As an exhibiting artist of Palo Gallery's 'Just Kids' show last December and Strike Art's 'Through the Turnstiles' show this past January, Sage speaks to ONLYCHILD about starvation, cats and dogs, and his particular relationship with fire!
1. Can you describe your art in one verb?
2. Are you into the murky waters of curatorial practice?
S: Not yet.
3. Do you ever starve?
S: I starve in many ways. While I’m painting, I don't really think about food. So I do end up going hours without eating. Maybe I just like to paint while I’m hungry. I also have insomnia, I take advantage of this extra time by using it to work late, sometimes until the early morning. It can be pretty horrible, tossing and turning for hours in what feels like a never-ending loop. But it is in these moments that I think my creativity is at its peak. I’m in a state of free-flowing consciousness and the ideas take over (though I’m not saying they’re all good ones). But I’m thankful for my insomnia. Yeah, it can suck; but, the way I think about it is, I spend so much time with friends and family, manically working and socializing too much, that those nights become a form of meditation. The sensory deprivation forces me to sit with my inner self: I think in depth about people, art, random human things that occur throughout the day, my past, the list is never-ending.
4. When you tweeted “elon you are jezuz”, what did you mean by that?
S: Fuck, I didn’t think anyone would ever see that. I was kind of joking. Elon, in my eyes, a little like Tony Stark (Iron Man) – a little rough around the edges for sure, but no one is perfect. His work ethic and genius are pretty over the top and his drive to excel bewilders me. His weirdness combined with his hyper-intelligence creates an alien-esque effect, which is why I related him to Jesus. Someone outside of this world, implementing his vision while resisting and all comprise. Obviously he is not Jesus, far from it. John Lennon equated the fame of the Beatles to Jesus during the height of their fame, and Musk is today’s equivalent.
5. How do you deal with destruction?
S: Pretty well. I tend to stay calm in moments of destruction. The destruction that I’ve witnessed/created comes out in my work.
6. What is your favourite series of paintings? Do you have anything in the works?
S: Since I was a child, I loved painting animals. This interest has continued till now where I’ve been exploring distorting animals in photoshop and painting them. When doing this, I feel my inner child coming through. I’ve made a few that excite me, and I’m definitely not done painting animals. I also like to play with the relationship between fabrics, canvas sizes , and materials. A few years ago, I also poured resin on a pair of underwear and loved the effect it had. It turned out the underwear I used wasn’t mine, but belonged to my brother's dear friend. He kept asking me for the sculpture but I didn’t want to give it to him because it was the only boxer sculpture I’d ever made and I wanted it. So it got to the point of him pestering me, that I called him and said I’ll just paint it for you. When studying the boxers, I clearly saw a monstrous face. Growing up, I remember seeing faces in everything, and most of my childhood work consisted of faces. I painted the boxer monster and felt like I just tapped into something interesting. I’d captured my inner demons, combined with the characters I surround myself with in the boxer’s distressed expression. I see the monsters as personality portraits of anyone other than myself, my friends, to someone I made eye contact with on the street. I want the portraits to evolve beyond boxers.
I’ve recently been making a lot of ceramics, and am completely infatuated with the effects of glaze, in both texture and color. I’m currently exploring ways to transport it into my paintings. I am also working on starting a ceramic homeware store, in which I'll be making and selling anything from backgammon and chess boards to pendants and coat racks.
7. Would you say that NFTs are the death of art?
S: Absolutely not. I think it’s just another medium. I mean 99% of the NFTs created since its boom are horrible. But I see this recent crash as a great opportunity for the good stuff to pull through. I also love the idea of smart contracts connected to physical work.
8. What is the meaning behind your underwear series of paintings?
S: For the most recent boxer monster I made, I flipped it so the eyes are in the leg holes instead of extruding out of the waistband, and I painted it on a very thin textured pink linen with yellow hints. I wanted to emphasize the fabric and texture in the piece. Its watermelon-y green really draws your eye into it. This one, in particular, carries an air of worry whereas the others are more -I don’t want to say frightening, but a little scary. “Don’t Look Down” is the name of a boxer monster that was exhibited in the ‘Just Kids’ show at Palo Gallery; I painted it on a distorted canvas that angles inwards. I did this to emphasize the subject, like when I sometimes glance across my bedroom floor and see my dirty laundry intensely staring back up at me. I also want to paint women's underwear, and see where that takes me. I have my own interpretation of them; they’re portraits of emotions to me.
I encourage the viewer to ignore what I have to say about them and just find their own meaning. I’m excited to hear what people have to say.
9. Would you say that you were a cat in your past life?
S: I’m a father of two cats. But I grew up with dogs and consider myself more of a dog person. In my past life, I see myself potentially being anything and everything. I’ve lived my whole life in big cities, and I feel a calling to eventually spend time completely immersed in nature.
10. What is the meaning behind “Schac”?
S: My friend, you got the wrong Schac. My late brother Kai, who passed away a few years ago, went by that nickname. He was incredibly talented, and to this day, what he created and his mentality towards life inspires me. He looked at life like a game: anything was possible with some charm, finesse, and luck. Someone once said to me, “a candle that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long.” This is accurate in his case, he really had a powerful effect on everyone he met.
11. What is your relationship with fire?
S: Hahaha, I have an uncanny feeling you’ve done research on me. So one evening, after lighting a candle to mask the smell of cigarette smoke. I went downstairs to get some water and when I returned, my bedroom was black with smoke. A giant, bright orange flame was roaring from what seemed to be my entire mattress. (I assume the duvet fell onto the candle when I got out of bed). Thank god we all survived - except my bedroom… The fire blazed for hours; yet, through some miracle, the fire was contained in my room. We were left with plenty of water damage though, some of my dad’s art was fried crisp, and my whole family suffered a houseful of trauma. Although it was very disturbing, I try to look back and find the humor in these things. My older brothers soon got home with their squad of 20, and we were all hanging out in the back house while helicopters swooned over our family home. My father returned from dinner out, and lost his shit (as any father would react). He threw a TV on the floor, screaming like I’ve never heard before, and booted everyone out. This experience will, for sure, be ingrained in me till I die. The black and grey smog-filled room, paired with the vibrant colors of the flames, and the distress and panic. This incident made me respect fire and its power. Also, during one of my sculpture classes a few weeks ago, I was introduced to this gun that shoots a fiery lightning bolt through sheets of metal. I was glued to it. The ideas of what I could create just came flooding. Perhaps it was the thrill of the sparks being spat out in all directions, but I knew that this is a technique I needed to explore more.
Painting will always be my primary medium, but I am very eager to explore the boundless world of techniques artists are lucky enough to have excess to today.
Sage's Keychains, a limited collection of 35 hand-sculpted and one of a kind ceramic keychains will be released on 05.05.2023 Friday 12PM EST and 5PM GMT, exclusively on onlychildmag.com.
Connect with Sage on: Instagram
Check out his available works at: Strike Gallery