>>THE INTERVIEW, with guest Andrea Hazen, art advisor


1. Commercial Work—Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford
2. Realism/Figuration vs Abstraction
3. Artists: Friends or Competitors or both?
4. The Process—
“I shoot photos looking to find paintings”
5. Balance and Delegation
6. Husband as business partner—Focus on the Art
7. Showing work from the 80's
8. Are you hard on yourself?
9. Madonna
10. Reclaiming Sexual Imagery
11. In the beginning: Late 80's
12. More on Madonna
13. Moving to NYC, Teaching
14. Music
15. Julianne Moore, Freckles and Long Tongues
16. Hectic Life, Hectic Studio
—Finding a better way to work
17. Balancing Creative & Business processes
18. Young Artists—Art and Commerce
19. Pretty Artists: Beauty and Talent
20. Drugs vs. The Good Life
21. Politics: Obama, Tea Party, Sarah Palin
22. A picture of my Mom
23. Artists as rebels
24. Suburbs then vs now: Oprah is healthy

MARILYN MINTER IS ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE ARTISTS. The first time that I was introduced to her work by my art advisor Andrea Hazen, I almost fell on the floor! I gasped in a moment of ah and then, aha, and then WOW! Cyclone now hangs outside Olivia’s bedroom, Shinola overlooks the dining room table, and, in my bedroom, her limited-edition skateboard decks for Supreme hang over the bed. I had to make myself stop buying her pieces because I have nowhere to put it, but I love every single piece that she produces.

When I got the call that Marilyn was in town, available, and willing to take the time to talk to me, I had to put the phone down and jump up and down and scream and then pick the phone back up and say, "Great"! The day I spent two hours with her, I was a little in awe. Sitting on the sofa with someone that is an incredibly intelligent, incredibly self-assured, and incredibly experienced in life… how many people do you get to talk to in life who have all that?

Her stories and her philosophies are inspiring. I related to her in more ways than I ever thought and as she kept talking and started telling stories about her youth, I felt a kindred spirit which was completely unexpected and a little overwhelming. I didn't want to interrupt her or start talking about myself because I wanted her to talk as much as possible, so I kept quiet and listened—which is incredibly hard for me to do but something I am working on...
as Marilyn says:

I work on my better angels but they are not my first inclination.

Highlights from our conversation are below…

Interview Soundbites—

on the studio:
Marilyn’s SoHo studio is full of her signature photos and canvases, as well as her team of assistants, working on the many layers of her paintings. “We have a really good relationship, it’s a really good group, they are really beautiful human beings, they are all talented and no one is a realist painter which everyone expects. It’s a real renaissance studio because of the technique. I invented this technique in the ‘90s and it was an organic thing that took me years. I think the reason this works is because I give everybody autonomy and they have this sense of mastery so there’s a love of doing so it’s not like robotic." [for more, listen to: Figuration vs Abstraction ]
on mediums and managing:
"Whenever I’m shooting, I always shoot film. I do a shoot trying to find paintings. So when a photograph works, I just leave it alone… it’s a pure analog photograph. But every one of the paintings are made in Photoshop with different scanned negatives. We cut and paste for a day or two or three; sometimes they have 80 layers.
I do so much work now, I do so many different mediums, it is easier for me. I used to paint and also be my own assistant, secretary, office work,
so I answered the phone and then I’d ordered prints and then I’d make
so many mistakes. And then I’d try to go back to painting and I was
just always angry. I just had this little angry behind me at all times because I was making so many mistakes – mistakes on the painting, mistakes on everything… I just had this level of irritation, that’s the word. And then when I let it go, it was like okay, now it’s easy. I could make better decisions, too, when I’m not destroying my own hand, if that
makes sense. If somebody else painted a section, then I can take it out
a lot easier.
I still paint because I love it too much to give it up but I’m not the finisher anymore. When you are a finisher, you have to just concentrate.

Everyone that works for me is usually someone who can get lost in detail. I am one of those people.

