Sky is a beaut tonight
In an anticipation of tomorrow’s limited edition print release of Deth P. Sun’s San Francisco map, we took some time to ask him some questions about his life and work. Enjoy:
So Deth, tell us a bit about yourself for those who might not be familiar.
I’m an artist who lives in Berkeley, California. I just mostly show paintings to make a living and I’ve been doing it for the past 12 years or so.
The cat like hero that appears in your work often is suppose to be a visual avatar for whomever is looking at the work, correct? And not an actual recurring character?
Well, no, he is his own character. I never really bothered giving him a name or story because I’m not really into doing that sort of stuff. Basically everything is just a suggestive narrative.
However, do all of those pieces exist as a constant story in the same universe?
They could. Or they could not. I use the main character to just put something there. Sometimes I’ll make a painting and it just doesn’t fit with anything else, and you know, that’s okay.
With each show I try making a body of work that sort of makes sense in that space. But sometimes I deviate from that with one or two paintings, but I don’t think it really matters. I mean if you make a few a paintings and then throw in a bunch of common stuff in them then they all look like they go together anyway.
The side characters, do they have names that only you know? Do you create back-stories for them?
I don’t really do anything like that. I just draw the things I like drawing. Uh, I’m not a very complicated person. I just draw a bunch of random stuff based on things I read, see, or hear about, just like everyone else.
The various locales in your work to me are nostalgic because they remind me of video game locations. Were video games ever a part of your life?
Oh, I wasn’t allowed to play video games as a kid. A lot of the backgrounds are influenced by black and white movies.
The cave imagery is from seeing photos of the Crystal Cave of Giants in National Geographic a few years ago. I also used to collect old postcards and part of that collection were of postcards of caves.
A long time ago I was really into this show called Civilization and the presenter, Kenneth Clark described how folks might have felt during the Dark Ages and I thought that I’d like to make my characters live in a world like that.
For the People’s Printshop you’re releasing a print of San Francisco - could you tell us a bit about your process of creating it and the materials used?
Originally I made the map for a group show at the San Francisco Arts Commission, with the theme centered on like lost history in San Francisco or in a city in general. So I took the project pretty literally and looked up and located all the lost history in San Francisco and put it on a map. Originally it was on a 3 x 3’ painted panel, and it took a month to finish.
I used several sources, most of it was through Sparkletack (a San Francisco history podcast), watching documentaries of things that happened in SF, and a website that had images of where all the old cemeteries were. So the map I made tells you where all the old cemeteries are, and if they still have bodies buried. And then there’s some other stuff, like where the television was invented, or where the People’s Temples was located, or the location of the Spite Fence and the Golden Fire Hydrant.
Right now it’s in the map exhibit at the Exploratorium, so I think that’s kind of coolest part of making the map.
Having been a Bay Area resident for a while now, did you include any of your favorite spots on the map that others might not know of?
No. It’s all history. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t put in because although they might be historical they weren’t secrets. I did however put in all the 7-11 in San Francisco because I thought it would be kind of funny and I drew random shit in places because I had to fill in a lot where nothing happened. I miss-spelled Cesar Chavez twice, and Dolores Park.
You do zines and they’re very awesome, will we ever get a huge volume of these works!?
I’ve always made zines and I like having a drawing project to eventually make into a book. It’s a different kind of art project. I think making a catalog of my paintings is more of a promotional thing and less of an art project. To me my paintings look 10 times better in person than in a book or online, but my drawings look the same in a book as they do in person.
Do you have any hidden talents?
No. The only thing I’m kind of good at is drawing.
I’m actually going to start reblogging some of millions things I like on here. These are wonderful…
I’ve been trying to finish this for weeks. So stuck