Of all the major holidays, Halloween is my least favorite. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with horror movies, I’m scared of the dark, and I’ve had a few ghostly encounters. Yes, I am “that” friend. But for the artist known as Neck Face, “Halloween is better than Christmas.”
Just before the Halloween opening of Neck Face’s show, Into Darkness, at the temporary O.H.W.O.W. Gallery on La Brea, my friend Alanna Navitski, took me over for a sneak peek and a chance to interview the artist. When we arrived, I was met with a few surprises. First, Neck Face was not at all what I expected after seeing the masked wild-eyed images of him on the internet, and second, I had to walk through a haunted house before actually reaching the main hub of the gallery where the art was located. I was none too thrilled with the latter. In fact at one point, I ended up running out of the haunted house in a panic when I ventured in alone to shoot some photos, completely convinced that the dead baby in the corner moved. I’m pretty certain it did.
In the heart of gallery, Neck Face was busy constructing the last remaining elements of his large wooden panel collages, mixing 2-D and 3-D features. There are three of these, four large patterned panel pieces, and 13 watercolors, a total of 20 pieces for the show. “I’m almost done. I slept here last night to work on the stuff, could you tell?” he inquisitively asks. No, I couldn’t.
Into Darkness marks the second Halloween art show that Neck Face has done with O.H.W.O.W. The first was last year at their gallery in Miami. He gives me a quick tour and briefly explains the various components of his work. Does the show’s title or the fact that it opens on Halloween have anything to do with the satanic theme? According to him there is no theme. “I just wanted to do something fun. Art, booze, a skate ramp, my friends and family, a haunted house, these are things I love in one space. Maybe that’s the theme?” What about his drawings of Satan? “I don’t think people are repping hard enough for Satan so I’m taking it upon myself to do it,” he deadpans. “I think he’s proud of me.”
We move over to a bench located in the room to begin our interview. As I pull out my notepad, he inquires if we’re going to “talk serious,” and as soon as I nod my head, he quickly leaves, only to return skating back on his skateboard with a Coors light in his hand. “I’m ready,” he announces, and for a second, I don’t know where to begin.
It’s hard to believe that the 26-year old, slightly disheveled person in front of me had his first solo sold-out show seven years ago. He doesn’t seem to take anything seriously, let alone art, but during the course of our conversation, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. His charm catches you completely off guard.