It’s very therapeutic even. It’s very calming and satisfying to paint.
And since we’re doing layers and layers and layers, you don’t have that pressure, as long as you don’t lose the drawing. Then all of a sudden,
it’s done.” [ for more, listen to: The Process & Balance and Delegation ]

on being her worst critic:
For Marilyn, balance is a constant work in progress, and she is hard on herself, adding “I don’t know an artist who isn’t.” She continued, “Yeah, you can very easily lose your perspective. I mean, I almost destroyed one of my better paintings just thinking it wasn’t any good. But everyone does that. Other people had to come in here and say, ‘This is really good, stop it.’ I saved it. Otherwise, I would have destroyed it.”
[ for more, listen to: Are you hard on yourself? ]

on new talent:

Like any industry, the world of art is always seeing new stars rise, and she watches them with a mix of curiosity and irritation that we all can appreciate. As she said, with a laugh, “I work on my better angels but they are not my first inclination.”
“It’s very competitive and the only way I think you can do it is by talking about it….like saying, ‘God, I’m so jealous’ instead of saying, ‘Ah, you’re not any good’. I think if you’re able to voice it, saying, ‘Wow, you really inspire me, I think I hate you.’ If you can keep it there, you can survive. Honestly, I’ve been watching the art world for all these years and it’s a real pain in the ass to have to take into account another good artist.
It is much easier to just find a reason to not like somebody. I don’t think I’m any different than other artists but I’ve found a way to honor their achievements.”

I make a point of whenever I see a new artist, I make a point of going over and saying, “You’re really good, I am
so interested in your work, I’d buy it whenever I can.”

[for more, listen to: Artists-Friends, Competitors, or both ]

on her approach to sexual imagery:
“I know enough to not have contempt before investigation…. I really and truly look to see something new I can use…another way of thinking. I’m going to put that in my brain. I like that, so where’s that going to take me. What path does it go on?”

This approach to rethinking thinking is what led her to her work today. She started working with sexual imagery back in the mid-80s as a result of seeing Mike Kelly’s work. “He was working with imagines of, I’d say debased imagery from a 12-year-old girl’s adolescent, 13-year-old girl’s brain – stuffed animals, sculptures, and these bureau drawers that have been decoupaged with eyes and mouths, felt, unicorn, banners, and you know, all of this stuff that we considered trifle. He’s this brilliant intellectual who made art out of it which exists – mall culture, little girls decorating their rooms with decoupage, stuffed animals, ballerinas.

I thought, “What subject matter have female artists never owned or tackled or made imagery out of it?” Then it hit me: hard core porn.

Let’s see what happens if I do it… what does it mean? Does it change the meaning, you know? Can we make images for our own sexual pleasure, all of that stuff? It was this sort of pro-sex, feminist ideology right in the moment of political correctness.”

“Women doing it, I think it’s something to do with fear and the fact that, you know, a lot of the times, we’re taking or we have taken images that
were from an abusive history and trying to reclaim and take the power back. There’s a real glass ceiling for women on so many areas. And
the women are complicit in it, too. So for anyone to switch that around,
is sometimes hard to wrap your brain around. It’s all a big mystery to
me when it comes to sexual imagery. Nobody has politically correct fantasies. And I’ve always said this: you try and have any kind of paradigm of sexual correctness, you’re going to get your ass handed
to you.“

“That’s why I always say that, ‘you’ve got to be much more supportive, times are changed, you’ve got to be able to allow good-looking women
to be powerful’. I’m really adamant about that. Because I see this instant knee jerk reaction….’oh, they’re just idiots, because they are good-looking.’" [for more, listen to: Reclaiming Sexual Imagery & Madona]

crib notes

It's no surprise that Madonna, another female powerhouse who explores the sexual, used Marilyn’s film “GreenPinkCaviar” as a backdrop for the opening number on her recent tour, and now collects her work. I think everyone should. See some of Marilyn's favorite Madonna tour here.

Watch for Marilyn’s next big show, a retrospective of 1980s paintings, in April 2011. In the meantime, you can see more of her work at salon94 and order her film “Green Pink Caviar" at www.greenpinkcaviar.com

<p style="text-align: left; padding-top: 30px;">
 <span style="font-family: ambroise-std-1,ambroise-std-2,Didot; font-size: 42px; line-height: 36px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 600; color: rgb(192, 167, 111);">âThe <u><br />
 paintings</u><br />
 tell me<br />
 what to do.â</span><span style="font-family: century gothic; font-size: 14px; line-height: 23px; font-style: normal; color: rgb(128, 128, 128);">âMarilyn Minter</span></p>
Selected Works
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tell me
what to do.”
—Marilyn Minter

Bazooka, 2009<br />
enamel on metal<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Bazooka, 2009
enamel on metal

Pop Rocks, 2009<br />
enamel on metal<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Pop Rocks, 2009
enamel on metal

Green Pink Caviar Film Still<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Green Pink Caviar Film Still

Sparks, 2002<br />
C-Print<br />
<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Sparks, 2002

Shit Kicker, 2006<br />
C-Print<br />
<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Shit Kicker, 2006

Enamel, 2002<br />
C-Print<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Enamel, 2002

Lillyputti, 2006<br />
enamel on metal<br />
Selected Works
[+] Share This

Lillyputti, 2006
enamel on metal

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