Artist of the Week

Bobby Doherty

December 3, 2012

Bobby Doherty is 23 years old. He lives in Brooklyn with his hamster Christine. He likes soup and noodles.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? A book about Love.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why? I really want to spend some time in Japan. It just seems so alien and beautiful.

How did your interest in art begin? My grandfather has been everything in his lifetime. Painter, actor, photographer, inventor, bodybuilder, soldier, model, china town icon, playwright, toy designer and probably way more roles I still don’t know about. I just remember seeing the way he was when I was very young, he was completely different than any other adult I had ever known. He would fill the room. He was and still is completely electric. I have only ever just done a bad version of a man named Gordon.

If you had to explain your work to a stranger, what would you say? A very long joke with no punch line in sight.

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? I’ve mostly been shooting very digital still life stuff for the last few months. Before that it was all 35mm color film. I had been doing that for so long, it all started to feel very flaccid. I knew that I wanted to try something else and I knew that I wanted to become more technical so I saved up from assisting real photographers and bought some digital stuff and paper backgrounds. I’ve been spending a lot of my free time now just trying to find objects to shoot. Stuff that feels familiar or weird or romantic. I use to live very minimally, now my bedroom is full of photo crap and knickknacks.

What do you do when you’re not working on art? Feeling guilty about not being productive. Or drunk.

What are you really excited about right now? Dudes, book covers, zig-zagz, cool temperatures, photoshop, leaving the city, David Byrne, cartoons, ramen every single day.

How long have you lived in New York and what brought you there? I’ve lived in New York for 5 years now. I moved here from upstate in the fall if 2007 to start my freshman year at SVA. Feels like forever ago.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? A crisp twenty dollar bill.

If you hadn’t become an artist what do you think you’d be doing? Yawning.

What were you like in high school? Painfully awkward. And slimy. And high. And drawing little cynical cartoons all the time. I remember at the end of my senior year I convinced my art teacher to give me a display case in a busy hallway. I completely filled it with these rotten little sad cartoons about chairs missing their families, dudes with tiny bodies and really long legs stomping through villages yelling, “IMMA BIG BITCH NOW!”, bird cages with arms and legs screaming “FREE AT LAST!” and other melancholy lil objects.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? A month ago my favorite teacher from SVA asked me to come into his freshman class to show and talk about my work. He also teaches at ICP and I had gone there a few times to talk to his classes and it was always fun. But this time was my first time coming back to SVA since I graduated so I was a lil nervous. I ended up putting together this epic 6 minute slide show of photos I had taken between 2007 and 2012 and just played this weird ambient looping music so we weren’t sitting in silence in a dark room. Half way through the slide show I looked out around the room and saw a girl in the front silently crying. I don’t know if it was the photos, the heavy music or some other issues she was working out—but making that 18 year old girl cry is one of my proudest moments as a photographer.