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Home FEATURES Eric Yahnker Interview

Eric Yahnker Interview
Written by Ryan Christian   
Monday, 29 June 2009 09:17
"I personally get a kick out of the cable guy who can appreciate my work on his own terms, while the academic art critic can excavate further and appreciate it on theirs."

Interview by Ryan Christian - ryan(at)fecalface.com

So one thing I immediately noticed is that your works and resume begin in 2007. What was going on for you up until then? I know you were working on some television shows. What on earth made you decide to start making these drawings?

I originally started out in journalism, and then worked in comedy and animation for about a decade on shows like South Park, MADtv, and Seinfeld, as well as a fist-full of animated commercials -- some good, some bad. The way I saw it was commercial studios were the only arena left in animation that hadn't yet traded in all their pencils and paper for computers. But, no matter how you slice it, when you're working in commercials, you could be the most brilliant experimental animator, painstakingly manipulating and pixilating hand-pigmented salt with the ass feathers of a Siberian crane on an antique multi-plane camera, win big golden testicles at every prestigious international film festival, and in the end, all the 'powers that be' will say is, "boy howdy, that's gorgeous! Can you do that for my client, Gas-X?" In August 2004, I just quit everything, rented a studio, and started making work.

COCAINE - colored pencil on paper - 30 x 44 in. - 2007

Berry Astonished - colored pencil on paper - 44 x 30 in. - 2009

KARMA - colored pencil on paper - 30 x 44 in. - 2008

Another thing that comes to my attention quickly is noticing that almost all of your 2d work is really large. You seem to really whiz through these, while being able to retain a pretty astonishing amount of detail. How do you approach a giant blank piece of paper?

The larger the drawing, the easier it is to perfect details. Graphite and me have gotten past the awkward dating stage and are keeping a toothbrush and set of p.j.'s at each other's places. Colored pencil is getting there, even though on occasion it plays hard to get or won't return my call. I consciously like my work to maintain a look of ease, but I do log a ton of hours. Like Charlie Chaplin said, "art is the concealment of effort."

Fingering (Italian Prunes) - graphite on paper - 72 x 52.5 in. - 2009

Fingering (Sweet Butter) - graphite on paper - 40 x 52.5 in. - 2009

Guacstika - colored pencil on paper - 30 x 22 in. - 2008

Hello Dolly Scramble - graphite on paper - 65 x 52.5 in. - 2008

Something I am always hearing in the art world is the phrase "one liners". Your work is definitely humorous, do you think the pieces transcend being "one liners"? What are your thoughts on the whole "one liner" issue?

Guilty as charged. But, I can also draw a straight philosophical line from Confucius to Rodney Dangerfield. I don't know how clarity got such a bum rap, but I personally get a kick out of the cable guy who can appreciate my work on his own terms, while the academic art critic can excavate further and appreciate it on theirs.

Her Happiness Scramble - graphite on paper - 84 x 84 in. - 2009

Hit It n' Quit It - graphite on paper - 75 x 97 in. - 2009

Selected Reading (Nausea) - graphite on paper - 70 x 52.5 in. - 2009

Your work has a lot of pop imagery and reference in it. How do you decide on your content, given the vast amount of pop trash, imagery, and incidents you have to choose from?

I prepare a show the same way a comedian prepares stand-up material. I pull from everywhere -- my own dirty laundry included. The fact that a large portion of my work has a decidedly Hollywood-bent is likely a consequence of spending my whole life in la-la-land.

L.A. - colored pencil on paper - 30 x 44 in. - 2008

Liberace, You Sneaky S.O.B. #2 - graphite on paper - 62.5 x 52.5 in. - 2008

Light Reading - graphite on paper - 69 x 92 in. - 2008

In your drawings we start to see some "mini series" of sorts. The text pieces, the "fictional characters reading real books" pieces, etc...you know what I mean. How does this plus the performance and sculpture all come together in your mind?

It all swims in the same murky stew. Every concept has its perfect medium. The trick is to find it.

Selected Reading (The Jews) - graphite and colored pencil on paper - 70 x 52.5 in.

TESTICLE - colored pencil on paper - 39 x 52.5 in. - 2009

What do you think your collective body of work thus far says?

That I'm a great lover.

Turdhat #3 - graphite on paper - 44 x 30 in. - 2007

Turdhat #5 - graphite on paper - 44 x 30 in. - 2007

Could you tell us a bit about your show @ Ambach and Rice, "Naughty Teens/Garbanzo Beans" (running till August 9, 2009 in Seattle)?

This show is like a sexy poem. I want these pieces to flash in your mind when you're pissing in the shower.

Anything else noteworthy coming up?

I've got a few group shows upcoming in L.A., Chicago, Portland (Maine).

Weave Me Tender - colored pencil on paper - 44 x 30 in. - 2009

War & Piece of Ass - graphite and colored pencil on paper - 84 x 84 in. - 2009

Helen Keller Joke #1 - toilet with upright plunger - 20 x 28 x 27 in. - 2006

What do you find inspirational to you and your work right now?

That my country and I have some things in common again. Hello, old friend...what's it been? Like 8 years?

What do you find highly uninspiring to you right now? (people places books food music other artists etc...)

Prop 8 is a joke. I hope when the dust settles, the definition of marriage will include marrying a well-manicured lawn if I want to. I can't believe that someone's rights should even come down to a ballot measure -- especially in California.

Helen Keller Joke #4 - cup, toothbrush, Preparation H - 6.5 x 3 x 3 in. - 2007

99 Rises/100 Falls - 99 "Rise & Fall" books - installation dimensions variable - 2008

American Socrates - Stephen R. Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly - Effective People" re-written with my foot - 11 x 8.5 x 11.5 in. - 2006

Future you is a prestigous art critic. How would you describe the work/movements happening right now?

