• Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio

    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    From the bad word series

    I stopped by Robert Attanasio’s studio  in Long Island City to chat about art and to see his new work.

    AF: Can you tell me about how you ended up in the art world? 
    RA: I think my entry into the art world began in elementary school, at around the age of 12. We had a painting class once a week for an hour or so. In the Bronx, where I was born, it was what some considered “art education” in public schools. There weren’t enough supplies and easels to go around and I’d wait, not too patiently, for my turn. I wore an over sized white shirt backwards and waited with a brush in hand. The bell would always ring before I had a chance to make something. I have no memory of ever painting in those classes but do recall being sad and pissed each time I went home empty-handed. Eventually, I began using my multi-colored pen on the sleeve of a classmate. It was always on a Friday, so-called assembly day, when it was mandatory to wear a white shirt and tie. I remember taking wild strokes with my pen on his starched white shirt. They were beautiful slashes of red, black, green and blue.  I took delight in his shocked reaction even though I knew it wasn’t right.  His mother finally came to school to complain because I did this to him every week and she had to scrub the drawing off each time. At that point, I became aware of the fact that I had an audience.
    –flash forward–
    In general, as citizens and artists, we need to speak out in the face of so much bullshit. Some of us do this by making art or trouble. I like doing both, and prefer reaching my audience in the streets, while remaining conscious of my coexistence and dialogue in the more insular art world.

    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    Plot (for Ana Mendieta) 2012
    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    From the suspicious packages series

    AF: Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?
    RA: My work is generated from the constant stimulation of a city environment, especially here in New York. Being receptive to the bombardment of the senses, in spite of the toll this can take, always triggers various ideas for work. Beautiful and ugly sights and sounds from the streets, music, news of the day, cracks in the sidewalk, sighs through walls, fragments from sentences of passersby, and the smell of burnt toast–it’s all useful.

    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    Evidence, (1992-2012), artist detritus
    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    from the Perfectly Useless series

    AF: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

    RA: The door.

    AF: What are you currently working on?
    RA: A series of text-based works called Perfectly Useless.

    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    mAstuRbaTe, 2012
    Interview and studio visit with Artist Robert Attanasio
    from the mASSters series

    AF: Any shows coming up?
    RA: Every day there’s a show–stickers and my paint marker. The streets, the subway, the world.
    I also do interventions, surreptitiously, in museums and galleries, functioning more like a critic. You can find Attanasio’s sticker work on the streets of NYC (altho’ it exists anonymously).

    Some of the works depicted above are available @ Jim Kempner Fine Art gallery, Chelsea, NYC.

    http://jimkempnerfineart.com

     

    Interview and photos by JAMIE MARTINEZ

    Jack  Pierson saying he owns the exclusive rights to the use of pre-existing signage and their presence on the wall as art and then feels entitled to sue someone who does it too, is kinda like a painter proclaiming, because they use paint on a canvas, that they somehow own the medium, 2013, mixed media
    Jack Pierson saying he owns the exclusive rights to the use of pre-existing signage and their presence on the wall as art and then feels entitled to sue someone who does it too, is kinda like a painter proclaiming, because they use paint on a canvas, that they somehow own the medium, 2013, mixed media
    Be Thoughtful, 2010, paint marker, subway poster intervention,
    Be Thoughtful, 2010, paint marker, subway poster intervention
    Totem, 2013, sticker intervention
    Totem, 2013, sticker intervention

     

    Jamie Martinez

    Jamie Martinez

    Jamie Martinez is the founder and publisher of ARTE FUSE contemporary art platform. His process involves constructing, deconstructing and fragmenting images, data, and information geometrically into triangulated segments and is also the founder/director of The Border Project Space in Brooklyn. Jamie studied at the International Fine Arts College, Fashion Institute of Technology and the Art Students League. Follow him @triangulism (instagram and twitter)

    3 Comments
    1. Think I knew RA through numerous letters beginning in 1984 when I saw his films at San Francisco Art Institute; I met up with him when he finally made it to SF with his friend Pola. I never heard from him again and was very disappointed from a very innocent and trusting vantage point. Kifflyn

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