Alex Becerra has a brash but charming way about him. His paintings are equally conflicted. Developing a reputation as a provocateur, Becerra has earned comparisons to both Philip Guston and Mike Kelley for his animated brushwork and dark imagery. Treating Los Angeles as his laboratory, the recalcitrant artist is shaking up the city.
What was your first gallery experience?
In my head, it was a gallery; it was really a project space. This guy Sergio Bromberg in L.A. ran these project spaces that were 24-hour openings. I made an inflatable and did a pointy boot performance inside at midnight.
If you could trade with anyone who would it be?
Probably Werner Büttner or Jonathan Meese.
Do you live with your own work?
I actually do, because I have a live/work studio in Inglewood. It’s intense in all the right ways. It’s stressful because I have to walk through the studio to use the restroom, to make food. But it’s also nice because I can consistently think of art and not get jaded. I’ve never had a studio that I’ve not lived in.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
You have the power. It’s the best piece of advice. Noah Davis said that to me in his studio. It was so valuable coming from another painter. He just said: ‘Fuck all this shit, it’s your work, you have the power, you do what you want.’