December 20, 2016

Inside the Head of…

Artist Tony Tasset.

Tony Tasset has his eye on you—literally. The Chicago-based artist’s 30-foot installation, “Eye,” found its home at a site across the street from The Joule in 2013. Since then, it’s become one of the city’s most-Instagrammed landmarks. (Check out the hashtag #eyeatthejoule for more.)

What’s the first piece of art you remember creating?

I remember being very young and drawing during mass, it was in Latin at the time.

What does “Eye” (2012) really mean?

Whatever you want. “Eye” is one of those images that has taken on a numbers meanings over the years—god and consciousness are just two of them.

Why do you think public art is important?

I don’t know if it is important; I just try to make the best of the opportunity. I like the public.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

Trying to be an artist.

What’s a different body part of yours you’d like to commemorate in a 30-foot art installation?

Yuck! Nothing else, please.

How did you prepare your eye for the photograph that inspired “Eye”?

I tried to imagine being stared at by millions of tiny people.

What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve ever gotten to your work?

A kinda crazy looking guy screamed at me that it was satanic.

Why do you find pop culture so inspiring?

It just provides a common language for communication. Pop culture is ubiquitous; it’s like nature, which also inspires me. I’m also inspired by avant-garde art and folk culture.

You work in a variety of mediums. Which is your favorite?

I like using fiberglass because it references roadside attractions and cheesy, carnivalesque spectacle. I think of “Eye” as a spectacle that people will come to take selfies in front of. It turns the surrounding into a surreal stage.

Where is your dream location for a piece of public art?

My front yard. I could hang out and talk to people who were looking at it.

What’s your favorite art experience in Dallas?

Is Fort Worth okay to mention or will that get me in trouble with Dallas? The Kimbell is a beautiful museum with many treasures.

Who are your three dream dinner party guests?

Comedian Don Rickles, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks, and comedian Shecky Greene.

If you could own a piece of art by any other artist what would it be?

Michelangelo’s “David.”