"Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry

Schneider: A short time ago, my drummer bought me a copy of Lonesome Dove and put it on my bunk on the bus. I have seen the mini-series, and I must admit, it’s probably my favorite made-for-television movie ever, but the thought of reading a Western was not something I was very excited about, so for about six months, it just sat there. Conrad kept asking me if I’d started the book, and maybe just to be nice, I decided to crack it one day, and basically from the first page through the rest of the book and the three subsequent books in the series, I was rocketed into a world unlike any I’d ever encountered before. The western frontier. It is my by far the most fun I’ve ever had reading anything. The characters in these books are mind-bogglingly huge. I was almost on the brink of tears when I finally finished it. I didn’t want it to end.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Schneider: I’m sure most people have to read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school at some point, but I never did, and it was one of those that just slipped through the cracks, I guess. I never read it, and when I’d see it at a bookstore, I never thought to buy it because it looked antiquated and like a total sleeper, but for some reason or another, I picked up a copy of it recently and read it and was totally bowled over by how fantastic the book was. It’s as fresh as if it had been written this year. One of the great reading experiences of my life. Highly recommended.

Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, TX

Schneider: Texas BBQ is some of the best in the world, and Austin and the surrounding areas are no exception to that. There are a handful of places here in town that beat most BBQ, but my favorite of the bunch, both for how good the food is and how totally Texas the atmosphere is, is The Salt Lick. My recommendation is the pork ribs and turkey, but it’s all good. The sides are the best, and the cobbler and pecan pie is no joke.

Tombo Pocket Bass Harmonica

Schneider: Ever since I was a kid, I was thoroughly mesmerized by the Sanford And Son theme song. I didn’t find out until years later that the instrument that was responsible for the sound coming out of my TV was a bass harmonica. I was super bummed out though when I found out that those instruments start at more than a grand and can go up to two or three grand. Anyway, when I found out thatTombo started making one that was less than $200, I immediately ordered one and have been loving it ever since.

Charles Burns

Schneider: I started seeing this Black Hole comic book in comic-book stores about eight or nine years ago and was blown away by how scary and beautiful the book was, but couldn’t get a few of the books in the series. Then in 2008, Charles Burns published the entire series in one book, and it was a masterpiece. Since then, Burns has been writing a new three-part series, and the final installment just came out. A true genius and one of the best comic-book artists alive. Check out all three books, starting with The Hive, and work your way to Sugar Skull. So good.

James Tate

Schneider: My friend Julia Wall, who is as smart as anyone I’ve ever known and a great writer, turned me on to James Tate years ago. She bought me his Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer, I believe. It’s incredible, and some of the poems in that book are some of my favorite ever written. The amazing thing about Mr. Tate is he keeps getting better as he gets older, which is something for an artist that is rare. Check out any of his last few books and start there if you want, or read anything he’s written. It’s all good and different and funny and moving. One of the great poets, and he’s still hanging around doing it. Thank you, James Tate.

"John Wick"

Schneider: Is this “the greatest movie that mankind has ever made,” which is the way my trainer (and former Philadelphia Eagles football player/mixed martial arts black belt/guy who you wouldn’t want to fuck with) Robert Reed described it? Maybe. It’s that good. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just treat yourself to an hour and a half of non-stop violence/ballet/art. Not for kids, but for the kid in all of us. This is the movie that I played in my head when I was a kid with a toy gun running around the neighborhood shooting everything that I could point my gun at that wouldn’t get me in trouble.

"Selected Poems"

Schneider: A few years ago I started a poetry machine that I’ve since invited more than 100 artists, writers, musicians and creative types, including a few actual poets, too. I send out a prompt every week, and at the end of the week people send in the poems they’ve written using the phrase somewhere in their poems. It’s been great in that it’s allowed me to write poetry at a pretty busy time in my life, when normally I’d probably not have written anything. This book was the fruit of that labor.


we invented love
and without mercy
or instruction
half a head
coming out of the water
in the night
in a dream


superman lives in a dark cave
superman eats vegetables and other things
superman loves dogs
he has a superdog
superman goes to bed at midnight
superman’s favorite tv show is superman
superman’s favorite song is the superman theme song
john motherfucking williams wrote it, you bitches!
superman’s eyes are bright and blue
superman’s breath smells like vegetables
superman’s hands are soft as milk and hard as goodbyes
whenever he punches someone it goes right through them
superman watches tv while he eats vegetables and chews on his shoes
superman dreams he can do anything in the world (because he can)
superman has a dream where he comes over to your house and says,
‘i want to get my things’ and you say “but none of this is yours anymore!”


kick the ball there
in the hole
where you were
in the field
run run run
little kid
the rabbit is died
in the back yard
the dog chewing its black head
its stomach a red balloon
and we are all
dying too

To view art & more poetry by Bob Schneider, visit his personal blog: stinkinghand


Schneider: I was asking Jeff Beck, a screenwriter, a few months ago while I was at a movie theater, what movie he thought I should see, and he immediately said,Whiplash—not an ounce of fat on it!” So, that’s what I saw. It’s not often that I see a movie about music that I like, but this one blew me away. The acting, story and directing were incredible. The music was a revelation as well. I’m not really into jazz, so hearing these amazing compositions played to perfection was incredible. Just a great movie.

