Brian Kenny

27, wants to have a third eye, an extra arm and an extra pineal gland

media: multimedia, focus: illustration and music

You were born in Heidelberg, Germany and grew up in different states and cities – is that the reason you are an art nomad as a grown-up too?

When my brother and I were driving across the US from California to New York last year, shaving before a night on the Vegas Strip, he showed me how his wooden shaving cream kit had the word “NOMAD” engraved on the front.  It was a small moment when we both agreed at glance “Yeah, that’s us.” I certainly felt nomadic growing up as a ‘military brat’ and it was great exposure to grow up in states as far south as New Mexico and far north as Massachusetts.  Although I’ve been In New Yorker for 6 years, I’ve been lucky enough to continue traveling the world through art exhibitions.

And yet you return again and again back to drawings – what is it that gives you more freedom of expression than other media?

Drawing comes more naturally to me than writing and I really get into it. I can draw for hours, every day.  To me, it’s a very free media for expression because you can convey ideas emotions without language or structure.

Your art has many layers – I usually need a couple of times to get the bigger picture and the tiny details (not just because I’m blond!) – explain, how do you create a drawing? Do you go back to pimp up a piece?

I usually create drawings without any planning. I just begin drawing. If I’ve just seen something really cool or strange, then I’ll draw it. If I’m horny, I’ll draw sex. If I’m angry, I’ll draw curses and monsters. I’ll draw from imagination, life, books, Internet, everything. Perhaps, the hardest part about drawing for me is not to think too much. The best moments when I’m drawing are thoughtless, when I give up trying to control the image and just draw intuitively, not at all sure at what will appear and being okay with that. Drawings made in that frame of mind always come out beautiful and full of insight. Knowing when to stop a drawing is very tricky. Slava is always pulling out drawings from underneath me saying, “It’s done. Next!

You have been a competitive gymnast – is Targets your tribute to that sports past and gymnastics?

Well, I have made target drawings that focus on gymnastics, but also weight-lifting, running, jury-duty, my relationship with Slava, sex, fantasies and experiences I’ve had living in New York.  When I have any image, memory or idea that I want to “target”, then I will draw about it on a shooting target.

Did you have sexual experiences during your gymnast period? (e.g. with someone you were training together with?)

I never had any actual sex with my teammates, but my experience with certainly fraught with sexual energy.   For example, I once had a coach who would stretch my legs really hard.  While I was in a straddle position he would pull my legs further apart  while he put his chest onto my back pushing me to the floor. It was very painful, but I really liked having this hot muscular guy on top me, forcing me to become flexible. It was because of him that I could do the splits!

What sports do you do now?

Weight-lifting and running.

What’s Ghetto Yoga?

Ghetto Yoga is a series of 12 etchings depicting children and animals dressed up like gangstas, doing Hatha Yoga together.  I like the polar and ridiculous juxtaposition of a materialistic, aggressive thug style with a spiritual physical practice; the yin and the yang.

Are you still obsessed with amputees and Metabods? If there was a shop for body parts, what would be on your shopping list?

Yes, all forms of humans, whether real or imagined, are relentlessly interesting. My own body parts shopping list would read:

-A third eye (able to take photos, zoom, record, instant replay, and project. It can also see other frequencies like infra red and it’s connected to the internet.)

-An extra arm and hand (attachable above left arm)

-Another Pineal Gland (for conscious DMT release abilities)

Is there a new obsession you have recently developed?

Meditating.  For me it’s a real challenge to sit still, be calm and clear my mind.  I still marvel that Marina Abramovic sat still and silent for 7 hours a day for 3 months at her MoMA retrospective!

You’re combining people with animals in your drawings – what is the ultimate hyper-animal?

An animal that can fly, swim, dance and fuck–the MANEAGLEPHIN!

The Maneaglephin swims up to houses at night and taps his flippers on the windows on sexy guys. And once mating season begins, the Maneaglephin will hypnotize beautiful guys with a sensual dance in a colorful display of feathers and footwork until they’re overcome with waves of orgasmic pleasure.

What does the perfect human look on the other hand?

The perfect human can look like whatever it wants…. If I were perfect right now I’d choose to look like a sunset or better yet, a double rainbow.

Is the US flag a symbol of pride or shame for you? In your work you constantly explore the American conscience.

The US flag is a symbol of both pride and shame, depending on the context. I’m proud of my military family but also I feel shame about the military’s imperialist attitudes and this ridiculous war in Afghanistan. I’m proud I live in a country where I can be an artist and making a living out of it. And it’s also a shame that our American capitalist system is so susceptible to corruption.

SUPERM is your ongoing project with Slava – how do you juggle your personal and professional relationship with him?

Slava and I spend a lot of time together so we make it work in different ways. I can give a great massage and make delicious cocktails, while Slava is an excellent cook and editor.

How did you two meet?

Slava and I met at a nightclub called Opaline in the East Village back in 2004. I had no idea who he was before we met. It was a huge surprise to me to realize he was a very interesting artist. He wanted to make art with me right away. After spending the night together, he invited me to make an art video with him where I was throwing eggs at his ex-boyfriend, who was wearing only a diaper and boots, on the streets of Brooklyn. It was the weirdest thing at that point that I’d ever done and I was in love.

What music project are you currently working on and what is it about?

I finally finished a 69 minute music album entitled “Mechanical Sex Animals” I had carried around a voice recorder for years, recording friends, parties, music on the streets, stuff on TV, everything.  Then remixed it with some music I composed along with material from the internet and soundtracks from SUPERM videos.  It kind of sounds like electronic mashups with lots of sampling.

How do you feel about New York after 6 years – how has the art world changed and how has it influenced you? Who has influenced you?

I love New York and it’s a great city to be an artist.  I don’t know how the art world has changed, other than it seems to be expanding!  Slava and my friends (like Gio Black Peter and Fixx Invictus) are big creative influences on me. That’s also why I love doing collaborative art projects.