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Q&A 2020-04-21

Tom Sachs. (office-hours)

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Tom Sachs hosts a question and answer session on Instagram live from his basement workshop.



“I don't make it for museum. I don't make it for an art collector. It starts with us and that's how you imbue something with authentic values.”
“I've got six jobs which include team management and accounting and industrial design and cleaning the toilet. We all. Sometimes the boss must shovel shit in Louisiana and that is part of the deal.”
“Human beings dig ditches and build bridges. That's what we do best.”
“Do what you love. Henry. Because could you imagine the misery of making fine art and being successful at it an then? Um? But you hated it and an you got commercial success.”


note 0


00:01:00 Tom Sachs: Hey so, welcome to office hours episode 2. Brought to you by wits end. Um, we’re going to answer some of the questions you had last week, and I’d encourage you to type in more. Because we’re going to add to this list. And um, oops, sorry I’m not gonna give you Kanye’s password. And, um. Keep going with these. Can you see or is there too much glare? So tell me, is there too much glare? Can you see it? You can read that? Is that loud and clear? Yeah? Tilt it more like that?

00:01:43 Erum: Yeah, that’s better if that works.

00:01:44 Tom Sachs: Yeah, I’ll tilt it. Is my favorite tape measure. Metric and inches. As a Shim, because within every tool is a hammer, but within every tool there’s also a Shim. Is? I want higher than that, right? I will use. I will add to that. Presto, the only white out pan.

00:02:14 Erum: That’s pretty great.

00:02:15 Tom Sachs: OK, it’s precarious as fuck. Just to show you the in in-situ Shim job.

00:02:24 Tom Sachs: K what does in I.S.R.U. mean? It means in-situation resource utilization. Go back an watch Week 1, two and three little warm up videos to give you a little clue. It means you’re in this situation. You got limited resources. How are you going to solve them today? Use a white out pen a tape measure as shims. That’s the discipline that we’re working on now now.

00:02:50 Tom Sachs: And one of the questions coming up is going to be. How do you deal with this time in covid? And I would say the worst thing about it is that it forces you to address your existential questions. Why are we here? What are we doing? What’s the point? And the best thing about it is it forces you to address these questions. What are we doing here? What’s the point of living? Why is life worth living? We’ll dig in deeper, but let’s just see.

00:03:16 Tom Sachs: Do you swipe up or down, I think. Next question. Push what?

00:03:24 Erum: Push plainly at the top of your presentation.

00:03:28 Tom Sachs: And how do you know when to go to the next one?

00:03:32 Erum: When you’re ready, you just swipe. Other way

00:03:37 Tom Sachs: Alright, What’s the difference in your approach when designing for consumers versus museums? And this is from @colejwright? Can you read @colejwright is that small big enough?

00:03:51 Tom Sachs: Erum?

00:03:52 Erum: You can read it.

00:03:53 Tom Sachs: OK Cool.

00:03:54 Erum: But a little bigger, yeah?

00:03:55 Tom Sachs: OK, so there is no difference. We make everything for us for our team, which is me and you’ve got in the background, you’ll hear Erum Serena and, uh, they’re part of the teams that are part of the conversation. You might hear them chiming in, so whether it’s a pair of sneakers or a painting is something that we make for us. I don’t make it for museum. I don’t make it for an art collector. It starts with us and that’s how you imbue something with authentic values. You make it for your needs and all the great artists of all time have always done this. Um, otherwise you’re just a hack. We can dig into that and also by the way, um, any of these questions if you if we didn’t go far enough, you can ask him again. Dig farther. This is office hours. This is a dialogue so please let’s let’s keep it going.

00:04:45 Tom Sachs: Did I do that right? Was that question sufficient?

00:04:49 Erum: Yeah, yeah, and that’s what last week was about to when you showed us how to get those air pods out.

00:04:55 Tom Sachs: Yeah, what the? Am I going forward or back?

00:04:59 Erum: You’re going forward. You want to go the other way.

00:05:02 Tom Sachs: Going the other way?

00:05:04 Erum: Yeah, there you are. Oh back.

00:05:08 Tom Sachs: I think it’s the same. I think it’s the same. Yeah, each the button is the same. Oh man, some of these are really good, right? What OS I’m touching on the thing? OK. Four.

