Hsieh in Gotham City

Victor Hsieh
{Check out Hsieh's works first}

Introduction by Mark Gibson / Questions by George McGrath and Joel Mortenson
Interview by George McGrath

The absolute art of Victor Hsieh encourages spectators to explore
dazzling new worlds. In his trademark fashion, principal elements of
nature and technology become unified in the most delightful way.
Hsieh's fantastic imagery is varied in form, multi-layered in space,
engaging in intricacy, lyrical in line and emphasized by his masterful
knowledge of color. Exhibiting last month in Long Island and Chelsea,
now in Midtown, and SoHo next month, the 21-year-old Californian invades
New York. The following interview with the artist was conducted at the
Republic National Bank of New York (99 Park Avenue).

George McGrath: What's this show?
Victor Hsieh: A very special benefit for individuals with disabilities.
It'll be here a couple months and then move to The John McEnroe Gallery.
My work here coincides with the exhibit theme "Strength of the Mind,"
with blazing psychic power.

GM: It's imposing.
VH: Big bright things can be exhilarating.

GM: What are these things you paint?
VH: My children. They are what it is you make of them, just as life is
what you make of it.

GM: I read some of your statements on particular works…
VH: Personal interpretations, but each piece is digested differently
through different eyes.

GM: How do you come up with these ideas?
VH: The ideas come to me.

GM: What are you thinking of when painting?
VH: Usually start off thinking about miniature golf. About ten minutes
in, I rise above consciousness.

GM: There's geometry in your compositions.
VH: Aced it. I'm attracted to coherence in placement and overall unity.

GM: Your color schemes are complex yet so harmonious. How do you decide
where to place every color?
VH: It's all premeditated. My brain is a database of specified visual
concepts which patiently await to be placed on canvas. Not only color
placement is preconceived, but all physical data of any given image.

GM: Why do you paint?
VH: It's a bare necessity.

GM: What have you been listening to while painting?
VH: Joe Mamma, Moaning.

GM: What do you think of painting's current state?
VH: For decades skeptics have said it's dead and now more than ever. For
the most part, they're right. Though reiteration is common, there is
new wind being broken. For example, the current output of Mac James or
Anthony Ausgang. Sure painting isn't the main focus, but this factor
simply heightens its personal intimacy and value. The visual arts (as a
whole) are dying. Now it's up to us to save it.

GM: Why do you worship Ross Bleckner?

VH: I'm not worthy.

GM: Some people see you as being a savior of contemporary painting.
VH: Aaah, how sweet.

GM: Well what's it like to be 21 and responsible for inventing a new
style of art?
VH: Hey, I'm just following my beliefs. It's completely natural for me
to do what I do. My work is a direct representation of myself.

GM: How many paintings have you made?
VH: Lost count long ago. There must be thousands in existence.

GM: Why do you use acrylic over oil?
VH: It's the paint of today. Acrylic has its distinct characteristics and can also be
used in the manner of watercolor or oil. Plus, it's more durable and
permanent. Oil's great for glazes. Sometimes I'll use both of them in
one piece or use non-traditional mixed mediums, but generally I'll keep
acrylic in focus.

GM: What's wrong with being a painter?
VH: Cadmiums stink, and it takes so long to make a satisfying painting.

GM: You consider yourself an accomplished artist?
VH: So what if I've shown. Sharing personal vision is the moral
responsibility of being a creator. The work has a life of its own,
interacting with humans. It introduces fresh perspectives, innumerable
ways of thinking, and provides gateways to enchanting places. My
priority is to fulfill particular personal ideas. In that sense, yes, to
a degree. Yet there are many forthcoming miracles. I don't consider
myself an artist.

GM: Then what are you?
VH: A guy that gives birth to art.

GM: Well you sure are one talented individual.
VH: No, I'm not. I'm just an idiot from outer space.

GM: You also make music with the guitar and drums. Which do you prefer?
VH: I go through phases of using one more frequently than the other. The
guitar is great for intricate harmonies, but with fusion influences I'm
also able to capture that through percussion. The guitar is more tactile
whereas the drums are a full-body experience. It depends upon the
circumstance and which phase I'm going through.

GM: What musical equipment do you use?
VH: An eight-piece Pearl with Sabians, Remo heads, double bass,
roto-toms, a splash and two chinas. Ibanez and Paul Reed Smith axes with
Peavey, Fender and Boogie tube amps.

GM: How do music and art compare?
VH: They go hand-in-hand and feed off one another. Some people see my
visual art as music. Sure my musical activities have an influence, but
that's just one of the many things.

GM: Why is there a dream-like quality to your work?
VH: It's what I dream of.

GM: And the natural forms?
VH: Regular scuba diving and botanical gardening habits. Absorbing the
best of both worlds.

GM: But then some parts of your paintings and drawings look like a
computer made them!
VH: People often say that, but it's solely handcrafted precision.

GM: What's your favorite punk band?
VH: Peter and the Test Tube Babies.

GM: What's the biggest thrill you've ever experienced?
VH: Either the time I skydived naked from an airplane or the time I
jumped off a 200-foot cliff into the ocean.

GM: Where was this?
VH: The skydiving in Afghanistan and the cliff in Chile.

GM: You gather inspiration from your worldly travels?
VH: Somewhat. More specifically from my journeys to Egypt, China and
Indonesia. I identify with much of ancient art's intuitive and
meticulous attributes.

GM: Are you vegan?
VH: No, drink milk.

GM: Who is your favorite philosopher?
VH: They all have a handful of good ideas; abiding by just one narrows
your outlook. My system of belief mixes Kant, Socrates and Aristotle.

GM: What's your favorite vegetable?
VH: Miniature corn.

GM: Have you ever tried drinking 30 Budweisers and vomiting on a police
VH: No, don't consume alcoholic beverages and I treat officials with utmost respect.

The painter skated to his hotel room at the Hampshire Ambassador to work on some drawings and went to Italy a couple months later. Click here to see a bunch of very cool things.

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