Albuquerque artist Leonard Fresquez doesn't know the meaning of working in one discipline. A painter, photographer, sculptor and zine producer, Fresquez works in so many mediums, it can be hard to know where to start. The good news? Most, if not all of it, is awe-inspiring. We caught up with Fresquez ahead of his upcoming appearance in the group show Diamond Grade at Southside DIY space Etiquette (6 pm Friday, Feb. 28. Free. 2889 Trades West Road), and you can catch up at leonardfresquez.net before the show. (Alex De Vore)
Working in so many mediums, how do you identify what comes next? Is it an organic direction, or the result of a plan?
Most of the time, there's some kind of plan. The last five years have flowed into each to each other with different bodies of work. Etiquette asked me to be in a show last year, and I had other obligations, but [artist] Justin Guthrie asked me to do this show, and we wanted to bring in friends from Los Angeles. There's a circle of friends we have, and we all exist in this kind of gray area, and I was just excited to have a show with them out here. I'm showing sculpture. I came up with the idea because I kind of have an interest in brick and mortar. Bricks go back to the cradle of civilization and shelter—at one point, they were built by prisoners. There's so much history, and I'm incorporating brick into different works.
Do you even have a preferred medium?
I like doing installation work. I like just building stuff, creating small architecture. That's pretty much what all these brick things are. I like mid-century modern design, I've always had an interest in it; I've never taken a formal class in architecture or anything. These are more like small designs. I've never even thought about designing a house, but these are fun for me. I wouldn't say I'm trying to convey a message with this body of work, it's more aesthetic, it's more stuff I've wanted to create. I just wanted to see them made.
Is showing in DIY spaces like Etiquette a priority for you? As in, do you like working outside of the traditional exhibition and gallery systems?
I wouldn't say that, but I'm pretty picky about where I like to show. The last show I had was at 516 ARTS, and I really respect what they stand for and who they work with. They have a lot of integrity. And I like the list of artists I've seen Etiquette work with. I felt like [the show] needed to be in a DIY space. I'm not sure how many galleries would go for this kind of work, but [Etiquette co-founder] Drew [Lenihan] has been great. He's visited with all of us to give us his feedback, which I think is unique. It makes me feel honored, I feel important. It's nice to have someone who's so concerned about the work.