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Home FEATURES Interview w/ Alex Ziv & Quinn Arneson

Interview w/ Alex Ziv & Quinn Arneson
Written by Kid Yellow   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:39
SF based artists Alex Ziv & Quinn Arneson are in their final year at the San Francisco Art Institute and open the two person show UNIBROW: BRIDGING THE GAP Thursday, Dec 8th at Gallery Heist.

Kid Yellow interviews.

"Snake Eyes Bug Boy" by Alex Ziv

"SF is So Chill" by Quinn Arneson

Hello, please introduce yourselves

AZ: Alex Ziv, artist, 23 years young, born and raised in San Francisco, avid cigarette smoker, passionate art lover, motorcycle obsessive.

QA: Hello FFDG world. My name is Quinn Arneson and I am 24 year old artist. I am from Los Angeles, California but currently live and work in San Francisco.

This is the first two person show you've had, why did you choose each other for this show?

QA & AZ: Julianne Yates from Gallery Heist had been watching us both or about a year or so and approached us both about potential shows. She made the connection that both our works had multiple commonalities that seemed to click. We both simply find humor in art while remaining religiously serious about our practice.

Were there any guidelines you followed or did you work independently?

QA & AZ: We definitely chatted about making work that would be super cohesive, but remaining distinguishably independent from each other. We had things we wanted to accomplish independently, one being increasing the scale of our work.

We pondered our differences and attempted to "bridge the gap" between our different styles.
Both of our works have definitely changed over the course of making for this show as we attempted to increase the amount of mutual visual aesthetics apparent in our work.

"Parasitic Sacrifice" by Alex Ziv

"On Everything I Love" by Quinn Arneson

What is your work about and what aspects of your work do you identify with as the theme for this show?

QA: My work is an exploration of absurdity grounded in viral images and videos. Humor is used as a populist device to invite the viewer into a conversation of contemporary expression, and the role of the artist in the contemporary world. Formally, I am interested in the careful and smooth application of paint on an often white space, in relation to the aesthetics of digital media, which is my primary resource. I feel that the aspect of collaging viral images and concepts in my work, is akin to the theme of remixing mass culture. Being that humor and absurdity are often associated with low brow work, simply inserting these concepts into a gallery space, while inviting a conversation of the role of the artist in the contemporary world, is an attempt at bridging the gap between low brow and high brow art.

AZ: My recent work has been a conversation I've been having internally for over a decade. Utilizing a visual rhetoric from my childhood and fantasies of motorcycle subcultures to develop a body of work that demonstrates what I feel, has changed my life for the better as well as how it's changed the world around me. All faculty I have ever had have considered the masters of the hot rod and motorcycle realms despite their disciplines, fine artists. Why many of them never made it into the formal gallery setting, no one knows. Placing topics commonly derived from a lifestyle of what many would label "outlaw" lifestyles. The dated, yet relevant iconography I choose to incorporate within my work, confuses what people would consider a work executed "high" in technique and low in concept. My intention is to reverse that role.

"Fantasycle" by Alex Ziv

"Fantasycle" (detail) by Alex Ziv

You're both in the undergraduate program at the San Francisco Art Institute, what have you learned about your process since enrollment?

AZ: I feel coming from a financial background where you have to work incredibly hard for everything you want I've learned how to produce work cost effectively super fast in multitudes of bodies. Being at SFAI has been a constant financial struggle, and not knowing if I'm going to be in school semester after semester really made me want to glean every second of having it's resources available. So in short, I've learned how to produce cohesive bodies fast, where to seek out certain resources and concrete my own visual and technical vocabulary that I enjoy.

QA: I have learned many things along the way, but I feel that the most important aspect of my new knowledge as an artist, is how to talk about art or an expansion of my vocabulary in this field. Though I am no expert in any sense, I have come a long way. My interest in this knowledge will never stop. That being said, I guess I have a long way to go.

"Pots and Pots of Gold" by Quinn Arneson

Do you have any anxieties or fears about post-graduate life?

