I’ve known of Nick Zedd for what seems like forever… My first brush with his work was the short film, Whoregasm… I masturbated to that film a lot. I recall always receiving Nick’s films in the mail from tape traders, so I never bought one of Nick’s flicks, but I’ve seen them all… as I think about that as I type this, that’s sort of funny in today’s climate where artists cry and complain that the free sharing of their work on-line has killed the business of their art… Maybe Nick proves that art is a need and sharing gives life to the work.
I asked Nick because I noticed him while wasting time trying not to waste time on-line and I have respect for the underground artists of all generations.
What is underground art?
That which is hidden, transgresses accepted norms and takes a hermetic path. It is produced by amateurs and is shunned by curators, museum directors, programmers, tv, radio and record management, movie producers and corporate media until the artist dies, then the vultures arrive and cash in on it. Underground art’s authenticity can inspire generations of artists and is responsible for most advances in human civilization. It is a tragedy that underground artists are ignored, marginalized, ripped off and reviled by dominant culture which does everything in its power to wipe out all traces of their vision. The existence of underground art pinpoints the intellectual bankruptcy and hypocrisy of all so-called cultural institutions and governments, by virtue of its exclusion from them. It must be discovered by free thinkers and truth seekers on their own with no encouragement from “experts.” Dominant culture, an enveloping amoeba, seeks to co-opt and defang the subversive qualities inherent in underground art, mutating it for public consumption as a method of maintaining the illusion of democratic diversity helpful for manufacturing the consent of the masses who are always wrong.
Are there rules or a set of ethics to the underground?
No. The underground is a temporary autonomous zone where free expression, discovery, danger and experimentation occurs.
What is selling out?
Not being successful on your own terms. Allowing market forces to dictate your creative process. Blinding yourself in a fluke process of self delusion with the primary objective being the aquisition of money and popularity. Usually this involves self parody and following formulas, repeating what you’ve made over and over because it’s popular with the lowest common denominator.
Can underground go above ground and still be underground?
Have you ever sold out?
Is it possible to steal an idea?
Almost everything out there is stolen from somewhere.
Your biggest artistic regret?
I have no regrets.
Your biggest artistic inspiration?
What is dangerous art?
That which gets you arrested or banned. Or that inspires people to throw rocks at you or to beat you up. Usually that involves attacking religion or showing genitals or employing forbidden political symbols, but sometimes dangerous art makes people think, which is the most dangerous thing you can do.
Bonus question… nature or nurture?
I reject the concept embodied in this phrase due to its binary simplification of two tightly interwoven parameters. Since both types of factors are known to play such interacting roles in development, I consider the question naive.