Garbage Bombing the Streets of LA with Pop Artist Jules Muck
Most people would look right past a heap of abandoned garbage by the side of the road. Pop artist Jules Muck sees things a little differently. Her garbage bombing series explores the ugly reality of hyperconsumerist culture with a rebellious gusto characteristic of the long-time street artist’s work.
Raised in England and Greece, Muck was already deeply entrenched in European street art when she moved to the Bronx as a teen in the early ‘90s. She soon began “bombing” highways and rooftops before graduating to subway tunnels and freight yards with the help of her new artist friends.
Now based in Venice Beach, CA, Muck continues to write graffiti anywhere the mood strikes. Though she’s often commission for large public projects—including a mural in Greece honoring displaced Syrian refugees and an installation at the Bronx Museum—Muck splits her time between paid work and amusing herself by bombing garbage and other surfaces around the city of LA. The heart of her work, she says, is a free public experience, unrestricted by art-world pretensions or elite institutions.
In Today’s Q+Art Interview…
Jules Muck discusses the role pop culture and capitalism play in her work, making art regardless of cash flow, and finding success wherever you’re located in the world.
Which books, art-related or otherwise, belong on every artist’s shelf?
Jules Muck: Sketchbook.
Which cultural concepts, themes, or philosophies inform your work?
JM: Communism / capitalism, pop culture, opposites.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
What are you trying to express with your art?
JM: Familiarity and understanding.
What do you wish you learned in art school but weren’t taught?
JM: To play more with others.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?
JM: Don't go to art school—best; Try heroin—worst.
What's your biggest barrier to being an artist?
JM: Fear, other people.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
JM: I don't know—work wins.
What does generosity mean to you as an artist?
JM: Public works.
What does success mean to you as an artist?
JM: Making a livelihood and making a difference for others.
What role does the artist have in society?
JM: Inspiring others.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
If you had to pick one, would you rather be a historically significant or commercially successful artist? Why?
What role should money play in the art world?
JM: Less of a roll.
What’s your relationship with money?
JM: I need it, and I feel that as a female artist it's an important accomplishment that I am able to make and manage money.
How do you deal with the ups and downs of the market?
JM: I make art regardless of demand or pay.
Have you ever turned down an opportunity? Why?
JM: Yes, if I feel it is unfair to me.
What are you working on that you’re excited about right now?
JM: Shark show at the Artemiza Foundation in Arizona.
What do you do to maintain your mental health?
JM: I take herbal supplements, I pray and meditate, I exercise and paint.
What do you dislike about the art world? How would you change it if you could?
JM: Nepotism; I would get rid of it if I could.
Is there a specific time you recall feeling marginalized by the art world?
JM: All the time.
How does your geographical location affect your work and/or success?
JM: I enjoy moving around to learn how to be successful in different environments. It's possible everywhere so far. Cities with more artists are more difficult to get paid.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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