Finkbuilt Gallery Presents: About this exhibition
SANDOW BIRK - Jail BaitSold

Raised on the beaches of California and currently living and working in Los Angeles, Sandow Birk is well traveled and a graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute. His work has dealt with contemporary life in its entirety. Learn more.

Could you tell the visitors about your Lure?

I have completed a series of paintings of all of the state prisons in 00 California and another series of all of the maximum security prisons in New York state for exhibitions. They were interesting projects, where I visited all of the 33 California prisons and the 15 NY prisons myself and then painted them. I thought it would be interesting to tie the lure into those projects. Also, the shape of the lure and the nautical aspect of it reminded me of scrimshaw, so I wanted to recreate a faux-scrimshaw feeling to it. San Quentin is the oldest prison in California, in continual use since 1850. It currently houses all California Death Row inmates and is the only place in the state where executions are carried out. The guard tower depicted on the lure is its iconic image, its visible from the San Rafael Bridge in the Bay Area.

How did you end up being an artist?

I went to art school in L.A. for college, off and on for about 8 years before graduating with a BFA degree in painting. I did a lot of traveling in the middle of it all, and still do. That's probably been the biggest influence.

Who are some of your greatest artistic influences?

Warren Olney IV

What music do you have in heavy rotation right now?

I'm pretty indifferent to music. Whatever's playing is fine with me, I like to let others decide.

What do you do for fun?

Surf, surf, and then go surfing.

When was the last time you went fishing?

I've only fished about three times in my life. The most memorable was when I was on a surfing boat trip off of India for two weeks and I happened to be standing nearby on deck when a line we were trolling hooked a big fish. I pulled it in and it was a pretty big tuna or something - about 10 pounds, maybe 2 feet long. We sliced it up and ate it raw right there on the deck with rice and wasabi, plus gin martinis and the sunset over the Indian Ocean as we sailed along. It was an amazing evening. I can't remember ever catching a fish besides that, but I think I have a couple times.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new or aspiring artists?

Be yourself. Think.