Saturday, 24 February 2007

An interview with Roy Lichtenstein & Yoshitomo Nara

12th Sep 2006 (Tue)

* An interview with Roy Lichtenstein by John Coplans
–from Artforum 2. no. 4 (October, 1963)

Q: What triggered this jump?
Roy: I am not sure what particularly influenced the change, especially as I have always had this interest in a purely American mythological matter.
Q: Then, what gave you the idea of using an impersonal industrial technique?
Roy: Using a cartoon subject matter in my later paintings, some of which I was getting from bubble gum wrappers, eventually led to simulating the same technique as in the originals. The early ones were of animated cartoons, Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Popeye, but then I shifted into the style of cartoon books with a more serious content such as “Armed Forces at War” and “Teen romance”.
Q: Did you find any difficulty in handling the subject matter in an impersonal way?
Roy: It was very difficult not to show everything I knew about a whole tradition. It was difficult not to be seduced by the nuances of “good painting”. The important thing, however, is not the technique but the unity of vision within the painter himself.
Then you don’t have to worry if everything you “know” will be in the painting.

- But I want to make people to be seduced by the nuances of “good painting” because educational system doesn’t like and accept cartoon as a painting or culture. - Joon

* A conversation between Stephan Trescher and Yositomo Nara

▶Trescher: When the paintings don’t come to you in dreams, how do you work?
▶Nara: I don’t need a reason to paint. I actually paint every day, rather every night, always with music – as long as the power doesn’t go out. Usually I can get a whole painting done at one time – but if it hasn’t reached a certain degree of completion, to where it needs only a few refinements, then the painting doesn’t stand a chance the next day. It gets painted over and I start from the beginning again. All my paintings come into being in one go, or, you could say, in one blast. I simply have to get them finished and knock myself out doing so, then I
fall into bed and sleep until the next afternoon. Often it takes me several trial runs to get going, so behind the final painting might lie six others. In the end the viewer can’t know how many test runs I’ve made; he can’t see the difference. In my case, there is no ranking among my paintings, regardless of whether they came out on the first try or took five attempts. When the piece is done I look for reasons behind it and wonder why I made it. If I could explain everything, though, I wouldn’t make any paintings.

- This process is almost opposite of ours; other artists’ and mine. We are always trying to start our own artwork after we have found every reason to paint and make something. Is this process of painting acceptable?
However, it is true that it sounds really enjoyable. Nara doesn’t look like an artist but just a boy who likes painting very much.
Possibly, Nara’s painting represents his unconsciousness. So he needn’t find a reason to draw. Just tracing back to origin of thinking could be enough for him.
Can I understand the fact that the same way with Art Cure(=Therapy) uses the same process to make an assessment using someone’s picture/drawings? As a sublimation of strong feelings? - Joon

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