by Sean Newport
Jen Snyder of YESYESYES asked Sean Newport some questions about art, process, and SF. YYY: Do you consider yourself an artist? Do you say that to people? Are you like, "Hi. I'm an artist"? SN: I tell people I'm a woodworker or a carpenter. I've definitely have thrown the artist title out there from time to time. Which I must confess is really fun to say. YYY: Do you ever ask yourself why you bother to keep creating art in such a scary, mad world? Are you ever like, "Fuck it. What's the point? The internet is ruining everything anyway." SN: I think about this often. The world is going to shit, what's the point? But that's just it. If indeed the world is going to shit why not make the best of it. Do what you love. Make something so beautiful you forget about it all. YYY: How has working collectively at Engine Works influenced, hindered or helped you artistically? SN: Engine Works is my main source of influence and inspiration. The space has evolved so naturally into a true collective. We have a wood shop and a metal shop that are constantly in use. A recording studio and an art gallery in the basement. We have plans to have a print shop and a darkroom sometime soon. It's becoming a one-stop-shop for making rad shit. It's so easy to stay motivated working in a creative environment. Engine Works hosts really creative people who are constantly working on projects and pushing each other to keep creating. I can't even begin to express how good a feeling it is to have that kind of outlet and creative support. There's something magical happening there, we all feel it and are super stoked about it. YYY: Let's talk about the collective you might form someday out in the desert. Can we come? SN: I want all my friends there! It would most likely be the same as Engine Works just with more space and we would own the land. I want a place where we can all spread out and build shit. Wood shop, metal shop, ceramic studio, music studio. Offer residencies to musicians and artists who want to live there for a month or longer and create a body of work. We need more accessible creative community spaces in this world. YYY: Your art is really precise and regimented in some ways. It's quite thought out, an intricate puzzle, well-crafted, too. Does that seem opposed to other aspects of your life? Not like you're a mess or anything. You're an awesome person. I just find it so interesting when friends of mine who are rock and roll souls make such mathematically beautiful things too. SN: I grew up in a very clean and organized house. My room was always tidy and every piece of clothing I had was either folded in my dresser or hung in the closet. Sometimes I wish I were more like that now but over the years I've become way more messy. It's an organized chaos though. Most times more chaotic than organized. My work is way more organized than my life, without a doubt. But that's because it's more fun to make my artwork precise and intricate than it is to clean and organize my bedroom. I've found the older I get the more chaotic it becomes. One day I'll sit down and categorize, label, file and fold. YYY: What do you think about all the new money from the tech industry creeping into SF? Do you think the bohemian heyday is over? Do you think we're being pushed out and our ideas are being stolen and then marketed back to us? Or should we just all become peddlers to the rich? Make our money off the people who have enough money to buy our overpriced and awesome art? SN: SF has definitely changed. I don't mind it. I don't like how expensive things are now. But that's happening all over. It's "adapt or die" for me. There's got to be a balance between the art world and the corporate world. They need us to create art, we need them to pay for it. Or what you said, make money off those who make money. Time will tell.