00:05:32 Tom Sachs: Chef of 10 years, I want to get into woodwork advice on changing careers during all this. This is from @iamonasty. My advice to you chef is start today. Everyone do the thing you want to do for the rest of your life, starting now. You might have to keep your job as a chef or as a janitor or whatever the fuck you’re doing. But do your art career at the same time. When you are a. Artist, you have other jobs that you will always do. I’ve got six jobs which include team management and accounting and industrial design and cleaning the toilet. We all. Sometimes the boss must shovel shit in Louisiana and that is part of the deal. So chef get into woodworking today.

00:06:22 Tom Sachs: What should we do to forget saddness from and I’m going to combine this with how to fix a broken heart from @almsot_juan. It’s the same thing guys. Get back to work. Time is the only thing that can fix a broken heart, and Saddness is a pretty general word, but bottom line, you gotta trick yourself into staying working. Cheetahs run 70 miles an hour. A peregrine Falcon is the fastest flying animal. Human beings dig ditches and build bridges. That’s what we do best. Do what you do best. Work on your art, that’s all you can do. The heart will heal itself. Do what you do best. Work on your art, that’s all you can do. The heart will heal itself. Sadness will go away only through work.

00:07:19 Tom Sachs: Have you ever had trouble separating your practice with your personal life? From @a_g_g___. The key to success is integrating all those things so that when you are a janitor and you are an artist, you are the best fucking janitor and you are the best fucking artist and you put all of your heart into cleaning that toilet. Color it clean is the movie. So hey, Serena?

00:07:55 Serena: Yes?

00:07:56 Tom Sachs: Yes, so can you take notes first note is number one. Color it clean.

00:08:00 Serena: OK.

00:08:01 Tom Sachs: And then we’re going to be posting a little notes from this so you guys don’t have to take notes. I mean, take notes if you want, but color it clean. So focus on that, integrate it.

00:08:11 Tom Sachs: What was the turning point in your career where you became a contemporary artist? Was that always your goal? And this is from @mariapiessis. Um, no. I thought that I had to get a job as an architect or something. I didn’t think that I was talented enough to be an artist an so I went to architecture school and I hated it and I started doing art on the weekends or in the evenings. And I did my work at architecture school and then I kind of finished with a BA in architecture and sculpture. But I kind of skated by through architecture, although I’m interested in it still and always was. It was really my heart was always in sculpture and I didn’t think I thought you had to be like a genius like Louis Armstrong to be a successful artist. I didn’t know that you just had to work really hard. Little did I know later that all you really have to do is work really hard and be fearless. And then you can do whatever you want. But I mean when I say work really hard, I mean really really fucking hard and when I say fearless I mean really fearless like make it your full time job. Yeah, that was another one of my jobs is self analysis and digging and using every tool available to understand myself so that I can have the courage to make just the right wrong decisions. That is a full time job for every artist. So anyway, Long story short, I kind of stumbled into my art career. Or maybe that’s a longer story, but the point is just dedicate yourself to what you love. It’s the secret to happiness.

00:09:48 Tom Sachs: How do you balance the hustle being an artist in the city and still paying rent? Justinrisley. I think that’s the same question as before. Everyone is an artist. It’s I know artists that are not creative and I know lawyers that are very creative. You do what you gotta do to get by, but your question is good because of the word hustle underline that.

00:10:16 Tom Sachs: When is your next show in New York City? From @tiko_the_shark. The next show will be a painting show at Aqua Bella Gallery in September.Paintings. First painting show.

00:10:33 Tom Sachs: From brycesoncenter. Can you separate the art from an artist? Burzum is on your required listening, but has a shady past, yeah? Burzum like burned down some churches and killed some drummers and. He and is a great musician. Uh. It’s complicated because people are complicated. I don’t condone his actions, but do we burn all the Caravaggio’s because he was a murderer too? Do we Renounce Moses for committing manslaughter, we don’t condone these actions, but we must appreciate people for their best work. So I don’t know. I think that’s complicated, but I do think you have a responsibility to be a good person. An analyze that. And being an asshole is not an excuse or making good art is not a license to be an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.

00:11:39 Tom Sachs: Why Makita. Milwaukee seems quite good at putting some good stuff out these days. What even what is Makita? Makita is a brand of power tool from Japan. I I like them. I think Milwaukee’s fine and I also think probably Bosch and Dewalt are also fine. I don’t think it matters. What matters is that you if you get one power till you try and get others of the same brand so you can trade batteries so that you can just be efficient. I like em, but there are lots of good ones, so this is not an endorsement of one over another. Um?

