Shooting the Breeze with Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink has an ability to make a performance out of almost anything. Hand him a prop, even just a pair of red sunglasses, and he’ll make a spectacle out of it. Doug Aitken planted him alone in the middle of St. Paul Union Station during Station to Station with a microphone and dry ice and he was just as comfortable as he had been playing a tripped-out show with his full band in New York and Pittsburgh.
Ariel is a real character and we became friends on the train between New York and KC. His bass player, Tim Koh, decided to stay on longer than planned to keep him company and, on the rare occasions Ariel wasn’t catching up on his beauty sleep (Ariel does love his sleep), the three of us had a lot of fun together. Ariel particularly took a shining to the fact that in a former life I wrote a biography about Anna Nicole Smith and revealed his favorite book of all time (or at least one of his favorite books of all time), which I won’t spoil before you’ve read the interview, but I’m sure you’ll find equally hilarious.
Milk Made: What brought you on the train?
Ariel Pink: Doug Aitken
MM: Did you know him before this project?
AP: Yes, I did.
MM: In an art capacity, or…
AP: Only in an art capacity.
MM: Did you work with him?
AP: Yeah, I think so, he featured me in one of his shows.
MM: Doing what?
AP: Being myself. Somehow my life is art to him.
MM: What are you doing here?
AP: What am I doing here? What are we all doing here?
MM: I’m documenting you and you’re performing?
AP: I know. What does that make me? A tool?
MM: A performer
AP: Oh no. I don’t think so. I’m not really performing right now.
MM: Do you care what people think of you?
AP: I don’t think I do but then I do. It’s really weird. I go back and forth.
MM: So you don’t give a shit or you do give a shit?
AP: I act like I don’t give a shit but then I give a shit. I don’t know.
MM: Do you hate being interviewed?
AP: No. Do you like giving interviews?
MM: No, I love the answers. What made you want to be an artist?
AP: My parents.
AP: They’ve told me I was an artist since I was 3 years old. And I believed them, like a fool.
MM: What kind of artist did they say you were?
AP: A visual artist.
MM: You started off drawing?
AP: Yeah, I’m mostly known for my drawings.
MM: So that’s what you started doing before…
AP: Before I was an artist… I was a music artist, before I was an interview artist. I’m like an artist of all types now. One day I’ll be an artist.
MM: Have you done an art show?
AP: Yeah, I’ve sold my art.
MM: Do you aspire to be more of an artist or a musician?
AP: I plan to be a millionaire.
MM: From art or music.
AP: From anything. From me. Or maybe by discovering something really cool. I doubt I’ll be a millionaire in real life. I’m going for 1 million.
MM: 1 million twitter followers?
AP: A million across the board.
MM: Why are you single?
AP: Shut up! … I’m not single…. Because I’m unavailable.
MM: I love that answer. You’re single because you’re unavailable.
AP: I’m unavailable because I’m single.
MM: Because you haven’t met the right girl?
AP: No because there’s always more girls. There are so many girls around why choose one?
MM: Who are your favorite artists?
AP: Mike Kelly, Tony Ousler, Doug Aitken, Taylor Ruth Baldwin from Hanging Rock Comics. Thurston Moore, Fiery Furnaces, Tim Koh, Tim Koh’s finger nails.
MM: What makes you drawn to their art?
AP: Two pairs of titties, I don’t know, I like so many kinds of art. I like to read a lot too…
MM: Oh yes, and what kind of books do you like to read Ariel? ;)
AP: All sorts of books… history books, I like to read historical writers and genealogy reports like the Intimate Lives of Famous People.
MM: Hahahaha. Anna Nicole Pink!
AP: Anna Nicole Pink, that’s the new book. By Henrietta Pink.
AP: Henrietta Pink. Will you be my wife.
AP: Am I rich enough for you?
MM: Maybe when you earn your million.
AP: Oh my God, that won’t be rich enough. You’re way more expensive.
MM: Who’s your ideal woman.
AP: Sasha Grey. I don’t know. If they’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to them. We just might not be able to live together.
MM: Why not?
AP: It’s hard to live with someone you don’t jive with. It’s hard to compromise your living space for someone else. Even if you’re in love with somebody you might not be able to live with them. That’s a totally different… The chances of you meeting someone you like living with is low enough, the chance of finding somebody you love and want to live with is a lot less. I take these things really seriously. I don’t like having relationships founded on bullshit because it’s a waste of time.
MM: What’s the bullshit?
AP: The bullshit is something lasting as long as it does for nothing. I mean, if it’s just like, let’s see what it’s like to be monogamous in the park for a few years…
MM: Because it’s convenient….
AP: Because it’s convenient, because we get to pretend that we’re monogamous people and that all we care about is just one person and that we’re going to have kids with that person and they’re not really going to have kids with us.
MM: You wanna have kids, no?
AP: I’d love to have kids but I can’t have kids though.
MM: Why not?
AP: Because I can’t physically have them.
MM: Oh, the woman has to have them. Right.
AP: What’s a woman. I feel like a woman. I should be able to have a baby. I mean, why not? It’s my right. Isn’t it? When can I have my baby? I want to have a baby. I want to be like octomom. What happens if I can do that? Doesn’t that change the whole sexual world?
MM: Well, then you wouldn’t need a woman… to have the baby with.
AP: Neither would you need a man…. I think the second that guys and girls start to play with their own sex more often, the sooner that guys become gay and figure that whole thing out and the sooner that girls become gay too, then they’ll just go to each other for pleasure. Then every once in a while we’ll just come to each other for pleasure.
Photo by: Erez Avissar.