“Initially, I thought of my work as a kind of branding warfare,” says artist James Verbicky of the three-dimensional works he creates using vintage media and advertisements in his San Clemente studio and shows through the JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach and Madison Gallery in La Jolla. “It still is, but it’s also an exploration. I take things out of context, chop them up, remove parts and give them a new meaning.” Verbicky, who obtained an Extraordinary Ability green card to stay in the U.S. after leaving his native Canada, began as an abstract painter and experienced a pivotal turning point when he was selected to show a piece at the Louvre in 2008. While exhibiting in Paris, Verbicky began collecting ephemera from vendors along the Seine, which sparked his mixed-media evolution. “I now make paintings without paint,” admits the artist, who scours obscure and foreign magazines from the 1900s to the ’60s for materials. “I mess with past information designed to influence us,” he says. “My goal is to create something that’s both mind-blowing and different.”
LX: Current project:
JV: I’m working on an exhibition in collaboration with DTR Modern Galleries for the National Art Gallery in Bulgaria. The museum recently exhibited Damien Hirst’s show “New Religion,” so I’m very excited. I’ll be revealing a collection created on a scale I’ve never attempted.
LX: Art icons:
JV: Gerhard Richter and Elmgreen & Dragset.
LX: Favorite hotel:
JV: The Gansevoort Turks + Caicos. It’s sleek, beautiful and modern, and the restaurants there have amazing Caribbean dishes.
LX: Dream exhibition:
JV: The Palace of Versailles has featured some impressive modern art installations. I love the juxtaposition of ultramodern art with the sweeping historical majesty of the place. It would be a huge honor to exhibit work there.
LX: Greatest indulgences:
JV: Ice cream and plenty of espresso.
LX: I'm happiest when:
JV: I’ve finished a show, and I walk around the studio. Everything is gone, on its way. Once the place is clear, the studio becomes a blank canvas again, and I’m ready to work