POWHIDA, Installation View. ©POWHIDA, courtesy Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY
FP: What should happen to galleries that don’t pay their artists?
WP: In most other industries, businesses that can’t pay their bills usually close. At some point, artists have to stop enabling the behavior or admit they are funding their own vanity exhibitions. A friend of mine recently rationalized not being paid for sales by admitting she would’ve laid out $6,000 just to have a “legit” Chelsea solo show.
FP: You have no problem name-calling — does this extend to all areas of your life?
WP: I try to keep most of the name calling in the work. I don’t walk up to Jules de Balincourt at the coffee shop and say, “What’s up? Did you invent a new shade of green yet?!”
FP: There are accounts — not to mention a movie trailer — of you being a hard drinker with a penchant for women. How much of this is the fictional William Powhida, and how much of it is true?
WP: I’d rather be drinking than answering these questions.
FP: What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
WP: Make your art with at least an awareness of the world outside your studio. Everything must be available to you or you’ll end up making conceptual abstraction in Bushwick.
Main image credit: POWHIDA, Portrait of Genius (detail), 2011. Oil on canvas, 83 x 59″, ©POWHIDA, courtesy Marlborough Chelsea, New York, NY.