There's a thin line between abstraction and insanity. A notebook filled with penis drawings and magazine clippings of fashion models cut out and refashioned to look like they're crazy would probably be drooled over as part of a gallery exhibition. But if said book was found in the home of, say, a murder suspect, it would probably be used as evidence. Lucky for us, San Diego artist Mickey Ford (aka Mickeyson) does not fall into the latter category. Rather, when the 24-year-old stopped by with a custom-made book filled with a lot of those elements, we found it cool and pugnacious enough to check out some of his other stuff, which was as equally subversive.
“I just want to get stuff out of my system; I don't think about it,” says Ford via e-mail. “If you give people what they want to see, they'll only look for a second. But if you offend them or shock them or make them not understand something, then they'll stick around.”But what's so offensive or shocking about “Let's Talk About It,” the cute painting on the cover of this week's CityBeat that features what appears to be a big red monster that could be straight out of a children's book (or, perhaps an Adult Swim cartoon)? Adorable as it is, even Ford's most accessible pieces are loaded with the subliminal.
“I like to paint munsters,” says Ford. “Everyone has a munster inside of them, whether it be a secret or an insecurity or the guilty pleasure of a juicy Big Mac. It's there. In this particular painting, you notice two hands: One hand is yours, and the other is the munster's. They could be trying to shake and call it even, or they could be trying to arm wrestle. Either way, they're still trying make contact, and that's what counts.”
Ford is currently trying to set up some art shows around town, but in the meantime, you can see his unique mind at work when he and photographer roommate James Norton (who shoots CityBeat>'s “Shot on Scene” photos in “Nightgeist”) will collaborate in a show on Friday, Aug. 14. Norton will take photos of models, followed by Ford going over the resulting prints to cut out pieces of black and white paper in order to refashion it into art (the finished products will be high-contrast black and white prints with an average size of 3 feet by 5 feet).
And you can bet that Ford's sidekick, a golden plastic horse he totes around with him when he goes out to bars and clubs, will be in tow. Started as a joke, the horse now seems part of his unique personality and even an extension of his art.
“It was about creating a situation out of the norm, making people laugh and trying have just a little more fun then everyone else,” Ford says. “It became quite the ice breaker and got a lot of attention. Everyone takes themselves so seriously when they're out, but they all look the same. Everyone has the same thing in their hand, a drink. Me, I have a drink in one hand and a gold horse in the other. It's fun, and no one forgets a gold horse, ever.”