Selected works by Zak Smith

Zak Smith
Full-Spectrum Dominance in All Theaters

2007

Acrylic and metallic ink on paper

82.5 x 71.1 cm

Many of the models for Los Angeles-based artist Zak Smith’s images are women he meets in his alternative employment: as an actor in pornographic films. As in certain examples of shunga – the erotic woodblock prints made in Edo period Japan – the other protagonists are octopuses, whose many-suckered tentacles happily provide a variety of pleasurable outcomes.

Zak Smith
Things I Drew and Pinned to the Wall

2007

Acrylic on paper

89.5 x 71.1 cm

The giving and receiving of pleasure isn’t simply the subject in Smith’s work, though: a kind of intensely patterned, highly decorative visual delight is intrinsic to his form, too. Influenced in part by the jewel-like surfaces of Gustav Klimt, as well as the graphic immediacy and pictorial concentration of the classic comic strip, Smith’s work holds explicit storytelling at bay, preferring instead to imply narratives of erotic abandon, loneliness and excess.

Zak Smith
Girls in the Naked Girl Business: Mandy Morbid (II)

2007

Acrylic on paper

88.9 x 69. 8 cm

His paintings’ intricacy demands an intimate closeness of viewing, providing an unexpected frisson in the viewer. Yet Smith eschews the notion of complex underlying meaning, saying “If you keep looking up from your cheeseburger to read a plaque on a wall explaining why they made you a cheeseburger then that cheeseburger is not a good cheeseburger.”

Zak Smith
Girls in the Naked Girl Business: Sasha Grey

2007

Acrylic and metallic ink on paper

91.4 x 67.3 cm

Articles

MY LUNCH WITH ZAK SMITH, AKA ZAK SABBATH
by Tulsa Kinney, January 2010

ARTILLERY: Do you believe in God?
ZAK SMITH: No. (Pauses, then smirks). Okay, you can't scientifically disprove it, so maybe there's a God. But if there is, he's definitely a jerk. So it's either I don't believe in him, or if it turns out he's real, I have a bone to pick.

When did you lose your virginity?
Fourteen.

Do you consider your involvement in porn an extension of your art?
Not at all. Sometimes I make pictures that are about the porn business, the way Cézanne made pictures about apples. But the apples weren't his art. His art was painting. I've answered that question so much, that I'm convinced no one ever reads these interviews.

Do you consider yourself lucky? Because a lot of men would envy your position.
Yeah, I'm lucky. I feel it's important to point out that I'm lucky because I wouldn't want people to think I'm one of those artists who thinks they're successful because the art world rewards quality. Because it doesn't. I make good work, but the fact that I happen to be successful is just per chance, because they're unrelated things.

What's more important to you, sex or art?
Sex.

But what if you were stranded on an island, and you could either have all the sex you wanted, but could never make art. Or you could make art all day, but never have sex?
Depends on the person on the island.

What's the ultimate compliment to you? Is it when someone is praising your art, your writing, or your fucking?
I think compliments are kinda cheap. If you do anything in public, you're going to get compliments, and you're going to get insults. A real compliment isn't what is said, it's who says it. So, if it's someone whose art you really appreciate, and they like your art, then that's a meaningful thing. If there's someone you really want to have sex with, and they want to have sex with you, then that's a compliment, I guess.

Source: artillerymag.com


NO APOLOGIES: AN INTERVIEW WITH ZAK SMITH
by Justin Taylor, September 11 2009

I’m instantly suspicious of any book with “memoir” on its cover. You can hardly blame me. Everyone knows that memoirs are all too often pity parties, schmaltz festivals, excuse-offs, or some miserable combination of the three: You Should Feel Guilty That My Father _____; How Jesus Taught Me to Stop ____ing and Discover My Inner ____; Ruining My Life and the Lives of Those Around Me was Actually Healthy for All of Us Because _____. Yeah, yeah. Zak Smith’s We Did Porn: Memoir and Drawings, however, is a breed apart. For starters, he’s not in recovery. Moreover, his book offers nothing in the way of comfort or apology. How could it? He (1) is writing about a discomposing subject, and (2) is not sorry for anything.

Zak Smith’s Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow was in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and was later published by Tin House books (publisher as well of the present volume). In 2006, he began performing in alt-porn under the name Zak Sabbath. Smith/Sabbath is an exceptionally intelligent and perceptive individual who has excelled, without much apparent effort, in two—now, with this book, three—creative mediums. His prose spirals smart and sharp as concertina wire, his judgments are merciless, and he’s got enviable comic timing.

“Here, bent over a salad, is Auspicia Clay, who looks like an assistant veterinarian and for whom the words adult industry are not just a euphemism for porno but rather a useful term to describe a long and irrational resume tied together only by the fact that nothing on it should be done to children. She might try to persuade another self-described female-friendly production company to fund a movie where girls fuck boys who fuck other boys in places all over New York City, or she might try to find a fetish-friendly production company to help Ella Revenge shoot a movie where she’s fucked with a loaded gun—or she might just relax into steadier and better paychecks, writing reviews of dildos and kicking businessmen in small hotel rooms.”

Source: thefastertimes.com


artnet.com
Artnet: 2009, by Joe Fyfe



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therumpus.net
“The Rumpus Interview with Zak Smith”, The Rumpus: January 2009, by Michelle Knapp



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andrewmichaelford.com
“Interview with Zak Smith”, Andrew Michael Ford: October 14, 2009



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maxim.co.uk
Maxim UK: September 2009, by Heavy Ste



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findarticles.com
Zak Smith: Fredericks Freiser Gallery - New York, by Martha Schwendener, 2002



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quarterlyconversation.com
The Zak Smith Interview, by Terri Saul



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