Big Stupid Head

“…life is pretty absurd and there’s always something to laugh about.”

S: How would you describe your artwork?  

BSH: I guess “silly” would be the best word. I know for a lot of artists the goal is to elicit some sort of emotional response. If I can get someone to smile or laugh, I’m fairly content. I also enjoy vague looks of confusion.

S: How did you first become involved with making art? Is this your full-time passion?

BSH: My grandma was a fairly successful and prolific local artist. It was how she made her way in the world. She taught me about technique, color theory, all the fun stuff. She also encouraged me to draw and paint what I wanted and like rather than trying to please others with my work. The technical stuff like technique and color theory didn’t stick with me, but the last part did, and is still very important to me. Making art definitely isn’t a full-time passion for me. I go through hot streaks where I’m doing at least one small painting a day, but I also go through slumps, like the one I’m currently in, where I have zero interest in even touching a pencil, let alone spending a few hours painting.

S: What inspiration do you draw from your artwork?

BSH: It sounds sort of horrible to say, and maybe working so closely with death and those that are dying because of my chosen career path have helped bring me here, but my biggest inspiration drawn from my artwork is that life is pretty absurd and there’s always something to laugh about. In the end, we’re all pretty inconsequential, you know? Just little specks of dust on a big rock floating around in space. We come from nothing, we all inevitably return to it. There is no negotiating this hard fact, and no way to get around it. We can dwell on everything that upsets us, hurts us, or makes us angry, but why not laugh along the way? In the end it’s all sort of a big joke, so you might as well start fucking laughing right now.

S: What is your process when you create your artwork? Are you consistent with one approach or various?

BSH: Music is key. When I draw and paint I tend to only listen to one artist per piece, I find jumping around between genres and artists to be disruptive and distracting. Guys like The Dickies, Tom Waits, Run the Jewels and Die Antwoord typically have what it takes to get me in that creative, but focused headspace I need to sit down and paint. Other than that, my process is to just start with a doodle and go from there. I very rarely have a concrete plan or idea in place. 99% of what I do is just random.

S: What tools do you utilize to make your pieces?

BSH: Good mechanical pencils and decent watercolor paper are a must for me. For paint, I actually really like watercolor that falls on the cheaper side that a lot of artists generally turn their noses up at. For fine line work and detailing I think Micron pens are great. Copic pens/markers are pretty fun, I’ve been trying to utilize them a bit more as well.

S: What is the art scene like in the Central Valley? What makes you different from other artists?

BSH: The art scene in the valley is sort of weird. There seems to be an almost unnatural amount of competition rather than collaboration between artists. I mean, on one hand, I get it. If this is more than a hobby, if you’re trying to make this a career or at least make a name for yourself, a certain level of competitiveness is to be expected and is probably healthy, but when I talk to other local artists at small shows, events, or even on social media platforms like Instagram, there is definitely this weird vibe of elitism and superiority that I don’t get. The best comparison I could make would be this asshole in Visalia who drives a ridiculous Lamborghini. Like, cool, you’re doing well for yourself and you want the world to know it. You bought a quarter of a million dollar car. You still live in Visalia, though. Chill out. At the same time, there are some insanely talented yet very humble and open/approachable artists in the valley. It’s a mixed bag. You’ve got the young kids fresh out of school who want to make a name for themselves or have something to prove, then you have the old weirdos like me who have a good time drawing little dicks and saggy tits. That’s just the way it goes. As for what makes me different than other artists, I don’t know. There are some incredibly talented local artists that are doing some really amazing stuff. And then there’s me, this guy that pretty much doesn’t give a shit and paints Kermit the frog with a blown out vagina on his chest because it’s funny to me.

Interview by Stephanie Barraza