artist in residence: an interview with panda

Brent:  Hey P!

Panda: Hey B!

B:  How ya doing?

P:  I’m a little constipated, but let’s do this.

B:  Looking back, when did you realize I was to become one of the world’s greatest perfumers?

P:  Really?  We’re going to talk about you? I thought we were here to talk about me.

B:  Just kidding, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your history as an artist?

P:  I have always been artistic.  I used to sit in my room for hours and draw pictures with markers on paper.  They were mostly stick figures dancing in the sun with flowers and houses (they would have fit in perfectly with the smell bent world).  I would create elaborately detailed drawings and stories to go along with the drawings.  When I was 10 I got a camera and began photographing my cabbage patch kids.  I think that is when I gave up drawing and decided to focus on photography.  I always wished I could draw better than I actually can in reality.   I would see things in my head and when I tried to render them on paper it would look, well…different and I was disappointed.  I think somewhere along the line I got this idea of what art was “supposed” to be I began to think if you were going to draw it had to be realistic (tragic I know).  This was my initial attraction to photography, the fact that I could completely capture a moment and have it look just they way I remembered it in my mind.  I now realize that I was wrong about what drew me into photography in the first place; that images can be manipulated with film as much as with drawing.   Drawing for the website has really gotten my back in touch with my roots and I now sit in my room (or your room) again for hours and draw.  FUN!


B:  Who are your biggest influences?

P: Some of my biggest influences are Toni Morrison, Miro, Dr. Seuss, Cindy Sherman, Wes Anderson, David Simon, Bjork, Tray Parker and Matt stone, my sisters, my friends, and Google. All these people influence the way I think and that is what informs my ascetic.  Oh and whoever wrote that song “What What in my Butt”… genius. 


B:    What are your favorite mediums?

P:  I love any form of storytelling, or narrative. Personally I enjoy photography, film, drawing with markers or pen on paper, the written word, and cooking.


B:    What satisfies you most as an artist?

P:  When I can translate accurately what is in my mind onto a piece of paper, be it an image or sentence.  It is the most satisfying experience for me as an artist when I look down at what I have produced and it looks, sounds and conveys the exact sentiment that was my intention.


B:    How do you find the current state of art?

P:  I find the current state of art very exciting. There are many new mediums being explored and many new artists developing due to these new forms of expression.  I think there still is, and always will be, a pretention reserved for the high art world, but that it is becoming easier for new and less established artist to leave a footprint there due to the way art is now developed and shared and talked about, over computers.  


B:    How has the Internet changed the way art is done and the possibilities out there for a young artist?

P:  The Internet has created opportunities for so many artists of all mediums to have a platform to show their work.  Anyone can be a writer now by having a blog.  Web television (I believe they are called webisodes) is giving a voice to a lot of young filmmakers and storytellers who don’t have the money or the connections or haven’t yet found their “big break”. And most websites would be pretty bland without the pictures, yours included, so there is a much larger need for artists now than ever before.  And it is easier to make a living doing something artistic than it has been in the past, which makes it an acceptable career choice. The Internet gives a voice to almost anyone who wants one and that opens endless possibilities for a young artist to be able to develop in front of an audience and grow artistically.  On the downside (because I tend to see the glass half empty) many people think just because they have a platform that they are artist. I guess like any tool, the Internet benefits those who really take the time to learn how to use it right and is opening doors for many young and talented people which I think is a wonderful thing.  Art should be for the people!


B: If you could do a formal portrait of anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?

P:  Formal portraiture isn’t really my style but if I could have any one person pose for a drawing it would be Obama.  Even though he is very heavily photographed, I would love the opportunity for him to be sitting quietly across from me as I drew a formal portrait of him (which probably wouldn’t come out looking too formal.)  Plus, he has pretty funny-looking features that I think would work well with my style.  If you are reading this, I will draw you for a reasonable price Mr. President.


B:  Tell us a little bit about you and perfume.

P:  I have never worn a lot of perfume. I have a very sensitive nose and don’t like to smell to strongly of any one scent. My favorite scent is probably unscented, which is very hard to achieve as a human.  If I am going to wear a scent, I like something that doesn’t smell too overwhelmingly like “perfume”.  I enjoy light floral scents; ones that smell natural and nothing like chemicals. (I am still waiting for you use lavender, even though you hate it, it is one of my favorites.)  This is why I love smell bent, because all your scents smell if they came about organically, they smell wonderful but don’t bombard you and scream, “I’m wearing perfume!!” 

All that being said, I have a new appreciation for perfume now from working at smell bent.  I have learned so much about the process of perfume, the way a scent unfolds on your skin and changes into something unexpected, the layers that a well made perfume contain, I’ve grown to really appreciate the artistry involved.  In other words don’t spray me with any crap; I now know that my taste in perfume is just like my taste in most things… I like the good stuff.


B:  Are the allegations that you are a hippie unfounded?

P:  I don't think the allegations are totally unfounded.  I do wear Crocs and I do have a peace sign hanging in my car.  I also don't believe in war.  But I do love to shower and I don't smell like patchouli, and I hate that phish band.  I am not a big fan of mind-altering drugs either.   I may share some basic idealistic principles with the hippie community, but it is a bit far fetched to call ME a full on hippie.  


B:  And finally, if it were possible, would you ever become a real life panda?

P:  I would love to be a real life panda.  They are wild and kind of spastic, like me.  The one time I saw pandas in real life they were going crazy, ripping up the bamboo trees and running around clawing everything in site, shouting loudly at each other in their panda language.  It was the cutest thing I’d ever seen.   I would love to be able to run around and rip shit up and have people think it was endearing.  But most importantly they are endangered which makes them really special and people take really good care of them, I like to be taken really good care of.  J