Jeff Soto

Schneider: I started reading Juxtapoz magazine when it first came out, and one of the artists who I kept seeing in the mag was Jeff Soto. His work stood out right away because of how fresh it looked and how fantastic his technique was. I was lucky enough to connect with him years ago and buy some of his art, which I’m so thrilled to have. He continues to travel all over the world making street art as well as fine-art prints, rock posters and, of course, his incredible paintings. I recently asked him a few questions for MAGNET.

It seems like most of the street art that you do nowadays is sanctioned by the folks who own the property. Have you ever had any run-ins with the law because of your street pieces?
Jeff Soto: I had run-ins with the law when I was in high school, but luckily I was never arrested. I think, at the time, I did not look the part of a tagger. I had more of a hippy look: long hair, vintage thrift store clothes, beard … Cops and school security were looking for hip-hop gangster-looking kids. I could also run fast and hide well, which were good skills to have. I actually do more illegal graffiti now as a late-30s suburban dad, but it’s usually in foreign countries.

A lot of artists listen to music while they work. Is this something that you do? What are you listening to?
I wish I knew some cool underground bands no one’s ever heard of yet, but I’ve never been on the cutting edge of music. I do enjoy music as I paint. Most recently I listened to a compilation I have called Music From The Wonder Years. I’m not sure where it came from, but it was on my iPod, and it was wonderful! I love music from the ’60s and ’70s. The musicians and the singers really had talent and something to say, and they were creating new sounds as they went. And it drove me to watch The Wonder Years, which has actually been pretty cool.

Do you have a work schedule that you adhere to?
I try to go on a walk in the morning to clear my head, then make breakfast, and get to work before my kids come home from school. The day goes by faster than I’d like. Sticking to a schedule is very important as an artist, and I typically do a pretty shitty job at it! When I’m really busy, I turn into the typical night-owl artist.

Did you make any New Years resolutions?
I always make some career goals at the end of the year, but they’re not really resolutions. I’m working on a book of my art, and I have a solo exhibit in L.A. in June, so I’m trying to stay working on both. I’m also pushing myself to keep eating good and get the exercise in every week. I feel like New Years Resolutions never seem to stick. If I want to make a change in my life, I do it right away.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
I got a $50 Sears gift card and bought a metal detector with it. So far in our backyard I found a 1968 penny, a piece of chain link, a buried sprinkler head and some buried fence poles. Pretty fun … By the way, I am typing this from NYC, right on the verge of what might be a huge blizzard! I should have spent the gift card on a thick scarf!

Jewel Thief_Jeff Soto
Cat Goddess_ Jeff Soto
Mural in Berlin_Jeff Soto

Mark Strand

Schneider: The world lost a great artist recently when Mark Strand passed away. The most brilliant poet of my lifetime, in my opinion, he makes writing seem effortless and within reach of most people. Even though his vocabulary and intellect far surpassed that of most people. His poems are simply written and elegant and beautiful. If there were more poets like him, the world would read more poetry. Sadly, there was only one. He’ll be missed. A good place to start is Strand’sCollected Poems, where the following poems were originally published, but all of his books are great.


Keeping things whole
In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Man and Camel
On the eve of my fortieth birthday
I sat on the porch having a smoke
when out of the blue a man and a camel
happened by. Neither uttered a sound
at first, but as they drifted up the street
and out of town the two of them began to sing.
Yet what they sang is still a mystery to me—
the words were indistinct and the tune
too ornamental to recall. Into the desert
they went and as they went their voices
rose as one above the sifting sound
of windblown sand. The wonder of their singing,
its elusive blend of man and camel, seemed
an ideal image for all uncommon couples.
Was this the night that I had waited for
so long? I wanted to believe it was,
but just as they were vanishing, the man
and camel ceased to sing, and galloped
back to town. They stood before my porch,
staring up at me with beady eyes, and said:
“You ruined it. You ruined it forever.”

When you see them
tell them I am still here,
that I stand on one leg while the other one dreams,
that this is the only way,

that the lies I tell them are different
from the lies I tell myself,
that by being both here and beyond
I am becoming a horizon,

that as the sun rises and sets I know my place,
that breath is what saves me,
that even the forced syllables of decline are breath,
that if the body is a coffin it is also a closet of breath,

that breath is a mirror clouded by words,
that breath is all that survives the cry for help
as it enters the stranger’s ear
and stays long after the world is gone,

that breath is the beginning again, that from it
all resistance falls away, as meaning falls
away from life, or darkness fall from light,
that breath is what I give them when I send my love

"How Did This Get Made?"

