Interview with Julian Duron: Art, Humor, Enlightenment
Julian Duron, International Instructional Video Series : Volume One 2010 Video Still
Chip Schwartz: Hi, Julian. Thank you for taking the time to interview with me today. Could you start by sharing a bit about yourself?
Julian Duron: Thank you. I’m Julian Christopher Duron, age 28. I reside and work in New York City. I make art, talk about art, write about art and overall, I appreciate art and visual culture in general. I also do design, blog, make sounds, curate exhibitions and contribute to the art and culture website, Fecal Face. Oh, and I like coffee too. Currently I am most interested in dialogue, art “mini-movements” as I like to call them, painting, video and sound art. I like most art I see.
As (John) Cage said, “The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.” I love that. Art is changing and we just need to let that happen.
Julian Duron, Impossible Mirror 2009 Acrylic on Panel 46″ x 48″
CS: As far as your personal art is concerned, what are your main inspirations or influences?
Julian Duron: I am influenced by fellow artists, my peers, mentors, visual culture (i.e. art, design, film or anything visual etc.), books, music and nature. I am motivated by hard work, technology trends and history. School is great for studio work like painting, sculpture and installation because of the facilities. For me, it’s nearly impossible to consider something I make to be original, but when I see what I feel is original work, it gets my wheels turning. I also enjoy theory. Right now I’m reading Bourriaud’s The Radicant. It’s a real “doozy” suggesting a global departure from postmodernism. I don’t agree necessarily but enjoy the notion of something new and different.
Julian Duron, Survivor 2012 Installation 2010 Size Variable
CS: It seems like you have a great sense of humor in everything you do. What are your thoughts on that?
Julian Duron: I try to keep things fun and spontaneous depending on the project. Some people take things really seriously and it makes them seem miserable to me. Like people stuck in this myth of not “selling out” or these anti-corporate hippie instructors that think their lesson plan is so crucial because it is derivative of their experiences growing up in 60’s and 70’s New York or Berkley. All I have to say is “keep on trucking dudes.” It’s important to let go and develop thick skin, especially working in New York. Busting balls could be an Olympic sport out here. Sometimes humor also gets taken the wrong way so you always have to ride the crest.
CS: I’ve heard you are in a transition from painting to more video and installation work. Why exactly are you making this switch? What do you see as the major differences between these mediums?
Julian Duron: I am working on a new video series, but also spending equally as much time painting for a few exhibitions coming up in March and April. I feel like all of my work thus far has gone hand-in-hand so there’s not a mentionable separation, yet. As for the video, it is titled, International Instructional Video Series, and right now I’m in the middle of shooting volumes two and three. If you haven’t seen it, watch parts one and two on YouTube. Although I prefer them to be projected on a large wall.
I hope you enjoyed that. As you can see in the video I have incorporated my paintings, some digital illustrations, simple animations, original sound design and a critique featuring characters exchanging dialogue about my own work. By creating a character with my own name played by me it can be assumed by most viewers that I am this character in real life or at least that I agree with the character’s opinions and actions. It gets very complex and confusing even to me.
CS: That’s some pretty hilarious stuff! But why instructional videos? It seems like you have some pretty intense opinions about art and academia. Care to elaborate?
Julian Duron: That’s a great question. The idea is it to make it seem like I have really intense opinions when in actuality I’m just sort of whimsically making fun of the whole thing with reenacted scenarios that have actually happened, visuals and sound design that add to the “irritation” and characters that make it difficult to pin down my sincere intentions. I truly believe meditation can help students survive art school, but the character makes it mandatory or annoying, sort of like assignments in art school. Overall the “big” idea of critiquing my own work, as art, is very intriguing to me; taking the initiative to mention what has been said about my work and me in the past. This concept has not been explored thoroughly as far as I know, and I think it’s a good shove off for volumes two and three.
Julian Duron, Green Storage Unit 2009 Acrylic on Panel 48″ x 32″
CS: As you mentioned, you also work for the arts and culture website Fecal Face. Could you tell me what that’s all about?
Julian Duron: John Trippe and I started talking on the web many years ago. We became friends and now I cover most of the East Coast side of things along with our awesome NYC staff writers. I write reviews, artist profiles, studio visits, and try to spark light theory discussions. For our ten-year anniversary I am working on a large project with John that I can’t really get into at this time, but definitely stay tuned for that in Fall 2010 NYC. Fecal Face is growing and I believe it is one of the most important art websites in the world, meaning, to our age demographic.
CS: Since Fecal Face is based in San Francisco, I presume you have a pretty solid grasp on the art scene out there. What’s worth keeping an eye on?
Julian Duron: One set of my parents have lived in SF for a while. I have a pretty solid grasp on most art scenes in America though. As for who to watch it’s all over the map and very exciting times. I urge everyone to watch not only young and emerging artists, but also mid-career and established (famous) artists in 2010. The market has created a completely new playing ground. LA Times Headline: “Deitch Says Yo! to Fire Extinguisher Graffiti on MOCA.” NY Post Headline: “Art Goes F_CKING Bananas.” We are in a very peculiar moment.
Julian Duron: Awesome! Thanks man. Those are just for fun, but they definitely play a huge role in my practice. Coattails.org caters to my love for visual and audio culture including music videos, deejay mixes, viral videos, comedic writing and photos. Bodega Boys is sort of like a one page version of Coattails in the form of an e-news letter. We have fun making it and we appreciate people appreciating it. Thanks again!
Chip (Charles, Σhip, (hip, et al.) is a multimedia artist, essayist, poet, and thinker. His work is often eclectic due to his emphasis on process and intention over medium. Paradox, absurdity and linguistics are common in his work. He is currently seeking a drastic life change including – but not limited to – a new place of residence. He believes that in the land of the blind, the man with the hippest music collection is king.