How many living artists have a whole day dedicated to them? Not very many. But, Jeremy Fish officially has his own day in San Francisco, and that’s really rad. So we’re incredibly excited to be exhibiting Jeremy Fish’s latest body of work in his upcoming exhibition opening June 25th alongside Jim Houser. Below is our exclusive interview with Jeremy Fish discussing his creative process, role in the new contemporary art movement, and spirit animal.
SH: What is the inspiration or narrative behind the latest body of work?
JF: This body of work was initially inspired by writing a list of things that I love about Los Angeles, while laying on a beach in Hawaii. Mainly concepts and characters from music, film, television, and pop culture from the 70’s and 80’s. As well as some narratives about friends or personal experiences in LA from my past. These works are very playful, lighthearted and based in fantasy, which was a much-needed change from my last few projects. The vehicles, their spirit animals, the traffic, the freeways, the smog, hills, valleys, mountains, deserts and beaches of Southern California, blended gently with Italian espresso and served over ice with a twist of citrus, and a medicated cookie.
SH: How do you work through creative blocks and self-doubt?
JF: Change my scenery, more caffeine, a nap, a fierce sandwich, long walks, a van or scooter adventure, extensive hugging, softer fabrics, 100 beers, new sneakers, fine nectars, and or extremely potent extracts can all suitable cures to both problems at different times.
SH: As you are showing alongside Jim Houser, what are a few of your favorite aspects of his works?
JF: I have been a fan of Jim for a long time. I admire his color palette and unique compositions, as well as his reoccurring cast of clever characters and symbols. When I think of Philadelphia, I think of Rocky, The Roots, Ricky Oyola, and Jim Houser. Legendary Philly dudes.
SH: You’ve been a part of the New Contemporary Art movement for well over a decade, what are you feelings about the movement, your place in it, and where it is headed?
JF: I have a very large brain aneurysm, and I think the answers to this question are what helped to form it. Honestly, I am more inspired by music, food, film, and day to day life, than I am by contemporary visual art. My art movement will be made up of skilled chefs, barbers, long bearded wizards, bartenders, rappers, wordsmiths, comedians, creeps, cutthroat kooks, old vehicle enthusiasts, sidewalk surfers, and me.
SH: How has San Francisco helped to shape you as an artist?
JF: I moved to San Francisco in 1994, and it was a magical creative recipe at that time in the Bay Area. I was lured out from Albany New York for art school at SFAI. But also to study the underground genius of Del, Casual, Souls of Mischief, Saafir, Dug One, Barry Mcgee, Mike Giant, Todd Francis, Think Skateboards, Slap Magazine, DLX, FTC, Last Gasp, Juxtapoz, 111 Minna, The Luggage Store, ect ect ect. The mid 90’s in SF was a cultural gold rush of talent, and I soaked it all in like a sponge. My style was heavily influenced by that time period, as well as the R. Crumb, Rick Griifin, and Victor Moscoso era of psychedelic rock posters and comic art from the 60’s and 70’s.
SH: When did you first find your artistic voice, when did it all click? How have you grown over the years?
JF: I found my artistic voice while working for Think Skateboards and Slap Magazine in the late 90’s -early 2000’s. That was my last full-time job, and I have been using that voice to yell loud as fuck ever since. I went from sleeping in a storage closet to recently having the Mayor of San Francisco proclaim November 19th is officially “Jeremy Fish” day here in SF. My work and I have grown strictly by working my ass off drawing pictures non-stop for 22 years in the most expensive city in America.
SH: Describe the perfect day in San Francisco?
JF: every day all day since day one!
SH: What is the biggest misconception about being an artist?
JF: That we are all lazy and ugly. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions.
SH: What does a day in the studio look like, what are you favorite tools/materials?
JF: For the last year or so, my days are spent out enjoying the city, taking meetings, running errands, administrative bullshit, and lavish long lunches. Night time is the right time in my studio. I sit down with a coffee at 4 or 5pm, and work until 3 or 4am depending. I do woodworking and outdoor projects during the day, but my studio time is usually in the wee hours when everyone wholesome is asleep. My favorite tools are pencils, pens, paper, and a Storz and Bickel Mighty.
SH: What is your spirit animal and why?
JF: When I was a tiny kid it was a frog, because my mom made me a killer frog costume. When I was a young man it was a bunny rabbit, because I jumped around and was quick on my feet. Now that I am 42, I am more of a wizard tortoise, because I move slowly but I make power moves.
For more information on the exhibition please visit the Thinkspace Gallery website. The opening reception is from 6 – 9pm on Saturday, June 25th.