Schneider: As I’ve gotten older, it seems like I listen to more spoken word and less sung word. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s definitely the case. One of my favorite podcasts is How Did This Get Made?. They take shitty movies and then talk about them. The show is hilarious at times, and it’s made me go back and watch some truly shitty movies that I would have never seen. Even though they are dissing on the movies, it feels like it’s coming from a place of love and not hate, and mostly coming from three people who are incredibly witty and insightful. The guests are great as well. I really can recommend the entire catalogue of this podcast wholeheartedly. They start well and stay that way throughout.

Richard Linklater

Schneider: As someone who has lived in Austin for 25 years, I’ve known about Richard Linklater since the late ’80s when a friend of mine stopped by on the way to an audition for his movie Slacker. I didn’t go to it (one of the great regrets) and only saw the movie in the theater a year or so later, but I’ve been a fan ever since. He combines comedy with deep insight and infuses his pictures with scenes that seem so real it’s like he’s shooting a documentary. I recently sent him some questions about his masterpiece, Boyhood, which won the Golden Globe for best picture and best director.

Here’s a playlist of my favorite Linklater movies, in no particular order:

1. Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight
2. School Of Rock
3. Bernie
4. Dazed And Confused
5. Slacker

I played a 12-hour gig about six months ago, mainly because I wanted to do something no one I knew had done before. Was there any sort of motivation like that for you when you came up with the idea to shoot Boyhood?
Richard Linklater: On one hand, the idea for the movie, the 12-year canvas of it, was a solving of my narrative dilemma—just how to tell the story of what I was trying to express, namely, what it feels like to grow up. On the other hand, it wasn’t something I’d seen before, so that was exciting. Always looking for new forms. On some base level, it’s kind of important to have that motivation, right? It can get you in trouble in life (the Aggie’s famous last words being “hey, check this out, etc.”) but in the arts are probably the more healthy environment. Something evolutionary about it.

Are you always writing, or do you stop when you are shooting or editing a movie? Do you have a daily routine that you adhere to?
Always writing down ideas and bits, but then the actual screenwriting process, when it seems time to do it, becomes much more formal and methodical, like outlining everything, then filling in the dialog, working regular hours, etc. I’d go crazy if I didn’t know it was all in the service of a more exciting phase to come.

Would you like to see a superhero movie where they just sit around and talk about the experience of being alive and there’s no action at all? Because I would love to see that movie!
Sign me up! That’s definitely my kind of superhero movie. There are reluctant superheroes, but are there ever self-consciously aware, hyper-verbal, maybe lazy and/or bored, or experiencing a full-blown existential crisis or bi-polar episode superheroes? The world awaits this.

What was your favorite movie to work on?
They’re all fun certainly, but there’s usually something beyond your control that’s making it not quite as full-blown fun as it might be. Often that’s a too tight schedule or budget where you feel always a little under the gun or embattled. The film I just shot this fall, currently entitled That’s What I’m Talking About, was free of all of that: no assholes in sight and just enough time and money to not feel totally put through the ringer. It’s a college comedy set in 1980 and I had this wonderful young cast that was so fun to work with. Also, Waking Life was extra fun because it was so freeform.

What’s one of the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
Hmmm … The last job I had was in the late ’80s working the graveyard shift at a business hotel as the valet and bellman. I once picked up a guy at the airport who was asking me about my job, etc. He seemed pretty cool and was about my age, so I told him, because it was so late at night, I didn’t do much at all—just got paid to sit around mostly and do what I would be doing at home, like reading and writing. Then I asked him what he did, and it turned out he’s some gung-ho regional manager of the hotel chain, come in to make ours more efficient and profitable. I remember looking out the front windshield as I drove thinking I’d just unemployed myself. Sure enough, within about a week, my job was eliminated altogether. Ultimately I didn’t mind, because I qualified for unemployment and spent the summer doing the couch circuit in New York City.

Do you have any New Years Resolutions?
Nah, never do.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
Already forgot all presents, but the extra time with my kids was great.

Dan Winters

Schneider: I met Dan Winters about 13 or 14 years ago and was immediately impressed with how intelligent and funny he was. It was a little later that I found out how incredible of a photographer he is. We subsequently did a photo shoot together, and at this point, he’s shot the cover of both I’m Good Now and Burden Of Proof. He is recognized as one of the top photographers in the world, as both a commercial photographer as well as in the fine-art world, and has shot the most famous people on the planet. I asked him a few questions recently.

