|Vid Son Doz, painter, sculptor, art explorer|
I eyed him curiously at the Artists Wanted "Cosmic Architecture" opening reception in late May 2012. When we finally spoke, he introduced himself as being from a rainforest in Puerto Rico. It wasn't the wine, I had heard correctly. This past Monday, June 18, 2012, his work was among the many showcased at Art Takes Times Square. It's only fitting that after a tremendous thunder and lightning storm, which produced hail and snow, we'd meet again.
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I have lots of names. My sister, lately’s been calling me Videous Termite but I’m Vid Son Doz which is short for David Peterson Albandoz, but I shortened it, I like that everything happens in threes and the last letters of my name became Vid. My friends call me Vid. I sign my work Vid Son Doz—that’s my artist name. It’s important to me that we share our art, that we share our experience. That’s why I’m here.
So what’s your title? What do you call yourself?
I’m an artist—painter, sculptor. I am more like an art explorer. I mean I have lots of variety of art.
|Inspiration struck! Vid Son Doz paints the latest in his Vegetative Translunary collection|
What kind or styles of art do you create?
I mean it all began [chuckles] this is a funny story, when I was a baby I used to paint with poop. My Mom she couldn’t believe that I would take my poop and paint on the wall. And then as I grew older, I was really into doodling, um, alien spaceships and battleships. Then I started doing another art form... my father taught me, he was a fly fisherman, and we used to make insects to catch fish called matching the hatch. In high school I used to take art class, clay, photography; I used to make my oatmeal box camera, develop the film. Then I started to do woodcuts and I think woodcuts was the first real art form that I considered … me as an artist. And then I got into neons. A neon is how we create light. Neon in actuality is the red gas but there’s 5 different gases—there’s xeon, krypton, helium, argon and neon—they’re noble gases. In some of my 3-dimensional work I use it -- light is color as paint is pigment. I used to love the patterns [termites] used to create. I’d find pieces of wood that’d be eaten out and it was so beautiful and I would add it to my 3-dimensional work. Then one day I looked at all the termite pieces that I had and I thought I should start making purest termite art because I used to use it to texturize my paintings. But as time moves on I’m always creating new forms, new fashion, a way of making art. I’m working with different mediums. Sculpture is what I’m really doing right now—I have a series of planet sculptures and I’m really getting into the "Vegetative Translunary", which are my people-like sculptures. They don’t look like people, I think of them as characters, as if they were people or plants or trees.
Where are you from originally and why did you come to New York?
Yeah, I mean I grew up in Connecticut. I was born in Norwich, Connecticut. My Mom’s Puerto Rican, my Dad’s Swedish and I moved to Puerto Rico in ’89. I bought a house there after Hurricane Hugo and I realized something about El Yunque, I mean it’s a rainforest but there’s such a magic there, such a power. I grow all my food there, I live off the land. I have a gallery there, it’s more of a museum because I don’t show anywhere else I just do shows there and I do like, obscure nights … when you look at art, art is like the tree of life. It has such power and that’s what I’m learning coming to New York -- how powerful art is and how much people love art and it made me feel really good. I’m in the real deal here, I mean New York has so much art and people like art, everywhere there’s artists and to me that makes it feel like a home. I feel at home in NY. If you’re gonna climb Mt. Everest you have to start from the base and right now I’m at the base camp. I have hundreds of art pieces in Puerto Rico that I could bring here but I wanna start a new body of work.
Now that NY is home, explain where we are, explain where you've found home.
It’s a curious situation. I met a Zen master who knew Paul Sladkus of Good News Planet. When I arrived here, I didn’t have a place to live or sleep or anything, I was planting seeds and I was like I gotta go now cause I knew I wanted to be in the Winter Solstice; I didn’t wanna spend another winter in Puerto Rico. I put my seeds down and got on the next plane a week later and came to NY right in the midst of the winter. And it was like wow, I haven’t seen snow in 22 years. It was a culture shock. I’ve been here 5 months and I’ve changed—physically and mentally—I have less energy and I don’t feel as good as I used to … my batteries are running down so I have to infuse myself in another atmosphere. I think what gives me the strength is the love power. I’m working towards the [International Day of] Peace Vigil in Central Park with Susana Bastarrica. It’s about peace and ecology and that’s something that I’m really strong [about] … you know my mindset. I’m the Art Director for the Bandshell in Central Park so we’re creating one of the most amazing displays in the Bandshell. Right now, I’m putting together my portfolio and my story; my story goes deep.
Explain the philosophy of Good News Planet.
