Q&A with Sebastian Errazuriz
What was the first thing you thought about when you woke up this morning?
I reached for the piece of paper on the side table that was scribbled with ideas from the previous night, curious to see if this morning, they continued to seem as amazing and exciting as I remembered. I was somewhat disappointed.
What do you wear to work?
I used to change from suits to jeans like a bipolar ADD schizophrenic. Depending on my schedule I could be painting in my underwear with white plastic bags over my shoes or catching a cab while fitting my cuff links and adjusting a tie. Whichever way; clients and collectors are used to seeing me arrive biting off fresh paint marks from my suit sleeves or brushing off bits of sawdust from my head.
What do you have for breakfast?
2 coffees, 2 croissants and 2 glasses of orange juice and then usually some more coffee… I would have more croissants but I try to keep them restricted.
Do you read a newspaper/watch television/click online?
I try to be as un-informed as I can responsibly be. It helps to keep the creative process less contaminated. Nevertheless you don’t want to hate yourself for working on a project that looks just like an exhibition you missed 2 months ago.
How do you get to work?
I almost bought an old convertible BMW last Friday; I chased it for a block until I managed to write the telephone down. It looked so nice, but at the end I didn’t want to deal with a mechanic. Someone should grab those old gorgeous backstabbing classic cars and fit them with hidden components from some reliable new ugly Toyota.
What time do you first check your inbox?
Everyday at 7am, in my pyjama pants; just before I take a shower and do my sit ups. I have to design something for that; I feel stupid doing sit ups on the bathroom mat, I always wonder if I locked the door properly. Its unsettling to be on the floor looking at the ceiling, crunching hoping no one will hear your heavy breathing and get the wrong impression.
Where are your desk and chair from?
I needed a long desk to stack piles of drawings. So my desk is simply made from long planks of wood, and banisters for the legs. My own furniture is unfortunately too nice to have at a studio. I would hate myself if I broke or painted over anything that took several months to make. My old leather armchair looks like I am the president of a small republic.
If you could save only one item from your office/studio what would it be?
This 100-year old life-size crucifix, that used to belong to a church and now hangs on my wall. I would also take the real police motorbike near my desk. That’s 2 things; which maybe tied together they would make a single nice sculpture about authority.
Do you listen to music whilst you work? If so, what are you listening to at the moment?
Normally Bach to concentrate or something like ACDC when I’m tired. Somehow right now there is a stupid cheesy 80s song playing on my ipod, its like from Top Gun or something of the kind. I don’t know what the hell it’s doing there; I didn’t pick it.
Where would your ideal lunch be and who would it be with?
I should answer “with Obama”, and the “Dalai lama” at the Vatican. Or with Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst at the Tate. But philanthropy aside, I would prefer Giselle Bunchen and Penelope Cruz on a yacht. And if there is nothing to eat I don’t give a fuck.
Summarise in three words your work ethos?
“Nothing is impossible” “Everything can be improved”
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
This is where the student trained in work interviews should say “I’m too perfectionist” Nevertheless, I actually hate myself when I haven’t been enough of a perfectionist. I feel ashamed, like a kid who knows he’s done something wrong and fears he is about to be discovered.
What do you think is the most overrated virtue?
I would love to say beauty, but I would be lying. Who the hell came up with the idea that beauty disappears, the rest stays and therefore we should value the rest over beauty? Ugly doesn’t disappear in time! It only gets worse. The most overrated virtue is definitely fake unquestioned idealism.
Is there any single person that particularly inspires you?
Obama is actually pretty amazing. There are a lot of things I don’t like about the US. But that election and that guy made me believe and respect this country more than ever.
Where do you feel most inspired?
I honestly feel inspired by the lady at the Laundromat that works from 7am to 10pm 7 days a week. I am inspired by rigor and discipline of any person who works harder than I do.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That will be my next project. And then it will be the project after that, and subsequently until I am exhausted and cant do this thing anymore. Then Ill hopefully be old enough to be tranquil about whatever I managed to contribute.
How do you switch off?
I don’t switch off, I can’t do that, I don’t want to, I would be afraid to.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I actually always wanted to be an artist. Nevertheless I also always thought kids who wanted to be things like firemen and astronauts were pretty lame. Who do you know that wanted to be an astronaut and now is one? None, they all sold out.
What excites you/terrifies you on a daily basis?
The thin line between perfection and mediocrity.
Would you like to be your own assistant?
Definitely! Lucky little bastard! …Actually it would be quite annoying and demanding, probably a little exhausting. Definitely wouldn’t want to work for myself.
Is there anything about retirement you look forward to?
I am just warming up; I haven’t even started! But the day I retire Ill be one of those old dudes that will say it was way harder in my time. “These kids have it easy” I had to follow parallel careers when you weren’t allowed to be an artist and a designer at the same time…
If you could choose to come back as person or thing, who or what would it be?
How about Jesus Christ, with the special powers, but no moral obligations? How about I also get to have lunch with who ever I want?
Read about and see more of Sebastian Errazuriz’s work