Art Machine: An Interview With Actor Joseph Cross and Artist Adam Krueger

In the aftermath of the fiery feline acid trip showcasing The Blonds’ latest collection, I met with actor Joseph Cross and artist Adam Krueger in the Milk Digital Bar to discuss another colorful frenzy, Doug Karr’s latest film, Art Machine. One hour and twelve beers later, we had covered the ups and downs of L.A. (great street art, but no public transportation), whether or not James Franco is really a stoner (Joseph thought no, Adam thought yes), and what it was like for Joseph to be naked and wet onstage (“it actually wasn’t that bad”).

Originally from New Jersey, Joseph moved to New York City with his parents when he was a child and started going to auditions at a young age. His first roles were in TV series As the World Turns and TV movie Northern Lights, and his breakout role came in 2006 when he played Augusten Burroughs in Ryan Murphy’s Running With Scissors, and he has since appeared in a number of blockbuster’s including Lincoln and Milk, though he was excited to get back into independent film work with Art Machine.

Joseph plays Declan Truss, a young art prodigy who is struggling with the notoriety that his work has brought upon him. After meeting Cassandra Moon (portrayed by Gossip Girl’s Jessica Szohr) and being introduced to her freethinking artist friends all living together in a commune, he becomes even more consumed by his art and drug-fueled mania and begins spinning wildly out of control. Set against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s vibrant art and music scene, Art Machine is a dark comedy about the tenuous relationship between art and commerce, the fine line between creative genius and clinical mania, and the damaging effects of fame.

“Filming Art Machine was so guerilla warfare,” Joseph says. “We had permits for almost nothing, and that helped to establish the frenzy we were really going for in this film. We got shut down by the cops one day when we were shooting out of this random little surf shop in Williamsburg, and we didn’t get to use that scene in the film because the cops came before we were finished. Another night when we were filming a scene where I’m supposed to be on mushrooms, Jessica and I went and bought a bottle of tequila and just went totally crazy. It was great having all of that freedom.”

All Declan’s art in the film was created by Adam Krueger. He grew up in what he calls “the cornfields of Illinois,” and he moved to New York for graduate school after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. After Doug had seen his painting “Just Like I Remember” displayed at a show, he approached him and asked him if he wanted to be a part of the film, and after reading the script, Adam happily agreed. “After we were all on the same page about what the art for the film would really entail, I had about two months to prepare the pieces,” he recalls. “But because I was doing a number of other projects at the same time, not much got done until about a week before filming, so then it was quite frenetic. There were a number of pieces that I couldn’t do until I had met and seen the actors who would be portraying certain characters because Declan does portraits of them in the film, so there were times when I just had a day or two to churn out a huge painting, so the last two weeks of filming were pretty crazy, but like Joseph was saying, that sort of mania fit in really well with the vibe of the film, so I think it affected my art in a good way.”

Joseph will next appear alongside Adelaide Clemens in The Automatic Hate, a story about cousins who meet for the first time in their twenties and end up starting to fall for each other. Adam will host an art show in the coming months involving a series of photorealistic drawings cut out and put into plastic bags that represent the small, everyday moments that made up a past relationship.

Photos By: Adriana Rivera

Milk Made has an exclusive Art Machine giveaway!

Simply post one of the pictures from this article to your instagram with the hashtag #MADEartmachine and @milkstudios for your chance to receive the following prize package:

(1) Poster signed by the writers, director, producers and star Joseph Cross.

(1) Special limited edition Art Machine T-shirts signed by the director.

(1) Free iTunes download of Art Machine.

(1) Private Q&A with director Doug Karr.

One lucky instagrammer will be chosen at random. The winner will be be announced on Friday, February 28th 2014. Good Luck!

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