AZ: If I can't sit and draw for more than 2 days I go into an anger bender. Like I'm trying to quit a drug that keeps me sane. I understand that everyone has to pay their dues in the world before they find success, I'm just incredibly afraid of falling into a flaming downward death spiral of routine. After being in school for so long people wake up the day after graduating crying and not knowing what to do with themselves. Not trying to be one of those people. I know where I want to be, and I just want to keep working in a space of my own. As long as I have a space and time to work I'm a happy camper.

QA: I do have many fears and anxieties about post graduate life but I don't want this to turn into a sob story. I am extremely excited to travel and take photos of my little change of scenery, for I have lived in SF for over 6 years. After some traveling, I plan to spend as much time as possible producing work, and like many other kids my age, I am working on a skateboard company. The company specializes in cruiser boards and goes by the name Sleight Of Hand. We have three pro, and a few logo based boards that should drop sometime in January.

What are some of the things about the SF art scene you think are valuable and motivate you to contribute to it?

QA: One reason I am excited about the SF art scene because of the feeling that there is a never-ending search for new artists. I feel that eyes are always turning towards a younger crowd and I am beginning to feel these eyes as we speak. Growing up in Los Angeles I didn't really feel this kind of community.

AZ: Growing up and going to shows here in SF has made me what I am no doubt about it. I started going and hanging out around shows when I was about 13, scared shitless like " oh my god they all look huge and they're drinking beer I'm outty". But I wanted to be part of it all. SF is such a small densely packed place with so many young underestimated talents. So many niches in terms of the type of work people are executing and incubating. The biggest thing I love is how everyone knows everyone. Galleries that show polar opposite work to another still know each other's names. I feel SF is developing into a mecca for multitudes of things like publishing, tattooing, art and its artists, a ground zero for movements, etc. Going to galleries in SF multiple times a month produces an inescapable desire to want to be a contributor to this scene. To be able to change the way people think about certain topics is one of the best job's anyone can have.

"Take the Pun Away" by Quinn Arneson

What are you plans for after this show and so on?

AZ: I'm going to take a week or two for myself then get back to working, working, working. Hopefully I can get some other group shows or bigger lined up. I like to tell myself that out there on this tiny planet there is another artist doing the exact same thing as I am, technique and all, and when I'm sleeping that fucker is WORKING and getting an edge on me. I hate it... .but I know I have to get a J.O.B. But I would really want to start getting more involved with people that are icons in my life, and be truly submerged in my medium both socially and artistically.

QA: I am pretty big on partying, so probably some of that. I am going to make as much work as possible in my last semester at SFAI. I plan on graduating school in May, while simultaneously quitting my job to buy a van and travel a bit. I am really not sure where I'll end up. I am most likely going to have to find a new job at some point, but hope that it will be more related to my practice as an artist than my last job. Most importantly, after a little bit of exploration, I want to keep making work and showing it.

You have one chance to say something memorable, what would do you say?

QA: Live till you die.

AZ: If you are going to commit, commit. Life is too short to let killer stuff pass you by... both the little things and the big things. Why go for gold when you can get DIAMONDS

---------------------------

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UNIBROW: BRIDGING THE GAP

New works by Quinn Arneson & Alex Ziv

Opening Reception: Thursday December 8, 2011 7-11PM

Closing Reception: Friday January 13, 2012 7-11PM

On View December 8, 2011 - January 13, 2012

Gallery Heist is excited to announce the opening reception for UNIBROW: BRIDGING THE GAP New works by

Quinn Arneson & Alex Ziv. An opening reception will be held on Thursday December 8, 2011 from 7-11pm. The

exhibition is free and open to the public.

Bay Area artists Alex Ziv and Quinn Arneson share an infatuation with the signs and symbols surrounding subculture.

Both artists address subculture with romanticism and humor, while transcending and recycling the boundaries of visual

language. Unibrow is an exhibition bridging the void between low brow and high brow art, while exploring the spaces

in between. Arneson and Ziv have developed an artistic practice articulated by remixing mass culture, while composing

thoughtful juxtapositions of suggested dualities. Their use of autonomous totems from cyberspace to cartoons creates a

combination of high and low cultural paradigms. Unibrow is the first two man show Alex Ziv and Quinn Arneson have

participated in, marking their final years at the San Francisco Art Institute.!

