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Interview with Joe Sola, Who Will Have Car Salesmen Sell His Art at This Weekend’s ALAC

cubes with arrow 2015 oil on canvas 30 x 36 1/8 in inches
cubes with arrow
oil on canvas
30 x 36 1/8 in inches
cubes with arrow 2015 oil on canvas 30 x 36 1/8 in inches

At this weekend's Art Los Angeles Contemporary show, artist Joe Sola presents a new work entitled Car salespeople selling my paintings at Art Los Angeles Contemporary. Sola has hired several area car salesmen to sell his art (like the painting at the top of this post), and will pay them a base fee plus commission, just as if they were "on the lot". TIF SIGFRIDS presents the piece, and has this to say:

For Art Los Angeles Contemporary, TIF SIGFRIDS will be presenting a solo project with gallery artist Joe Sola. Sola, who is well known for his inaugural show at the gallery Portraits: An Exhibition in Tif Sigfrids’ Ear that took place in October of 2013, will be exhibiting a new body of paintings, presented with a twist. In place of dealer Tif Sigfrids, a series of car salesman will be introducing this new body of work to the pubic at ALAC.

When Sigfrids approached the artist about making a solo presentation at the fair, there was only one condition, that she needn’t be present. The gallerist is expecting the birth of her first child shortly before the opening of the fair, but didn’t want that to prevent her from participating. Unbeknownst to Sigfrids, Sola had the idea of asking a car salesman to try and sell his paintings for years and the perfect opportunity was born.

This terrain of introducing outsiders into the often time insular world of fine art is not entirely new to the artist. In a 2006 performance Sola invited male models into a gallery to make art (Male Fashion Models Make Conceptual Art, Atlanta College of Art). In a 2010 performance in London called Talking About My Drawings with Escorts, he hired female escorts to walk through a gallery with him as he explained his drawings to them in front of an audience. Questions of art and the language that’s used to explain it have always been of interest to Sola, but this time he takes it one step further to include the notion of sales.

Sola, who claims to love test-driving new vehicles and talking with sales people, is interested to see how the techniques used to sell a car might transfer into the sale of his paintings under the high-pressure atmosphere of an art fair. For the course of Art Los Angeles Contemporary, a new dealer will work the booth each day, being paid a base salary plus commission.

We love the concept, and reached out to Sola for the following interview...

What's your favorite taco?
My favorite Taco place is a truck that, at nighttime, is on the corner of Cypress and Division. If you want the name let me know and I'll find it for you.

How often do you test drive cars?
I test drive a car every month.

How often do you buy a new car?
I buy a new car every 2 - 3 years.

What do you think makes a good car salesman?
A good car salesperson is somebody who lets me be me, and a great car salesman helps me discover something new about myself through the car.

If you were a car salesman which brand would you want to sell?
I could never make it as a car salesman. I would certainly not make my sales goal and be fired, making me have to move around from dealer to dealer, which might not be a bad thing. I did sales when I was 21 yrs old, selling death and dismemberment policy upgrades over the phone with Allstate. That was the last sales job I had.


What are some examples of self-discovery you've had while on a test drive?
I found out that 1) I am American 2) I am devoted to a life of aesthetics 3) not to live with fear.

How have you prepared for the project?
In preparing for this project I did studio visits with the car sale men who will be working the booth at the art fair. They made for very exciting and original dialogues for me responding the work, asking questions, different from studio visits I've had for a while. Here's a link to one of my most well known projects that was also a very exciting studio visit for me. I jumped out my studio window, through break away glass, in the middle of the visit.

What is your expectation of how well the salesmen will do? Are you the sales manager? Will you sit in an office somewhere and let them come talk to you about prospects?
I will leave the sales up to them. I will be at the fair opening night and will make some introductions to people I know. And if they need to call me or the gallery during the fair we can help them with any support they might need. The gallery prepared press binders for them ahead of time so they could read up on some of my other projects.

What's your lucky number?
No lucky number, yet.

Learn more about Joe Sola here.

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