Image: Perkin Lovely.
Julian Richards is a "top tier" artist representative in New York City. After a mutual acquaintance introduced us, I thought it instructive to follow in MDM's footsteps, and start running "Dear Leader" interviews. I was not disappointed by his responses but rather felt that I, should have worked a little harder on the questions. But if you feel that the interviewer's job is to make the interviewee shine through, then I must have done a good job of it; or was it an inevitability, given the personality.
To put it mildly, few things are more entertaining than intelligence, eloquence, self confidence and comedy, all wrapped up in one lusciously human representative.
DL: Describe your kitchen sink?
JR: A single piece of concrete carved by our friend Trevor Heatherington into a dynamic reenactment of the Tiresius myth. He's prodding the fornicating snakes with a stick, mid-way through his metamorphosis. It's like a Bernini, but lumpier. The hot and cold faucets are particularly arresting - realistic arrangements of his male and female genitals, respectively. It's kind of a rite of passage at our home for visitors to be photographed drinking directly from the orifices (ordinarily men from the cold, women from the hot) whilst grinning libidinously at the camera. We have a gallery of polaroids on the wall by the fridge. Hilarious, eh?
DL: If you could choose to come back as a prairie, which one would it be, and would you let anybody till ye?
JR: I'm not really clear what a prairie is. If I were to come back as a fairy it might be WH Auden.
DL: What living person do you most admire, be specific ?
JR: It changes. There's this actress Natacha Regnier who is the right shape. She occasionally gets my aching admiration.
DL: Do you love all your children equally?
JR: Over an extended period, probably. But there are huge fluctuations over the short term. They offer very different challenges.
DL: Is there something photography is lacking, if anything?
JR: I can't help thinking that it lacks so much, simply because of its inherent limitations. In that sense you can't blame it. But you can feel a bit embarrassed observing it's importance being inflated to laughable proportions. Photography is the homeland that flocks of itinerant charlatans have spent generations seeking. It it so replete with the ordinary pretending to be extraordinary ... and I'm as guilty as anyone of lionizing mediocrity - my home-loan company requires it of me. I suppose there's an academic argument for it being the art form of our age ... shabby times, given to a relentless stream of product rendered quickly for an audience of glazed eyes and dull, lazy minds. As such I suppose it becomes relevant as a kind of cultural emblem. This relevance, however, doesn’t go far in offsetting the paucity of the experience of dealing with what is frequently required of us on a day-to-day basis. But like anything, if you suspend disbelief and confer special status upon material which is deeply banal, you can quickly build yourself a new hierarchy of value whereby bad is good and okay is wonderful ... and ten minutes later you can confidently pontificate upon such things as 'greatness' and 'beauty'. People will apparently know what you're talking about and nod accordingly. Maybe you can even sell some stuff.
DL: If you were to be given just one print to give to former Senator Joseph McCarthy, what would it be and how would you deliver it?
JR: I don't think I'd bother, really. Maybe if it was simply a matter of emailing him something off one of those Amatrice Francaise sites. It's nice to have a reason to poke about in there for a half hour.
DL: What do you dislike most about bakeries?
JR: Most of the women in them aren't naked.
DL: If you could change soft core pornography, how and who would it be?
JR: I guess make it less content to be soft. I like the tension between soft straining against the impulse to be hard. Who? Some of my friends' girlfriends, probably. I'm interested in tinkering with the unfamiliar/familiar equilibrium.
DL: Are you in it for the money?
JR: Yes, naturally. There are other ingredients, but the absence of any one of them alone wouldn't be reason alone to stop. Without money though, it would be over in a heartbeat.
DL: Any further penchants you'd like to reveal, unofficially?
JR: They are so prosaic I think it would be hard to stifle a yawn. I like to think I have my own unique niches in the canon of the commonplace, but perhaps I don't ... and anyway it'd take too much time and penmanship to state them prettily. They tend to wiggle about.
DL: Is there anything else you need, besides money?
JR: I need objects for the unholy bits of my imagination to alight upon.
DL: Favorite childhood cheeses?
JR: I remember discovering that camembert sometimes smells like semen. Still tastes good though. I've since noticed that day-old pancake mix has a similar quality.
DL: Which talent would you most like to have and how much would you pay to get it, Euros please?
JR: I can't afford to shop in euros, I earn my crusts in dollars which are currently equivalent to the Namibian Lucky Bean. I have always aspired to possessing talents which might alchemise me into a state of irresistibility. Hypnotism, manufacture of persuasive pharmaceuticals, knot-tying, those kinds of things.
DL: If you were one of those emoticons, which one would you be, and how big?
JR: The sunny vagina, 1:12
DL: What is your most treasured possession and would you give it to me, if I asked nicely?
JR: If I lived in a land where spouses were still considered goods and chattel I might entertain a loan or a swap under very special circumstances. What you got?
DL: What is "clam happy"?
JR: See response to emoticon question above.
DL: What are the upper body qualities you most like in a woman, or a man, if that doesn't do it for ye?
JR: Modest dimensions, please.
DL: What is the greatest love of your life and will it love you back, eventually?
JR: Overall I'm happy being the less loved in the greatest love equation. The inequality keeps the horizon line in view and the mystery of the other side intact. Who knows (or wants to know) what the landscape looks like once you crest the hill? Some fetid bog pocked with slag-heaps and sulfurous chimneys? Or just a flat expanse of featureless nothingness, like fucking Holland? Even if it's better than that, it's hardly likely to outdo the euphoric pornography of my imagination. So better to keep panting and chasing.
DL: How many horse-ladies in your Apocalypse?
JR: A brace of small-breasted ones.
DL: Who are your heroes, and do they even know you exist?
JR: I'm not sure I have any. Which isn't as cynical as it sounds, it's simply a matter of age and cheerful skepticism. Given time, most heroes seem to acquire feet of clay. Possibly I have a few dead ones, but I'd be irritated to see them stated as such, especially by me. Obsessions, however, would be a different story, although they might not be whole human beings. Just bits.
DL: Is this mildly annoying?
JR: Not at all, it's mildly flattering to be asked.
DL: Chicken or fish?
JR: I'm afraid I need a url to answer this.
DL: How's thing?