How in the world does he do it? Derrick B. Harden seems to do it all. A hip-hop artist, filmmaker, and most notably, art curator – yes indeed, the man is unstoppable. Recently he curated the show “Born 4 Porn” at Lyons Wier Gallery on Chelsea’s 24th Street Gallery Row. He is also the Co-owner & Creative Director of the brand “Only Popcorn” which had as its first project, you guessed it, “Born 4 Porn” – the Art Show / Rap Album. Nevertheless, Derrick is passionate about ART. He did not begin his career in art, nope, it was in music that he started but a lost record deal brought him to the gates of the art universe. The rest that followed they say is history. Arte Fuse asked the Curator Du Jour what is it about art that excites him and why he curates the way he does. But most of all, Derrick wants to keep it real at all times.
ARTE F– USE: They say fortune favors the brave. But really, were you scared shitless that you did not know one thing about art when you first gained entry into it? What made you go the distance?
Derrick Harden: Upon entry I felt totally insecure. What drove me the most was my lady of interest at the time. She had all this access to all these different worlds except the art world. That made this my number one interest. I believe that all great men are simple in a positive way – the love of a woman can push you to do anything. I don’t believe that most men do things from a selfish place, they need a reason to move forward and she was my reason. I wanted to be THE MAN. I wanted something that could be for her and that would impress her. We’re some vain ass creatures. What do you want?
AF: Now you got all this experience under your belt – what did you learn about yourself & of the art industry?
DBH: I learned how important my impulses are in what I do. My impulse is from my gut. It drives what I do and who I notice and approach. If I over think things then there’s no impulse, there’s just a pulse. A pulse with no life.
AF: What makes you pick a certain artist or your preference of artwork?
DBH: First question that comes to mind: Can I get along with you? I can’t work with someone I don’t get along with. I understand the importance of a staple and a genre but I’m looking at art through the untrained eye, no biases, and no technicalities but how I feel when I see something.
AF: Sensuality in art – do you need to go full on buckwild or more discrete? What’s your flavah or style?
DH: I like to like, every piece is different, every artist is different.
AF: Street Art – what is your take now that it has entered the gallery? Do you wish that it retained its rebellious or outsider status like back in the days?
DBH: What is street art? Living the street life. Street life is street life, street art is an ambiguous umbrella.. If Banksy is the biggest street artist today that shows that we’re all enamored by criminology. When you’re from the street and you’re hustling on the street because that is your life, you know that you could end up in jail time. Or worse. There’s a criminal element that defines this street culture. Banksy understands the never get caught mentality. Fuck, he is the never get caught mentality. THAT is street. That’s real. Be real to what you do, be real to who you are, be yourself.
AF: What pisses you off about artists? Bad attitude or just bad work? Which is worse of the two?
DBH: I don’t get pissed off about artists. I’ve had real problems. If someone’s a dick they can be a dick, as long as the work gets done. I don’t take that shit home with me. Ni**as be having shit to do. As far as bad work goes, I wouldn’t work with something I considered bad work.
AF: Name three things you absolutely need to have if you are stranded alone on an island.
DBH: Me, my god, and my sanity.
AF: The musician in you still creeps into the art somehow, now who are your greatest musical influences? If you had to choose a dope musician (dead or still alive) – which one could have a career as a visual artist?
DBH: Rihanna changed my life. She’s my biggest influence. (LMFAO) Rihanna and Julio Iglesias! No, but on a serious note, I would say Bjork. Bjork is the definition of this question. She’s dope.
AF: When you curate a show and these reviews come, do you give a shit or the critics who panned it can go fuck themselves?
DBH: Of course I care. Critiques are reflections of my work. I care because I want to make sure people are getting the correct impression of what I do, how I do it and where I come from.
AF: Here’s a final parting shot: Is sex connected to Art? Can one exist just fine without the other?
DBH: I’m not a critic. If the question was ‘Does sex sell art?’ That’s something I can tell you about.
Derrick B. Harden aka Dear Derrick & The Band has just released the album “Born 4 Porn” – and to learn more details about it check the link: http://dearderricktheband1.
He continues to curate shows in New York City, work more on his music, keeping the vibe real and gets it on! You’ll never meet a more happening guy in the art world.
As for sex selling the art – that is for another article or interview.
Interview by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Images courtesy of Derrick B. Harden and Charles Stucklen