Interview w/ Packard Jennings • Artist

SM: When was the last time you were involved in a successful prank?

PJ: A lot of my work can be called pranks, though I try to transcend the level of prank. The last prank I pulled was the “Day at the Mall ” pamphlets, which is a visual Anarchists guide to Utopia through through the act of rioting in a Mall. It instructs you on how to destroy the capitalist system, making way for a new Eden. I stuck them in clothing and books at the mall (all shot on spy cam). I eventually got busted by security when I threw a big handful off of the second floor into the main mall room. The penalty was expulsion from the entire mall area… for 24 hours. I think it is safe to say that I learned my lesson.

SM: If you were to re-celebrate last year’s birthday, how would you do things differently?

PJ: I have been trying to initiate a birthday standard involving the song “happy birthday”. This is a terrible song that we hear way to many times
throughout the year. I don’t know about your friends, but when we sing it, it is a dirge, and the person being celebrated just sits and endures it. I propose that it is the birthday boy or girl’s choice as to what song they want to hear (this can be the terrible “happy birthday” song for the traditionalists). It is much more fun to watch your friends struggle through “Wayward Son” by Kansas than to hear that fucking song. If I could go back I would change my selection of “We are the Robots” -Kraftwerk, for “Mr. Roboto” – Styx.

SM: If you were to illustrate your concept of what is actually underneath what we perceive the world around us to be, how would you go about it?

PJ: I saw a nice drawing by Sandow Birk where he had a cross section of a mall. It allowed you to see the subterranean propaganda rooms where “burn this flag” and “support our troops” bumper stickers were made.
Perhaps, for our current America, where 44% of Americans identify themselves as Born Again (including GW, Rumsfeld, and the now vanquished Ashcroft.), it would be some kind of ghostly drawing of the massacre that Jesus leads in Jerusalem as part of the Rapture. It would be quite a task to draw all of the crackpot perceptions that shape our reality. I would either draw that or a Unicorn dancing with kittens.

SM: Please describe your voice to someone who’s never heard it.

PJ: When I am happy it is high-pitched and flighty, like Mickey Mouse on helium. When I am angry, it is low and booming, like a thunderclap from the ass of God.

SM: Please regale us with an anecdote.

PJ: Antivenin or Crotalidae Polyvalent is excellent for pit viper envenomation, such as cottonmouths, timber rattlers and copperheads.

SM: Where would you take an amnesiac on their first day out?

PJ: Most likely an S+M sex club. Are they recovered?

SM: If you slept inside of songs instead of beds, in what song would you like to rest your weary head?

PJ: I already used “Wayward Son” above, “lay to rest your weary head and doncha cry no more”. That’s ok because I would be rockin’ way to hard to sleep. Probably a Nick Drake song, or Robyn Hitchcock.

SM: After you have shuffled off your mortal coil, where do you expect to go?

PJ: Being an atheist does not lend itself to the poetry that this answer is begging for. If there is a hell with the vengeful gods I have heard about, I will surely end up in Wal-Mart.

SM: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you in a moving vehicle?

PJ: Number one would be the expanded conversations that take place over a few days in an enclosed space. They have a beautiful and stifled importance. This is followed by a high-five by a passing Hell’s Angel as I was driving a 74′ Cadillac Coup De-Ville when I was 19. Third would be spinning donuts in a snowy Western New York parking lot.

SM: Please compose a brief poem or haiku on the subject of your choosing.

K-Mart sells sweaters,
I need weed killer also,
is this the future?