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Home FEATURES Artist Interviews Derek Albeck Interview

Derek Albeck Interview
Thursday, 22 October 2009 05:57
We love the work of this LA based artist and the fact that he plays "cornhole", can hardly hear out his right ear, searches for Chupacabras, and that he gets back forth to work in LA without driving his car. Had the chance to view some of Derek's work in person this month (Love It or Leave It -photos) and was highly impressed with the craftmanship of his works. They're interesting and done very well. Thought now would be a great time to introduce you to Los Angeles based Derek Albeck if you're not familiar with his work already, because you're going to be seeing a lot more of him down the line...

Oh, and he can hardly hear out of his right ear. He says it has its drawbacks and pluses.

"Happy Artist" - Graphite and Gouache on paper - 11 by 8.5 inches - 2009

Age? Location? Artistic education?

26, Living and working in Los Angeles with a BA in printmaking and painting from Cal State University Northridge.

Why rainbows?

Cause it's gay, by gay I mean happy, and by happy I mean a nice colorful arrangement that evokes pleasure and feelings of joy.

Describe your process of creating a new piece.

These days I spend a lot of time taking photos of the people and places I surround myself with. I sort through lots of photos, mostly mine, sometimes borrowed from friends, and on certain occasions I will appropriate an image that I find fitting for a drawing, I generally pick out the ones that I find funny, unflattering or satirical and have a good story behind them and work from there. I edit and compose the photos digitally and then transfer my composition to its surface which is usually paper. There are other tricks involved sometimes when the works are larger but this is generally how my work is produced.

"Crowley Pentagram" - Graphite and Gouache on paper - 11 by 8.5 inches - 2009

"Heather" - Graphite and Gouache on paper - 11 by 8.5 inches - 2009

Your work is up right now at 111 Minna here in SF as part of the group show Love It or Leave It (photos). How did you end up in that show? Nice work by the way.

My good friend Marco Zamora put it together with a buddy of his. Me and Marco have been working together on projects and shows for the past couple of years so when the opportunity came up he asked me to take part. I was happy to say yes.

What materials do you normally work in?

These days I've been working mostly with graphite, colored pencil and gouache. I studied printmaking in collage so I've always tried to incorporate that practice into my work. Prior to this body of work I mainly producing editions in silkscreen, but these days it doesn't really translate as well with my work so I've been looking into more traditional forms of printmaking to produce editions, (Lithography). I really enjoy making editions of my work because I love the various processes that each form of printmaking consists of, and editions are much more accessible than an original work. I also makes sculptural work from time to time but right now I'm focusing mainly on drawing.

"American Headache, Bobby" - Graphite on Paper - 20 by 16 inches - 2009

"American Headache, Heather" - Graphite on Paper - 20 by 16 inches - 2009

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, how would you do it?

I make drawings from photographs of friends, family and surroundings. The drawings are somewhat autobiographical and serve as memory maps of shared stories and experiences. I'm working out my life through drawing, hopefully at the end it will be an awesome story.

What do you do to pay the bills or is art keeping you afloat currently?

Freelance graphic design and whatever else comes my way. I hate the word hustle but that's what it is. I'm trying to never have to listen to a boss for the rest of my life... I'll let you know how that pans out.

"Sad Rainbows" - Graphite and Colored Pencil on paper - 9 by 9 inches - 2009

How long have you lived in Los Angeles and what brought you there?

I live in North Hollywood and I've been here for about two and a half years. I moved here from just north of Los Angeles country and I really just wanted to get closer to the city without being super central. It's fairly quite in my neighborhood except for the planes that fly overhead all day from the Burbank Airport. I live two blocks from the subway which runs along the east side of Los Angeles. My studio is in Chinatown and the subway ends up at Union Station about 10 blocks from my studio, so Its fairly easy for me to get back and forth from home to studio without a car.

Are people trying to walk in LA?! No one walks in LA.

I'm pretty sure people still don't walk in LA. I just happened to fall into a good spot where I am able to take public transit to work whenever I want... Driving in LA always sucks though. I'm pretty jaded at the moment, I got pulled over the other night by a cop who believed to have seen me talking on my phone at an intersection. I was not on the phone at the time, but I was resting my head on my hand against my car window so it looked like I was on the phone. Dude gave me a ticket, I was furious, I've never gotten a ticket for doing nothing wrong before. Now I gotta go to court and fight the prick, the dude was a major Monday.

"Terror Terror on the wall whose the happiest of the all" - Graphite and Colored Pencil on paper mounted to mirror - 26 by 21 inches - 2009

"Terror Terror on the wall whose the saddest of the all" - Graphite and Colored Pencil on paper mounted to mirror - 26 by 21 inches - 2009

What do love most about living in LA?

