A Conversation Between COURTNEY LOVE and PATRICK MCMULLAN
By Anita Marie Antonini
Courtney Love needs no introduction, but one may be warranted on the occasion of her first solo art exhibition at Fred Torres Collaborations entitled “And She’s Not Even Pretty.”
The PMc Magazine team met up with Courtney Love for a one-on-one sit down during a Press Preview at the gallery on the eve of her opening.
Courtney Love embodies “Cutting Edge,” so there was no one more appropriate to include in our May 2012 Cutting Edge Issue. Courtney has been a pal of PMC for years and we couldn’t have been more excited to share her latest creative undertaking. Courtney is a wild card, but as the saying goes, it takes one to know one.
Encouraged by Fred Torres and David LaChapelle to channel creative energy and pursue this body of work of mostly drawings in pencil, pastel and watercolor.
No stranger to contradictions, Courtney’s drawings show adolescent vulnerability with adult strength. They contain an autobiographical dreamlike realism contrasting desire and love. Poetic evidence here is still open to interpretation.
Patrick McMullan: Hey Courtney, I love your art. Eric [Alger], who works for me, said to me: “You better buy one!”
Courtney Love: I looked at them all yesterday and freaked out a little bit.
PM: No, they’re really good. They really all are. And we came early so we could see the work and really live with it a while. But I figured that you would maybe come late. [He chuckles.] Because in “Courtney time,” late is on time. But you got here twenty of. I said: “She’s early!” You were early for Courtney time!
CL: I know, thank you!
PM: See, it’s just, you have to understand a person. I feel like I understand you. Imagine we’re all a deck of cards. You are a wild card, you know? And a lot of people, when they play cards, they don’t like playing with the wild cards. They say, “No, I’m not using the wild card.” And so they leave it in the deck. I love playing with the wild card because you can get five-of-a-kind. So the wild card could really make you win.
CL: So you’re saying, like in poker?
PM: Yeah, like in poker. A wild card.
CL: What’s a wild card?
PM: You can make it anything you want.
CL: So it has any value?
PM: Yeah, it could be a two, but it could also be an ace. I think of you in many ways like a wild card because you truly are. You’re reactive, so, of course, you care what people are–whether they’re nice or mean, or whatever–but you’re also not. I don’t think people can say for sure what you’ll say or do.
PM: So tell me about your process.
CL: I went fast, I turned in like three at a time.
PM: That’s good. I said to myself the other day that the hardest part of being an artist is doing something creative and then being able to let go–to hand it over, give it to someone else, so they’re not able to overthink it. Like, I love this collaboration that you did with Fred [Torres], or like you’ve done with David [LaChapelle].
CL: They really held my hands.
PM: And you were like: “Here!” Like a little girl who paints and says, “Here, take it.” Give it, give it. Bang, bang, bang. I know you, and if you’d spent too much time overworking them, you’d be like: “Ahhhh!” You’d overthink them.
CL: I’d get bored of them.
PM: You’d overthink, and you’d rev, and then you’d burn, and then you’d this and you’d that. The smart thing for anybody that’s doing anything is when they’re able to let somebody else be a part of the process. It takes a village. Hillary [Clinton] was right. It takes a village.
CL: It takes a band. It’s like having a band.
PM: It’s like a band. You can’t always count on yourself to have the best judgment. [Patrick points at one of the pieces, entitled “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”] I love this one. But I like the light ones too. I like them in total, as they say.
CL: [As they stop to glance at another piece] That one was about something I will tell you about later, but you will love it, you will laugh your ass off.
PM: I get the feeling there’s a story behind every one of them.
CL: Like my texts. [They erupt in laughter.]
PM: Yes, like your texts.
CL: Hardly anyone can read them.
PM: I read them all. But then I go…[he pantomimes a confused face.]
CL: Someone said they’re like poetry. They’re like apple poetry.
PM: The one that says “Power,” there’s a picture of power [Patrick looks at another entitled “Surrender”], I love that one. I was teasing my crew, I said, “I like strong women and weak men.” I mean, I like all people, but I love strong women. I’m not afraid of strong women, and a lot of men are.
CL: Why do you think I have your number? Not that you need to know, but I have the largest off the charts testosterone like ever. It’s just my mojo. They thought my adrenals had blown up. But no beard, no silky beard, no chest hair, no engorged anything.
PM: You’re fine. You just have that can-do thing.
CL: A little mojo.
PM: Sometimes I think you could be a healer. You have so much energy, that somehow if it could be channeled–really channeled–I think there’s a possibility to heal, like here through your art. I think a lot of women and men–wounded people–are going to relate to this. In life, we’re all wounded, you know.
PM: The truth of the matter is I think what you have is a sense of all the different phases that you move in and out of.
CL: That’s what I said, this is like the last year, which you know…stuff. It’s been weird. Fun. But…
PM: It’s desire. A lot of it is about desire.
CL: There’s evidence. It’s not like a song, you can’t just hide in it.
PM: With desire, when you desire something, it’s just got to be a little out of reach. You know, like when people try to catch a butterfly. It sounds stupid, but it’s true, only it’s more complicated.
CL: It’s complicated, yeah, it is.
PM: And this is a great channeling of it.
CL: I’m blushing. I just keep blushing.
PM: This really is a great channeling of it.
CL: [Music] is easier. Because you can get away from it, I don’t know.
PM: Like you said, you can hide in it.
CL: It’s a runaway, it’s a runaway. When you put it out, you’re not as exposed.
PM: Whereas putting out art, you feel more exposed?
CL: I’m terrified of them. I just wanted to hide out in Lola Schnabel’s loft, but she was like, “Even Bob Dylan went through this.”
PM: Have you been writing music?
CL: Yeah, a little bit. I’ve been going out to L.A. a little bit. Not tons. Oh, and I’m doing a TV show also.
PM: You’d be great on TV. I’d love to watch you on TV because you’d never know what you’re going to say. Not that that’s a bad thing. But you would never know what you’d do next. I’ll be on your show and you can tear me to pieces.
CL: I love you.
PM: I love you too, you’re a doll. [They kiss.]