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Home FEATURES Damon Soule Interview

Damon Soule Interview

Written by Trippe   
Tuesday, 21 April 2009 03:18
We catch up with the Portland based artist as he prepares for Same Loud No opening May 7th at Fecal Face Dot Gallery.

We welcome this San Francisco legend back after some time spent in NYC and Portland. His show Amused Loon ran at Joshua Liner in NYC last October and since has been working towards Same Loud No which opens May 7th at Fecal Face Dot Gallery. Damon hasn't shown in San Francisco for a few years... We catch up with the cofounder of the now defunct FIT skateboards and sample the upcoming show.

So first off you're about to open "Same Loud No" at Fecal Face Dot Gallery on May 7th. Tell us a bit about the show.

Yeah... ummm. There seem to be a lot of squares. There is a piece about prime numbers and one about the golden ratio as it relates to nocturnal birds of prey. to be honest I'm not quite sure why. I was having these crazy dreams. it's kind of hard to explain but I was having multiple dreams at the same time but they were contained in these boxes and I was moving from dream to dream or box to box. It was very strange.

You lived in San Francisco for a long time before moving to NYC and then to Portland. When was the last time you showed in San Francisco...? Or shit, when was the last time you were even here?

I was in SF for new years a year and a half ago. The last time I showed there was several years ago in a group show with Mars and Oliver Vernon at White Walls. So it's been a minute.

I know you've been in NYC for the last month working on the show at a friend's studio. How did that go for you? Isn't hard to stay focused in the Big Apple with so much going on... or does that help your work?

Yeah I'm still here in NY. It can be a little distracting at times but I get pretty focused when I'm in the groove. When I'm working I'm not that into socializing.

How is NYC these days? What were you getting into?

To be honest the last few weeks have been pretty rough. I have this weird thing called cluster headaches. They are excruciatingly painful headaches behind my right eye and temple. I get 1 to 3 of them every day and they last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Usually the same time each day. It will go on like that for a couple of months and than inexplicably disappear as suddenly as they appeared for as long as a year. It's very odd. It's been happening since my late teens. At any rate I'm right in the middle of a cycle now and it sucks. I'm hoping it goes away before I get out to SF for the show. I can't drink at all because it will trigger a headache.

Your previous work has some similar elements as your friends work Mars-1. How do you see your work aligning with his or not?

Yeah it's true there are definitely similar elements. I can remember one time we hadn't seen each others new work for over a year and we had this show together and when we were unpacking the work we had all these new things in our work that were really similar. We were just laughing like what the fuck, "Get outta my head"... At the same time though I think we have very different ideas. Before we met we were both fans of each others stuff. At that time we were both doing a lot of robots and that kind of sci-fi figurative stuff so in a way we kind of started from the same place. We kind of have this little group that borrows from each other unashamedly. Me, Mario, Nome, David Lee, Oliver. I don't think it's a secret, it's clearly there but ultimately I think our work is unique and stands on its own.

We met like back in 1998 when you did all the graphics for FIT Skateboards and I was working on their video... Damn, that was a long time ago... Anyway, what was the SF art scene like back then? What were you getting into?

Yeah those were great times. I dropped out of SFAI to do that. Once FIT was over I decided to go full steam into doing my own shit. At that point there weren't a whole lot of galleries to show at, but there were more and more of us producing work and people interested in seeing it. It was pretty exciting seeing things grow organically.

What brought you to SF to begin with?

Well I grew up in New Orleans but when I was 16 I got into some trouble and went to live with my mom who had moved to Colorado Springs. There was a huge skate scene there and I just bummed around with my buddies there for a couple of years. A bunch of people I knew had moved to SF and the place just sounded exciting. One weekend a couple of my friends were back in Colorado visiting and I just asked if I could get a ride back with them. I left almost everything I had and came out there.

You mentioned in a previous interview that Yoko Ono is one of your top 5 favorite artists. Do you think her relationship with Lennon hurt or helped her art career?

The truth is I just said the first five names that came to mind. It's really hard to have a few favorites when you think of all the artists that have ever lived. But to answer your question, I think her association helped by giving her a lot more notoriety but at the same time it kind of turned her into a punch line. It's unfortunate because she has done some really interesting things.

There seems to be some time in your career where you weren't producing as much work after you left SF (or maybe you were and we missed it)... If you weren't, what were you up to?

I was definitely still working. I think I was just drawing more. Also when I was in SF I was doing like a new show every month for years and when I left I decided to slow it down a bit and spend more time on less work. I only do 1 or 2 shows a year instead of 12. If you miss one or two it would seem like I quit making stuff.

Tell us about your show at Joshua Liner last fall.

Most of my work was about emergent complexity, which is something I was reading as much about as I could find.

Favorite thing you came across this year?

Ohh, that's hard. Fried chicken in a soda cup.

Damon Soule - Same Loud No
Opening: Thurs. May 7, '09 (6-9pm)
Fecal Face Dot Gallery
66 Gough St. @Market {moscomment}

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