No one else quite takes the notion of the lonely solo artist withering away in his isolated studio and spins it on its clichéd head, than painter David Hochbaum.
Living a life as layered and complex as his paintings, Hochbaum is a true New York original. As passionate about the sandwich place around the corner as he is about the local art scene, together with his posse of friends and professional colleagues, Hochbaum, is too busy creating an environment that fosters creativity and sense of community within the art world to worry about those typical artist eccentricities. After a stint in Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the Manhattan-born Hochbaum was back in NYC for good in 1995, a familiar stomping ground from his youth. "My dad was a party guy who had a place on 1st Ave and 1st Street, so some of the places I mention in my recommendation are spots I went to when I was a little kid that I still go to today."
Known for his intricate multi-media photo constructions that meld photographs, printed matter, oil, acrylics, inks, wood and metal, Hochbaum's East Village neighborhood literally winds up in his work as found objects are eventually incorporated into his surreal collages of women, serpents, demons and more. "New York's great for found objects—any material you need or want to use you can find, pretty quick and easy," says Hochbaum. "Even the raw, urban quality of the city helps a lot, the energy. It's very layered, textural and chaotic."
And as Hochbaum has found, it's better to work with that chaos than fight it. "A lot of people try to conquer the city, the idea of, 'Oh I'm going to conquer New York.' New York's not to be conquered. New York is to be, I think, adapted to and taken into your psyche. That's why you come here. It's a great city to exploit that, be able to use that."
A co-founder of Goldmine Shithouse, a collaborative artist group who hold weekly meetings, Hochbaum is also a fan of utilizing his equally talented peers. "I'm constantly inspired because I'm surrounded by some pretty amazing and talented people. They motivate me from their passion and ideas, they teach me about painting or printmaking—things that eventually gets mixed into my work and vice versa," explains Hochbaum. "We're always there to pull anyone up to the next level in any way we can."
A part-time bartender at Hi-Fi, Hochbaum says one of the most popular questions he gets asked about the imaginative Shithouse projects—where the magic happens when a project is started by one artist, passed on to another, and so forth, until it's collectively voted as finished—is: but what part did you do? Expounds Hochbaum, "There's absolutely no answer to that because even if I put down a mark or make a move it's somehow inspired and pushed by the presence or ideas of somebody else that I'm working with."
With shows currently in L.A.—and London, Germany and Brussels shows planned for later this year—next up for muti-tasking Hochbaum is, yup, you guessed it—yet another group show. This time he's opening his own studio apartment to curate Guild of The Black Eagle 3 on October 6th. "We have about 30 artists that I feel deserve to be seen and outside the general elitist arena of galleries. Its just a survey of the talents and a celebration of the contemporary scene." Sounds like with Hochbaum on your side, you can't help but be part of a winning team.
Read an exclusive interview with David Hochbaum on the official ontheinside.info blog here.
This is a good spot to gain a little perspective on things before you get on the phone and deal with all the crap of the day that you have to, and then you can walk through the park, get a little bit of that nature in you, and acknowledge that there is this whole other life in the city that's going on. …more
The music is generally pretty good because they have an amazing jukebox, most of the crappy music has been eliminated. It's also close enough that I can get away from the studio, you know clear my head—or fog it up, whatever—and meet up with friends. …more
We got a bunch of friends together, and we all went to sample. The fried chicken was ridiculous—super succulent and crispy perfect. …more
It's just your basic Vietnamese sandwich, but something about theirs is pretty exceptional. …more
This is a nice, out-of-the-way place to take someone to if they've never been here before. …more
They have the 101 sandwich which is ridiculous—smoked turkey, lettuce, tomato, cole slaw, bacon, thousand Island dressing. When you're drunk or stoned and you put that thing in your mouth—just forget it. You're done. You're hooked. …more
They have a couple stools on the side where you can sit and eat, but it's more of a carry out kind of place. It's interesting, it looks like a tiny little house and with someone standing there, sizzling up some chicken tacos. …more