INTERVIEW: THEJOHNNYSMITH - SURFING THROUGH THE PSYCHE
SURFING THROUGH THE PSYCHE
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
Silly, perverted, beautiful, surreal, confusing, humorous, colorful, stupid and fun. But most importantly, fun.
WHAT DOES YOUR ART FOCUS ON?
The themes of my collages vary, but the main focus of my art is surrealism and juxtaposition. Ilike to grab an image I find and completely warp it,redesigning the look and context behind it. Comedy through image is also a theme I strive for. I love to laugh and inspire others to do the
same. I’ve said it before and I will say it always: laughter lines are sexier than any six pack. The deeper those lines, the bigger the swoon.
WHAT TRIGGERS YOUR IMAGINATION?
I think living in LA and constantly having to contendwith rush hour traffic triggers my imagination,because it allows my brain to get lost in thought while I inch my way home down the 101 in my car. Also, outer space, the ocean, food, pop culture,egg yolk and pornography are definite triggers.I seek and play around with these images and discover which blend well together until I come upwith an idea I find humorous or visually interesting.This is usually done while listening to old episodes of The Howard Stern Show or while half-watching Dateline NBC.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED?
I live in a very warm apartment in the Los Feliz neighborhood in Los Angeles, California.
WHEN DID YOU JOIN INSTAGRAM?
I am not certain the exact month and year, but I would venture to guess most likely January of 2012? Let’s just say that. I’m too lazy and mywifi is too slow to scroll through all of my imagesto secure the correct date. In January of 2012, I joined Instagram!
HOW DID IT MAKE YOUR WORK EVOLVE?
I started making my collages and using Instagram
as my outlet because I got writer’s block with writing plays, screenplays and scenes. It’s easier, still interesting and so much faster to create thanwriting a film. I can see it to completion right away and then share it. Instant gratification! I thenstarted mixing photographs I took with friends as my subjects with other pictures, textures, patterns, and deviations. However, I realized it’s easier to search online for images to manipulate and appropriate instead of having to cajole myfriends to pose all the time at a specific place likethe beach or on a hike, and so my style shifted. Then my friend Krissie sent a photo collage I had made to @love.watts on Instagram and he liked it and shared it. He actually shares a lot of my work and I have to totally attribute my growing exposure to him. He rules. Thanks @love.watts!
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE YOU WORK WITH?
I’ve worked with The Haas Brothers on some collage work. They are great friends and such an incredible inspiration. They have invited me to have a show of my work in their studio, which is amazing! I’ve worked with friends’ bands mainly for album covers. I most recently made a digital download cover for the french pop song Le Soleil by Maud.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU POST?
I post way too often. Usually, once a day. I was vacationing with some friends in the woods last weekend without any access to the internet, TV, or any technology and went my longest without posting anything on my Instagram account ...a whopping THREE days. It felt liberating. I was out in the woods with no service, becoming one withnature, or trying to at least. It was great to be offthe grid and to not have the weight of my phone in my pocket. I have to be honest as we drove back into “civilization”, I stared at my phone and counted the minutes until “No Service” disappeared and the bars began to reappear. And then I checked Instagram.
WHAT ACCOUNTS DO YOU FOLLOW RELIGIOUSLY?
I’m agnostic, but I do follow a lot of accounts. Favorites that I can think of now are you guys, @ ove.watts, @imamysedaris, @thriftstoreart, @natgeo, most of the drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, most comedians, @sirjoancornella, @ artsxdesign and @britneyspears. I love @britneyspears.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST LIKED ARTWORK/ PHOTO?
I believe my most popular collage to date is one where a plane is spraying lines of chemtrails in the sky, and a guy snorting them as if they are lines of cocaine. It’s cool because I am not posting any images of cocaine, just simulating it. And not so subtly implying the toxicity of both chemicals. Not certain why, but people have seemed to gravitate to that photo the most.
WHAT ARE YOUR LATEST PROJECTS OR COLLABORATIONS?
I am trying to put together a small picture book of a series I did a couple of years ago called #artporn, where I would search pornographic images, take it out of context and make them Grated. So instead of a photo of a man receiving anal sex, he is now getting a very painful back tattoo. I’ve also met some new people via Instagram that live on the opposite side of the globe that are interested in collaborating our art. It’s very exciting to meet or reach someone that you most likely would never meet in any way, ever.
HOW CAN SOMEONE REACH YOU?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have had several people e-mail me and inquire about purchasing prints. I am hoping to get that upand running in the fall. Also, you can find mewearing a purple tank top and jeans, twerking onthe dance floor at Akbar in Silverlake on Fridaynights. Kidding, not kidding. (Sometimes it’s a button-up.) was a