LPP in Conversation: Scott VermeireMay 14, 2015
Studio Sessions offers behind-the-scenes access to Bay Area artists, writers, curators, and creative individuals through a variety of tête-à-tête conversations that consider the how, and what, and where of making art. Studio Sessions are presented as interviews, profiles, and studio visits through text, photo essays, and videos.
LPP in Conversation visits Bay Area artists in their studios and project sites to explore the research, readings, obsessions, and inspiration they use to inform their practice.
Scott Vermeire’s practice hovers in a performative space between art and comedy. His abilities as a deadpan performer allow him to create characters that are absurd, threatening, and hilarious, while earnestly exploring what it means to be evil, to be a failure, to be desperate, or to experience self-defeat. Although some comedic practices, sketch comedy for example, might draw characters in quick, archetypal strokes, Scott’s commitment to personifying the characters he imagines leads to surprising, moving encounters with his audience.
In our first meeting, ahead of our interview, Scott was co-hosting a comedy night, dressed in an open-collar, button-down shirt and haranguing the audience in an aggressive bit of salesmanship about Google Glass. Through sweeping gestures and virtual screen swipes, he pitched an app that allowed him to use this wearable optical technology to blur the faces of the unfortunate and the ugly, which, as he emphasized, included 90% of the audience. He paced and grinned as we flinched and broke into laughter. At our second meeting, in a comfortable retro bar, he wore a blazer and a pocket square and talked about his deep but self-aware fantasy life, one of the tenets of which is dressing for success. Even his vodka tonic fit the character, and the character was Scott Vermeire.
For our interview, we headed south to Gilroy, garlic capital of California—although hardly any garlic grows there anymore—to visit Scott as he directs his latest project: a film about an eccentric man’s doomed pilgrimage.
Scott Vermeire has presented his work at venues including SFMOMA, di Rosa, Southern Exposure, the Berkeley Art Museum, SF Sketchfest, Machine Project and the Porchlight. His work has been featured in the Washington Post and the Onion. Scott works alone as well as with two ongoing collaborative groups: Sad Vicious, a performance duo masquerading as “San Jose’s Most Hated Band,” and Wonderment Consortium, an art/comedy collective. He is also the co-producer of “Talkies!”—a monthly experimental comedy show at Lost Weekend Video in San Francisco. Scott lives and works in Oakland, CA.
Kelly Lynn Jones is an artist and founder of Little Paper Planes in San Francisco. She works with artists in a variety of ways including print, publishing, and curatorial projects, and she runs the LPP+ Residency. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts and has shown her work across the U.S.
Maggie Haas is an artist and writer based in San Francisco. She is the Featured Artist Editor at Little Paper Planes, and writes reviews for LPP and other blogs. She holds an MFA from California College of the Arts and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Apart from making videos, Jon Brown is an aspiring semi-professional whistler. He also has too many keys on his keychain.