There is always something to do out here. The city is so diverse and huge that on any night of the week you could end up having the best night ever! Then it happens again over and over and all the sudden you have a whole new collection of amazing stories and photos to talk about. The city can be the funnest and shittiest place to live all in one day and you can either love it or hate it, The beach is also less than a hour away in any direction so summertime is always amazing.

If I came out for a visit what would we do/ where would you take me?

We would go to the Dodger game, but you can't wear your SF hat cause I wouldn't want you to get hit by an extra large coke or something (I've seen it before). LA fans are kind of brutal to the friscans. I'd also probably take you to the the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. Pretty amazing little hole in the wall museum. We would also BBQ, drink loads of beer and play cornhole in my front yard.

What's "cornhole"?

Cornhole is a game that is played between two people or two teams of two. You stand about 25 feet away from each other behind opposing cornhold boards. The boards at tilted at about a 30 degree angle with a 6 inch hole in the upper center of the board. Each player has 4 bean bags and you play to 21, the winner has to win by 2. 1 point for each bag landing on the board and 3 points for every bag in the hole. It's really really big in middle America and they have a championship in Vegas every year. Drinking large amounts of beer with your friends is the only way to play this game. Check it out.

"I Pledge Allegiance" - Graphite and Colored Pencil on paper - 24 by 24 inches - 2009

"Put on a Happy Face" - Graphite on paper - 34 by 25 inches - 2009

I went to Albert Reyes house years back and he had this elaborate backyard game of throwing a nerf ball into multiple trash cans. What's up with you LA people and your backyard games?

Some of us have lots of free time and like to drink beer and entertain ourselves in strange ways.

You mentioned in a previous interview that you interned at a gallery in Culver City... What was the most important thing you learned from your time interning?

I learned a lot about how commercial galleries operate. I was still in University at the time and there were drastic differences between what you learn about the art world in school and the actual art world. I think the most important lesson I learned from working at the gallery was how to do proper business as an artist. I think that working from the opposite side of the fence gives you a different perspective on what is expected of you and how to be on point with business stuff. It was a pretty important step in my development as an art maker so I guess I would highly recommend it.

"Have a Great Day Forever" - Graphite and Colored Pencil on paper - 30 by 22 inches - 2009

When are you the most productive?

In the morning and late at night. Those are the times I'm the least distracted with other work and my head tends to be more clear...

Favorite trip taken?

I traveled through Thailand and Vietnam in the summer of 2006 and it was amazing. I found Vietnam to be the most interesting because of America's history in the country. You still see remnants of the war but the people were all so friendly and nice. Both amazing countries to visit but traveling through Vietnam has been my favorite.

Kewl, my wife and I wanna take a trip to Vietnam. Heard great things about the place... On another note, what's the most embarrassing thing about you?

I'm deaf in my right ear, like 90 percent from birth, so I can't hear shit. I think it's getting worse actually. When I drive in my car with someone it totally sucks cause I constantly say "what?" and I have to turn my head to hear what they're saying. I always had to sit in the front of the classroom all throughout school so I could hear the teacher better, which always meant no sleeping of fucking off in class. It's just kind of annoying and I've always wondered what it would be like to hear out of a phone from both ears? It does have its perks though, I can block people out and pretend like i don't hear them and have a legitimate excuse for it. I should probably try to get a hearing aid but right now that's not really financially up my alley, one day though...

Music?

I saw Lightning Bolt again at this thing called Fuck Yeah Fest out here in LA a month or two back. They played at sundown on the smallest stage and it fucking ruled. So lately thats been on repeat especially when I'm drawing... I draw faster when im listening to it.

"Smiles all around downtown" - Graphite and Gouache on paper - 11 by 8.5 inches - 2009

What were you like in high school?

I skateboarded, went to shows and played baseball all 4 years. I guess I was fairly well rounded and I don't really have much to complain about that time in my life. I grew up in a weird suburban town just outside of Los Angeles with nothing much to do so we found really interesting way to keep ourselves entertained. We use to go out into the salt mines up in the hills and search for Chupacabras, super fun silly shit like that. There was always the random urban legends that inhabit any small town and we played every one of those out almost every weekend. Charles Manson had lived with his posse on Spahn ranch in the hills on the border of my town so we use to always go up to the caves there which was always fun. I could probably write a book about all the stories I have from that town. I guess we just made the best out of what we were dealt.

American Me - Graphite and Gouache on Paper on panel - 43 by 21 inches - 2009

Upcoming projects and/ or upcoming shows, etc...?

I'll be curating a show next fall at POV gallery in Los Angeles and I work with this brand Dethkills and we are working on quite a few projects and artist based products that will be released in the near future. Upcoming exhibitions TBA

Derek Albeck

Chinatown LA studio

Chinatown LA studio

Links
derekalbeck.com
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IMG_9585_sm

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ABOUT HEADLANDS
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Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

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Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

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Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

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Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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