Monday, January 12, 2015

Hell's Bells and Jail Cells: The John Geary Interview

John Geary's LIVE DEVIL
John Geary is an accomplished inventor, set designer, concert guitarist and multi-disciplinary artist whose work has exhibited all over the world but the first time I laid eyes on his work, Geary was dressed head-to-toe in a red devil costume with a hard-on running alongside the I-10 freeway in Santa Monica California pointing menacingly at cars with one hand, a pitchfork in the other. This work was called DEVIL ARREST (part of a larger work called LIVE DEVIL) and to celebrate it’s release as part of Volume 2 of The Druid Underground Film Festival’s “Best of” DVD we interview him about his career:

BURGESS: You documented your tour around the country making brief but energetic public appearances as Satan. The LA Times quoted you, writing that your project was a spoof on the sightings of Bigfoot, Elvis, etc., intended to make people "perceive they had seen the devil and then deal with it." Can you elaborate on your intentions and talk about your experiences on that project?

GEARY: I was riding my bike one day along the beach and I caught something out of the corner of my eye, on a nearby cliff. When I turned to look, it was gone. This started me thinking about giving other people the same experience. I wanted to insert something unusual into an average commute and then disappear without any explanation. I wanted to make people wonder if they really saw the devil.

Geary as the fallen angel
BURGESS: During your final performance you were arrested in the suit but thankfully you documented the entire incident on camera (via ground and air). So did they actually take you to a jail cell in your get-up and if so how long were you in there and what were onlookers/cops/inmates reaction?

GEARY: I was handcuffed and taken to the Santa Monica Police station. The police were pretty nice to me when they discovered I was an art student. I was put into a holding cell by myself with my suit on for a couple hours. When I was released, there was a news crew trying to interview me.

BURGESS: You made a series of postcards for the 2012 Venice Beach Biennial that are pretty funny. Can you talk about the importance of humor in your work?

One of Geary's 2012 Venice Beach Biennial postcards 
GEARY: I like to keep myself amused. I like when unexpected things occur which break reality, if only for a moment. The postcards were a way of combining my creative writing with my photos of sunsets. The result are these trippy postcards, which I think are fitting for Venice Beach.

BURGESS: You hold 2 US Patents for your inventions, what are they?

GEARY: When I was in grad school at UCLA, I had a knee injury, which required crutches. This was the first time in my life I needed crutches and I couldn’t believe how bad the design was, and how few options there were. I designed my own crutches and decided to patent them.

BURGESS: What artists have inspired you?

GEARY: Far too many to name. Lets say Marcel Duchamp, Leonardo da Vinci, Bruce Nauman, David Lynch, Jimi Hendrix….to name very few.

BURGESS: Tell me about the show you’re exhibiting right now in Los Angeles at C. Nichols Project.

GEARY: My current show is called “Black Dust”, and it’s a show of charcoal drawings of cute animals.

Geary with his charcoal drawings (photo by Jordan Schwartz)
BURGESS: What’s next?

GEARY: Furniture. The “Push Me -Push Ewe”!

Geary's Push Me -Push Ewe in full effect
For more John Geary check out:

Pick up DEVIL ARREST on the Best of The Druid Underground Film Fest Vol 2 DVD at the DUFF Store: 

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