00:12:17 Tom Sachs: Thank you @arngrimur. Favorite architect? Come on Le Corbusier, you know. Maybe thought that the that the bad guys were going to win so he was hedging his bets again. Super dick move, but you can’t remove Villa Savoye or Ronchamp from his oeuvre.

00:13:03 Tom Sachs: What do I do when I’m completely uninspired by the looming economic collapse? You can’t do anything about that @muellzer. Nothing. All you can do is what’s in front of you. Focus on that.

00:13:20 Tom Sachs: Mike at Michael_Reid asks What’s your favorite film? Barry Lyndon. Barry Lyndon is my favorite film. Watch it. We could have a whole office hours about Barry Lyndon.

00:13:41 Tom Sachs Is making your bed in the in the morning necessary? If you’re going to mess it up at night from @nohpets. Well. There are no stupid questions, but there are plenty of stupid answers and here’s mine. Um? Absolutely, you must make your bed. You must. So that it is a appetizing presentation for you to enter your sleep, which is fundamental to your survival as a human being and your success as an artist. You must rest well make that bed a sanctuary. This is like the same question. This question comes from the same people who want to use compact fluorescent lights, I mean. Why to save pennies you’re producing? Light light is our metaphor for fire. This is a sacred illumination. This is how we begin and end our days with the sun. So like. Don’t have shitty light bulbs, the lighting is everything. Yes, make your bed.

00:14:55 Tom Sachs From @nomoreInternet_ Oh, that’s that’s great. Just that just nomoreInternet_. It makes me want to look up your feed. If someone wants to join the Coven, do they need to live in New York? Well, good question. The Coven refers to the studio team. Yeah, there are twelve of us, and we’re always looking for for good. Good new people to fight the fight, um? So first answer is no, you can join us now by doing I SRU by submitting your projects because. We find people from all over the world to join us based on the work that they post on social media. Let’s just limit it just for now to say Instagram. Because there are a lot of people and with only 12 places we can just limit it just to that area of of expression. So post your stuff there, we’ll find you and post and hashtag us. But beyond that, it takes a while to develop the skills and you can learn about what we’re looking for by participating in this project and join us. However, we always say that when people come to New York like don’t come to New York just for us, because you might not like so we might not like you. Things take awhile to workout. That’s part of it. There’s a lot of failure for every. I’m really good at picking people. That’s my number one skill, but for every six people only one works out eventually. So if you’re in New York, it’s better because you’re there, but you know, New York’s not all that it’s cracked up to be? But it’s the best place to be.

00:16:49 Tom Sachs: From @67qoo. Please come to Japan someday! We are coming to Japan. In July, what’s the date the opening date?

00:17:04 Erum: July 4th, currently.

00:17:08 Tom Sachs: July 4th. Oh God willing, um we are going to be opening our retail experience at EC-ton Shinjuku, and there gonna be some special exclusive things there. I’m sure they’ll be available online too, but come and join us in Tokyo. We’re going to. We’re going to rock it, and we’re also going to go surfing and WHR. Western hydrodynamic research will also be premiering its new luxury surfboard at the same time. So big part of that. Therefore.

00:17:47 Erum: They’re special sponsor of the 10 bullet surf team.

00:17:50 Tom Sachs: Yeah, so I don’t know if you could hear that, but WHR is the official sponsor of the 10 bullets surf team. So we’re going to go surfing. I don’t know for sure in Chiba, but maybe we’ll go on a larger surf trip so Japanese surfing crew hit us up.

00:18:10 Tom Sachs: Number one. This is from @isthishenry. Um number one action to improve chances at commercial success in fine art world. Um? Do what you love. Henry. Because could you imagine the misery of making fine art and being successful at it an then? Um? But you hated it and an you got commercial success. So you got paid. You got money dumped on you to do something that you didn’t love. That’s got to be worse than whatever situation you’re in now. Like the work is the reward. The reward for good work is more work. The reward for good work is more work. So. If you have to do the work that you love, that’s all there is.

00:19:16 Tom Sachs: OK, so. These last couple of questions kind of go together. When should I put effort into getting the perfect material versus using what’s readily available from at 160 VC? And Oh wait OK um, and there are a couple others that are like this. Oops, sorry. Shit. Well to answer that question, it’s style and taste. You have to decide for yourself. Um, only you can decide.

