Juxtapoz: John de Fazio: Kitsch and the Bong

Juxtapoz

It seemed that de Fazio could speak with sensitivity and intelligence on practically any subject. It was no surprise to learn that his pair of hands had strapped Axl Rose into a straitjacket, as he designed props and sets for the “Welcome to the Jungle” music video, or that he had created so many of the twisted toys on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Yet, however incredible John’s work in the commercial realm, his knowledge and passion for the ceramic medium was mind boggling, culminating in surreal visions. Pop icons, political leaders, and '70s kitsch aesthetics collide, detonating into transcendental yet utilitarian objects like bongs and funerary urns, serving as cultural reliquaries for an era of hyper-consumerism. On a recent foggy evening, I had the pleasure of visiting de Fazio at his live-work space in San Francisco’s Mission district. Over glasses of cheap Tequila, we discussed the origins of John’s fascination with ceramics, the temporal nature of the medium itself, and how it fits into today’s art world at large.

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