The Archives: John Waters
John Waters: A National Treasure
Interview by Andrea Blanch
AB: Why did you think your work needed a facelift?
JW: You always have to reinvent yourself. I have been doing this for fifty years. My God, you can never stay the same. You always have to change. You have to think up many new ways to tell stories and that is the challenge after you have been doing this for so long, especially in our world when everything has already been told. So in a way I try to satirize behind the scenes of the art world and the movie business because really my work is about editing.
AB: Do you think you achieved the look you wanted with this show?
JW: I hope so, but that is up to others. If they like it or get something new out of it or look at things in a different way, then it worked. It worked for me but it has to work for others.
AB: You also said, and which I found interesting, that celebrity is the only obscenity left in the art world. Where does this idea come from?
JW: It comes from a lot of things, and I am not going to name names, but that’s why I have kept my so-called art career; I have kept it incredibly separate from my film career. Many of my film fans don’t even know I have been doing this since the early 90s. It’s because celebrity is incredibly suspicious, as I understand it should be in the art world. When I for many years was showing with Colin de Land of American Fine Arts he neutralized that for me because everybody knew Colin was anything but a groupie or impressed by celebrity. He was almost not impressed with it in any way. I made fun of it. I did a show in which I did one piece called ‘Over Exposed’ that had all my headshots stamped all over it, and I am overexposed, but I have made fun of that always. So I understand why it is the only obscenity left. Certainly sex is not, violence is not, but celebrity is, and I understand it.
Read the full interview featured in Issue 11: Vanity here!