Jasper Johns (circa 1965): "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it." Current: "Google something. Google something else. Photoshop it."

Beegeesus - Bible completely whited-out except that - which sequentially spells 'Beegees' - 13 x 10 x 10 in. - 2005

Is there anything that absolutely terrifies you?

Yes. Alzheimer's and kitty AIDS.


Exhibition shots from Eric's show currently running in Seattle


AMBACH & RICE
5107 Ballard Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
206.789.6242
info@ambachandrice.com

Eric Yahnker was born in Torrance, California. He received his B.F.A. in animation from the California Institute Of Arts and studied journalism at University of Southern California. Recent exhibitions include Dolly Parton Behind A Tree, Kim Light Gallery, Los Angeles, L.A. Potential, HangART-7, Salzburg, Austria, curated by Hubert Schmalix, Roger Herman, and Found/Gevonden/Trouve, Voorkamer, Lier, Belgium. He currently works and resides in Los Angeles, California. {moscomment}

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Shawn Whisenant is a born and raised San Francisco Bay Area artist whose art can be found lurking in the streets or galleries and museums across the USA, Australia, and Europe. He has been working on the streets of the Bay Area since the mid 1990's, where his images continue to endure on walls, mailboxes, and other surfaces around the city. He enjoys making books and stickers, taking photos, painting signs, and moving about in the city’s shadows. In the streets and galleries, his work has seen many different forms. From rare-hand crafted books, to skateboard films and a signature pair of Osiris shoes, his creating doesn’t end with painting. RIP Shawn Whisenant.





contact FF

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Speaking of Banksy (wait, were we speaking of Banksy?)... In any case, love his newest creation "Mobile Lovers" located in Bristol, England.

I love you, dear.... Huh? Wut?

 

//////////
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Check photos from his last San Francisco solo show in 2012, and mark your calendar for August as his next solo show opens at FFDG.

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///
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 10:56

 

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This approach was born and bred out of the Olympia, Washington independent music scene. There, local artists emphasized everything handmade and self-published. The idea was to do a lot with a little. The result was a rich community sharing artistry and ideas. McClure found herself deeply embedded in this community which shaped an ethic of hands-on and accessible artmaking. - show details

 

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010 11:50


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FRENCH in Melbourne

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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


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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.


Flavio Samelo's Downtown Sao Paulo Murals

Our buddy Flavio Samelo down there in Brazil does all kinds of great work including this recent mural project in downtown Sao Paulo in front of one of the most important modern buildings of Oscar Niemeyer from the 60's, THE COPAN.


John Trippe, FFDG and Fecalface.com Founder, Stepping Down From Daily Operations

John Trippe, founder, owner and curator of FecalFace.com and the Mission District art gallery FFDG, announced today that he will stepping down from daily operations of the two ventures to seek new career opportunities.


High 5s - Get Your Feet Wet

I purchased one of the first digital cameras when Fecal Face went online in 2000. It was a massive Kodak with 2 mega pixels


"Touching Base" by Schuyler Beecroft

San Francisco based Schuyler Beecroft emailed over the great new series of paintings he's completed entitled "Touching Base", 16x20in on mounted wood panel. Like them.


Flume - Space Cadet (ft. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut)

Buddies Jay Howell & Jim Dirschberger did this great video produced by Forest City Rockers.


Fire Shelter for Papay Gyro Nights 2014

Last year we posted photos from another one of Simon Hjermind Jensen's Fire Shelters he's made in Copenhagen. This time around the Copenhagen based artist/ designer created one for the Papay Gyro Nights 2014 way up in on the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.


"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


Project M/3 in Berlin curated by NUART

BERLIN --- Project M is a temporary art project with the objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect people. At regular intervals Urban Nation with director Yasha Young invites a group of internationally reclaimed contemporary urban artists to re-design the facade and shop windows of a prominent residential building in Berlin, while it is being reconstructed.


John French with Hasselblad by Lola Dupre

"John French with Hasselblad", photo collage/ hand cut paper on wooden panel, by Lola Dupre which will be part of tomorrow's opening of "Salt the Skies" at FFDG in San Francisco. 2277 Mission St. (6-9pm) - RSVP here.


"Salt the Skies" at FFDG Opening Fri, Mar 21st

FFDG's spring show "Salt the Skies" is set to open on Friday, March 21st (6-9pm) -- Featuring works by Brett Amory, John Felix Arnold, Mario Ayala, Jud Bergeron, Curiot (Favio Martinez), Christopher Burch, Lola Dupre, Michelle Fleck, Matt Gonzalez, Hiro Kurata, Marty Machado, Mark Mulroney, and Nicomi Nix Turner


Brian Barneclo's 225' Food Chain Mural

San Francisco based Brian Barneclo was commissioned in 2006 to paint a HUGE mural on the side of Foods Co on Shotwell at 14th Streets. After some time on its own, it got pretty taxed by misc graffiti and pigeon shit.


A short documentary following the late artist, Shawn Whisenant

Shawn Whisenant is a born and raised San Francisco Bay Area artist whose art can be found lurking in the streets or galleries and museums across the USA, Australia, and Europe. He has been working on the streets of the Bay Area since the mid 1990's, where his images continue to endure on walls, mailboxes, and other surfaces around the city. He enjoys making books and stickers, taking photos, painting signs, and moving about in the city’s shadows. In the streets and galleries, his work has seen many different forms. From rare-hand crafted books, to skateboard films and a signature pair of Osiris shoes, his creating doesn’t end with painting. RIP Shawn Whisenant.


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