Wes Lang.

1-Drawing I just finished called “Treasures”
2-One of my walls with pieces I am currently working on
3-My tattoo machines

4-Front view of my desk
5-Up high in the studio
6-Wall detail
7-Another wall detail
8-Beuys in front of Klein, one of my favorite pictures ever
Wes Lang (1972) was born in Chantham, New Jersey. He’s had various solo shows at ZieherSmith, New York. His work has been seen in exhibitions in Berlin at Peres Projects; in New York at Alexander and Bonin, Greenberg Van Doren, and Andrea Rosen Gallery; in Athens at the Deste Foundation and Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre; among others. His work is in the permanent collection of MoMA. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. (full bio here)
FROM YOUR DESKS Preface: I wanted you on this collaborative since November 2010. You didn’t have a camera. I mailed you a throwaway Kodak number which you used to take pictures. Next thing I know, you bit the bullet and bought a digital camera. True?
WES LANG: Yeah, I got the camera from you and it took awhile for me to use it. After I took the pics it sat in my truck. I couldn’t find a place to process it. I went and got one of those new Canon s95 cameras, which is where the pics for this story came from. I love it and use it almost everyday.

FYD: How do you work?
WL: I just collect information from all over the place and pilfer it for ideas. I used to do a lot of used bookstore shopping, but now with the internet you don’t really need to do that anymore. Most mornings I wake up early and look at a shitload of blogs tumblers and save images in different folders then print stuff out. I take the printouts to work, file them in folders or stick on my walls. This stuff can sit around for years before I actually use it, but I need the information around me. My work varies in style, so often, there is no true process I always use. Right now I am doing very rendered out paintings on steel panels,very laborious. Fun as hell though, very happy with the results so far…

FYD: Bob Seger. I always liked his song Turn The Page. You a fan? 

WL: Big fan…always have been.

New York has always been a fast-moving city of change, and in order to survive here you need to accept and embrace that aspect.

FYD: If you were teaching a history class; what period would you cover?  

WL: I’d do a class about music history and share what I have learned about it. Music has always been a major part of my life. My folks are very involved in the jazz world, so they started taking me to concerts right after I was born. I’m lucky to have had that environment to grow up in.

FYD: If you were to rewrite a single moment in history; what would you write?

WL: I’d have to say I would have changed the outcome of the last presidential election. Sad, sad state we are in these days. There is a very scary man “running” this country right now. His negative impact on the country will be felt for generations to come. My opinion has nothing to do with race. Many people have accused me of being racist, it’s just not true. I don’t care what color or gender someone is, as long as they treat me with respect I treat them with respect. act like an asshole get treated like an asshole.FYD: What were you like as a kid?

WL: Pretty much the same, I did a lot of drawing. Snoopy, skulls, tits, Battlestar Galactica. I grew up in the 70’s, there were a lot of great images coming in the mail back then. Sears catalog, Toys R’ Us catalog etc… I would collect these things and draw from them. My process is almost the same now as back then. Finding information and doing something new with it. My best friends parents divorced and he lived with his dad. His house was filled with Playboys and Penthouse. I was looking at them way too young, like 4 years old. That explains a lot about me, hahaha. I stole one once and got busted by my Dad in my room looking at it. Oops. Anyway, I would draw the girls and the adverts were great to get inspiration from.

My process is almost the same now as back then. Finding information and doing something new with it.
FYD: I was a Dead Head in college. I saw one of Jerry’s last shows in Chicago. What was the last show you saw?
WL: I think I saw the DEAD 74 times if I remember correctly. As a kid I remember the older kids wearing the t-shirts and that made a big impression on me. However around age 12 I started skating and listening to other kinds of music, Bad Brains, Misfits, Minor Threat, The Cramps, so the DEAD was out of the question. I didn’t get into them til junior year of highschool, which was 89-90. My math teacher in highschool was a long time fan, he took me to my first show and many more after that. One of the best shows I saw was in Compton Terrace outside Tucson, Arizona. My last show had to be on summer tour before Jerry died, somewhere on the East Coast. I would have to do so research to figure out exactly where it was.
FYD: Did you ever jump on the Phish wagon?
WL: I saw Phish a bunch, but after Jerry died I went to less and less concerts. There will never be anything like that again, greatest fucking rock n roll band of all time.
FYD: When I think of your work; I think American nation; Cherokee Nation, Indians, Confederate Flags, Skulls. If we are going on the road, what kind of bikes are we riding, what kind of babes and what kind of booze?
WL: Flatside shovel Harleys, big tits, cheap beer and good whiskey…
FYD: Do you like the 2000 New York of yesteryear or the today?
WL: I like them both. I started living in NYC on and off from 1991. It was amazing back then, but I still love it today. New York has always been a fast-moving city of change, and in order to survive here you need to accept and embrace that aspect. I am not one to bitch about how “great” it used to be. I am just amazed every day that I get to be here, living the life I have created for myself, with amazing friends and family, doing exactly what I want to do and be able to make a decent living at it. I love New York.
Music has always been a major part of my life. 
FYD: What’s up next?
WL: A bunch of exciting things. I have a two-man show with Scott Campbell with the ohwow gallery here in NY in may. I’m headed to LA for the month of April to stay at the Chateau Marmont to continue the series of drawings I do on their stationary, with an exhibition and book to follow. Come back from there, get started on a show with v1 Gallery in Copenhagen for October  and start planning the next Brooklyn invitational, the custom motorcycle show my friends and I do here every September, this year its September 17th at Root Photo Studio in Williamsburg. Also, I am doing a show at Stumptown Coffee in Portland– late June. My friend Duane owns the company and is a big supporter of my work.I’ve never done a coffee shop show, so I am excited about it.

I have so much going on it’s hard to list it all. I’m launching a webstore next week too that will be linked off my blog. There will be shirts, books, and jewelry I am designing…check it out.


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