| Tom Fruin
by Andrew Paine Bradbury
Tom Fruin is a 29 year old artist on the verge. His second
major solo show "Starfucker" opened January 17th
at the newly-established Mike
Weiss Gallery (520 W. 24th Street) in Chelsea and will
run through February 21. Fruin's first major show, at Stefan
Stux in 2002, caused quite a stir. The show "Cultural
Narcotics" consisted of several tapestries that resembled
quilts that were made from discarded drug bags sewn together.
The quilts-quite aesthetically beautiful and abstract from
afar, more macabre on closer inspection-were named after the
neighborhoods that Fruin found the bags in. Because some of
the bags still contained small amounts and residue of narcotics
(primarily heroin), there was talk in the papers that Fruin
and the gallery could be guilty of drug possession. The noteriety
increased when the actor Willem Dafoe bought one for $30,000
as was reported
in Page Six. Eventually no charges came, but the chance
remains that the new show could warrant similar attention.
Heiney Girl Bottles, 2003
Etched Heineken Bottles
Though the name implies a fascination with celebrity culture,
"Starfucker" continues on the themes of Fruin's
earlier work-addiction, vice, and the power of packaging.
Tom Fruin currently lives in DUMBO.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CALL A SHOW ABOUT ADDICTION AND
I suppose that there is something inherently excessive and
base with a "starfucker." It seems to imply that
there is no end beyond the chase of the inaccesible.
YOUR LAST NEW YORK SHOW FEATURED SEVERAL FLAGS MADE
FROM DISCARDED DRUG BAGS SEWN TOGETHER. PAGE SIX ALERTED
THE COPS BECAUSE SOME BAGS STILL HAD PRODUCT. HAVE THE POLICE
SHOWN ANY OTHER INTEREST IN YOUR WORK?
I was warned not to visit a show in Cleveland, as I might
get arrested. But I've flown with the pieces in carry-on
luggage and never been harrassed, unless you count the extensive
bomb checking I always seem to get singled out for.
Etching with Mixed Media
THINK THEY'RE GOING TO CHECK OUT STARFUCKER?
They might. There's one work in this show ("Vial Piece")
which is composed of the remnants from an underground party
in Bushwick. It has considerable traces of every kind of
drug imaginable: mushrooms, Special K, Zanax, weed, ecstasy,
Viagra plus glowsticks, a burnt Homie, the beginning of
someone's phone number on a cigarette box lid, a $50 bill,
a CD entitled "Pimpin' Ain't Easy", and lots and
lots of grimy dirt.
SOUNDS LIKE A, UH, GOOD PARTY. WHAT'S WAS YOUR FAVORITE
THING YOU EVER FOUND ON THE STREET?
My favorite and least favorite was the 7 of spades that
completed "Discard", my eight-year collection
of found playing cards, an attempt to find a complete deck.
The finished piece has 255 cards (52 unique and all multiples).
The 7 of spades was folded and in the center of a sidewalk
on a deserted street...I knew it was the final card before
i touched it.
THE NEW SHOW ALSO FOCUSES PROMINENTLY ON ALCOHOL. WHAT
DIFFERENCES DO YOU SEE BETWEEN LEGAL VICES AND ILLICIT DRUGS?
I am not sure I do perceive a difference: both are marketed
and packaged for consumption with a certain ammount of truth
and deception. I think someone is definately profiting on
HAVE THE HEINEKEN PEOPLE SEEN YOUR "HEINEY GIRLS"(A
SERIES OF NUDE PINUPS CARVED ONTO HEINEKEN BOTTLES)?
A friend happenend to meet a rep at a bar and gave her the
card which she showed around to everyone at the office.
They were working on some kind of sponsorship, but a higher-up
killed the idea.
CAN POTENTIAL BUYERS "SAMPLE" YOUR ARTWORK
Uh... no but once they are bought, I suppose you could do
whatever you wanted with it.
HOW IS YOUR ART PRICED COMPARED TO IT'S STREET VALUE?
I once considered trying to make an entire piece of full
bags and realized the prohibitive price. But the demand
is so high for these works that they are probably close
in street value to market price
IF YOU COULD FUCK ANY STAR, WHO WOULD IT BE?
-- Andrew Paine Bradbury