|José Parlá & Futura|
| London, UK
Futura and José Parlá exhibited in London recently for their Pirate Utopias show at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms. It was a mixed media affair, featuring lots of new pieces, along with some good old classics we’ve come to know and love. We caught up with two old friends of Beinghunted, Futura and José in the afternoon before the launch, to find out how they were doing, and what the exhibition was all about.
José, What does Pirate Utopias mean?
It describes the action of us claiming an independence from the academic world of trained art, as we come from a different source. We favour our own school, as we come from our own autonomous area. Futura laid a path for us as independent artists, and we are grateful for that.
Could you tell us what 'Urban Archaeology' is?
Well, I look at the city (NYC), it's deterioration, and collect old torn posters, remnants from disused buildings as urban anthropology - then use them in my paintings. If you look at my latest piece 'Temporary Autonomous Zone', I have ripped pages out of UK newspapers, which refer to the terror incidents over the past few weeks.
Is there anything specific you're going to check out whilst you're in London?
I'm definitely going to the Royal Academy of Art, and to check out the Rei Kawakubo exhibition at Dover Street Market.
Do you think Brooklyn, and other boroughs in NYC are becoming too expensive for young artists to come and live, and work in?
I don't think it has stopped the creative flow, and there's always borough's that are affordable, especially if artists share space, which they often do. Artists will always find new places to go, and the real estate agents are always looking to where they are going too!
What do you like about Europe?
I like the rich history, and discovering the past, in terms of art; actually I used to live in Hackney (East London) for a while which was a great experience.
How did you meet José, and when?
We met in Tokyo about five years ago, and the first thing I was impressed with José was his unique writing style, as it was based in calligraphy. You get a feeling when you see someone's writing style, that they are telling a story, and his had influences of Asia, Arabic, and some sort of mysticism.
What artists do you currently rate on the scene?
You know what I'm a bit of a hermit! I used to go to all the parties and exhibitions, but I'm getting a bit to old for that now, I'm no longer a social butterfly!
What other projects are you working on at the moment?
Well, one I'm really proud of is a set of snowboards for Burton, as part of the Vapors Series. They are for the rider Keir Dillon (at this point Stash came over and showed us some pictures on his PDA, very nice!).
Is Berlin the new New York?
That's what I hear, and I'm coming back very soon!
Do you prefer New York now, or did you prefer it more in the 70s?
Well, there is this romanticism about New York in the 70s, as you could do what you wanted to, but it was tough. The new New York is a police state, but these are the times we live in; I still love it there, it's still a village to me.
What subjects excite and upset you at the moment?
Excite me? That would be films, like 'American Gangster', and the new 'Transformers' movies. The thing that really upsets me is the conflict in the world - I'm old enough to remember the Vietnam War - what have we learnt? Thanks so much, and great to see you again Lenny the show looks great! Check the pictures, but more importantly make the effort to go to this show, because seeing them in the flesh is quite an experience.
José, Lenny - thanks for the great interview!
Interview: A JW Darby | Photos: © A. Storvoll. All rights reserved.
Find out what José is up to and dive into the world of Futura - his website Futuradosmil a website which is still as fresh as it was ten years ago.
Beinghunted x Evil Monito - José Parla (2005)