Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Off The Wall

One to One with Max Kauffman

I met Max Kauffman 6 years ago, when I was 18. A teacher pulled me aside to let me know that a "skateboard artist" was coming to town. I figured what the hell, and went to the show. It was at a art collective called "Cream City Collectives." At this show, I met the curator- future owner of Jackpot Gallery- Sean Heiser, and I also met the artist- Max Kauffman. I didn't really say much to Max at the time, but we became long distance friends. Eventually we both worked as illustrators for a midwest skateboard publication ran out of Ohio called "Stuck Magazine" and we'd frequently catch up online. Now, 3 years later, Max is killing the game. He just recently exhibited in a group show with Travis Millard, and has worked in the past with high end art magazines like Hi-Fructose. Out of all the artists I've seen "coming-up" in the past few years, Max seems to be one of the more promising ones.

-intro by Huey Crowley

RD: Tell us where you're from and where you live now please Dude.

I was born in Chicago, and grew up in South Bend, Indiana. Been sort of all over the place, but am currently residing in Denver, CO.

RD: What media are you into?

Im mostly painting these days, but have been doing installation work, and ceramics/sculpture here and there.

RD: Could you tell us about your background in art - at what age did you think, yes I wanna do this and where did you find your inspiration came from?

I think late in highschool there was that initial idea to explore the art abit more, but it wasn't until after college where I had that freakout moment- everything I'd done up until then was pretty much assignments. So I started working on stuff for me at that time.
Inspiration comes from all over the place, but heavily so from music and nature.

RD: Are you self taught?

I was doing ceramics in college, and a few painting classes here and there, but the style I'm using now is self taught.

RD: Was Stuck magazine your first job in the industry and how did you get hooked up with them?

I'd say yes. I was at my local shop (Kellys in South Bend, IN) and saw the mag one summer, saw they were covering artists and reached out to them. I had an interview in 2005 perhaps? And they'd feature little things I did here and there. When I moved out to CO, I talked with Joel one day and he asked if I wanted to contribute. Then I started doing illustrations for articles and interviews with the likes of Jeremy Fish, Chris Ryniak, Dennis Hayes the IV and more.

RD: Do you skate yourself and fill us in on The Robot Skate Agency?

Defunct at this point, but it was a clothing company. Wanted to do boards, never got to that point. I do skate, its been spotty lately, but from 14 to 22 or so it was my everything.

RD: You have designed covers for musicians like Will McCrannie and The Motet to name just a few. How do you gain inspiration for a cover, do you listen to a musicians ideas or are you left to your own devices while designing?

Inspiration there comes mostly from music, but little things will get thrown in there too that come to me....I guess I've been pretty lucky in that most people Ive worked with are understanding of me doing what I want, or at least reaching a finished state via organic process.

So mostly my own devices, heh.

RD: When you were a kid where did you hope your career would lead and have you reach that goal yet?

I never had any idea of a career in art when I was young - I remember reading Jack Horner long ago when I dreamt of paleontology. Perhaps my brain made that same leap from velociraptors & gt;birds?

RD: What do you enjoy designing the most, cd covers, t shirts, posters...?

I enjoy the work I do for me the most. Though shirts are always fun, and posters I'd like to do more of.

RD: We are 'down' with studios and how each artist functions within their own space, could you describe your studio for us please?

I have a spare bedroom at the house. There's a giant desk in the center where I'll sit/stand and paint. I keep a small wall of work up behind me, its the only place I hang my art in the house(just feels weird).
To the side of said giant desk there's a shelfing unit w paint, tape, jars, pencils, pens and other various supplies.
Bout it!

RD: Are you a ketchup or mayo man?


RD: What shows have you got coming up?

I have a print for a bike themed poster show this weekend(believe it was just in London) called Artcrank. Its in Denver at a place called Super Ordinary. Then at the end of Sept I'll have a show of drawings alongside Dee Dee Cheriel at Black Book Gallery(also in Denver). Finally, a few small paintings headed to Modern Eden in SF for a mini show in October.
Nothing on the plate after that but catch up.

RD: Well, it's been excellent to meet you Max, keep up the great work man.

Artcrank... Here
Black Book... Here
Modern Eden...Here
More of Max's work ... Here

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