Man, it’s all about the life-affirming, just … positive energy. Good news is all that it’s based on—life-affirming information and science. To me it’s extraordinary that I landed here with Paul and Al [Attara], the owner ... Al has a story in the NY Times—he turned down $120 million dollars just to keep this building which only has 7 floors and right next door they’re building like 50. So he held on this 7-floor building which I find magical because I’m an art-spore. I’m an organism that can make art and I’m making art in my divine spirit and everything that I see and that I touch …
What do you do to prevent burnout?
I think it’s about the love power, the love power brings me through. I could lose myself easily; I could go off the edge any second, easily, I could be a head case, I could fall off the planet and never come back. But I think it’s love of everything I am … I have to bring it through. I don’t want no hopelessness. I need the absolute. You have to challenge yourself, bring yourself through. So that’s pretty much it.
What is one thing that you’ve tried as an artist that you’ve failed?
I never really put that scrutiny of winning, losing or failing or living, dying or anything. I mean I pretty much don’t have that in my vocabulary. I do find that some challenges you can’t complete because you don’t have the focus. You can actually do anything you just gotta put your mind to it, but I don’t think that it’s always about winning or losing or failing. I’ve failed sometimes when I surf huge waves. I got pushed back and almost drowned a few times—cut my nose in half, hit my head on the reef but …[laughs] I’ve failed a few times, I fell and got corral in my brain, I mean, I’m just happy to be alive.
Have you ever hugged a tree?
All the time! I swear all my pictures are of hugging trees. I have this big mango pina tree—it’s like this mango that’s this big and tastes like pineapple—I sleep under the tree and uh, I don’t have my mouth open but I have to sleep under this one thing cause when the season comes they fall and hit you in the head, you know, but I sleep on the root. I go to bed probably about 2 in the morning and then I wake up at like 7, I only need like 5 hours of sleep cause of the energy from the root. I’m already energized, I don’t need coffee or anything. All the energy’s from that tree. So I believe the tree has an energy. Like if you took a tree and you just had it in your arms and you’re walking everywhere with your tree, you wouldn’t have to have any food. Yes, I hug trees.
Is there any eroticism in your art? And if there is, how is it expressed in your art?
I do actually in some of my "Vegetative Translunary" creatures and if you look at some of these monsters you’ll see the eroticism of the avocado with clitoris, I do have that, it does come through, it does, I swear. Sex is an energy, for sure. If you look at my sculptures, you’ll see protruding things coming off of them and you’ll see like orifices, so I use a lot of empty spaces that look like human … you know, orifices. Maybe the way they dance together and the way love each other …
Your sculptures? Your characters?
Yeah, they’re sort of intertwined and they blend together to make one. Without the other, it’s not a dance. And it’s how you feel about it; maybe it’s [in] the eye of the beholder. I don’t really have a lot of eroticism, but I do have some. I’m a very passionate and loving human being, I have a lot of love in me and that’s my power and there can be eroticism in how you convey it. When you embrace someone, that can be called erotic, you know? The way you hold a person or cuddle … I hug trees a lot [laughs] but I believe trees are like people. They have these amazing trees in the rainforest. I think people are like trees, each one’s a different character. Even my sculptures, if you get deep into my sculptures, it’s sorta like my isolation, I’m making friends, each time I make a new sculpture it’s like meeting a new person. It’s a beautiful thing.
What is your artist’s vice?
Vice? My artist vice? [thinking] I mean, I’m known as very neurotic and, I mean, art is very hard, I think it’s almost like a lifestyle. It doesn’t have to do with monumental money or ego—ego is something that is very important for me to let go, that’s why I’ve never done an art show.
Do you want to?
Yeah! That’s why I’m here. I’m in New York City, land of the milk and honey [laughs]. But you know when I was in a vortex, when you’re making art for so long you don’t think about selling or anything you’re just on that high of making art, you get one done and then you’re like ‘wow’ and you keep going like who cares what people think, it’s what you feel inside, it’s about what you’re feeling. It’s like um, even like those guys who go to the North Pole they get a certain feeling about that, or to climb a mountain, Mt. Everest, I mean we’re always looking for a mountain to climb. To challenge ourselves.
I noticed “Touching is Teaching” written on your easel so I have a question. If you could state your life philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
Art is the tree of life.
I want you to complete this statement: If my muse were an animal, it would be…
(beats his conga drum)
I’m a Pisces, I love the ocean, I think I’m more underwater than I am on … I have different atmospheres. I work in the universal mind. I do uranic universalization comic flux, I do lots of comets and tree, star paintings but then I go into the earth’s core... but I’m more in the ocean, I’m more happy in the ocean. I’m more of a fish.
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