Classic LONGOLAND Interview

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Longoland introduces a world that borders on being habitable and inhospitable. Furniture morphs into monsters. A mythology of creatures assembled in felt and fabric sit aloof with smiles juxtaposed with fangs. Longoland is the brain child of Pratt Graduate Joshua Burbis. You’ve seen Longoland creatures in High Fructose and Play Magazine.

Interview originally done by Dasco for OUR ART SITE DOT COM in 2007.

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First of all, what is a Longo?

“It was a name given to my Italian relatives as they got off the boat. It is also a creature that takes the shape of common objects in my bedroom. It teases and convinces me of realities that once where, never was, and possibly could be in the form waking dreams and the occasional night terror”

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Where are your characters derived from? Do the creatures personify something larger, a message or culture?

“The characters are physical expressions of tim tam who ha that mush around my brain. Relationships with animals. Sketching like crazy. Drawing everyday. I usually make a character over and over before I release it into the wild. I like to think I am making a huge social or cultural impact with my art, but I haven’t seen a difference yet. I Like to think I am aware of things that people are not always aware of. I like to capture those commonly missed situations or things and represent them. Although I have moments where I think I should try to do something more obvious to help out our civilization, but I always come to the conclusion that if you love what you do, then it will help people on a conscious and subconscious level.”

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What materials do you use?

“Fake fur, wool, cashmeres, felt, polymer based clays, found objects,
reclaimed fabrics.”

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I find your installations to be very beautiful. What influences you to create a world that is habitable yet dream like?

“Habitable, maybe, dream like……It is more like a cleaner version of my apartment.”

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What are your opinions on Pratt? Do you have any advice for young artists looking to attend art school?

“Pratt was great for me… I have a degree in industrial design. Commercial design work pays for my artwork. I am proud I have earned everything I have gotten through hard work. Pratt has its strengths and its failures. You don’t need college to “succeed.” I needed the structure.”

Do you have a particularly favorite artist in Brooklyn? Are there any other artists elsewhere that you are watching closely right now?

There are so many, Brendan Monroes sculpture, John Casey, Colin Kilian, Robert Wilson, Calatrava, Lee Bontecou, Phillip Glass, folk
art, art that focuses on the craft, everyday I see someone new doing incredible work, the internet is dangerous.

Have you noticed any trends in Brooklyn art lately? How about at Pratt?

“The art scene seems to be dominated by pop culture and doing collaborations with Nike. I would like a little less corporation and
more social commentary in my art scene soup.”

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I feel you are very successful for your age. I think your achievements are admirable. Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

“Thanks for the compliments. “Success” is a dangerous thing. If you mean I have gotten some recognition and sold a few pieces, then yes. My personal “success” goal is for my art to pay my bills, which is far from reality. Don’t give up. Don’t expect anything to be given to you, ever. Contact everyone about shows, advice, money, grants constantly and expect maybe one person out of a hundred to email you back with anything even remotely positive. Anyone who made a difference in your life or could in the future, get there contact info and send them a nice email. Get outside and talk to people. Identify your shortcomings and challenge them. Put yourself in a potentially “dangerous” situation every once and a while. Don’t worry, it will work out, not how you expect it to, but it will. Find people that love you and surround yourself with them.”

Learn more about Longoland!

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