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Q&A 2020-05-12

Tom Sachs. (office-hours)

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



“Have you ever had trouble separating your practice with your personal life? No, they are one. It's the key.”
“How do you schedule sex? I use iCal.”
“Resistance is futile Elliot. Don't resist, give in. Finish. What you started but have several things going at once.”
“Materials when do you draw the line between collecting and hoarding? My answer I wrote it down before. Neither. Do neither neither neither collect nor hoard. Build your library. Make it a considered act. Hoarding is a sickness.”
“Yes, if you are interested in the spiritual aspects of this office hour immediately stop following and go listen to Alan Watts. He's 1000 times better than me in that amazing movie her the sort of brilliant writer guy.”


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00:00:03 Tom Sachs: Is it on, can you see? Can you see it? Is it on? Sound OK? Can you hear me through this?

00:02:37 Tom Sachs: Hey, welcome back to office hours. That’s by the way, Ella Fitzgerald from the Cole Porter Songbook. Highly recommended it will be in the notes. I’m missing album one. But I’ve got album two so it’s worth it. Will love for sale. We all what we can. This episode of office hours is brought to you by Whit’s End. Ass Carciofi Pie from Whit’s End. Ha ha ha ha. Ha artichoke. That’s Italian. Look at that. OK, so we’ll just jump right into it. OK. Look at my Keynote skills. I mean, man this boomer is a hacker. OK, let’s see.

00:04:03 Tom Sachs: How from Jake Weber 11311. How do we justify products that aren’t saving the world? Well, that’s a great question, specially in this time that’s like an eternal question and the answer is.

00:04:19 Tom Sachs: And how do I sound? Do I sound OK? Erum? Uh.

00:04:28 Tom Sachs: You are saving the world. Human beings specialize. Cheetahs run 70 miles an hour. Peregrine Falcons fly faster than anyone else. Any other animal? We human beings dig ditches and do it and do procreate on their iPads so you do what you do and you inspire people. Did anyone watch the amazing. Elon Musk Joe Rogan interview last night? Two white males stoned off their ass talking shit. They specialize. Human beings specialize. I mean, ridiculous crap, but some great moments of wisdom like we need more makers out there in the world who actually make stuff. It’s all saving the world. You never know. You might inspire one of those geniuses that’s wasting his fucking life. As a money manager and help him. Helping some of the creative minds get out of money making and lawyering and get back into making stuff. So you’re helping. Don’t give up.

00:05:38 Tom Sachs: How do you swipe? Is there a just touch? What am I doing? Wrong like in this or press play and then you can swipe and then also from Molly Maguires ceramics. Hey Molly, what’s up?

00:05:52 Tom Sachs: Remember Molly from from BBW what can we hope to give and gain when we put things into the world? The answer Molly. Do it for yourself. Do it for yourself first and that way your spirit will get into the work and it will help other people. It’s kind of like extension of last question. Do it for yourself first.

00:06:17 Tom Sachs: From At 8_G_G__ Have you ever had trouble separating your practice with your personal life? No, they are one. It’s the key. Why would you want to separate them? The whole point is to make it all one. Don’t separate them. Have them integrated. We’re going to get back into that later on. More good question.

00:06:54 Tom Sachs: From Jacob Green go. How do you find the confidence to release art you are you making for you or for the public? Again, make it for yourself man. Make it for yourself first. I had this moment when I was at the Metropolitan Museum of art and I saw everything there was made for someone like me, a maker for a dead guy like a pharaoh or hedge fund guy or Pope or whatever. And then I went into the Oceana Section, which you might call the African section or whatever. And there all the stuff in that area. Was made. By people for themselves and for the people in their community and as part of a ritual activity so there wasn’t a separation. It was all integrated and I when I saw that I took that as inspiration. I was like that’s how I want my art to work. I’m not saying I want to make art that looks like African art. I want to make it work like that, so it’s part of. My community, which is mine. And it’s made up of my people on my team, and it includes all of you today. Watching we are all in the community.

00:08:09 Tom Sachs: OK, my favorite odd from odd_specimen and also from Steven_of the_potato. All right if you are a starting maker the first thing that you need to get. Is a piece of paper and a pencil right? That’s all you need, but get the pencil that you like or the pen the like in the paper that you like and have it by your bed and have it by your pocket. I like to JPL notepads. That’s why we make them available to you. Or like the little yellow notebooks. But ultimately it’s what you like. That’s what matters. And then. If you’re going to get three power tools, I talked to Van Neistat about this and we agree. The first thing you need to get is a drill. Or two, sometimes they come in a 2 pack that I would not get the impact driver. The little one because. It makes a lot of noise and it’s just like one other thing and then #2, I’d get a grinder an angle grinder or a Dremel. And then #3 I get a jigsaw. And I would get them all cordless. If you have the money. If you don’t have the money, get a Corded grinder and a Corded jigsaw. But always get a cordless drill or two. And then the only rule about brand is never ever get Cryobi. Avoid at all costs. Cry once.

