Nicolas Lobo on Mix Tapes and Bananas
Nicolas Lobo is known to represent immaterial elements in his conceptual work, like sound and radio waves, so it was no surprise when he mentioned needing the perfect mix-tape and radio station soundtracks to listen to while he works. We did some research, and it turns out Lobo’s own music can be found on Augurari—a non-profit which publishes audio by contemporary visual artists—where he recently released a cassette. When he’s not making music, though, he is making some pretty incredible artwork.
Artsy: Who tried to talk you out of pursuing a career as an artist, and why did you persevere?
Nicolas Lobo: That person was myself, it took a long time to be sure that it was what I really wanted to do. I don’t really feel like career is the right word; it’s more of a lifestyle. Yes there is work involved and you may make some money, but it’s really about figuring out what your priorities are and sticking to them. Taste is a social function; I think meeting other artists, curators, and writers makes all the difference.
Artsy: What tools are essential to your practice as an artist (anything from the Internet to paintbrushes to a particular Pandora station to create the perfect atmosphere)?
NL: Burning sage in the ashtray, my tape collection, bananas, a thousand dollars. I work at night usually until about 4am, then sleep and wake up around 11am to do it again. Right now I have some mix tapes put out by the L.A. radio station KCHUNG and a Viking Funeral/Holly Hunt split from Augurari in my tape deck.
Artsy: As you know, the Whitney is soon to open a new location, which has been coined the “Whitney of the Future”. What does the future of art look like?
NL: Does an artwork that is good take into account every artwork that came before it? Would there be a threshold after which artworks could no longer sustain this condition? I'm sure I'll visit the new location, I'm curious to see what the curators who animate the building come up with.
Artsy: Who is your dream collector?
NL: I respect collectors who are dedicated to a certain kind of deep looking, sometimes I'll have a conversation with someone that may see something in five minutes that took me a week to see as I worked. This is the kind of person I want to engage, I don't care about how much money they have I want to see how committed they are. Where is art on their list of priorities and how much intelligence have they brought to bear upon it? Being a collector should present at least as much difficulty as being an artist.
Nicolas is included in the Whitney Art Party Sale.