00:19:52 Tom Sachs: What do you do when you create something and then come to find later out that someone has done it already? Well, that’s the best. That means that you can. You don’t have to do that work. You can do something else. Maybe that doesn’t really address your initial disappointment, but you gotta get over that. Build on it. Find some aspect of it though has not been investigated and dig into that deeper. There may be a time of morning where an idea that you’re committed to it was done by someone else and done better well. Then you can really dig into that work and learn from it. All of these things that I’m talking about today are my ways of working these problems. These are all universal problems. You have to find your way of working these problems so. In other words. Um, if you don’t know what to do. Do it my way. Until a better way presents itself. This is only my dogma. You’ve got these tips and tricks are ways that, I’ve found to find success in difficult times when I’ve been lonely or with a broken heart or not, what to do or when I saw someone’s art that I thought was like an idea I want to do and they did it so much better. Of course it was disappointing, but then I was able to. Focus on some other things that only I could do. You know I wanted to make an iPhone, but these guys at Apples did it so much better than me and so it took awhile to get over that. And now I make bricolage and that’s something that Apple can’t touch. You know fine understanding, like when to find just the right. Been material that maybe you spend money on versus making something out of garbage. Uh, you got to find your own thing. I have my guidelines that I’ve developed over decades, but you have to find yours. So if you don’t know what to do, please by all means use my methods until they become obsolete. Um? I you know we we said we’re keeping that to 25 minutes is that it? For today Erum? Should we do more?

00:22:05 Erum: Ahhh you have 3 minutes? You could fit. One question. There’s a good one that came up if you have one.

00:22:17 Tom Sachs: Yeah yeah, what? What is that?

00:22:19 Erum: But this says, what is it? What does it won’t fail because of me mean to you?

00:22:23 Tom Sachs: OK, well here’s another one. Where is the line between looking made by human and looking like shit? Again, that’s taste like I have mine. I say creativity is the enemy. Um? So you know, that’s like that’s like a taste thing. How do you know when you’re on the right track again, it’s like love, you’ll know it when you feel it. But until you don’t know, find some guidelines and like use mine. Or maybe there’s another artist that you like and synthesize it and make your list, but you’ll know the things that are right that I say because they resonate with you and the things that I say that don’t resonate you you should regard as bullshit and disregard. But take what you can that makes sense and write it down. Yeah, in other words just like this. What’s was over working and what you know. Should one refrain from working? Can it be a good thing? You know I overwork ceramics because I’m bad at it, but I found a way to make that kind of a look for me, so I don’t really. I don’t really. No, you have to find that for yourself. Um, if you’re struggling to stay focused again, use pencil to look up pencil to paper bullets. I gave you 4 bullets. If you use those perfectly, you’re good. Pencil to paper bullets. On the ISRU feed on Instagram.

00:23:52 Tom Sachs: OK, so and then so. The last question was. It won’t fail because of me. What does it mean? It means that when you’re enlarged involved with a large project like the space program. There are a lot of parts. It takes 35,000 people to get someone to the moon. Uh. A lot of things can go wrong. A lot of things can go wrong on. Putting up a presentation for Instagram. But we’re a team and the small part of it that’s mine won’t fail because of me. So this also replies applies to a relationship. Maybe you’re struggling, but it’s two to Tango. We’ll just make sure that the part of it doesn’t fail because of you. Um? So. Um? These office hours won’t fail because of me. We will continue this same time next week 205.

00:24:59 Tom Sachs: Um? And I would encourage you to keep doing your in situation resource utilization. Keep sending these questions in, but only post them here live. Is there a place people can send questions? Erum outside of this?

00:25:15 Erum: Uh, we look for at our comments. For questions.

00:25:24 Tom Sachs: DMS will not be read, it’s filled so. But everything in comments will be read, so ask in comments or ask them right now. While this is live.

00:25:35 Serena: Or will post a story with a a new widget later this week that will you can. Now that’s the best. We’ll do a questions widget on the story.

00:25:46 Tom Sachs: Great thank you. Serena is also you know I got to. I don’t know how many that was 30 questions or something. I am scrolling more. I will keep them I’ll get to them if I like them. Sorry if I don’t get to your question, but if your question isn’t answered, it’s because I’m trying to combine it with another question, but I’ll, I’ll get to everything eventually.

00:26:09 Tom Sachs: So thanks for watching. Keep your stick on the ice.

00:26:15 Erum: Great.

00:26:17 Tom Sachs: OK. End now?

00:26:21 Erum: Yes.