00:09:37 Tom Sachs: At_Jonco If you could. Have dinner with any of your idols. Who would it be an what would you ask them? Well, this is a tough one, but today I would like to have dinner with. Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, and L Ron Hubbard. And, um. All of their less famous but more genius girlfriends. And hear what happened between Jack Parsons an L Ron Hubbard when L Ron Hubbard stole Jack Parsons wife and then his boat and then they like had a fight and split up.

00:10:18 Tom Sachs: But then I’d probably, you know, get rid of all those guys if I could really control the Dinner Party and just hang out with Jack and maybe have a couple of drinks with him. And maybe you invite William Blake over and maybe Jack Parsons an William Blake could have a conversation about the beyond and how they got their recipes for like Jack Parsons for explosives. So he got it from. Beyond this plan of understanding and also William Blake said he got his recipes for his inks from beyond that, and then I’d probably also maybe my dream.

00:10:52 Tom Sachs: Around the same time, maybe you know later, but I guess we combine, I think would be really cool if Marilyn Monroe stopped by, I could talk with her and compare sexual notes about JFK versus Einstein like who is better in bed and kind of hear about her existence. ‘cause I think there’s a lot left that we don’t know about her story but. If you want to learn more, Jack Parsons Wikipedia, read his page. He started a Jet Propulsion Laboratory, by the way. With some other dudes.

00:11:22 Tom Sachs:How do you schedule sex? I use iCal.

00:11:28 Tom Sachs: Um from at Mompou. Poem maker at Art Mom. Poem maker. I’m old school. Fiber sculpture. Do I have a chance? Not if you’re private on Instagram. Use this most powerful resource that we have called free advertising and share. It’s totally up to you.

00:12:02 Tom Sachs: From at Kevin Heyman. Huge fan. What is your sleep schedule like? Um, prioritize sleep. Um, you must observe the health triangle, diet, rest and exercise is easy to neglect. Rest people think they’re tough by staying up all night, you can do it. It’s a Sprint. But just like drugs, it’s a cheat and eventually it will catch up to you. You must rest. You must recover. Talked about this last week. Bowerman says recovery is as important as training. They’re integrated and you gotta eat, right? And mainly you just gotta eat enough that’s important. Finding balance and all that is key, but yes, I get 8 hours and when I don’t, I pay.

00:12:46 Tom Sachs: From Elliot. London, how do you resist the temptation to start something new before finishing what you’re on? Resistance is futile Elliot. Don’t resist, give in. Finish. What you started but have several things going at once. This is in the studio because sometimes it’s hard to start a new idea. Writers block is a real thing, but if you have three things that you’re working on and you’re working on them simultaneously, it’s like a Stew that’s working for generations I have. I just had last night some arugula that was grown on Edgemere Farm, which is less than a mile from here an it’s a. It’s been growing for 110 years in the same location. The spicy arugula and that’s pretty special right? That something is that. Old an keeps going. Make your art like that like nature.

00:13:44 Tom Sachs: From_claremount_Do you have a regret as an artist? No regrets but. It’s better to regret something that you have done than to regret something that you haven’t done.

00:14:06 Tom Sachs: From at bro ham art great questions dude, I really appreciate it. Materials when do you draw the line between collecting and hoarding? My answer I wrote it down before. Neither. Do neither neither neither collect nor hoard. Build your library. Make it a considered act. Hoarding is a sickness. Collecting is like I don’t know. There are a lot of people that talk about collecting, which also means that they maybe keep one to trade with other people so that they can have a greater strength or buying power because other collectors need things that only they have and stuff. I don’t really believe in that I, I think. I you know I, I’m just trying to make the work an it takes so much material. There are so many things around I don’t have time for or space for a collection. I’ve got some junk drawers but I try to organize them and use them as libraries from which I pull for ideas or for materials from making things.

00:15:16 Tom Sachs: From Cooper, Clementine. Are you microdosing right now? Acid mushrooms, DMT? Hit the bong? Take a tab? How stoned are you? Um? Cooper, Clementine. Drugs are but a window to what we can achieve through work, not against them, and I definitely thank LSD for helping me see other dimensions, other dimensions that exist parallel with this one, but we can’t see right now and I’m fortunate enough to survive some extremely negative experiences adventures in those with most of my brain intact, but it’s a dangerous road and I and I think there’s so there’s such a taboo against drugs that people don’t do them responsibly and responsibly. I just mean employ scientific method, a used supervision. If you’re going to do acid like have someone with you who’s not tripping so that you don’t get hurt. Or if you freak out they can like help you a little bit, talk you down. Maybe just like make sure that you’re eating right and not jumping off a fucking building. People use drugs for two reasons. One. To escape their lives and the other to explore drugs. To escape your life is is is a waste of time. That’s what we’re all doing with our cell phones. We are having a. Yeah, it’s a crisis of. Of spirituality, where we’re all completely addicted to the device so. It’s just something to think about. You know I don’t reuse those drugs I’ve explored, but the only one that I really have addiction issues with is the one that we are both engaging with right now.

