Derek Weisberg, In Color and In Focus
Derek Weisberg has been a pillar of my sense of the Oakland Art scene, whatever that may be, for the past five years. Next month I am proud to feature him for the first time in a Swee(t)art show. Five Points, the Trophy Room, June 3rd. I have been a huge fan of his work for a long time. It was his opening at Rowan Morrison last year that inspired me to start the 40th Street Art Quest. Everybody better recognize Boontling Gallery, of which Derek was a founder. He now lives back on Telegraph with his talented (jewelry/metal artist) and charming girlfriend Alana Douvros. I stopped by the other day and was totally impressed with what he has in store for the San Francisco show next month.
Obi: What have you been recently working on Derek? What have you got coming up this year?
Derek: Well, I have been working on a bunch of things. I had a very busy 2009 in terms of showing and obligations outside of the studio, so this year I was selective about what I got involved with. I decided that I wanted to spend most of my time and energy investigating my work. It has been nice, I have had time to play with color and 2-D works, drawing, painting (which I was never instructed in even 4 years of art school,pathetic) but ultimately and mostly still making sculpture.
Obi: How are you liking your new space? is it wierd being back on Telegraph? How has your relationship with the Oakland art world changed?
Derek: My new space is rad. It is a funky space but we have made it home for sure. Studio upstairs, nice natural light, garden in the back, it is more private, it is good. And I love the Temescal neighborhood and love being back here!
My relationship with the Oakland art world has changed only a little as far as I can tell. While running Boontling I was maybe more of a public figure, I was much more actively involved, putting on monthly shows and all that comes with that, and going to meetings and such. But I still do some of that now. I still go to Art Murmur and other Oakland openings and shows. I continually try to engage with other artists and friends. I am now curating a little project window space, called Wes Smoot Annex on Telegraph and 43rd. It is a super low key project and more for fun and interacting with other artists and trying to offer them an opportunity that they may not normal get or normally do. But I would say I am more focused on making my work right now then anything else.
Derek: The figures are the same as always kind of. At least they have similarities in my mind. It is true They are taking on more individual physical characteristics. For a while, the last several years I was very interested in depicting figures which represented the everyday man, or humans and humanity in general, aiming to achieve a universal quality. So the figures all had similar physical traits and may have all seemed like the same figure. I am still trying to carry that content through these new figures. I hope that even though now they have hair or beards and more of a sense of time and place, that they have the same universal qualities in terms of emotions, gestures, psychology, etc. I want them to have the same immediacy and accessibilty, melancholy and hope, sensitivity and reflection; they just have hair now. And I don’t think that my figures were ever and ever will be ideal figures. I love ancient Greek art, but I am not so interested in depicting the ideal form myself. I am, and have for a long time been interested in the mundane or everday, or current cultural trends. And I am also much more interested in the decrepit, worn, haggard, worked, odd, tired, etc. To me there I find much more truth in those aspects then in the ideal.
I was so impressed with Derek’s show at Hatch Gallery in December that when I came up with a list of great shows in 2009, I put it at the top. click here to link to artopic.org and read about it.
Click here to link to the Derek Weisberg Swee(t)Art studio visit, 2008