Saturday, May 8, 2010
With his first New York solo exhibition of art, If You Don’t Belong, Don’t Be Long, which opens tonight at OHWOW in Soho, the Louisiana native presents mixed-media sculptures, paintings, and hologram drawings about money, prices, and lifestyle. His “cut US currency,” a 3-D, is a skull-shaped stack of 500 dollar bills; it’s both in-your-face in its gratuitous evidence of value, and as valuable as its selling price. “I’m a bit nervous about showing in New York, mainly because this is my home,” says the artist, which is a bit ironic, if only because his artworks are permanently on the bodies of so many of the show’s attendees. “I guess I just figured that if France or Italy didn’t understand my pieces, I could always attribute it to a difference in our sensibilities,” he says. “But New York is the home of so many close friends and artists I admire. If they don’t understand my work, I’m going to take it personally.”
Campbell first learned meticulous handiwork as a tattoo artist’s apprentice in San Francisco—at one time, he planned on becoming an illustrator of medical textbooks—though much of the 32-year-old’s success lies in his knack for connecting with clients. “I try to understand why the person wants to get the tattoo. I really want whatever I give them to address their emotional motivation, not just an aesthetic one.” And that’s all art takes, anyway.