00:17:09 Tom Sachs: What was your one of your first memories of music from no more Internet_ The Beatles I was gonna play it today but I don’t have the exact one but the early Beatles, you know, like the Hamburg Beatles, the Pre Enlightenment Beatles. Because those are the songs that love songs and my mom played to me.

00:17:33 Tom Sachs: Did you ever consider joining the military from sammels be at samples? Be um? Yeah. Not really. I mean I love all their stuff. But it’s it’s like an organization of it’s a. It’s a tough place. It’s a tough place, and, uh, I remember. After 911. Alec and Van and Casey all want to go down Times Square and join the Marine Corps to go fight and get revenge on everyone who blew up our World Trade Center. And we thought about it and I convinced him, hey, let’s not let’s go down. Let’s help dig up bodies at Ground Zero and spend the day talking about why someone would do this to us. I respect the men in the military and the women in the military because it’s a very tough job. I can’t imagine I’ve seen every war movie at possible and done some work to support those guys, but. I think we all have to find the place where we can help the world and I’m not a soldier so I’m an artist and we have to find a ways of helping the world that works for us. For me, it wasn’t didn’t really make sense.

00:18:56 Tom Sachs: Oh, great question from at Sandra_ XYZ if we were already this good in communicating your work, do you have advice for someone who really likes to make stuff but is not really into the whole communication thing? I don’t like communicating. I’m only good at it because I do it a lot. There are two parts of your job as an artist number one. Do the work that’s the most important thing. #2 bring it to the world that is just as important as I say this to my team. Hey, you know when I ask someone to complete a task execute task I say hey do the job and let me know when it was done. Get a receipt if you do the job and you don’t fucking tell me that you did it. How am I supposed to know that you did it? I spent all weekend resenting Erum because she worked her ass off all week to do the thing. But on Friday she didn’t even send me the shortest little text message saying job completed. Check Smiley Mark Emoji whatever. And then I ask, confront her Monday morning I’ll pissed off. Hey, what happened to that job? Oh, I did it last week. Yeah but she didn’t fucking tell me. It’s part of the job. So Sandra, your job, you gotta get out there. Communicate now doesn’t mean you have to show your face. Doesn’t mean you have to make videos. Doesn’t mean you have to write a book. Doesn’t mean you have to write a manifesto. It’s just. There are many ways of doing it, but. You can’t live under a Rock You gotta get used. There are so many ways of getting out there and you will find a way that works for you. It might not be pleasant at first, but it’s important because there’s no artist that’s so good. That you can just do it and get discovered somehow. That doesn’t exist, not even you Sandra and and you’re a good artist, but not even you can do it without making some effort towards communicating.

00:20:56 Tom Sachs: Oh Some from Chris McGill. I know you work seven days a week, but is there any other way for you to relax, recharge, and refresh? Yes, I work seven days a week because I love it and I’ve got like that connection with my life and my art where it’s all one thing. But you gotta do stuff you got like, work hard, play hard stuff. That’s for real and find out what works for you. I mean I. Do a lot of physical exercise, I like to go sort of. I like to go surfing kind of hate surfing. By the way, if you live in. Rockaway and you’re watching this and you’re a surfer, DM me. But Yeah, I think there are a lot of things you can do. Make time for that. Your friends. I think there’s a lot. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of fuck off time. You know you gotta like, I read books. But I’m also really selfish about it. I mean I. I think that like how do I get back? Ah. You know, I when I’m reading books, I try and read books that kind of inform the things that I’m working on. You know, that’s why I always recommend these books like endurance or the autobiography of Malcolm X ‘cause they have resonance in the things that are going on in the studio.

00:22:17 Tom Sachs: Oh so from no more at no more Internet_ I Gotta look up your your feed. I love this question too. You ever listen to? Alan Watts unconsciousness? Yes, if you are interested in the spiritual aspects of this office hour immediately stop following and go listen to Alan Watts. He’s 1000 times better than me in that amazing movie her the sort of brilliant writer guy. The main character gets dumped by his robot girlfriend and he leaves her for Alan Watts. I mean. That’s what made that movie so fun. Was that like he he got? He got dumped for like the ultimate consciousness dude. So Alan Watts is great. Fantastic communicator. Really like the guy who commute, who helped bring Buddhism to college kids in the 60s and in US is great fantastic.

