Bill Barminski Interview: Pop-up Retrospective!

All Photos by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

I read in a National Geographic article recently about a theory being advanced on how cave pictographs might have helped frame the advance of human language. And when I thought about it, it came to mind that Bill Barminski’s various media expressions are a kind of language. Barminski’s work communicates on a commonality we all share with humor and insights. Barminski’s work is relatable and offers content that helps us question point of views or pinpoints in a clever manner a very specific idea, where we are tempted to ask “Why?”

During the opening preview I had a moment with Barminski at Castelli Art Space last night to ask a few questions about his work, his artistic motivations of his two-night Pop-up retrospective. It proved enlightening and fun in a very conversational way.

LA Beat: I was wondering what is it about now, juxtaposed against then your artistic vision, that may have changed?

Barminski: I’m trying to process the question … I mean, for me the impulse is still the same. I have this need, desire to make stuff. It’s always been my ethos, so I’d say it very similar now. I’m seeing work I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m doing things now for the same reasons I’m doing stuff now. You know, dig away at your own psyche.

LA Beat: Now you’re a teacher at UCLA. What do you see there? Do you try to communicate those sensibilities to the students or is it more like a structured presentation about art?

Barminski: I definitely try to communicate to them the notion that they need to produce work. Don’t get something, half finished, curl it up in a ball, and throw it away. Finish it and show it to people. You have to do that in order to progress.

LA Beat: Is this exhibition a springboard to something else or for the joy of the exhibition?

Barminski: This show is from a friend of mine who produced my first couple of shows back in the early 80’s. He wanted to do this. He asked me ‘Can I do this?’ and I said ‘Sure! Yep, that’ll be fun!’

LA Beat: Is the work for sale?

Barminski: Some of the work is on loan and some of the work is for sale. A lot of the early stuff is owned by people. Yeah, selling t-shirts …

LA Beat: Also, how was it? Did you work with Banksy or you were invited to do your workhowever that worked?

Barminski: I was just getting an email asking to do a security checkpoint at Dismaland. Sure, why not!

LA Beat: Did you construct it here or did you go there to construct it?

Barminski: All the small bit and pieces were made here. Then we went there and did an install, in like, a week. We did all the larger pieces you wouldn’t want to ship.

LA Beat: Did you actually meet Banksy? Is he still elusive?

Barminski: Nah … I get an email from somebody and I don’t know if that’s who’s it is. I might have met him but nobody introduced him as ‘him’ to me. So you never know.

The Bill Barminski Retrospective Pop-up will be at Castelli Art Space will be tonight, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 and Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Billy Bennight

About Billy Bennight

Billy Bennight is a writer and photographer with expertise and years of experience in these disciplines. His musical youth started as a Punk Rocker and has expanded into exploring many genres of music, with a keen interest in art, fashion, photography, and writing. He shoots celebrity and red-carpet events for ZUMA Press. He is also a member of the Los Angeles Art Association. His images have been published in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Parade, Wall Street Journal, and French Elle, both Vanity Fair and Vanity Fair Italia. He's very engaged in life. You an see more of his work at ZUMA Press at You can follow him on his Facebook page at: and on Instagram and Twitter @billybennight
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