Exclusive Interview With Artist Scooter LaForge!
Photo by Reiko Lauper for Patricia Field
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is the first signifier people see. Its power lies in its influence over people’s ideas. As presentation, it is one of the oldest art forms in the world, all the way back to people in caves. It is a multibillion dollar industry and to me it means power.
What are the most remarkable experiences in your career since you started working with fashion?
To actually see people wearing my garments on the streets of New York. To have reached clients all over the world—Russia, China, Japan, El Salvador, Greece, Ethiopia, Brazil…. This makes me feel thankful. It’s something that has materialized beyond my wildest dreams.
If you had a magic wand, what particular aspect of the fashion world would you change?
Nothing. I think everything happens for a reason and I don’t want to be in charge of changing anything.
Any upcoming projects?
Patricia Field Artfashion in the Catskills which opens October 8th; a group show at Theodore:Art in December; Art Basel Miami in December with Patricia Field; and solo shows in Singapore and Hong Kong in January and March 2018 respectively.
Where can people check you out on social media?
Scooter LaForge on Instagram and Facebook; scooterstream on Tumblr.
Dausi, oil on canvas ,30 x 40, 2014.
Thanks for the interview, Scooter. Could you give us some background information about yourself?
I have a painting studio in Tribeca; I live in the East Village. I surround myself with other creative people—their presence gives me great encouragement. I love going to art galleries, museums, and movies, and I support all forms of art, be it dance, theater, writing, singing…. I moved to New York City in 2001 from San Francisco, and when I got here, I made up my mind to be a full-time artist. It was all or nothing.
When did you decide to become an artist?
At age six. I was making sculptures, paintings, and drawings. I received great satisfaction from the process of creating. I always knew I wanted to be an artist.
What medium do you prefer to work in and how would you describe your artistic style?
First and foremost, I consider myself a painter, although I do enjoy sculpting and designing clothes. Oil painting is my passion. I love building things, tearing them apart, and putting them back together again. I basically use any material I can get my hands on. My artistic style is like children’s Golden Books on acid, although I’ve never actually tried the drug. I don’t drink or do drugs, contrary to popular belief. My mind is just wired that way.
What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
Most of my work comes from the subconscious. I start with a basic idea, lay out the paints, and go wild. Being intuitive allows for discovery, and for new forms to appear. Surprising, mysterious things happen. I love painting portraits from life—feeling what’s inside of the sitter and trying to get that onto the canvas. It’s important for me that painting evokes a feeling.
What do you find most challenging about being an artist?
Nothing—it comes very easy to me. I’m fearless in art. Although at times I suffer from social anxiety, when it comes to painting and creating—even in public—I’m never afraid. Art is the medicine: it makes me feel well and gives me a high.
What skills and techniques do you explore and why?
Oil painting. One can go on for a lifetime and still discover new ways to apply paint on the canvas. I paint every day, and I learn something new every time. Those lessons get stored inside my head. They emerge when I need to solve problems in my painting. I also love drawing. I draw every day. It’s most important. Drawing is the basis of all artwork. Be it sculpture, painting, or designing—everything starts with a line. For me, it’s important to keep on doing it.
What inspires you in general?
Right now, I’m inspired by butterflies, clowns, Greek sculpture, and Fellini movies. To be honest, I’m inspired daily by everything I see… from street garbage to 20-karat diamonds.
Is painting an important part of your life?
Yes. Painting is my life. It’s my chosen profession. I do everything I can to make a living off painting. It can be difficult, but is always rewarding. I feel like I’ve been on vacation ever since I became a full-time artist, and that was many years ago.
How long have you been painting, drawing, etc.?
Since I was six years old. I’m on Earth to create; the universe takes care of me. It’s what I am destined to do.
Do you do a lot of shows?
Yes. This year, for instance, I had a solo show at Theodore:Art in Brooklyn which was reviewed by the New York Times. Patricia Field keeps me very busy. I’m part of her Artfashion collective. We have gone to Greece, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Art Basel Miami.
What role does the artist have in society?
Every role. Every job in society, I think, should be artistic. Whether you are a garbage collector or the President of the U.S., creativity will be the measure of your success. I see construction workers, salespeople, and teachers as artists: they have to be creative to get from A to Z. I was a salesperson when I first moved to New York. The more creativity I demonstrated, the more sales I made. I see art in every occupation.
Scooter LaForge. Photo by Walt Cessna
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