00:23:18 Tom Sachs: Do you believe the man land on the moon? Of course, this conspiracy theory nonsense? Sorry, I just gotta rule it out. There’s no way, it just takes. It’s it’s more work to fake it than to actually do it. I looked into it extremely and also all those people like 30,000 people that had to corroborate, you know, those are all people who have tenure. Tenured professorship so they have to brag about their scientific achievements to to get their their their budget for the next project, and those are all peer reviewed. So in addition to the people who worked on it, all their peers who would have had to collaborate with this big lie that we didn’t go to the moon, and so 50,000 people. I mean, how? Like look at your friends, how hard it how? How well is it? How easy is it for them to keep a secret? Sure, maybe one or two, but get 20 people you know. Can they all keep a secret? No fucking way.

00:24:10 Tom Sachs: Um from gab dot riela the constructivists and data movement influenced your work. I referenced Marcel Duchamp Fountain in 1917 and how we wanted the object to be seen as industrial beauty instead of object. If use. Yeah, let’s dig into Marcel Duchamp more. That’s your research over the weekend next week. We have a special guest who is going to talk about Manet and but Marcel Duchamp’s crucial learn about it. Yeah, he is the guy who did the urinal as sculpture to try and take away the utility of it and just get into the abstract shape of it that was in that work. What he was doing. But I think that constructivism and data is very important, and if you think about art movements and groups. That those are among my biggest influences. And if we if there’s interest, we can dig into that.

00:25:02 Tom Sachs: Um and then. But this leads to the next question. Do you see resemblance between Bauhaus and the ethics in the studio? You know we’re teaching hospital. I teach other kids in the studio and they in turn teach. Teach this kid. We help each other. Um, we’re all in the same place ‘cause we share ethics. That’s what kind of makes us a team. And Bauhaus is amazing. Group of individuals in Germany right before World War Two and a lot of ‘em. A lot of leaders left to go to places like New York and Chicago and New Haven and build communities there. And you know, maybe the most some of the most famous ones were people like Mies Van de Rohe or like Marcel Broyer. Or policy Kandinsky or Eileen Gray. These are real heroes, mostly in architecture, but in painting and all sorts of graphic design. Herbert Bayer trusted Albers. Yeah, these are. These are great guys and I think about the studio and Bauhaus terms it also. I would look at the Eames studio as as a model a little bit closer to home, a little bit more. Even even more diverse in terms of painting, sculpture, filmmaking, industrial design, all kinds of stuff.

00:26:25 Tom Sachs: Can an office worker implement 10 bullets? Absolutely, there is no difference from at Dillon_3K. We’re all the same. We’re all artists, regardless if we make sculpture or work at a hospital, you can apply be on time and and be on time, which means get enough rest and get dieten, get exercised and take care of yourself. Can do all that.

00:26:54 Tom Sachs: From Noah G. Tyler. You sometimes find it difficult to keep up with the daily routine. Yeah, I mean, all these rules like 10 bullets and paradox bullets. These are all like a compass to help you going in the right help you go in the right direction. You never always going to go in a perfectly straight line. You meander, but like the 10 commandments they. Or an idealized set of values you can’t be the Buddha, but you can emulate his is as approach. Nothing is perfect but just help give you some place to look when you don’t know what to do. That’s the that’s the value of. Of. You know these religious or spiritual doctrines is that they just help you, and you’re not even not sure it’s just a compass.

00:27:42 Tom Sachs: Alright, so. I think. Try to see how many. I think we’re going to wrap it up, but. One of the last questions was. Is it wrong to pursue something if you love it for the wrong reasons, money or friend or fame? Is there mandatory first step to pursuing what you love from Jacob C. Gaspar? There’s nothing wrong with money and fame in itself. I think when you pursue those for their own thing, you’re going to. You’re going to fuck yourself, because what if you got a lot of money to do something you didn’t love? What occurs? Would that be? I mean, I might sound really privileged to say that, but money in itself isn’t the answer. If you really hated it, eventually it comes back to haunt you. So I don’t really know about that, but. If you love it, there’s nothing wrong with money or fame and then to the second part of your question, is there mandatory first step to pursuing what your love? What you love. And yes, it’s really simple. You must love it.

00:28:53 Tom Sachs: Um, I think that’s it are just a couple of thoughts. If you are living in the Bay Area, you must and you’re an artist and you’re struggling financially. You must apply today for the evergold relief grant from evergold projects. Go to their Instagram Evergold evergold projects and look it up. You get $1000 if you can demonstrate that you’ve been fucked by this thing. I think they’re doing 30 of ‘em, so that’s a lot. There are some restrictions, but check it out. See if you see if you apply. Um, I miss you Bay Area. I don’t know how many you out there tuning in, but artists in that situation take advantage. It’s gonna be easy. I’m familiar with the review board and they’re all solid dudes and Dudettes. So they will do the right thing. Keep your stick on the ice.