The piece sits Young down with fellow downtown artist Adam McEwen in his NYC loft apartment for a lively chat about motorcycles, trading art for clothes and the territoriality of surfing. How does it all tie together?
L-R: Jack Kerouac’s ‘Big Sur’; Adam Young’s 2008 piece ‘Go Home’
Young grew up in California, bobbing in the surf around Carmel, Monterey and the bohemian paradise Big Sur, where ‘there are only enough waves for a certain amount of people.’ A few of his pieces carry the spirit of this upbringing with them — rock and bronze sculptures emblazoned with phrases like ‘Go Home’ and ‘Locals Only’ — phrases he wrote around his childhood surfing spots, and ones that translate perfectly to a New York City downtown art scene plagued by gentrification, rising rent costs and every variety of culture-vulture.
Lately, he’s made different waves working with motorcyclists on some distinctly masculine, large-scale pieces. In the fall of 2007, Tom Ford and Sotheby’s Auction House hosted a show for Young at the Park Avenue Armory, where he enlisted ten motorcyclists to pop burnouts on a set of painted boards. Christopher Bollen, who replaced Ingrid Sischy last year as Interview’s new editor-in-chief, was on-hand to report for New York Magazine.
It’s the choice to work in this type of medium that’s gotten Young pegged as a ‘jock artist’ — a loose term that sees him lumped in with art stars like Richard Prince. But jock isn’t perhaps the right word to use for someone like Young, who explains to Adam McEwen his art-for-clothing arrangement with designer Adam Kimmel (of the now-infamous Claremont hill-bombing video, above, and a California kindred spirit), who recently gifted Young six or seven three-piece suits.