Thinkspace is pleased to present Anthony Hurd ‘Verified’ where “in a wonderful world of random blue check marks, engagement farming, social media clout chasing and general acting a fool, we find ourselves in the midst of the golden age of the death of social media. It’s failing us all… No matter the damage, I still come crawling back to my abuser for comfort, to suckle on its black barred, censored tit and let it caress my burning brain with one hand while it picks my pockets with its other 99 hands for that sweet, sweet, dopamine rush, worth it… And I along with billions of others continue to scream into the void of endless data gathering in hopes of a better tomorrow.”
Our interview with Anthony Hurd shares his frustrations that inspired his current solo show, what he was up to during the pandemic and his film recommendations.
How long have you been showing with Thinkspace? What does having an exhibition up at the Brand Library and Arts Center mean to you?
Errr, wow, I’ve been showing with Thinkspace for 10 years now, crazy. The Brand Library show is awesome. Aside from it being my first museum solo show, it’s also a history space with lots of good stories. I lived in LA for ten years, living in Silverlake, but at the time I didn’t make art, so to be back in LA, making art full time, in my old hood, seeing so many old friends and new ones it was amazing.
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
Mostly I was exploring my frustrations. It’s been such a strange time for so many years now between the political madness, the global pandemic and the ever changing economy of the world everything just feels constantly uneasy, no stability, no reality to hold onto and social media seems to be at the center of the chaos most the time. It’s opened the door for so many crazies to take center stage, and yet it’s diminished the reach of most of us artists. We’re not the prime content these days, sucks to even have to consider ourselves “content” but that’s what we’re faced with. So the absurd faces of social media started to come to the forefront for me. The bots, the algorithms, the rich white men pulling the strings and making lives more difficult. This crazy moving target that no one seems to understand fully. Some get lucky, some do not, but none of us really have a good grasp on what’s going on any more.
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
I’d say ‘Zucker-Lon‘ (The String Pullers) was the most challenging. It was the first piece for the show, and it set the tone for everything else. I worked on it off and on for many months before even touching the additional works, so I just kept pushing it and allowing it to evolving until it started to speak to me in a way I could see translating to the rest of the works. Like all works it teaches me patience, but reinforces my constant need for exploration. The experimentation and exploration have become my major driving force in the work these days and its taken me a long time to really understand that it’s where my happiness in creating stems.
The opening at The Brand Library and Art Center was quite the scene; what was one of your favorite moments from the evening?
Being that I don’t living in LA anymore, my favorite moments were both seeing so many old friends I miss dearly, and meetings so many other artists who I’ve been in touch with via social media for over a decade and never met in person. It was a massive event and truly made it feel like the most epic homecoming.
Your exhibition is titled Verified, and in content leading up to the show, you’ve lamented about the nature of the current social landscape. However, you’re pretty good at the content game. How much time are you spending on creating content as part of your studio practice?
I don’t spend as much time creating content as it seems. I just understanding the editing process well enough now to stitch it together thankfully. After all these years I’ve never had a single viral video that’s gone anywhere significant, but I’ve learned to just enjoy myself and try new things. Mostly I spent 10 minutes a few times a week recording content, so not to time consuming really.
Skate culture is one of your biggest creative influences and you use skate videos to help hype you up for painting. Can you share a few of your favorite skaters or videos with us?
Ugh, I don’t even know where to start with that. It’s not longer about specific skate videos, I just follow so many skaters and skate accounts that my feed is full of awesomeness. The level of progression in skateboarding these days in absolutely insane, and the rise of both queer and female skaters doing crazy shit just warms my heart. So I just open literally any social app these days and I’m flooded with the newest videos.
During the pandemic, you slowed down to growing food and plants, enjoying the demise of the pre-pandemic pace. Have you been able to maintain that slow pace or peace on your own terms? What’s in your garden?
Well, since the pandemic, we were finally able to purchase a small home of our own, so the older garden is long gone from the rental house and we haven’t officially made a garden yet in the new house but it’s coming soon hopefully. We do have a pomegranate and apple tree now and grew strawberries, blackberries and raspberries last year which was nice.
Unfortunately, the slower pace of the pandemic is long gone and didn’t stick. Seems life pace has picked back up and then some. I make moments every day where I can rest, lay in the hammock, or just relax and take in the views but mostly it seems endlessly busy. Recently my 14 year old step daughter moved in with us full time. We’ve been wanting her to live with us full time for many years so that’s been awesome, but having a full time teen isn’t a relaxing experience generally. Haha. So we do as we must, and make space for ourselves when we can. Studio time is when I get the most time to myself but that can feel hectic these days too as some works tend to take on a sense of urgency on their own.
What is your favorite unique find from the devil’s website (i.e. Amazon)?
Can’t say I have any great finds on the devil’s website. It’s almost purely orders of shit I’m too lazy to go out and fine IRL these days, or just shipping supplies with the occasional flannel pj’s. Ha
If someone wanted to understand the emotional landscape of your story and creative process, do you have a film recommendation that would be able to echo familiar themes?
No one single film unfortunately, but over the span of my life, I’d say What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, echo Dead Poet Society the emotional landscape of my youth, but as much as I love movies and connect with them I don’t have any more contemporary films that speak to my own story and creative process. I love the continually visible queer culture happening these days but it doesn’t generally speak to my personal experiences as came out at the tale end of the AIDS epidemic, and a generation prior to any contemporary acceptability that many young folks may experience. Skateboarding and music are both huge parts of my story and inspiration but everything is built with a tinge of fear because there integration of queerness wasn’t pervasive in my youth and I juggled multiple different lives, always fearful of how they would clash if they were ever to cross paths. Maybe some day someone can capture these themes in a singular story but I don’t think we’re there just yet.
There are more than several amazing pieces in the exhibition, and this might be a difficult question, but are you up for the challenge – what piece would you want to add to your art collection, and why?
In my own personal work? None, I don’t like hanging my own work in my house. Haha. I have one piece hanging currently but I try and surround myself with works of others. I’m too hard on myself to stare at my own work daily like that. In the rest of the exhibitions? That’s hard. I really loved that piece “Carry Me With You” by Karla Ekatherine Canseco. Strange and emotional, delicate and colorful, I’d have been very happy to have added that to my collection for sure.
On view only until this Friday March 17th at The Brand Library and Arts Center in Glendale, California.
The Brand Library and Arts Center
1601 W. Mountain Street
Glendale, California 91201
Viewing Days / Hours:
Tues. – Thurs.: 11am – 8pm
Fri. & Sat.: 10am – 5pm
Closed Sun. & Mon.
Free Admission & Free Parking
For more about the exhibition and opening night click HERE!
Photos by @BirdManPhotos.