You’ve taken, I’m guessing, millions of photographs at this point. Is it something that you still enjoy in the way that you might have when you first started, or is it a job that you do, that you’re good at? How has the experience of taking photos changed for you over the years?
Dan Winters: Though it’s true, I have made millions of photographs in my lifetime, my profession thankfully remains my passion and is a driving force in my life. When I am actively working, whether on a large-scale Hollywood shoot or simply taking a walk with my camera, I am in what I would describe as a safe place, one in which I can navigate void for the most part of anxiety and fear. I do challenge myself in these situations, however my attempt to grow is not motivated by fear of failure. I find the challenges of growth to be a integral aspect of an artists evolution and over the years have been able to welcome these milestones, though this was not always the case.

In addition to your photography, you’re an incredible illustrator, and your collage work is really beautiful. Do find one more enjoyable than the other, or do all of these disciplines feed different parts of your creativity?
I began doing quite a bit of collage work in about 2005 in an attempt to offer myself a creative outlet while at home. At about the same time I began to pick up illustration assignments here and there. Illustration, whether drawing, collage or sculpture, has become a large part of the work that I produce both commercially and personally. This practice has grown into one of my great passions, and working at home in my studio upstairs is one of my pleasures in life. I recently completed my fifth book, Road To Seeing. While my other books were more conventional photo books by standard definition, by this I mean, minimal words and predominately images, Road To Seeing is predominately text. I wrote the 700-page book in the span of one-and-a-half years. This process became a new creative outlet for me, and I found it to be just as satisfying as making photographs, sculpture and works on paper.

Do you have a daily routine?
My daily routine is that I have no daily routine. Because the nature of my work involves travel and myriad logistics, my life seems to be in constant flux. I will say that I am quite a night owl, and left to my own devices, I would probably stay up until two or three and sleep until 10 or 11. I’m 52 now, and structure is something that I crave. As a young photographer, the excitement of travel was ever present; however, as my travel has exceeded several million miles, a cup of coffee at home in the morning now provides me with a great deal of bliss.

You’ve photographed some of the most remarkable people of our lifetime. Who was one of your favorite subjects, and why?
I have had the good fortune of working with some truly profound and gifted people. Portraiture is an important part of my repertoire, and this has allowed me to work with many luminaries. Although I have photographed all walks of life in my 30-plus-year career, I focus primarily on artists, writers, musicians, etc., as I have always felt the most comfortable around these types of individuals. While the list of my portrait subjects is varied and many of my sittings have had a lasting effect on me, I would say that my three days in Pittsburgh with Fred Rogers may have been the most special assignment of my career. Fred was among the most generous and kind persons that I have known. He was genuine beyond measure, and his inner peace seemed to allow the people who surrounded him, including myself, to feel special about themselves. This is a wonderful and rare character trait. Of course, we all have this ability innately; however, we seem to find it difficult to access on our own. At times we require another person to act as a mirror who enables us to see and feel our own beauty and worth.

You travel all over the world taking pictures. What’s one of the most memorable places you’ve visited?
Travel is a young man’s game, and as I said earlier, a day at home can be as exciting as a visit to the White House. One place that truly fascinates me however is India. I spent some time there in 1997 while on assignment for Detailsmagazine. It was an experience like none other and has left me wanting to return to do some further exploration. I have also been affected by the Normandy region of France. Sitting in the Cathedral at Bayeux and walking the D-Day invasion beaches is as profound an experience that I know.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened when you were working with some one?
I was on assignment for the New York Times Magazine outside of Boston in 1998. We had a very early call time, as our subject was leaving the country on that day, and he had a very solid out time. I was becoming acquainted with the subject and looking around his house for a place to shoot when I noticed my assistant out the window frantically flailing his arms and beckoning me to come outside. I excused myself and went out into the fun zero temperature of that dawn to be informed that the film was still in the climate controlled confines of his hotel room, an hour or so away from our present location. I collected myself and went back into the house to inform my sitter of the situation. His disappointment was visible though not aggressive. The situation was what it was, and it was glaringly obvious that he was not going to appear in the article and that was that. I am grateful that he was gracious about the ordeal. I too understood that it was merely a mistake and didn’t become the least bit angry. It was however a rookie mistake and a difficult one to explain to my editor at the magazine.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Only to try and be as kind and compassionate at I am able to. As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that we are not our actions and are not defined through our professions. Perhaps Tess Gallagher voiced it best when she wrote: “It’s not what we do in life that counts, it’s how we make people feel.”

