find beauty, order, truth, and inspiration in the chaos that surrounds me.
q) How do you work?
a)I am a mixed media artist. I use acrylic paint, collage, and screen-print. I work intuitively and let each piece tell me what it has to say. I usually work on about 20 pieces at a time. Most of the time my studio is a big mess.
q) What´s your background?
a)I got a D in 7th grade art class and didn't make art again till I was 32. That's when I took my first painting class and was instantly hooked.
q) What role does the artist have in society?
a)I see the artist as a connection to the the divine. When I experience music, film, painting, literature that resonate with me I feel a connection to the artist that created it, to my soul, and to a higher being.
q) What was a seminal experience for you?
a)Seeing a Robert Rauschenberg combine at SFMOMA about 12 years ago. It looked like he just threw a bunch of shit together with the intention of making something ugly. It really made me mad! I went home that day and tried to make the ugliest painting I could. That experience gave me permission to create my own personal sense of beauty - flawed and failed from the ideal yet beautiful and poetic in its own way.
q) Has your practice changed over time?
a)I started out working only with paint. Then I added collage for texture. Slowly, the collaged elements worked their way to the surface.
q) What art do you most identify with?
q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood?
a)Getting off the school bus as a kid and a bee landed on me. I was terrified and ran all the way home crying for my mom to get the bee off me. When I got home, the bee was gone and my mom asked why I didn't just flick it off. She said to me, “Don't bee scared.”
q) What themes do you pursue?
a)Consumer anxiety is a dominant theme in my work right now.
q) What´s your most embarrassing moment?
a)Being a teenager.
q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
a)Former pharmacist, fig farmer, fake fur fluffer, fast food fish fryer, firefighter, forensic forecaster, furniture finisher, foundry foreman, FBI frontman, freelance fashion photographer, foreign film financier.
q) What responses have you had to your work?
a)I love it when people appreciate the humor in my work and laugh.
q) What do you dislike about the artworld?
a)They won't let me into their crappy club for jerks.
q) What research do you do?
a)I am more of a collector than a researcher. I constantly collect things like junk mail, art books, ideas, music, quotes and phrases, paper, images, scraps of wood, etc. to incorporate into my work.
q) What is your dream project?
a)I have a recurring dream that I am a contestant on America's Next Top Model. I am the only guy on the show and although I participate in all the challenges and photo shoots, I cannot win the competition nor can I be voted off the show. It's the best of both worlds.
q) What´s the best piece of advice you have been given?
a)You don’t have to floss all your teeth, only the ones you want to keep.
q) What couldn't you do without?
q) What makes you angry?
a)Expired gift cards.
q) What is your worst quality?
a)Impatience. Or indecisiveness.
q) Dogs or Cats?
a)I love it when it's raining cats and dogs. I also love it when it's raining men.
q) Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean?
a)I think making art is more like being on PCP as I often experience hallucinations, euphoria, paranoia, suicidal impulses, and aggressive behavior at the studio.
q) What does “ copy” mean to you?
q) What´s your favorite cuss word?