The art of Lob
Sacramento, CA 95818
Did you know that Lob (of garage-jazz/chaotic-noise/Instagon fame) is a poet? Shame on you! Did you also know that he is also a visual artist? Why, I never! Well, aside from nearly being a household name in Sacramento, the guy’s shown his artwork—a lot of broken records and strikingly familiar pop-culture icons—at Vox and Asylum galleries, as well as at the NorCal NoiseFest a couple of years ago. Using collage and mixed media, it seems that no matter what art form he’s channeling—music, words, visuals—Lob knows how to stir up an emotion or two. Before you check out his Second Saturday show at Javalounge, here he is in all his glorious Lob-ness.
So, what have you been up to?Playing shows and trying to get ready for this damn art show.
Tell me about that.Well, I’ve been doing art for, I don’t know, 10 to 15 years, and I started doing some shows here in Sacramento maybe two years back. The Javalounge was glorious enough to give me a solo show. It’s going to be two different types of stuff: the collage stuff that you saw at Vox with recycled media, lots of used records, broken CDs and stuff like that, and some photography that I’ve been doing the last year or so—taking photos of broken CDs in the road. It’s a series called Audio Roadkill.
I’ve thrown CDs out of the window before.That’s cool. I might have taken pictures of one.
Do you actually find a lot of CDs on the road?I was, because I was driving for a living. … I was driving a lot and so I would see a lot of CDs on the road, broken cassettes, things like that, so I just started taking pictures. Then I started taking pictures and collecting pictures, and at NoiseFest two years ago I showed a series of maybe eight of them, and it was really fun. And since then, I showed a couple at Vox.
There were a couple of pieces at the Vox Gallery show where I was like, “Whoa, what the hell is that?”Yeah!
That was probably the reaction you were going for, right?Totally. It’s way pop art, and it’s based in popular culture—especially with the record-cover collages, like the Kiss/Beatles one—you look at that and immediately you see the Sgt. Pepper’s [Lonely Hearts Club Band] cover, but then you get up close and you’re like, “Wait, it’s Kiss Alive II!” The images on [records] are seared into people’s minds. The images speak to them about their teenage formative years. I know that from working in record stores for, like, 15 years. I totally understand the way people buy records and why they buy them. And it’s really fun to play on that.
So I first knew you as a poet.Being in Southern California for so long and doing art in Orange County, I got to play in lots of different areas: I did poetry and I did music and all this stuff, so when I moved to Sacramento, I actually had a plan of action where I knew the poetry scene would be the least expensive scene for me to first infiltrate—to get some notoriety. When I was in Southern California, I hosted poetry events for years. I hosted readings to get people onto the slam at Lollapalooza. I read poetry on the stage at Lollapalooza with Nick Cave 20 feet in front of me.
That is weird.Totally. [Anyway,] I really said kind of methodically, “OK, I’m going to take the mediums that I play with and I’m going to attack them one year at a time.” And so now when I come into this year, I have all three aspects in my grip and nowhere to play with them at the same time.
How did you get into art?I started doing art as a funny joke and a hobby. Years ago, when the Instagon Foundation was born in Orange County and we had this big collaborative group, we were doing magazines, records and performance art. The one medium we hadn’t delved into was art shows. I was like, “Let’s find a coffeehouse that’ll let us do an art show, and we’ll all do pieces of art, and it’ll be funny. So the seven or eight of us that were involved all just went home and made stupid art.
Are you showing new stuff at this Javalounge exhibit?Yeah, I have some new pieces. I have a couple of pieces that are totally old pieces but haven’t been seen anywhere. Like, I did one for an ex-girlfriend—we broke up and I got it.
Which of your three things—music, art, poetry—are you best at?That’s a really good question. Seriously, if I wanted to say which one I am best at—it’s the one that makes the least amount of money, and that would be poetry. I know when I have a mic in my hand that my stage presence is really intense and that I can handle a crowd for a long time, reading my poetry and being funny. But it doesn’t bring me any money.