DIRTY MET UP WITH EAST VILLAGE PAINTER / T-SHIRT DESIGNER SCOOTER LAFORGE (WHO RECENTLY LANDED A DEAL TO PRODUCE A LINE OF T-SHIRTS & UNDERWEAR FOR PATRICIA FIELD, TIMED FOR RELEASE AROUND GAY PRIDE), AND WE DISCOVERED THAT THE TOUNG-IN-CHEEK ARTIST WITH THE SCANDALOUSLY DARK & SEXUAL WORK IS IN LOVE WITH POP CULTURE, CARTOONS AND FEET (NOT TO MENTION HIS ROLE ON GUIDING LIGHT.) Edited by Paul Bruno | Photography by David Kimelman
DIRTY: WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
SCOOTER LAFORGE: Las Cruces, New Mexico... very near to the border of Mexico.
D: IS THAT WHERE YOU GREW UP?
D: IS YOUR FAMILY STILL THERE?
SL: my dad moved into an adobe house he built in Arizona and my mom moved to California... so my family is all spread out on the west coast.
D: YOUR DAD BUILT AN ADOBE HOUSE? THAT'S INCREDIBLE!
SL: Yeah it is really cool. With a fire place and every thing. He is an abstract painter.
D: SO CLEARLY YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY CREATIVE IN THE FAMILY.
SL: Nope. My mom is also singer and actress.
D: WHERE YOU A VERY CREATIVE CHILD?
SL: Oh yeah, and it got me into a lot of trouble.
D: SUCH AS?
SL: I used to build life like dummies and make believe that an accident had occurred in the street with a bicycle. Cars used to stop and the ambulance was called and the police would come. I used fake blood and made it look like the person got ran over.
D: THAT'S INCREDIBLE - SO NEVER MIND HOW OTHERS MIGHT JUDGE YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR - HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?
SL: Kind of dark and very dry... I like to see peoples reactions in uncomfortable situations.
D: WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR PARENTS INFLUENCED OR ENCOURAGED YOUR CREATIVITY?
SL: No, they totally discouraged it! My mom said I could not go to fashion school cause "there were too many gays." Kind of the same way Cher was with Chastity - or Chaz now.
D: DID THAT ADD MORE FUEL TO YOUR FIRE?
SL: Yeah, for sure. I became a total rebel, and kind of a black sheep. But my parents are my biggest supporters now. They came around full circle, and you know some of the stuff I do is sexually out there!
D: SO YOU GOT YOUR PAINTING DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA & THEN YOU MOVED TO SAN FRANCISCO?
SL: Yes. I painted the entire time I was there, and built up quite a resume.
D: IS THAT WHERE A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENED FOR YOUR CAREER AS AN ARTIST?
SL: Yeah. I was really well known. The month I left I had a show that sold of of 13 paintings. Then I packed my bags and move to New York. I didn't start getting any attention in New York for almost 10 years.
D: WOW. WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR WORK HAS CHANGED MUCH?
SL: OMG.. like night and day. I was accepted at Cooper Union and my painting got turned upside down.
That was the turning point in my painting career. I was torn apart by art critics who visited the school.
D: WHAT DID THEY SAY ABOUT YOUR WORK?
SL: They hated it... I was told to get rid of all my old paint brushes and use different ones, and paint on a grander scale. I used to paint miniatures with tiny paint brushes on found objects.
D: WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU STARTED EXPERIMENTING WITH THE SCALE OF YOUR PIECES?
SL: My imagination grew. I only use oils now and canvas, thinner and linseed oil. My attitude is what is the point of painting if your not going to PAINT. Fuck that tiny little painting shit.
D: STUDYING YOUR WORK, ONE MIGHT SAY THAT YOUR PAINTINGS ARE HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY ICONOGRAPHY AND POP CULTURE. WHAT ROLE DO THESE IMAGES PLAY IN YOUR WORK?
SL: I love pop culture. I love sexual images. I love bodybuilders - that is my new fascination.
D: IN EVERY BODY OF WORK YOU CREATE, THERE IS A "SELF SUCKING" PAINTING. WHAT'S YOUR FASCINATION WITH THIS DEPICTION? ARE YOU A SELF SUCKER?
SL: I see you have done your homework with my collections! What an honor. I am soooo turned on by self-sucking. I am a self-sucker and LOVE watching anyone do it. It's something ALL guys try to do — I love watching guys get off on themselves.
D: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ARTISTS WHO SHUN / WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH POPULAR CULTURE?
SL: I love them for it! I think shunning it is paying attention to it. But it makes for something different and interesting. I love & respect anyone who creates.
D: THIS MAY SEEM LIKE AN OBVIOUS QUESTION, BUT DO YOU LIKE CARTOONS?
SL: FUCK YES! I LOVE CARTOONS! I used to masturbate to Super Friends.
D: WHAT IS THE FIRST PIECE OF ART YOU REMEMBER THAT LEFT A LIFELONG IMPRESSION ON YOU?
SL: Wow, that's a great question. Picasso work was the first. Then Haring, Basquiat, Warhol. I was also obsessed with Matisse in high school. I could not get enough.
D: WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE, ONCE YOU HAVE AN IDEA?
SL: I keep a note book with me at all times and write shit down. I draw little drawings / sketches, then take photos and play with them in photoshop. Then I begin painting.
D: LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR T-SHIRT LINE - WHEN DID YOU START THAT?
SL: Two years ago, to make money. They are cheap and a client can get instant art.
D: DO YOU ONLY MAKE T-SHIRTS?
SL: And underwear.
D: HAVE ANY OF YOUR PIECES, PAINTING OR CLOTHING, MADE IT INTO ANY EXCITING COLLECTIONS?
SL: Guiding Light, the soap opera.
D: WHAT? CAMP!
SL: Hot, right?! (Laughs) A friend from high school who was working on the show at the time saw my paintings and loved them for Daisy, the bad girl character.
D: DO YOU WATCH ANY TELEVISION?
SL: No, not at all.
D: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
SL: Kasper Bjorke. Soft music from Sweden I think… It's good painting music.
D: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT NO ONE KNOWS.
SL: I have beat off to Tom of Finland drawings since I was 12, and I still do today.
BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO SCOOTER LAFORGE PHOTO SHOOT BY DAVID KIMELMAN
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