The always-fun and multi-talented Ferris Plock answered some questions for us about his artistic process and his new solo show ‘Just For One Day,’ opening this Saturday at Shooting Gallery. Take a moment and read the full interview below on how Plock’s residency at SF Recology affecetd his relationship to both nature and art, the dynamic of KeFe, and how it feels to reacquaint yourself with old icons of favorite cartoons, comics and music.
More After The Jump!
I know the title of your show references a David Bowie song. Was music a bigger inspiration to this new body of work than to others? What kind of music did you listen to while working?
Music always plays a huge part of any show I put together. The song Heroes, by David Bowie is often on repeat in our studio. I often end up listening to certain songs on repeat for hours if I really feel something. This last week I have listened to the score from LOTR (yup, Lord of the Rings) and the soundtrack from Drive. I listen to a ton of Clash, Hip Hop, and Cuban Jazz.
You’re known for utilizing the aesthetic of old Japanese woodblocks, how does the ukiyo-e style relate to your themes or inspiration?
I think they are related in this show in a couple of ways. I am still fascinated in the relationship between Western and Eastern culture and how Japanese culture has a tradition of incorporating new ideals and imagery from other cultures while still holding on to their own identity. Also, so many of the ukiyo-e prints were used to tell stories or to promote plays and productions. I feel like many of those characters you see in these ancient ukiyo-e prints share many of the same characteristics to the cartoon characters I grew up with. These prints were meant to entertain and advertise much like the characters we find today on our televisions, magazines and internet.
Did working with those characters bring back new childhood memories?
I am at a very interesting time in my life right now with a son who has just turned 2. I am starting to project more than I ever have and plan more than I ever have. All sorts of questions are coming up about what to expose our kid to in regards to TV shows, movies and literature. I feel like I can’t wait to share with him all the characters that meant so much to me as a kid. I’m wondering when to share Voltron and Robotech and Dangermouse. So, all these characters are floating around in my head again and I feel like I am revisiting them and yeah… it feels good to think of old friends.
You work with your wife Kelly Tunstall as the artistic duo KeFe. How does your work with Kelly differ from your solo work? Are there conscious differences you make to your style?
I feel like every show we do (solo or not) is a collaboration show. We definitely work together on everything… A ton of feedback is so helpful when building a body of work. She is my compass a lot of the times. I do feel like I do have a few different styles being nurtured these days. We tend to be very playful and light when we work together…
Did your time as SF Recology artist-in-resident affect your artistic process in any lasting ways? Do you experiment with more materials or think about artwork differently based off that experience?
Recology had a more profound impact on me as a citizen of planet earth… It was a total wake up call… I still use paint (brand new and never opened) that I found at the dump almost every day and is featured in this show. The stigma attached to stuff being thrown away is that there must be something tainted or wrong with it but, most of the times people are lazy and instead of giving it away, they throw it away. I will not forget how much potentially reusable material is being thrown out every minute of the day at the Recology center.
What does your artistic process look like? Are you organized, planning everything out beforehand or is it less structured?
It is balanced between the two. I like to work from sketches and pictures that I’ve taken of patterns I find while on my walks through San Francisco. However, I get bored easily if I have a piece totally planned out. I feel like when I have my head wrapped completely around piece, even if it has not been physically actualized, I am, in some ways done with that piece…
Is it a challenge to translate the images of your imagination to the canvas or do your creations naturally develop as you work?
It really depends… if everything is firing and the universe is awesome and the music is right and my kid is sleeping… I can sketch out an entire show in a couple of hours. I will say that I do not paint exactly how I see it in my head and I’m trying to get better at
making my work look better.
How long have you been preparing for the show? At what times do you feel most inspired to create work?
I guess I started painting the show in May but, my mind was working on stuff much earlier in the year.
You have a young son, named Brixton, how does he respond to your work? Has being a parent changed your relationship to art?
He likes the colors and likes the animals I draw… He has changed everything in my life and definitely he has changed my relationship to art. I am even more committed to my work in some ways. He is so enthusiastic about everything that is hard not to get excited about everything with him. Everything is fresh and new for him and that kind of energy is contagious. He is making me feel younger than I was without him in many ways…
What do you like most about ‘Just For One Day’? What feeling most marked your preparation for it?
I had a lot of fun creating these paintings and a lot of memories and personal stories are wrapped up in each of these paintings. It was very nostalgic and cathartic for me. However, it was also rewarding to take these images of my past and give them new faces and new contexts. I am always trying to balance my work with play and I feel like that this show is very much that balance.
Just For One Day: New Work by Ferris Plock
October 1st, 7-11pm