News: 12/10/2009  

Preston & Zappas Strike Back!

It's been almost two months since John Zappas and Lindsay Preston bid our fine city farewell in pursuit of a little more space to work on their respective portfolios. Since the two traveled north to Zappas' hometown of Atascadero, they've found the green, rolling hills of the central coast to be just the spot for their working sojourn. The goal? A new sense of direction and grad school portfolios. Both are taking this time to focus on their art practices, expanding upon current themes in their work as well as delving into facets unknown--which already includes copious amounts of seran wrap and bedazzling. Starting each day with a cup of coffee and a strict 9 to 5 schedule, Zappas and Preston are taking important steps to their developments as artists, learning the fruits of discipline and self-evaluation. And so far, it's paid off. We at Sezio have been faithfully following the progress of our favorite sweethearts with each new blog post and update, and figured that the world--or at least the non-Facebooking world--needed to see this for themselves.

Sezio: what sort of goals/expectations did you set for yourselves in approaching this period of work? How does this look on a daily basis?

John: The main goal here was to create a body of work that might get me into graduate school. This changed the way I worked a lot because for once the bottom line was "Do I think it works?". In much of my past creative work there were so many other things to consider like "Does it look cool?" or "Will it sell?" or when I was doing graphic design "Does it communicate clearly?". After I processed this, and that I could do whatever I wanted as long as it resonated with me, things started to get pretty weird.

Pretty much every morning involves drinking some coffee and checking email and the blog-o-land, then maybe updating my site/blog with some projects I've been working on. After that it's pretty varied, I'm usually drawn to projects that involve fairly banal repetitive actions, like gluing rhinestones to a fax machine, so large amounts of time go into things like that, but the main idea is making sure you get a really great shot of the work, so planning when and where you're going to shoot the piece is huge. Often this takes place in our faux gallery in the garage, but I've also done a few pieces that required installing in various public or private spaces, illegally of course, so that's pretty stressful trying to set up a styrofoam igloo on someone's ranch or sticking 500 name tags on a wall and then making sure you get the shot without John Q. Law showing up.

SZ: What is surprising you about the direction of your new projects?
Lindsay: This body of work is really inspired by the other work in it; working with certain processes and materials really open up into new avenues and ideas. I started using fallen oak branches because they are literally everywhere around here. The lichen on them really inspired me, and I found them quite beautiful. I guess my childhood in San Diego suburbs had a bunch of planted palm trees, but not many fallen oak branches, so I'm just getting my fill. I first used them in my Namkha piece, and I just kept introducing them in my work in different ways. It's really exciting to use the materials around me to inform my work. It makes me want to travel to new places and go to work with nothing but the outdoors and my hot glue gun.

SZ: What existing themes in your previous work do you find yourself expanding on?
LP: I have always been interested in cultural nuances, and in my previous work that often came out in drawings. This body of work is focused on lost cultural practices, and lost craft, and how these have become appropriated into present day social norms. A couple pieces deal with this idea directly "Fairy Tales (Krupenichka Dolls)" and "Untitled (Namkhas)," and others touch on this a bit more poetically by contrasting timeless materials (such as oak branches) and contemporary content (such as shrink wrap).

JZ: Stylistically, the work I've made recently is drastically different than the work I've made in the past, but content-wise I consider it to be very unified. I used to work primarily in illustration, drawing and painting and recently I've been focusing more on sculpture because it's very powerful to actually create something you think up instead of just represent it with ink or paint. Despite this, thematically, I'm still very interested in dragging pop culture into the dialogue and questions I have about existence. Specifically I find myself expanding on the practice of using ridiculous juxtapositions to mirror the absurdity I see in the universe.

SZ: What do you want for christmas?
LP: Money to apply to graduate school with, and pair of good sneakers, and one of John's question mark sweatshirts.

JZ: I've been home brewing for 2 years now and recently kegged my beer for the first time on a borrowed keg and it was the best thing since sliced bread. So I need a keg of my own. I also want you to go to my blog and buy a special edition ? sweatshirt as a gift to yourself and all your family. Orders must be in by Monday, December 14th so I can print and ship em. People always complain I never print the right sizes of stuff, well that's because I'm not very smart and I can't read your mind, so now's your chance to get one in the size you want! Do it now!!!

SZ: After having been involved in various arts communities in san diego, how are you finding working more in a relatively isolated environment?
LP: It's so different. I miss San Diego and all the shiny creative people terribly. We all know the anthem, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." San Diego has such a lively little community of purveyors of art, music, and literature. I feel very fortunate to have been involved in some way, and hope to continue to be.  But, without this environment now (where we don't know anybody and there is nothing to do) I don't think I would be able to focus so intently on my work. I would be too distracted in SD by Hamilton's and neighborhood bike rides, and backyard barbecues. I don't think I've ever had a time quite like this, where the only task at hand is my work. It's quite magical. As I am getting closer to completing this body of work, and graduate essays, I have strange moments where I have nothing to do, and I just about go crazy. I'll have to train myself back into normal life I think.

JZ: I think one of the really great things that's come from making all of this work and putting it on my website that I didn't even expect to happen, is that friends and strangers are actually looking at it, connecting with it and getting inspired. That's been probably been the best part of the whole deal.

SZ: Egg nog + brandy =  ______ ?

LZ: I think so?

JZ: I wish it were whiskey.


For more on John and Lindsay's work, check out their respective sites!

Tags: Jordan Karnes, Yeller, John Zappas, Lindsay Preston, Bedazzle, Seran Wrap


Sigh. I love this. I love you all. this is inspiring in a big way. I gots me lots of spare time in KC as well but like you, I think its for the best despite my aching heart for San Diego. forces a fool to get motivated! Here's to productivity!
Crystal Clem made this post on 12/10/2009 at 5:46 pm
so rad!
ben w made this post on 12/11/2009 at 12:25 pm

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