David B. Jang builds massive moving sculptures that have to be seen in person to believe. For example, when I visited his studio to do this interview he had 8 fans prepared for an installation named Prevaricate which I thought looked like a lot, but now he has over 80!!! And if you’re sitting there going ‘how did he go from 8 to 80 in such a short time span’ I can only tell you that David is one of the most resourceful artists I’ve ever met. I mean who else teaches themselves electrical engineering in order to be able to put together what they envision in their minds? Sure, there are artists who hire teams of people to do it, but what makes David B. Jang unique is that he does it all himself without compromising any details. David will be having an exhibit of his work from February 24th – April 22nd at the Palos Verdes Art Center, which I definitely recommend checking out.
Daniel Rolnik: Why are all these printers hanging?
David B. Jang: It’s part of an art piece I’m working on where I’m disassembling printers to figure out their behaviors.
DR: Are they programmed to go off at different times?
DBJ: They’re actually all plugged into time-controlled circuits that turn on and off at certain intervals.
DR: WHOA! That’s so cool…
DBJ: Some move faster and others slower, but they all make different sounds. And the silver film that’s running through the machines is actually the same material used in potatoes chip bags.
DR: How did you get a hold of that material?
DBJ: There’s a potato chip company from Ohio named Jone’s sponsoring the project. They send me all of their misprinted bags.
DR: Were all the printers working when you got them?
DBJ: Some of them weren’t, so I had to fix them. It was kind of funny because I didn’t even realize until I started working on this project that the reason they call them laser printers are because they actually have a laser inside of them.
DR: Did it shoot out while you were fixing one?
DBJ: No, but they’re really interesting devices because they also have a part inside of them that actually heats up the paper that I have to take out.
DR: What’s the piece about to you?
DBJ: I look at it as a new way to make a painting, because ever since civilization was developed paintings have been structured around the shape of the architecture around them. For example, we’ve made square frames for most paintings because they respond best to the walls of our homes. Also, paint is made from taking solid materials and turning them into liquid materials, which become solid again when they dry. So I look at the plastic of the printers as a painting medium too – it’s just already hit its last stage of becoming a solid again.
DR: And it’s still like paint because it’s plastic that’s re-hardened?
DBJ: Right and it even goes deeper because if you think about it, classical paintings were essentially still-shots of things found in real life – whereas these pieces are more of a direct three-dimensional experience for you to get into. It’s actually the object right in front of you, instead of paint representing that.
DR: How does your installation Compression Panorama work?
DBJ: The whole idea is that there’s a mechanism inside each plastic bottle that vibrates so much that it causes the containers to hit each other.
DR: It must’ve gotten really loud…
DBJ: Oh yeah!
DR: Do you think of it as music?
DBJ: I couldn’t consider myself a composer because I don’t know how to write music, but I do feel as though music and mechanics are related. Unfortunately though human’s intellectual minds are so limited that we need to separate the two ideas in order to understand them.
DR: How did you learn how to do all the electrical work involved with your art?
DBJ: I read a lot of books. And if I believe in a project enough, I do whatever it takes to do it.
DR: Did you go to art school?
DR: What’s the difference between a human being and a work of art?
DBJ: Where humans have skin, bones, and flesh – paintings have surface, pigment, and structure.
DR: How would you describe your art?
DBJ: The art critic Peter Frank described my work as material abstractions since they behave like paintings, but aren’t paintings.
ARTIST: David B. Jang
WHERE: Palos Verdes Art Center
DATE: February 24, 2012