I relate to Scott Campbell. He started tattooing because he wanted to avoid getting a job at all costs. I started Art Fag City, because I’d been fired from so many gallery jobs I couldn’t bear the thought of taking another. I didn’t want to do anything but blog all day, Campbell didn’t want to do anything but draw pictures all day.
And so, that’s what Campbell does. In the latest issue of Avant Garde Diaries, we see him making reliefs out of printed dollar bills and incredibly detailed tattoos as he discusses what makes his studio run. In his case, music informs the mood and energy of his work, so he talks about Chances with Wolves, a well known New York based DJ duo.
Chances With Wolves never play the same song twice, so during their radio show on East Village Radio, they talk about what makes a good track. “I like this idea that there are these people, and they didn’t know how beautiful their records were for some reason.” Justin Cox (aka Kray) tells us with his partner Kenan Juska. It’s as if he’s describing a made-up world. “It’s too weird, too awful, like bad.”
That kind of strangeness Cox describes is a desirable quality in a lot of contemporary art; we like think-differents. And of course, as Campbell hints at earlier in the short, the avant garde isn’t so much about labeling visionaries, as it is simply identifying what we as a culture deem valuable.