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
I received some wonderful gifts this past Christmas. As I keep honeybees, my wife Kathryn gave me a first edition of The Beekeepers Bible circa 1889. My son Dylan gave me a pair of World War 1 British artillery binoculars as well as a German army issue brass matchbox. My assistant Travis gave me a beautiful Bonsai tree. I have had a love of the Bonsai practice since I was a boy. It is a wonderful art form. Perhaps the most special gift was one from my father, Larry Winters. He sent me a pair of his father’s gold cuff links. My grandfather, Bert Winters, was among the kindest persons that I have ever known and was a larger than life character in my childhood. Every year since my grandfather’s passing in 1994, my father gives me one object from my grandfather’s estate. I have over the years become the guardian of a host of objects, including his metal lunch box, his hard helmet, one of his flashlights and a large number of his tools. I am always eager to open these special gifts from my father as the physical connection that I feel through my grandfather’s objects resonates with me in a profound way.

Cover of I'm Good Now, by Dan Winters

Cover of I'm Good Now, by Dan Winters

Cover of Burden Of Proof, by Dan Winters

Cover of Burden Of Proof, by Dan Winters

Danny Malone

Schneider: I met Danny Malone a few years ago while I was doing a photo shoot and immediately liked him, even though I had no idea that he was a songwriter. We kept in touch, and I remember at one point him telling me about how people were convinced he was one of the best songwriters in the world. I scoffed as I usually do, but figured I’d better investigate and asked him to send me some songs, which he did. They were really good, I’ll admit, but it wasn’t until I heard his masterpiece,Balloons, that I also became a believer. I asked him to answer a few questions recently about it.

Why did you call the album Balloons?
Danny Malone: My friend Jarrett started calling me “Balloons” at some point out of nowhere. First he called me Malone, always “Malone!” And then he slowly morphed my name into balloons by slurring it and adding a funny accent. You try it. Malone, maloone, malloon, muhlooon, buhlooon, balloons! You see? And anyway, I had been writing the album in this time frame, and realized while I was writing it that I hadn’t been myself in a while. In fact, I was living out this other character that I decided to be. I wanted to go all the way, no matter what I was doing. I was living like I had nothing to lose, but it turned out that I actually did. I had a plenty to lose. And I did just that. Lose it. But I also gained something in that time. High highs, and low lows. Blah. But anyway, I was living life as an actor. And that actor’s name happened to be Balloons, because it was fitting. Both in timing, and in connotation somehow.

A lot of incredible things happen to the narrator of these songs. Are they autobiographical or are they purely imagined tales, or a little of both?
Everything is real. Autobiographical in some cases. Wait, now that I think about it, every song is autobiography. That’s interesting. I never really acknowledged that. But yep. I lived all that shit. Or, Balloons did.

How often do you write songs? Do you have a daily routine?
I have no routine. I write at completely random times. Like, I’ve sat down in a hotel lobby and written a song. Or sometimes I can hear entire arrangements in my head, words and all, just walking down the street. I often will write when I’m with a group of people and I’m just goofing off with them or just singing stream of conscious at them. Sometimes I just sing at Falcon this way. She lights up when I do, so that makes me happy. How often? Constantly. Or never. It’s hard to say.

At what age did you decide that you wanted to be a songwriter?
When I was 14, I was singing in a math-rock duo, with my brother playing drums, and me guitar. I actually played more drums back then, though. I was in several metal bands throughout my early teens. Then I got sent away to this juvenile-incarceration facility for two years, and when I got out, I guess when I was like 19 or so, I started writing more songs on acoustic guitar, and I’m also quite reclusive, so the combination, by default, made me become this “songwriter” thing. Which sucks. Maybe. Yeah, probably it sucks. Because I don’t want to be a songwriter. I want to be an entertainer. I want to perform. and I want to make things that dazzle. I don’t want to be this “songwriter” person who “writes songs” about “the world in which he lives.” That’s lame. I’m bigger than that. But really, I don’t exactly want to be anything. Mostly I just want to watch movies and stuff. Life is confusing for me.

What’s your favorite place to play? Least favorite place to play?
Hmmm … I like The Parish in Austin, and Stubbs, and I’ve played amazing places in Europe. All over. Gosh. So many places. But really, my favorite place to play is at my barn. I live in a barn. And I put a stage in it, and a nice live sound system, and I throw shows here sometimes. Not all that often, but a few times a year. And I love those shows. I don’t know most of the people who come. I know a lot. But remember, I’m a recluse, so it’s amazing that I even know a good amount of the people who show up. But mostly the crowd is fans, or strangers. But everyone is always so respectful. It’s a good time. Least favorite place to play: That could be anywhere. I’m miserable anytime I feel disconnected from my performance at a show, either due to the ambiance, or the people there who don’t care a bit about what I’m playing. (Not that I’m blaming them. They just probably don’t know me at all.) But that can happen anywhere. That’s my answer to that.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened when you were performing?
I don’t really get embarrassed at shows. I turn into this other person when I perform. I’m completely transformed from Danny Malone into “Danny Malone,” and so if anything seemingly embarrassing occurs, it’s not happening to me. It’s happening to that guy. But, maybe I have leaked a little pee one time or two. Like, I pee right before I play, and then I am starting the show and I realize I can see a little woopsy doopsy on my pants’ crotch.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
I guess not. I haven’t even thought about it. Whoa. It’s 2015. Shit.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
I spent it with my family. I have a good family. That’s enough. Oh, but I did get one of those coffee makers that makes them one at a time. And let me tell you …

