One of many artists we have been keen to interview for a while is Dave Bondi – and we finally got the chance when he very generously took time out from his crazy schedule to answer our questions:
Describe a typical day for Dave Bondi.
6:30am alarm, feed my daughter, make her lunch, get her to school… 8am coffee, meditation and then it all depends on the work… whatever is at the top of the list gets attention. 5pm to 9pm is family time and then I’m back in my studio until about 2am to work on personal stuff.
Can you tell us about any early inspirations that led you down the path you are now on ?
I remember being floored by Warner Bros cartoons on Saturday mornings, Atari 2600, and Dungeons & Dragons. I was also a nature/science geek and used to take every machine in my house apart to see how things worked. It drove my parents crazy, but they always encouraged me to explore.
What inspires you to create and what are your current inspirations?
I believe that people are inherently motivated by curiosity and aspire to be creative. I have always been an observer – I watch, learn, and experiment based on what falls into my lap. Often, inspiration comes from very odd places like the black widow spiders in my studio or an interesting talk on youtube. My current gurus are Thich Nhat Hanh, Terrence Mckenna and Alexander Bard (look em up!)
Is it important to know what people think of your work – does it affect your process ?
Yes its very important, but only as a tool to fuel the direction of my creativity. I love good, solid criticism and have a deep respect for thoughtful analysis, but honestly most of the superficial commentary I just blow off. When you have even a small degree of success, the insecure critics come out of the woodwork and do everything they can to diminish your hard work without ever really trying to understand it. I don’t mean to sound egotistical – my own success is built upon the talents and creativity of so many brilliant collaborators and I’m always humbled, honored and lucky to have been a part of it all. Bad vibes are just a natural part of putting your art out there and you can’t let shallow thinking or petty jealousy influence what you’re doing.
If you get frustrated with creating do you walk away and come back to the problem or just work through it till it resolves itself ?
I rarely, if ever, get frustrated with my creative process. People frustrate me, but my art is where I live – I own it 100% and always have the final say about whether or not it is “good”.
Would you like to produce work for larger markets or are you happy doing what you do for a smaller select target audience ?
I’m also an animator and video game artist, so I actually have worked on many products that have sold millions of units. Larger markets require more broad considerations in terms of content and collaboration and that can be very fun and challenging.
A lot of our readers are in the process of creating their own pieces of work, is there anything you would share from your experiences of creating ?
I believe that everyone is an artist, but finding what you truly love is not always easy – there are all the pressures of real life to deal with and society has all these expectations for what a meaningful, productive life should look like. So if you can actually find that thing, then you have to figure out if you also want to make a living doing it – that can require a great deal of sacrifice and planning and patience. The beauty of information tech these days is that you can go out and find your market. If you love making little glass unicorns, there are a bunch of little glass figure collector people out there! Also, get your shipping department running like a machine, lol!
What do you hope to learn in the future as an artist ?
It sounds a bit glib, but my biggest aspiration is to inspire people to be more compassionate and kind, be it through art or some other method. Creativity and violence are at polar opposites for me.
What do you think is the most challenging part of what you do ?
I do so many different things that it can be very hard to focus and maintain momentum in one field. I have to delegate better!
Designer toy artist and animator – can you tell us how and if these disciplines work alongside each other ?
Designer toys are my “fine art” medium, so for me, money is not the primary motivation and I just make whatever I think is interesting. Animation, Design, work-for-hire, or whatever you want to call it is a job and I have a client who has hired me. My opinion in that situation is that you do everything you can, bring all your skills and passion to whatever vision they have. It’s no place for prima donnas and insecure “creative types”. You have to completely submit to that authority, and it’s totally fine. There can be an artistic element to navigating authority as well!
Someone wants to know what Dave Bondi does, but you can only choose 3 pieces of your own work – which would they be and could you give us a quick description of the pieces you would choose.
First would be my daughter, she is my most prized creation and the most beautiful thing in the world.
Second would be the videogame “Icebreaker” which I made in 1994 for the 3DO video game system – It was the most exciting time in my video game career and my teammates from then are still counted among my very best friends.
Third would be Akashi (Mickey/Mario Vinyl Toy mashup) because its my thing in that world…
Can you walk us through your work space, and what are some of your favorite things about your space.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have a great space behind my home in Highland Park. (Incidentally, I live a block from the artist Mike Kelly’s former studio space and he has always been a huge inspiration so I draw energy from that). I have a clean side where all my techie computer setup stuff is (I can do full animation video or sound production) and there is a cabinet filled with all the stuff I have made over the years, AND we use it as our home theater setup because you can fit a bunch of people in. It’s basically the ultimate mancave/shrine to myself.
On the other side, I have a kind of barn where I do all the dirty stuff like sculpting and fabrication, welding etc. It’s got all the air power and wacky tools and gear.
Tell us about something we can see from you soon and what you are working on now.
Toywise, you can expect ASTRONOCCHIO to come out soon as a manufactured vinyl piece. My first run of Akashi’s is nearly sold out, so I may make more of those. I’m also making these giant Akashi foamy heads in editions of ten where I double the price every time one of the #s gets sold – It’s just for fun to demonstrate how arbitrary prices can be sometimes, and I also get to keep the best one (#1) for myself because no one in their right mind would pay $1024 for one of these things!
Some quickfire questions
Favorite medium to work with ?
Silica (meaning: computers and rubber molds)
Who are your Favorite artists ?
Tooooo many to list. Contemporary? I’m super jealous of Chris Milk! check this out:
www.thewildernessdowntown.com Absolute GENIUS.
Do you have a favorite food ?
If you could meet any person (dead or alive) who would it be ?
Probably the most powerful and influential currently living human because I think the 1% are key allies in transforming suffering and ending warfare… Maybe Putin or the Koch Brothers or BIBI!!
Punk or Funk ?
So like Badbrains or Ohio Players?????!?!?!?!? You can’t force a brother to choose, sorry.
Money is no object – what do you do first ?
Try to build the first 500,000 person self-sustaining bio-arcology in the style of visionary architect Paolo Soleri. Zero energy/zero impact, low work/high social Utopianism.
What is the one book or film you think everyone should see ?
Film: Europa by Lars Von Trier
Book: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
You could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be ?
I’m so happy and grateful for how my life has turned out even with all the ups and downs, that I would just say, kick back and enjoy the ride. 🙂
Thanks so much for your time Dave – really appreciated !!!
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