Drake Carr has a definite aesthetic, one that is bright and fluid and fashionable. From just this small Q and A with him, I sense in him a desire for deeper meaning. A true artist looking to express with pure intent.
Where are you based and what's it like living there? Especially as an artist?
I live on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood in Brooklyn, New York. I’m from Michigan originally and wanted to live in New York since I was a kid. I don’t know where else I could live and do what I want to do right now. I’m also aware of the cliche of the white gay Midwest transplant trying to make it in New York City, so I try to consider my presence and be a good neighbor to the people whose city I moved into.
I know you've shown a lot in exhibits and stuff - can you tell us about your most recent show or series?
My most recent series I completed for an art fair in Basel, Switzerland called “Volta.” The fair is called Volta, that’s not the name of my series. The Hole gallery had a booth there and they invited me to use their entire booth to show my work. I made ten paintings, each about 7 or 8 feet tall.
The paintings were cut-outs of people dancing, walking, posing. They were hung on the wall and made to look like a dance floor. I’m kinda trying to move away from the dance floor idea, since it now feels a bit done to me. Or at least I tend to think of the people I paint as not exactly dancing, but moving in a confusing way, it’s unclear what exactly they’re doing. If they are just “dancers” then a different interpretation isn’t reached.
Nine of the ten paintings were fictional characters, but one was my friend Courtney. She was one of the final paintings I completed for the booth, and I realized right away that I want to paint people I know, rather than solely fictional characters. The made-up characters will always be present in my work, but I’m realizing now that painting my friends is important and means more to me.
I know we all hate to categorize ourselves but how do you explain what you do to people who aren't in your world?
If someone asks what I do, I say I paint and draw. But now I’m going to also say that I make sculpture because that is now also true. If they ask what kind of things do I make, I usually say I make big paintings of people and sometimes paint on clothing. It’s easiest to just show them a picture on my phone if they’re really interested.
Who are the people in your world? Are you surrounded by creative people? What is your studio space like?
I have a small to medium sized group of friends, and pretty much everyone is creative in some way. Even at my uncreative service industry jobs I am often surrounded by people who have artistic/music/performance work they pursue.
I made a friend at work who is a painter (her name is Hannah Lee) and we traded shirts so we could paint on them for each other. She made the most amazing oil painting of us as sexy waiters. The shirt is now too stiff to wear but its the most beautiful piece of clothing I own.
Also, I have a boyfriend and he is objectively my favorite artist. Juan makes a bunch of disgustingly beautiful things but many people know him for his next level nail art/sculpture work.
My studio is kind of in a state of transition right now but I share it with my long time friend and sister Alex Lopez aka DJ Bebe. He is a true star with an excellent vision and he is an iconic DJ. I’m so happy we get to share a work space. Answering this question just made me feel thankful!
Are you a morning person or a night person?
Its hard for me to make myself get up early in the morning, but once I am out of bed I am like immediately energized and so maybe I am a morning person after all. I’m both.
Your work is so colorful and bold. Are you?
The straight people who I work with at my day job probably think I am bold and colorful but then non-straight peers/people might think I’m more reserved. Sometimes I’m the star of the group and sometimes I’m more quiet. It really depends on the day I’d say.
If you weren't an artist and you had to work in a different field, what would it be?
I studied graphic design in college, so I could do that. I’m not bad at it, I make flyers sometimes and they are often very cute. But that’s a form of art still… so if I had to pursue a job that isn’t art-making…maybe I would be an interior designer! That’s what my mom does and I used to work for her in middle and high school. But really, I may be a bartender or waiter since I am currently employed as a bartender and as a waiter.
Do you watch shows or films? What is the last thing you binge watched?
Yes I love watching shows and films. TV shows are the new movies, kinda. There are so many new shows that are well made and seem to have really high budgets. Recently my favorite show is Search Party. I have never felt someone else’s anxiety and panic the way I have while watching this, but it’s also geniusly funny. A movie series I have binge watched and obsessed over this past year is Planet of the Apes. Every incarnation of the series (the originals in the 60s, the Tim Burton one, etc) has something wild (!) to offer and the visuals and costumes are amazing and terrifying.
Do you read? What is the last article or book you read?
During the past year I read a lot more than I had in a long time. I think it started when I read the biography of Cookie Mueller by Chloe Griffin. Before reading it I didn’t know who Cookie Mueller was, but it was really moving. I hate finding myself getting too nostalgic and obsessing over 70s/80s New York, but reading about her life was so inspiring. She’s a legend.
What do you do to get inspired? Do you meditate? Do you do Bonsai?
I don’t meditate normally, but I do smoke weed and go for walks and that is when I usually come up with a lot of ideas that I like. To answer your other question, I don’t know what Bonsai is. Like the growing of the tree? I have never done that. I used to go running a lot to clear my mind and take in a lot of visuals at once while listening to music and imagining music videos. But that might be too chaotic to be called meditation.
Images courtesy of DRAKE CARR
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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