Philip Hale

Schneider: I came across Philip Hale‘s paintings about 10 years ago when I was browsing through a fantasy art catalogue. I was blown away, not only by his incredible technique, which is as good as any painter alive today, but his explosive subject matter. All of his paintings are snapshots of something going horribly awry, but what exactly that might be is anyone’s guess. As his work has evolved, he has grown into a force to be reckoned with in the fine-arts world, where he regularly shows at some of the most prestigious galleries in the world. I recently asked him a few questions for MAGNET.

What is your main inspiration for your upcoming exhibit?
Philip Hale: The inspiration is going to sound technical or tedious I’m afraid. The content comes from slowly building up a store of images—almost all documentary images from the internet, old photos, etc. I take what I like and stick them on the studio wall without really thinking about it beyond the initial impulse (which is just unexamined interest). But when they are all together, it is easy to see what I am interested in, and it side-steps any sort of self-censoring. If I were to choose my content it would be deformed by all sorts of interfering consciousness and self-awareness. This block of images is a very pure map of my interest and if I followed it through mechanically it would provide a very rarified product. But that’s almost impossible to do (follow it through faithfully).

And then I am working on finding a way to develop how I make paintings. What to avoid. There is a constant run of counter-intuitive information such as why pieces get worse or more boring as they are refined. Why is conscious effort so painful to see in the painting? Why do I pursue ways of painting that have never really paid off? How can I step outside of my own boring and familiar decisions? It feels like I am trying to align irreconcilable elements; that at best there will be a temporary equilibrium or stay of execution. Those terms aren’t so awful.

Sorry to talk in such fruity terms—but there you go. I’m a bit resistant to examine what content might be because the pieces are not making a point or directing anything in any meaningful way. They are closer to a body of instinctively bodged material that I have then had to improvise into something sympathetic. If I stopped to think about it, I would get bogged down in all sorts of fraud and manipulation. Half the time I’m just trying to protect the work from my own fake sentimental reflexes. I’m not a big fan of professionalism or methodically achieving something worthwhile. Much better to work with something weak and unsuitable and have to extemporize.

How often do you paint? Do you have a daily routine?
Right now, every day while I prepare for the show. But I tend to do it in an intensive four- , five- , six-month run and then collapse. I’m not sure I recommend that; in fact, it seems insane. But to paint properly seems to take a serious effort—to get up to speed—and then you don’t want to stop. The stopping, starting, on, off, etc., is fatal. I love a regular working routine, but I’m also desperate to stop.

How has the global economic situation effected the art market?
I can’t really say anything about the global market. When the recession hit, I was doing a lot of formal portraiture here in London. I don’t think it was so powerfully affected because it is more of a high craft than art (unfortunately). And London is nearly unique in its market for portraiture. It is still part of the infrastructure here, unbelievably.

I know most artists listen to music when they work. Is that the case with you? Who are you listening to now when you paint?
I’m listening to Mogwai; I have been for six months. Listening to a CD obsessively is the single greatest pleasure in my professional life. The Mogwai is so fantastic. I used Mogwai as a working title for the show. It was very useful, a tone note to keep me honest. Can you please name-check Mogwai? When am I making their vid? When I open the door of the studio, I go straight to the CD player. When the first song begins I drop right into where I left off the day before.

A story for you: I did a lot of painting to one of your live Frunk CDs last year. There cannot be anyone who has ever listened to that CD more; every day for eight hours on repeat for two or three months. I knew every cough, chair squeak, clothing rustle, pause, everything, every molecule of every instant. All those random textural ambient colloidal atmospheres were just as musical as what you were doing (sorry). I anticipated them with real pleasure and then they arrived. It was thrilling; no exaggeration.

When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist? If you could be something else, what would you do?
I came from a family where it was standard to do art, so I was always going to be doing it. If I didn’t make art (which is to say that not only do I do it but people pay me top do it), then I would do music in some form. How bland and unhelpful is that?

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
I should make one now, really. To pay attention and not slip into an auto-pilot zone. Is that too general? Not enough paying attention. Pay more attention.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
I got a fantastic bottle of port from the cellars of Cambridge University.

