Fred Tomaselli has often courted controversy with his use of unconventional materials including consciousness-altering plants and pills. "I want people to get lost in the work," says the artist. "In that way the work is pre-Modernist. I throw all of my obsessions and loves into the work, and I try not to be too embarrassed about any of it." The results look part patterned-textile, part mosaic. They depict subjects from the natural world, such as birds and flowers, with lush, jewel-colored tones. His recent hybrid works are all about recycling images from the outside world, usually downloaded off of the Internet, to create heavily patterned, hallucinatory universes of his own making.
In 2009, Prestel published the comprehensive book Fred Tomaselli, which accompanied a survey show of his work from the past 25 years.
Interview with the Artist
1. Who's your favorite artist?
2. What's your idea of happiness?
Being in the middle of a big project.
3. What's your idea of misery?
Beginning or ending a big project.
4. What's your hidden talent?
I'm a good parker and I can fix stuff.
5. What's your guilty pleasure?
I was raised Catholic. All my pleasures are guilty.
6. The world would be a better place if…
there were less people, cars and Republicans.