Saturday, June 30, 2007

Art Space Talk: Brian Hubble

Brian Hubble's paintings, drawings, photographs, video, and interactive experience blurs the line between reality and imagination, with a reminder to be wary of a culture constantly barraged with information.

His work reflects satirical commentary on topics that have become a part of our society's routine digestion. Subjects such as internet consumption, the media, politics, substandard healthcare, and social class prejudices are spared no lenience.

Through allegorical approach, the artist perplexes, amuses, and provokes. The viewer must decide when truth is negotiated, and what underlying message is ultimately voiced.

Brian Sherwin: Mr. Hubble, you are known for being a practitioner of anti-art happenings and your Outsider Art approach to artistic creation. Can you go into further detail about your artistic philosophy?

Brian Hubble: I feel that it's important to usually have something to say with the work. I tend to be more interested in art that deals with an issue and less interested in art that is produced for "art's sake." Still, it is important to be careful in the physical aspect of creating a piece. Personally, I like to create work that challenges people to deal with their own sense of reality.

Brian Sherwin: Your paintings, drawings, photographs, video, and interactive works blur the line between reality and imagination. They are known for serving as a reminder to be wary of a culture constantly barraged with information. These works often reflect satirical commentary on topics that have become a part of our society’s routine digestion. When did you first decide to focus on these issues?

Brian Hubble: I decided to focus on these issues about 2 years ago. The "reminder" aspect is deeply influenced by the acts of Alan Abel. The approach is deeply influenced by the Andy Kaufman school of thought.

Brian Sherwin: Mr. Hubble, many of your photo-collage illustrations deal with social injustice and human psychology. You have been called upon to visually explain topics from why different cultures hate one another (Yale University Alumni Magazine) to everyday life for children in third world countries (Johns Hopkins University). Based on the direction you have taken with your work... is it safe to say that you feel that an artist should tackle issues that are vital to contemporary living? Should artists use their talents and skill to advocate for reform?

Brian Hubble: I think an artist should tackle whatever issues they feel need to be addressed. It doesn't necessarily need to be about contemporary living or social/political reform. For instance, one of my favorite movies of all time is dirty work. It's a simple story with a ridiculous plot that has nothing to do with any of those kinds of issues. It's just a funny, pointless film. Sometimes that is all that is needed. I try to never underestimate the validity of pointlessness.

Brian Sherwin: Speaking of politics, art, and advocacy... can you discuss your work on "My" Bike for President (2007)? Tell our readers about this project and explain why you felt it was important to document it.

Brian Hubble: The works in "My" Bike for President are the remaining documents of a project concocted by a man I discovered named D.B. Wood. In 1988, he decided to run his Zebrakenko 10-speed for president. The attempt was actually well received and the project was going strong for quite some time. Unfortunately, the bike was disqualified for having been born outside the united states. The project and support apparently folded soon after. Since our meeting, D.B. has sent me one banner/painting from his campaign. I hope to received more in the coming months. It really all depends on him. I don't think it is so much interesting to document it than it is to just give this man's unheard passion a more mainstream forum.

Brian Sherwin: What about 'The Second to Last Resort'. Can you discuss this project? What were you motives behind it?

Brian Hubble: 'The Second to Last Resort' is the name of the upcoming exhibit. A few years ago, I created a storyboard for a dark childrens book called one long nite in Switzerland and the second to last resort. In a child's dream, a family of four were brutally murdered and eaten by three monsters while on holiday deep in the Swiss alps. The storyboard was later developed into a few paintings which were the proto-type for a childrens book. I later played two book publishers against one another by drumming up fake interest in the story, which resulted in a confusing bidding war.

Brian Sherwin: Can you explain your artistic process? Do you follow a certain routine when you are in the studio? Do you have any habits or 'rituals', for lack of the better word, that you follow to set a certain mood for working?

Brian Hubble: With my illustration/published collage work, there is certainly no routine. The only thing consistent about that approach is in the beginning, when I conduct a process of elimination with the photographs to be used. From then on, it's whatever works in finding a happy result. In my current body of fine art work, it all depends on the project at hand. Sometimes I'm on the phone with D.B. or his former supporters. Other times, I'm painting traditionally on canvas or drawing on flattened deerskin paper (which I highly recommend!)
Brian Sherwin: I find it interesting that you sometimes use welded glass (samples above and below) as a surface for your work. I assume there are some difficulties with using glass as a surface. Can you explain some of these challenges? For example, how do you transport them safely when exhibited? Economically speaking, is it cheaper than working on traditional surfaces?

Brian Hubble: I mainly painted on glass for the childrens book proto-type works and for a body of paintings I produced about 4 or 5 years ago. The main challenge was to not cut myself (I eventually wised up and sanded down and taped the edges BEFORE starting a piece.) It was also tough not breaking a piece in the process. I would sometimes get excited while flipping and painting on either side, which resulted in a few shattered pieces and more scars. Yes--not the smartest. As far as transportation, I really had to just bubble wrap them like a madman. I also custom made wooden frames and backing, which helped support. Economically, it was great. I had a glass hook-up here in Brooklyn.

Brian Sherwin: Your dark collage illustrations have graced the pages of publications such as the New York Times, Harper's Magazine, M.I.T. Technology Review and Psychology Today. Did you expect your work to take off in this manner?

Brian Hubble: With the illustration, I just hope to work with responsible journalists who had something interesting to say, no matter what the publication. The fact that I've had the opportunity to work with some well-respected magazines makes me all the more thankful.

Brian Sherwin: Mr. Hubble, in 2004 you collaborated with Yoko Ono. Can you tell our readers about this collaboration. What did you two do together? Have you remained in contact with Yoko? Also, what other collaborations have you worked on?

Brian Hubble: In 2004, Yoko Ono was part of a festival in Seattle. She along with the art director of the magazine who was promoting it, chose my illustration. I made a collage that went along with the article about her project. The relationship was short and sweet. I have worked with the art director many times since, but not Ms. Ono. It was one of those one-time shot kind of things. I have also worked in a similar manner with Francis Mayes/Atlanta magazine and rock band guided by voices/ Cincinnati citybeat on their break-up.

Brian Sherwin: In 2005, you were interviewed in Print Magazine for being one of 20 top international artists under 30 years old. How did you feel about making that list? Have you noticed an increase in success since that interview?

Brian Hubble: It was a great honor to be chosen for that. I'm always humbled anytime anyone chooses to recognize my artwork (I'm humbled right now by this interview!). Being interviewed and having my work displayed in print certainly opened up some doors for me. Artwork is one thing, but seeing your picture in a magazine is really weird.

Brian Sherwin: Finally, can you reveal any of your future plans? Are there any projects on the back-burner, so to speak?

Brian Hubble: I have a few multi-pieced projects coming up. I'm definitely staying in contact with D.B. about acquiring more of his and his supporters' work from the '88 campaign. I am also working with another man I met in North Carolina some years ago. He recently applied to take a trip to the solar system through a small governmental agency in Italy. I'm helping him develop a myspace profile to rally support and display artwork he is making based on the opportunity. Myspacers beware! You may soon come to know the story of William Williams!

I hope that you have enjoyed learning about Brian Hubble and his art. You can learn more by visiting Brian's website:

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

1 comment:

Unknown said...

that is a masterpiece...."kalamag"