Interview w/ Greg Clarke • Artist

SM: If you took a fifteen minute walk in heaven, what would you bring with you?

GC: My polarized Persols, a digital camera and somebody from Skeptical Inquirer to verify that I wasn’t experiencing some brain-based biological phenomena.

SM: Please describe an impressionable encounter with someone elses’s art.

GC: My first post-adolescent exposure to Saul Steinberg in the New Yorker…his elevation of cartoonish line drawings to visual poetry was a revelation.

SM: If you were to illustrate a portrait of your own skeleton doing an activity independent of you, what would you be sure to include?

GC: I’m having a hard time processing this question.

SM: When was the last time you took a good long look at the sky?

GC: Sometime before the first of my two children were born…about 6 years ago.

SM: What’s the first thing you thought when you woke up today?

GC: What (groan) am I going to pack my kids for lunch?

SM: Regale us please, with an anecdote.

GC: In college, I took a studio art class taught by a neo-marxist. One of our projects was to do something “radical” or different from how we normally worked. I was a reactionary “figurative” guy swimming in a sea of “conceptual” pseudo-intellectualism. Ostensibly, my project would be some non-objective, abstract piece constructed from materials I wouldn’t ordinarily consider.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the class, I conspired with one of my classmates to turn it into a performance piece (performance art was all the rage). While I was “earnestly” talking about my project to the class, Fred (my co-conspirator) became very argumentative with me (it wasn’t proper decorum to challenge another artist’s “intent”). Some students shifted uncomfortably and others tried to calm him down.
It culminated with him ripping my “art” off the wall and stomping on it…to the utter horror of everyone present. Alas, that was too “radical” for the radical instructor who castigated us for our “shameless hoax”.

SM: Please recommend a phrase to repeat to one’s self at night while falling asleep to promote interesting dreams.

GC: I can’t say I’ve ever used such a method to stimulate dreams, but thumbing through a copy of Picasso’s Vollard Suite just before turning in definitely messes with the REM cycles.

SM: If everything you drew on paper manifested itself here in the world, what would you be sure to draw?

GC: A new continent in the South Pacific establishing a hermetically sealed homeland for fundamentalists, extremists, paranormalists, and Thomas Kinkade.

SM: Please describe your smile to someone who’s never seen it.

GC: I’ve been told it’s “impish.”

SM: If you had to reintroduce an amnesiac to the world, where’s the first place you would take them?

GC: To Ireland for a pint of Guinness on draft (much better than the pasteurized stuff they pour in the States).