Between a wildly popular MTV2 show, a rap career and a hilarious collection of viral web shorts, Andy Milonakis has had no shortage of experience in the creative world. His latest project, an art show called Two Months Rent opening August 3rd at RVCA, seeks to channel his manic online energy into the physical form with canvas artwork.
We had a chance to chat with Milonakis about the upcoming show, his creative process, and how he first became interested in art.
How did you get started with this project?
It started from creating a website called imnotverygood.com with me doing little marker drawings on pieces of paper. I sold them as an original series online. I sold around 15 of those, then I did a second series a few months later. I started putting them on T-shirts and started doing these 40,000 foot art shows where I was drawing the pictures and doing the actual money transactions all while I was on a plane.
After that I thought maybe I should start doing canvases and do a real art show. I bought some canvases and started painting instead of just doing the drawings. … I got into a ritual where every day I was taking an Uber SUV to the art store, getting six big canvases and paint, going to the liquor store and buying some bottle of cognac (laughs) and just blasting music outside of my apartment. I live by the pool in this weird apartment building. I would just go and paint everyday.
It seems like people have been generally pretty receptive. I saw when you did your last series of characters some guy got a few of them tattooed.
Yeah that was pretty crazy, he got a couple of the characters on his arm.
Conceptually, where does most of your work come from?
I don’t know. I just have a weird mind and I just love doing creative stuff. I moved to LA about 10 years ago and anything creative I can use my mind for here is fun. I knew I had zero skills in the technical department, but I don’t think that’s necessary for doing art so I just started doing weird stuff.
Some of the stuff I do is a little more jokey—it has a caption and fits my sense of humor—but some of the stuff I’ve been getting into lately is not really laugh-out-loud funny. It’s just kind of weird, drippy, messy characters.
The way I create art is very manic. There’s nothing peaceful and zen about it—lots of smashing canvases on the ground to get drippy effects and doing a lot of crazy spray paint. Every time I buy a paintbrush I never wash it and end up having to throw it out so I stopped using paintbrushes. Now I use paper bags and stuff. It’s very manic and crazy and kind of goes along with my sensibilities I think.
Do you have a favorite medium?
Right now I really like acrylic.
You have covered a lot of creative areas with your various projects. Do you notice any similarities between the art world and any others?
My sense of humor is really in your face; it’s kind of awkward. I feel like the stuff I’m doing with art is awkward and in your face, too, with a lot of bright colors. There’s no rhyme or reason, there’s no art history, it’s “just fuckin’ do it.”
Your art is a huge departure from your previous projects. Is there anything that fans might be interested in knowing about your art career that they might not otherwise?
People might think I’m just trying it out just to do a new thing, but I’m really not. I’m really putting most of my effort in art right now and I plan on doing it for a really long time.
What do you like most about San Francisco?
You know it probably sounds kiss-ass-ey, but San Francisco is probably one of my three favorite places in America.
Any favorite places?
Yes, Swan Oyster Depot (laughs).
Are you doing anything cool to promote or prepare for your show on August 3?
There’s this big art thing in Oakland on August 2 and I think Pat (from RVCA) and I might go and talk to some people and look at some art. I definitely have some work to do; I think we’re going to frame some of the pieces. We need to do a bit of prep. Right now I have a list of about 25 pieces that I like. I think we’ll have to narrow that down to 15 because it’s a small space.
A reception for Andy Milonakis’ Two Months Rent at RVCA on Haight St. is scheduled for 7-10pm with music by DJ Dinamita, The Hot Toddies and Teenage Sweater. Admission is free.