Max Erdenberger Interview
Max Erdenberger works at the intersection of art and technology, whether creating a celebrated yet controversial music video for Gnarls Barkley, promoting environmental responsibility through design, or lending his visual talents to many of the world’s largest brands at Wieden+Kennedy. The Portland-based artist founded Viewers Like You, an international blog dedicated to visual culture and music, and showcases his personal work at Central-Office. He is one of the “Flux Super 8” artists currently on view at Scion Space in Los Angeles.
SXH: Can you tell us a bit about where you are from?
ME: Born in Philly, raised in Portland Oregon. Seems like Portland is in the NY Times every week so you probably know a lot more about it than me.
SXH: What did you want to be when you were a child?
ME: I wanted to design major sporting events like the Olympics. I drew a lot of epic war scenes on the dining room table that didn’t mean I wanted to go to war. I was fascinated by urban planning and civic initiatives and played too much soccer.
SXH: How did you get your first breakthrough?
ME: Luck. I met Tinker Hatfield at Nike and he asked me to come to work with him and be a design assistant of sorts. Lots of scanning, coloring and paying attention. Waiting for my second breakthrough.
SXH: Where do you find inspiration and influence on a daily basis? why?
ME: Technology has brought people closer and you can surround yourself with a ton of random stuff in a few minutes so there is that. Seeing someone do something in person is nice too, baking, sewing, biking, singing.
SXH: Anyone you desire to work with/for?
ME: My personal work might be better suited for fashion or retail. There are a few directors I would love to engage in a project with.
SXH: What’s the best thing about the city you live in? why?
ME: Honestly that’s a no brainer. Bikes everywhere. Because when you ride up to a traffic light on the way to work and bikes outnumber cars you grin.
SXH: Where is the best place to eat? why?
ME: One meal I really covet is a “Really Spicy” roll from Yakusa. It taste unlike any sushi you have ever eaten. We have been here over a year and from what I can tell will have no shortage of amazing food.
SXH: Best Shop in your city? why?
ME: I like a little shop on East Burnside that sells planters and cactus called Life and Limb. Because its run by cool people and there is no clothes buying stress involved.
SXH: Best Gallery in your city? Why?
ME: Together Gallery. They have good standards and a tight style of work they show. Art is hard in a small market, its easy for it to go bad quick.
SXH: Favorite place to visit? Why?
ME: Asia. It makes you realize white people are out numbered.
SXH: What do you think of the current climate of the art scene? Why?
ME: I think art turned out to be one of the better investments in the last few years. People are realizing its power and trying to educate themselves more. I’m cut off from NY physically but from what I see online, art is stronger than ever, more dialogue and more challenging work. Go see the current show at LACMA amazing art from Korea.
SXH: What artists are changing the way we think at the moment?
ME: I like the stuff the glue society is doing. They come at from a really conceptual level but their hearts are still in the commercial and entertainment world.
SXH: Any artists that perhaps we should look out for? Why?
ME: David Horvitz. His work is full of optimism in the best sense of the word.
SXH: Where do you see the art scene in 10 years time?
ME: Lots more interactive work, I think the technology will be so accessible and tangible it will be unbelievable.