Charlie Mars

Schneider: I met Charlie Mars about 10 years ago when we did a tour together. We hardly spoke the entire tour, and then the day before it ended up, we had a chat and realized that we were both made from the same super-fucked-up bolt of cloth and have been good friends ever since. As a songwriter, Charlie continues to evolve, and his new record is a wonderful compliment to his last two incredible releases. I recently asked him a few questions for this post.

Where’d you come up with the idea for The Money?
Charlie Mars: The album title comes from the song “The Money,” which is about my search for some kind of happiness or serenity or whatever, and how that search has led me down some very wrong turns. As to the where … I came up with the idea in Jamaica after visiting a pot farm.

How often do you write songs? Do you have a daily routine?
I have a morning routine, which consists of coffee. I talk a walk outside. I play guitar and sing most every day. Sometimes I’m inspired to write. Sometimes I just dick around and play old stuff.

What do you think of the current state of the music business?
I think it’s hard, and if you write good songs, it’s less hard. If you write an incredible song, it’s even less hard than that. I don’t know much about the rest … or at least I can’t make rhyme or reason of it.

What’s your favorite place to play? Least favorite place to play?
My favorite place to stay is the Greenwich Hotel in NYC. Least favorite … I don’t really have a least favorite … Suckage is rampant.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened when you were performing?
An old man paid me to stop playing at a wedding once. That was embarrassing. He was right though. We weren’t really wedding music.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
I probably should. Read all the books that I buy. They get stacked up. Stop blaming other people for my stuff. I just made that one.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
My aunt (who can be a little out there) gave a cookbook to the entire family that had things like how to boil a hot-dog wiener. I liked that.

Ron Padgett

Schneider: I think that most people don’t give a shit about poetry for the same reason that outside of the hippie/stoner/sandwich-making community, nobody gives a shit about reggae music. ‘Cause most of it is pure crap. Then you have someone like Ron Padgett, who is at once deeply intelligent, scary, sad, wise and funny all in the same few sentences. He makes this stuff look effortless, the way all the greats do, but it’s not, otherwise everyone would be as good as he is. I recently asked him a few questions …

Your sense of humor comes through in most of your work. How important is it for your poems to have a punchline?
Ron Padgett: I hope my poems don’t have punchlines. Punchlines are for jokes.

How often do you write poetry? Do you have a set routine that you adhere to?
No schedule and no set routine, though I think it’s fine if someone else has them.

All of my favorite poets have translated other poets. How important do you feel that has been for you as a poet? Do you steal phrases from foreign poets because you know no one will be the wiser?
I like the challenge of translating. Also, translating is a way to read very closely. No, I don’t steal furtively. If I use someone else’s phrasing—and I don’t do that very often—it’s obvious. (Your placing those two questions back-to-back seems odd.)

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Nary a one. I don’t pay much attention to the idea of a new year. To me January 1 is just the day after December 31.


How to Be Perfect
By Ron Padgett
(Reprinted from The Poetry Foundation; originally appeared in Collected Poems, Coffee House Press)

Everything is perfect, dear friend.

Get some sleep.

Don’t give advice.

Take care of your teeth and gums.

Don’t be afraid of anything beyond your control. Don’t be afraid, for
instance, that the building will collapse as you sleep, or that someone
you love will suddenly drop dead.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Raise your pulse rate to 120 beats per minute for 20 straight minutes
four or five times a week doing anything you enjoy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room
before you save the world. Then save the world.

Know that the desire to be perfect is probably the veiled expression
of another desire—to be loved, perhaps, or not to die.

Make eye contact with a tree.

Be skeptical about all opinions, but try to see some value in each of

Dress in a way that pleases both you and those around you.

Do not speak quickly.

Learn something every day. (Dzien dobre!)

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don’t stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don’t
forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm’s length
and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball

Be loyal.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Design your activities so that they show a pleasing balance
and variety.

Be kind to old people, even when they are obnoxious. When you
become old, be kind to young people. Do not throw your cane at
them when they call you Grandpa. They are your grandchildren!

Live with an animal.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

If you need help, ask for it.

Cultivate good posture until it becomes natural.

If someone murders your child, get a shotgun and blow his head off.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if you
have paid them, even if they do favors you don’t want.

Do not waste money you could be giving to those who need it.

Expect society to be defective. Then weep when you find that it is far
more defective than you imagined.

When you borrow something, return it in an even better condition.

As much as possible, use wooden objects instead of plastic or metal

Look at that bird over there.

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Visit foreign countries, except those whose inhabitants have
expressed a desire to kill you.

Don’t expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to.

Meditate on the spiritual. Then go a little further, if you feel like it.
What is out (in) there?

Sing, every once in a while.

Be on time, but if you are late do not give a detailed and lengthy

Don’t be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don’t think that progress exists. It doesn’t.

“Walk upstairs.

Do not practice cannibalism.

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do
anything to make it impossible.

