Interview: John Whitlock

1. Please, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you.

My name is John Whitlock, I am an artist and musician from Brooklyn, NY.

2. Recent, current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

I’m  pretty excited about two pieces that I am working on for the upcoming Weird Show exhibit at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn!

I also just finished a commission for some album art that I was very happy with. It’s collage based, but not a style that I normally work in on my own. I’ll post it to my instagram one of these days.

3. What kind of things do influence your work?

I’m mostly influenced by other artists – not necessarily aesthetically, but usually just in terms of an original approach or a different perspective that I may get from an artists body of work.

As far as thematic influences, I think ideas around existentialism and surrealism usually find there way into the work. Also, popular graphic culture – there is so much of it around, it’s hard not to let it seep in.

4. How is your normal process of collaging? (idea or commission, where do you get your materials or find your images, which is your cutting technique, best way you have found to paste, where do you work and how, and very important: what do you do with your scraps)

Lately I’ve been working on larger, more intricate pieces that I try and approach as paintings. Usually I hang paper on the wall, apply glue with a brush, and begin adhering scraps. Usually after about an eighth-inch-thick mess of layers, a composition starts to emerge… or a conceptual theme that I try and play off of.

With the smaller, more geometric pieces, i usually build a loose assembly on a table, take a photo, take it apart, and rebuild it with glue. With these, I am most interested in building something that resembles something else, so that for the viewer, it’s almost like a Rorschach Test or something.

5. Which is your latest discovery in the collage world? What advice can you give to a collage beginner?

The collage work of Jack Kirby – Rereading “The King of Comics” recently, the section about his experiments with collage resonated with me (for obvious reasons). They are incredible. He was a beast.

The Wangechi Mutu exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, which I believe is still showing as of this interview, also really blew my mind.

For the Collage beginner I’d say, don’t limit yourself to only Collage.

6. What do say your friends/family about your collage work? And, what do you do when you are not working on art?

I think they like it, at least they tell me that they do.

When I am not working on art, I play in a band, and do various other music related things. I recently scored a documentary film. I also do some Art Direction for the video game industry.

7. Would you like to ask anything to John Baldessari? Shoot.

No, but I’d tell him that he is great!