Quinn Arneson examines absurdity and the viewer's relationship within virtual perfection. He uses humor as a

conversational medium, pushing the work to question identity and the changing role of of art in a contemporary world.

The precise application of paint and flat color on white space is akin to the aesthetics of digital media; smooth, perfect

and flawless. Formally this creates a paradoxical exchange between familiar and unnatural qualities combining craft

with technological aesthetics .!

In his recent work, Alex Ziv has been creating dynamic compositions using hot rod and motorcycle iconography.! He

utilizes classic techniques of formal drawing to discuss his personal relationship with old cars, motorcycles and the

historical influence it has had on contemporary society. His passionate devotion to create work which embodies this

subculture gives an opportunity for outsiders to participate in his world. Ziv paints generous and enthralling adaptions

of cultural icons with vibrant color and precision.!

The exhibition is open to the public and will be on view from December 8, 2011 - January 13, 2012. Gallery hours are

as follow: Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 6:00pm. And by appointment. Gallery Heist is located at 679 Geary Street

San Francisco CA 94102 For more information or to request a preview of the available work please contact the gallery

at info@galleryheist.com

679 GEARY STREET | SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 | GALLERY HEIST.COM | INFO@GALLERYHEIST.COM

ARTIST STATEMENT

QUINN ARNESON

My work is an exploration of absurdity grounded in viral images and videos and the ever present

question of the the role of the artist. Overt humor is used as a vehicle to widen audiences, inviting them

into to a conversation of contemporary expression and identity. Formally, I am interested in the minimal,

careful and flat application of paint in my work in relation to my primary resource, a computer, a two

dimensional place where there is no room for error.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

ALEX ZIV

My recent work has been the truest visual testament to a cultural phenomenon I have adored since a child. My

visual rhetoric streamlined to manifest personified images composed of the dated yet relevant icons of hot rod

and motorcycle cultures. The abnormal devotion seen within those who devote their lives to their mechanical

crafts manipulated and extended through my choice method of mark making, pointillism. Brightly colored planes

of paper purely embodies the exuberant character gradually taking over my life more and more as I delve further

into making about what is important to me, motorcycles, old cars, the politics surrounding itʼs culture and the

dream of one day having many of my own.

679 GEARY STREET | SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 | GALLERY HEIST.COM | INFO@GALLERYHEIST.COM

ARTIST CV

QUINN ARNESON

EDUCATION

2012 # BFA, Painting with an emphasis in drawing, The San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2011# Unibrow: Bridging The Gap, Gallery Heist, San Francisco, CA

2011# Water McBeer, Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA

# #

2011# Its Been Interesting, Suede Gallery, San Francisco, CA

# #

2009 # Draw, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, CA

679 GEARY STREET | SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 | GALLERY HEIST.COM | INFO@GALLERYHEIST.COM

ARTIST CV

ALEXANDER ZIV

EDUCATION

2011 BFA The San Francisco Art Institute, major in painting with emphasis is drawing, San Francisco, CA

GROUP EXHIBTIONS

2011 ! Unibrow: Bridging the Gap, Gallery Heist, San Francisco, CA

2011 Rise Japan (benefit & fundraiser), Gallery Heist, San Francisco, CA

2009! Cool Kids Only group show, Live Worms Gallery, San Francisco, CA

INTERNATIONAL GROUP EXHIBIITONS

2011! A Contemporary Survey on Art, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

2011! International Drawing Group Exhibition, The Leeds College of Fine Art, Leeds, England

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2009! Fractal Revelations, New works by Alex Ziv, The Peanut Gallery, San Francisco, CA

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

2011 Distinguished Painting award, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

2010 Distinguished Painting award, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

2009 Distinguished Painting award, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

2007 Award in Substantial Artistic Excellence, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

2007 A Respect for Differences in Art Award, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco CA

679 GEARY STREET | SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94102 | GALLERY HEIST.COM | INFO@GALLERYHEIST.COM

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Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

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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