|Catherine Y. Hsieh: You said in the film Good Times Will Never Be the Same that you were afraid of your girlfriend Kirsten’s fear of how her family would perceive you. Then what prompted you to involve her and her family in the project?
Brock Enright: Well, first our plan was to go away for a while, just to get out of [New York City] and clear our head from the chaos that we were going through at the time, with being very broke and having no money and stuff.
Brock Enright, interviewed by Catherine Y. Hsieh
Catherine Y. Hsieh: You said in the film Good Times Will Never Be the Same that you were afraid of your girlfriend Kirsten’s fear of how her family would perceive you. Then what prompted you to involve her and her family in the project?
Brock Enright: Well, first our plan was to go away for a while, just to get out of [New York City] and clear our head from the chaos that we were going through at the time, with being very broke and having no money and stuff. And we figured if we went out there we could at least be able to breathe a little bit, and because it was really nice out there, so that was the plan, and in the process of trying to do that I met Perry Rubenstein, who wanted to do this show, so I’m like, why don’t I just put them all together, that way I don’t have to worry about trying to make a show in the City, I can get away for a little bit, and maybe work on my project with isolation. It sounded like a great idea, but then she started thinking that maybe it wasn’t a good idea because it’s interfering with us trying to have peace and quiet because some of my projects aren’t really peaceful in the moment I’m making them.
CH: Judging from the film, Kirsten tried to keep your feet on the ground when you had your head up in the clouds. How did this side of your relationship play into your work?
BE: It helped me to an extent but really I feel it’s better if I try to reach as high as I can, and if I fail then I know that I have reached as high as I can. But whenever you’re working with someone with restraints or compromises, that becomes another area where you have to think about, what the other person is thinking, and trying to balance that when really I should be just focusing on getting lost within the work. So that became kind of a difficult thing. And it’s always a difficult thing when you’re in a relationship with someone because they want you around, it’s not like you go to a studio and you can leave the work there when you shut the door. A lot of my work it kind of goes with me until the project is done. So she was familiar with this but in other projects. And we were trying not to do that, I was trying not to go in that zone again. But I had this opportunity to go in the zone so it’s always difficult whenever you’re doing stuff like that.
CH: You were being filmed while you were making your own work. Did you in one way or another manipulate Jody Lee Lipes, the director of the documentary?
BE: Whenever [there is] a camera or any sort of recording device, it’s like when you go make an album or a record, you’re manipulating the sound or you’re manipulating the picture to communicate something. Jody I’m so familiar with him in many ways. He had an advantage to be able to really sit there and feel within my activity. So if there was any manipulation, it was just very natural and normal. So I think Jody was in a position that not many people could do, because I’ve been in places whether the news or reporters are there and I know how to manipulate those because these are fun, like Andy Kaufman, but Jody had for sure, a pure eye.
CH: A lot of people feel things like fecal matter, blood, or mucus are disgusting, or it’s a total horror. But these things are just standard human materials. Why the shock of what’s inside us?
BE: Why, you know, actually to some cultures it’s not really shocking. People use dung and stuff like that for fuel. There’s all kinds of cultures where it’s actually utilized as fertilizer, help plants grow. Doing what I do on the stage, that sculpture I created, I tried to, in a humorous way, play with the idea of putting every human fluid on that stage possible, there’s blood, there’s sperm, there’s urine, there’s skin, all these things on there, in some way trying to make the stage alive. As simple as that, as elementary or childish as that sounds, that was the intent. The way voodoo or witchcraft would try to make a statue come to life, you put something on there that was once alive, by creating it makes you believe it a little more. The way witchcraft or voodoo [is], like the rituals that people go through. It was my attempt that I’m going though rituals whether it was cliché or silly or funny, there’s an attempt that I’m trying to make something alive and within that being translated on film it’s something different once recorded. It’s a different thing, it’s a different beast not as easy to define so it’s easy to tap that moment, easy to say that they’re shocking but really it’s really normal. Maybe not normal once it’s presented to the public. I did that activity in the private space of my studio, my outdoor studio in the woods, and it was recorded through Jody, so you should ask Jody that question why would he show that on film. These are his choice. My place was to try to make the stage come to life.
CH: People have said that they could see Paul McCarthy in you. What is your response to that?
BE: I would say of course, you know. But there’s a simple explanation. That type of behavior goes way before Paul McCarthy. There are so many artists that have dealt with that type of stuff, more complex. You can go to Christopher Burden, you can go to Mike Kelly, Allan Kaprow, and Bruce Nauman. Those behaviors are, I’m actually only starting where a lot of those artists have left off. It’s just a very simple texture or color association or activity that wanted to associate Paul McCarthy with me. That’s fine, I’m grateful for it. Maybe the activity and product look similar but there’s actually much more artists out there that are doing things that look much more like other artists than what I’m doing. I would hope that people don’t stop there but they actually look at the subtleties in the work and not the loud association, very simple, simple association, Paul McCarthy and I’m a young guy and Paul McCarthy has been doing for years, he arrived at that, I’m starting. I will be starting there, so where would I end up? They’re not really starting there. I’ve been inundated with art history since I was in elementary school so I know so much about art, art history is all I’ve ever known far out from all that stuff so I’m just continuing with what I think I know.
CH: I know you said in the film that you don’t want to know too much about what you’re doing, but what is your next artistic direction?
BE: My next artistic direction is starting where I left off. Really, that’s that, I’ve been doing things that are based on, like, for example, the sculptures and the pieces are not completed until 2020, you know 2012, because some of the materials haven’t yet been found or fabricated. For example, if I want to use something based on pop culture. Right now I’m looking for a pop singer that’s an albino, that could make a platinum record, if that exist then one of my pieces will be set, but if not, it’ll just be a time-release piece. And the piece would be the albino pop star.