Artist Spotlight: An Interview With Justin Paszul

23 Apr
2010

We recently came across Brooklyn-based artist Justin Paszul and his artwork, and thoroughly fell in love with it. Luckily, we got a chance to interview him to see where he draws inspiration from and what makes him tick. His answers in the Q & A below are very inciteful.

Homunculus

Q & A WITH JUSTIN PASZUL

So you grew up in MA and currently live in Brooklyn correct?
I grew up in upstate New York, actually, but I went to school in MA (at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, about a half hour north of Boston). And now I live in Brooklyn.
How would you describe yourself?
I usually try not to? I just say I draw pictures. That’s all that’s important, right?
What were your influences growing up?
Star Trek! All my other influences came after I was done growing up.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Thomas Pynchon & Roberto Bolaño. Sun City Girls. 50′s science fiction novels & 80′s science fiction computer graphics. I keep thinking of more things to maybe name and it’s really nothing but books. So I’ll just say ‘books.’
What is your favorite piece of artwork you have done and why?
For my senior thesis show I did a 9-foot by 3-foot drawing in the same tiny geometric-line style I was doing the smaller pieces in. It’s definitely not the best drawing I’ve ever done, by far, but it was so satisfying finishing something that massive (it also has one of my favorite titles, ‘The constellations Leo Strauss and Sirhan Sirhan enjoying a chat and a cup of tea, nestled in the stellar hammock of the Magellanic Clouds’ which is really just the dumbest thing when you think about it)  I’ve always meant to work that large again but I don’t have the means right now.
Explain your style of work…(how would you describe it).
Repetitive line networks & science fiction cartoons, and everything in between.
Your work has diagram elements and a lot geometric shapes…why do you incorporate these elements?
I always used to just doodle repetitive line things all through high school and eventually in college the systems got organized and I got more serious about their composition. Mostly I just like the process, it’s almost meditative for me to just get lost in the lines.
If you had to chose a role model, who would it be?
Carl Sagan! or Charles Gocher or Tom Scharpling.
What are your favorite books? (Name two titles). And…two favorite movies?
Two books is too hard. Five! Alvaro Mutis ‘The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll’ – Christopher Priest ‘Inverted World’ - Flann O’Brien ‘The Third Policeman’ – Vladimir Nabokov ‘Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle’ – Elaine Dundy ‘The Dud Avocado’. And two movies. No, three: The Holy Mountain (Alexandro Jodorowsky). Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (Lisa Kudrow & Mira Sorvino). OC & Stiggs (Robert Altman).
Your titles are quite explanatory…How do you come up with the titles for your work?
It’s all basically complete nonsense. I do the drawings then days later when I get around to scanning them I come up with a title. Sometimes it’s more like a dialogue thing, sometimes a caption, sometimes like an excerpt from a story. But it’s all basically arbitrary. I just like having fun with words.
I notice you say your interests are ‘large’ structures…do you mean as in architecture, installations?  What exactly do you mean?  Can you give some examples?
It’s actually ‘impossibly large structures.’ Like when you’re dreaming and you come across some sort of building, or monument or whatever and it’s miles and miles across and your mind can’t really come to terms with the scale? That sort of thing. And also I always have sort of imagined my abstract drawings, the geometric line ones, as being these unfathomably massive objects floating out in deep space.
Who would you compare your work to, if asked?
Well I’m sometimes very consciously trying not to rip off Marcel Dzama too much. So maybe that.
If you could spend the weekend with one artist (dead or alive) – who would you choose?
I would be Henry Darger’s counselor on an episode of ‘Hoarders’ (I mean come on I’m already bringing Henry Darger back from the dead I might as well give myself a job as a TV host too).
Your sailing one afternoon, a storm blows over and you get marooned on a deserted island…what do you have with you? (ie: in pockets, on hand etc. Only what you have with you when you sailed off).
I usually don’t have much in my pockets! So I would probably only have a couple pens, a little pocket sketchbook, hopefully a little paperback book, and almost definitely my Jew’s-harp.
Name a word you like the sound of.
Mohorovicic (as in the discontinuity).
If you weren’t an artist, what would be your back-up profession?
I would really love to be the guy who works for the Department of Weights & Measures, who goes around to every little shop and deli and cafe that has any kind of scale, and inspects it to make sure it’s fair and balanced. I think that would be a fascinating job to have, especially in New York.
Here are some examples of Justin’s work…

Monitoring menisci at the heliotrope distillery

In which a meeting of the Headlicker’s Union Local V7XX1-3 is called to order

Nestled in the ӕtherial digits, a birth

Hey man you got your face on my face! No, you got YOUR face on MY face!

Performing a small test on the newly-fallen Nibiru fragment

Nullus deus miscetur hominibus

J. C. Paszul (a self-portrait in four strata)

Sorry guy, I’ll be outta your way in a sec, just passing through.
Visit Justin Paszul’s website to see more of his awesome drawings. Or you can visit his Flickr Page. You can even purchase his artwork from his Etsy store.

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