Recently the loin had an opportunity to catch up with DYoungV about his upcoming show.
THE LOIN: What’s behind the title of your upcoming show, ‘SLOW JAMS’?
DYoungV: It’s my sarcastic personality, primarily. I like finding and creating contradiction in things. A “slow jam” is a term for music that holds R&B or Soul influences. This music is soft sounding, laced with highly romantic and emotional lyrics. This type of music, despite how good it is, resembles nothing in my personality or work. I was listening to Hardcore Punk the whole time I was creating this show, which you can see it in the work. Also, when someone familiar with my personality and outlook on things hears the words ‘slow jams’ come out of my mouth, it strikes a bit of humor….
However, there is a dual meaning in this title. The pieces I am exhibiting are 19×24 inch drawings created entirely with Micron 08 pens. These pens are generally meant for creating smaller, highly-detailed works. Yes, my work is detailed, but also requires a lot of fill-ins that this pen is not generally used for. Every single pen stroke is visible, so the viewer knows it took a long time to create every individual piece. I like the repetition, time consumption, and look that works like these allow. It’s like painting your apartment with a hand brush instead of a roller–lots of time to think. And though I have a process down and an idea of what each piece will look like, the result is not immediate. It takes a while to get there, hence the title ‘SLOW JAMS’.
TL: After several years of residing and being active in San Francisco, you recently moved to East Oakland. How has the move affected your work?
DYV: After moving to East Oakland recently, I was extremely curious to see what changes would occur in my work as an artist. What I have learned through both moving to California from the East Coast and traveling throughout the world, is that each new experience results in drastic changes to the way I go about doing art. There is something about a drastic change in routine, scenery, and lifestyle that causes my art to adapt to new environments.
Although East Oakland is only a short train ride from San Francisco, it is an entirely different environment. I now live in a warehouse instead of a small apartment, the weather is warmer, I wake up in an industrial area instead of a dense, urban environment. It takes much more planning to get food and supplies, I commute instead of walk everywhere, and I spend much more time alone then I did before. The communities here are mainly working class Black and Latino families, as opposed to San Francisco’s Asian and predominantly-white, transient populations of San Francisco. The move has done a lot to change my perspective on both my life and my history in the San Francisco area.
Once I moved from SF, I found it easier to get ideas out that I’d conceived of earlier in the year, when I was abroad. Since my first weeks in Oakland, I have noticed changes in the scale of my work, color pallette, and nature of concepts. Having access to larger walls to work on, I spent my first few months working on large-scale, hand-painted gallery and street pieces. Those pieces are an extension of what I was working on previously in SF, but far more detailed, larger, muted in color palette, and representative of recent travels.
As refreshing as the new context is, I’m still needing to be more mobile so that I can create while not in the studio. Being mobile has helped me to go back to older styles that I had been wanting to reintegrate into my work, like doing Micron pen drawings with no references, just working off the top of my head. Since I moved out of SF, I’ve done a lot more drawing at cafes, and socializing while working. Most of the work created for this show was drawn at cafes or delis all over the Bay. I was working out of the studio so much, I bought a specialized art backpack that holds my drawing pad and supplies perfectly–almost as though it was made specifically for me!
TL: In recent years you’ve been focused on doing both illicit street art projects overseas, along with commissioned murals in the US and abroad, as opposed to gallery projects. What prompted to to create a new body of work to exhibit in a gallery setting?
DYV: I suppose I got frustrated at the amount of work I had put into previous exhibitions, both on the larger installation scale and smaller intimate gallery settings. In either case, I rarely made my money back and was forced to deal with less than honest or inexperienced people. I realized that most gallery owners and staff don’t play the long game. They are in it for a few years, then cut out to pursue something else. Most artists pursue art because it’s in their blood. Really, it’s far more of a lifestyle than a career. Although I’ve had some great experiences and relationships with gallery owners and curators, I don’t expect the majority of them to pursue their interests with the same passion and zeal that I have. So as a result, my relationships with them are generally very short lived and disposable, with few exceptions. It can be extremely difficult to work with people like this, but I do sometimes like working with the exceptions.
As a result of my frustrations with the gallery settings, my emphasis became doing illicit street art. I could travel wherever I wanted, create what I chose, and put it out in the public eye without restriction. Of course, there are the authorities, angry locals, weather concerns, and all the usual concerns of breaking the law, but you’re doing your work on your own terms. The risk is worth the reward. I found that the cost of creating a new body of street art–buying a round trip plane ticket to almost anywhere on the planet, renting a hotel room, and bombing for one month (the same time a gallery show stays up)–was less cost (and stress) for me than putting on a gallery installation. Granted, I travel on the cheap and my installations can be pretty elaborate.
As far as doing large scale commissioned murals are concerned, I’ll take any chance to go big and get paid for it…this art game ain’t cheap!!!!
My reason for doing the current show is to set a deadline. I desperately wanted to experiment in this newer style that is a sort of continuation of a style I’d abandoned several years ago. The only people who knew of this style were locals I’d known years before I even entered the ‘art scene’. I’ll being showing new versions of that work to some of those very same people. The deadline (September 1st, 2016) will force me to continue with this style while expanding on it. Though I appreciate all the benefits of not having deadlines and leaving yourself to experiment, I needed to get my ass in gear and move this body of work forward into the public eye. Partially for myself, partially to show people that I have an entirely different side to me then what they are used to seeing.
TL: What is the biggest difference between this new body of work and your past works?
DYV: The most noticeable difference between this current body of work and what I was working on before is the subject matter. I feel that what I have been doing lately is far less cerebral, and more intuitive. I am simply drawing whatever I’m presently thinking, with very little planning. It’s a more accurate way to express my imagination, with far less filtering of it.
TL: Do you ever plan on moving back to SF?
DYV: I’d like to, eventually. I do enjoy the space and solitude I am offered in East Oakland, but SF (the TL especially) is where my heart is. So long as there is a Hemlock Tavern, I’ll always be tempted to make my way back…
D Young V ‘ Slow Jams’
Installation and solo exhibition of new work
Micron 08 pen on Strathmore Bristol paper, 19 x 24 in.
Thursday, September, 1st
SF, CA 94109