Derek Gores

While flying to LA for this weekend’s 3 person exhibit at Thinkspace Gallery, collage artist Derek Gores apparently got a little light-headed (home state of Florida not offering much in the way of high-altitude experience, you understand). In his delirium, Gores was convinced that on board the plane were 5 of his idols and that now would be the perfect time for an impossible interview. Fortunately, Places Please! Theatre Company co-founder Christy Boyd was sitting in a row within earshot and documented the following casual interview featuring, Gores claims, painter Francisco Goya, author Douglas Adams, German expressionist Egon Schiele, writer/comedian/musician Steve Martin, and Louden Swain from the movie Vision Quest.

Derek Gores: I seem to get lots of ideas while driving or taking out the garbage. You think that is typical?
Doug: I don’t believe it. Prove it to me and I still won’t believe it.

Derek: I don’t care much for symbols. Well except for peanut m&m’s. If I’m eating those, it means the day is about to end like I want it to.
Doug: If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.

Derek: I like telling kids that artists are the ones who get to come up with the future. What do you guys tell fourth graders on career day?

Steve:  A day without sunshine is, you know, night.
Egon:  To restrict the artist is a crime. It is to murder germinating life.

Louden: Yeah, I’m thinking very seriously of becoming a gynecologist

Doug:  Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Derek: A child asked me recently why I make “more pictures of girls than boys”. My best guess was that I already know lots of boy stuff, and that girl stuff was more mysterious to me. And artists explore what’s mysterious. I look to find the strength and the individual on the canvas, even when it is out of my head.

Steve: You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.
Frank:  The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation.
Egon: I do not deny that I have made drawings and watercolors of an erotic nature. But they are always works of art. Are there no artists who have done erotic pictures?

At present, I am mainly observing the physical motion of mountains, water, trees and flowers. One is everywhere reminded of similar movements in the human body, of similar impulses of joy and suffering in plants.

Doug: (glances at Egon) Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Derek: I like natural. Who’s with me?


I remember as a kid my dad showing me those long exposure portraits of Abe Lincoln from the Civil War days, and thinking that you could sense the extra time in the picture. I think that is part of the origin of my interest in making my work not feel like just a frozen moment. Does time play a role in your work?

Louden: All I ever settled for is that we’re born to live and then to die, and… we got to do it alone, each in his own way. And I guess that’s why we got to love those people who deserve it like there’s no tomorrow. ‘Cause when you get right down to it – there isn’t.

Frank:  The object of my work is to report the actuality of events.

Doug: For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen. I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Derek: Sometimes the art is excruciating to make. Sometimes good… sometimes hard, but still good. I want to and choose to feel it all, and use it.
Steve: Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke.

Derek: And finally, I’m thinking of starting a campaign that the word Art should be capitalized. Is there a difference between art and Art?
Steve: I believe entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become Art, but if you set out to make ART you’re an idiot. And, p.s. Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
Egon: Art cannot be modern. Art is primordially eternal.
Frank: Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the Arts and the origin of marvels.
Doug:  (sighs) The difficulty with this conversation is that it’s very different from most of the ones I’ve had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees.

Derek: Thanks so much for meeting with me, it’s an honor… like a dream really. What are all of you planning to do next?
Steve: A pile of near-misses.

Egon: The war is over – and I must go. My paintings should be shown in museums worldwide. …

Louden: Last week I turned 18. I wasn’t ready for it. I haven’t done anything yet. So I made this deal with myself. This is the year I make my mark.

Doug: (sighs again) The mere thought hadn’t even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing my mind.

Thank you to Derek Gores, Christy Boyd, and Ronnie Wrest.

See if Gores has recovered from jet lag at this Saturday’s (March 12) THINKSPACE opening:

From The Citrus Report

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Colbert tried to sell Martin a portrait. It was a painting of Colbert, in front of a painting of Colbert, in front of a painting of Colbert, and so on. Shepard called it “beyond aesthetic redemption” and then covered it in graffiti. Too many of our favorite people all here in one little segment.

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