I Interviewed My Sister About Our New Art Show and Daddy Issues
Sibling artists Nick and Penelope Gazin discuss their deepest, darkest secrets about art and family.
My name’s Nicholas Gazin, VICE’s art editor. I write this column to let all of you know about what’s happening in the world of comics, illustration, art, zines, and anything that is beautiful or that I think you should know about.
I have a dual art show with my sister that opens this Saturday, May 6, at Superchief NY from 7 to 11 PM. It’s called Teenage Tears and is a follow-up to the show we did together in LA, where my sister lives, called Gazinizag. That show was a lot of fun. King Tuff DJ’ed, Rikky Gage performed, and I danced with a lot of cute, famous women. This one probably won’t be as good because I live in New York and am much less cool and popular than my sister is. I am very cool and popular, but she is much, much, much more so. She runs the website Witchsy, makes popular pins and things, is in the LA Municipal Dance Squad, paints, animates, and plays drums. I do stuff, too.
I decided we should do a Truffaut/Hitchcock style interview, so I could learn about her and you could learn about us.
Penelope Gazin: Why is our art show called teenage tears? I wasn’t paying attention when you texted me asking if we could call our show that.
VICE: I took the name from my favorite doo-wop song, "Teenage Tears," by the Ly-dells. I think a lot of good artists are good because they are kinda nuts and have feelings like a teenager.
Who are your favorite artists these days?
I love Ryan Heshka, Hieronymus Bosch, and whoever drew Where’s Waldo?
The Where’s Waldo? guy is Martin Handford. How is he an influence on you?
I love his world building and stories within stories he tells.
What do you think about while you’re painting?
What do you see yourself working toward?
Kind of nothing. Thinking too big overwhelms me. So I think small and in little steps. I’d like to have my own Adult Swim show someday, but I won’t feel like a failure if I don’t.
Are there things you can’t paint well that you wish you could?
I usually have to focus more when painting noses and hands, and I should probably practice them more. I’m also not very good at painting anything that’s inorganic. I like lips and eyes, since they are the most expressive features, so I am better at painting them. Boobies are also very expressive.
Do you find being sad helps or hurts your ability to be productive?
Help. Someone. Please. Hurt me. Do you ever see truly amazing artists and want to give up or feel bad about yourself as an artist?
Not really. I wish I could draw with the delicacy of Leonardo DaVinci, but it doesn’t make me want to quit when I look at his drawings. Art’s about finding the perfection in imperfection for me. You try to make something perfect, and you fail, and the habitual act of making things that aren’t good enough is the beauty. I’m not saying I don’t strive to improve. I’d like to be a good artist someday.
Why do you work in the mediums you work in? Is it convenience and ease?
Yes. I like the way watercolor, charcoal, pencil, and black-ink drawings look, but if I had infinite money and space, I’d rather be doing large oil paintings. I want to be doing work like David Hockney, Peter Blake, and Larry Rivers.
Excuses are for losers and dads and loser dads. No excuses. Make it happen.
I’m trying to make so much happen already, though. There’s only so much time.
You’ve just begun your foray into directing, which is very exciting. Is that something you’ve been considering for a while? Is it scary working in a new medium?
It’s no more scary than doing anything else. If you’re trying to survive as an artist, there’s no room to be afraid of failing or not being good enough. No one is good enough and constant failure and rejection are part of doing art, even when people like your stuff. The things that I’m scared of are my cat disappearing and nuclear holocaust erasing our existence.
Whose penis is bigger: yours or our dad’s?
I saw it a few years ago, and it’s still the biggest dick I’ve seen in person. I think our father’s giant dick is his greatest accomplishment.
Oh wow. I did not want to know this, but I guess I deserve it.
If you seek the daddy-dick truth, you shouldn’t be shocked when you find it.
If you were given a $100,000 art grant, what would you do with it? And don’t say, "I would put $95,000 toward an ultimate cat condo for Banjo."
I would rent a large studio space, get an assistant, and do oil paintings on 6’x6′ canvases. I would also buy a lot of guns and cat furniture for Banjo.
I feel like you could figure out ways to do this now for pretty cheap. Get large pieces of canvas and use the Superchief gallery space sometimes. Have you ever wanted to do small oil paintings?
No. I want to use my whole arm and not just my hand. I want to make stuff that’s big enough to immerse the viewers, aided by their bigness. You’re friends with Justin Roiland, who created Rick and Morty, and he announced on Twitter that we would kiss if the show sold out. What’s the likelihood of that happening you think?
Well, you have 200 pieces, so I think if the show sold out, we would have made $50,000. I think most people would kiss their brother on the lips for $50,000. Heck, I ate a pre-teen’s pubes off a nacho cheese flavored Dorito once, just for the glory alone.
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Teenage Tears by Nick and Penelope Gazin opens on May 6 at Superchief NY from 7–11 PM.