Take your phone off the hook at least twice a week.

Keep your windows clean.

Extirpate all traces of personal ambitiousness.

Don’t use the word extirpate too often.

Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not possible, go
to another one.

If you feel tired, rest.

Grow something.

Do not wander through train stations muttering, “We’re all going to

Count among your true friends people of various stations of life.

Appreciate simple pleasures, such as the pleasure of chewing, the
pleasure of warm water running down your back, the pleasure of a
cool breeze, the pleasure of falling asleep.

Do not exclaim, “Isn’t technology wonderful!”

Learn how to stretch your muscles. Stretch them every day.

Don’t be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even
older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put it in cold water immediately. If you bang
your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for twenty
minutes. You will be surprised by the curative powers of coldness and

Learn how to whistle at earsplitting volume.

Be calm in a crisis. The more critical the situation, the calmer you
should be.

Enjoy sex, but don’t become obsessed with it. Except for brief periods
in your adolescence, youth, middle age, and old age.

Contemplate everything’s opposite.

If you’re struck with the fear that you’ve swum out too far in the
ocean, turn around and go back to the lifeboat.

Keep your childish self alive.

Answer letters promptly. Use attractive stamps, like the one with a
tornado on it.

Cry every once in a while, but only when alone. Then appreciate
how much better you feel. Don’t be embarrassed about feeling better.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Do not smart off to a policeman.

Do not step off the curb until you can walk all the way across the
street. From the curb you can study the pedestrians who are trapped
in the middle of the crazed and roaring traffic.

Be good.

Walk down different streets.


Remember beauty, which exists, and truth, which does not. Notice
that the idea of truth is just as powerful as the idea of beauty.

Stay out of jail.

In later life, become a mystic.

Use Colgate toothpaste in the new Tartar Control formula.

Visit friends and acquaintances in the hospital. When you feel it is
time to leave, do so.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It’s a waste of time.

Read and reread great books.

Dig a hole with a shovel.

In winter, before you go to bed, humidify your bedroom.

Know that the only perfect things are a 300 game in bowling and a
27-batter, 27-out game in baseball.

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to drink,
say, “Water, please.”

Ask “Where is the loo?” but not “Where can I urinate?”

Be kind to physical objects.

Beginning at age forty, get a complete “physical” every few years
from a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with.

Don’t read the newspaper more than once a year.

Learn how to say “hello,” “thank you,” and “chopsticks”
in Mandarin.

Belch and fart, but quietly.

Be especially cordial to foreigners.

See shadow puppet plays and imagine that you are one of the
characters. Or all of them.

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there’s shooting in the street, don’t go near the window.

Christian Rex Van Minnen

Schneider: I like strange art, and I like people who have incredible technique.Christian Rex van Minnen (Instagram: @van_minnen) has both of those bases covered in spades. His work is at once scary, and beautiful, and laugh-out-loud funny—one of my favorite combos. I recently asked him a few questions about his work and his life.

You have a classical approach to your painting style. Did you study with a classically trained painter or go to a special school to learn this technique?
Christian Rex van Minnen: I learned the techniques of the old master’s, specifically, the Venetian Method, from books and a lot of trial and error.

How often do you paint? Do you have a daily routine?
I paint nine to five, Monday through Friday. I strive for balance in my life nowadays. It hasn’t always been that way. For many years, I worked a job, so my painting schedule was mostly evenings, late nights and weekends. It’s nice to have a normal schedule now, I get a lot more done.

I have a kid myself and often have parents and kids at my house. I always forget how strange and bizarre the art I have hanging is. Do you ever have get-togethers with other parents and wonder if they think you’re a weirdo because of your subject matter?
I have a lot of other artist’s work up, and a lot of it strange. Being that it’s Brooklyn, I think people are more acceptable of eccentric visions. I’m also so used to that “WTF is that?” reaction that it just doesn’t register anymore. I am curious how my son, who is 18 months old now, will react to my work once he gets older. One of his first words was “paintings,” which is awesome.

I know most artists listen to music when they work. Is that the case with you? Who are you listening to now when you paint?
I love music, maybe even more so than visual arts. I go through a lot of phases. The past couple of weeks, my favorite artists have been Shabazz Palaces, Chassol, Slayer, Antwon, Bruce Springsteen, James Blake, Arthur Russell’s World Of Echo. I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books. It all depends on the mood I’m trying to cultivate.

When did you decide that you wanted to be an artist? If you could be something else, what would you do?
I always was an artist. I chose it as a profession in about 2005-2006. I think that in my wildest dreams I would have loved to be a musician or singer or something like that. It’d be wonderful just to get it all out there all at once, all immediate.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?
Striving for balance and perspective. To be less of an asshole.

Did you get anything good for Christmas?
Warm wool socks, always a pure joy.