Name? Brad Phillips (@brad___phillips)
How old are you? 49.
What’s your job? I am an entertainer.
What did you study? Nothing.
What do you think about cloning? Would you get cloned if you had the chance? I don’t have an opinion, but wouldn’t clone myself, no, that’s two too many Brads.
If you were a character of a movie which one would you be? Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s.
What is the meaning of life for you as a human being? Love, connection, beauty.
Your favorite classic movie? The Conversation, Francis Ford Coppola, 1974.
If the films of the past were made again in the present, would these be better or worse in your opinion? Worse.
Do you think that in human perception it is easier to kill some life forms than others, for example, an ant versus an elephant? If yes what do you think might be the motivation? Yes. The less we relate to a living creature the easier it becomes to kill. A chimpanzee looks like us, hard to kill, a leaf doesn’t, so easier. But they’re both the same.
What you cannot stand on people? Stupidity, bitterness, whininess, poor-me mentality, inability to self-reflect, be wrong, apologize, fear-mongering, cruelty.
What’s the thing that makes lose your patience the most? My own thoughts.
Do you think Hegel was right to put music as art at a higher level, or do you think the figurative arts, especially at an emotional level, are on the same level? I think Hegel was right, yes.
Can you give us a definition of art? I don’t think so.
Your favorite style icons? Afghan mujahideen, 1980’s. Vincent ‘The Chin’ Gigante, Yves Saint Laurent.
The best party you’ve been to? The day I was born.
Do you think exist an objective aesthetic value or you think aesthetic value is just subjective? Subjectivity is king.
If you could have a super power what would you choose? Peace of mind.
When, in your opinion, can you define a person as an artist? Whenever they say they’re an artist, it just doesn’t mean they’ll be a good artist.
Do you think that the relationship between art and drugs is just a cliché? Yes.
Do you have any political orientation? Libertarian socialism, maybe.
Who is in your opinion the best artist in history? Changes every day, but most days it’s Matisse.
Do you think that believing in God and not believing in God start from the same presumption about something that in itself we have no possibility of knowing, thus reducing even atheism to an act of faith toward the unknown? That sounds reasonable.
If you could do a crime, or an action in general, without anyone ever knowing about it, what would you do? I would rob banks all day everyday.
What work would you have wanted to do if you were not in your profession? I’d like to be a professional tennis player.
In your opinion is there such a thing as unnatural? In the case in point, if you consider man as part of nature, is everything that emanates from it to be considered natural? If not, why do you not consider man as part of nature? Everything is natural, just not necessarily pleasant.
If you could go back in time and kill a few whom would it be? I wouldn’t kill anyone.
Can you tell us the most interesting anecdote concerning your eventual drug experience? The cessation of drug use was super interesting.
What do you think people say about you? I don’t know, I’m scared to know, I don’t want to know.
Have you ever been in a fight? Yes.
Can you tell us when you think a person is cool and when is not? When they’re honest and vulnerable and generous and sincere.
If you had to tell a person to fuck off, who would you choose? And why? Me, ages 22, 25, 28, 40, 44, 47. Personal reasons.
What is the night you spent the most money to have fun? One time I bought popcorn for a stranger who was in line next to me at the movie theatre. The movie was Dangerous Liaisons with John Malkovich and Glenn Close
What’s your favorite artist? Matisse, Vuillard, Otto Mueller, Sickert, Tala Madani, Maria Lassnig, Milton Avery, Edwin Dickinson, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Rachel Harrison, Lutz Bacher, too many to list, always changing.
What’s your favorite show business character? Woody on Cheers.
If you could choose which historical era to live in, which would you choose? France, 1890-1920.
If you had the chance to choose which historical event to live, which one would you choose? I’d like to have rescued Baby Jessica when she fell in the well.
If you could spend a day with an historical figure who would you choose? James Joyce.
Who are the people that inspired you the most? My grandmother, my mother, Saul Bellow.
If you could choose a famous person for a night, who would it be? Not interested.
And for a relationship? Not interested.
Regarding Lamda’s recent news and the fact that man may have created a sentient being, do you think this might make the idea that another being or entity may have created man more plausible to skeptics? I don’t know enough about this to answer with any insight, but the idea that other beings or entities created humanity seems reasonable.
What do you think about the fact that man is not able to give an explanation exclusively to what he does not know and does not understand, while conversely, he is (hypothetically and relatively) able to understand everything about which he is knowledgeable and can understand? Do you think this might open the door to the fact that for everything there can be an explanation and a logic, and that what man calls chance (or in any other way that refers to a similar concept) can only be the consequence of his ignorance? I think the assumption that people are able to understand everything about which they have knowledge is a misapprehension.
Turning then to the knowledge that an individual may possess, do you think there may be a definable declination of it that is certain? In the present case, taking physics and mathematics as examples, are dogmatic laws found in them that can be independent of human existence, or are they the result of human interpretation of nature that depends on the observer himself? I believe consciousness creates matter, not the other way around.
What is the best work you have ever done? Making anyone close to me feel loved and safe.
The one you are most proud of? With art, I really like a painting I made in 2008 of the cover of The Falconer by John Cheever.
The one that is most appreciated? People like it when I paint knives, and toilet paper.
Can you tell us a work someone else has done that you wish you could do too? I wish I could have made all of the nudes that Francis Picabia painted. I wish I could have taken all of the self-portraits that Lee Friedlander took.
Who is your best friend in the show business? My late friend Giancarlo DiTrapano.
Is there anyone you don’t get along with? Yes.
What is the thing you love the most about Venice? I like the small dogs that seem to be everywhere.
And one you don’t like? The city doesn’t smell great.
And about Italy in general? I like that you can smoke almost anywhere, and I like the game shows.
Where have you been on vacation when you were young? We sometimes went to Rice Lake and swam, stayed in a tent, rode jet skis.
Where are you going on vacation now? Hopefully North Carolina in September.
Do you think it would be correct to create a place where a man can live in the state of nature, making him free from a choice of social belonging that is instead taken for granted? Why the fuck not.
Favorite movies? The Conversation, House of Games, The Limey, Melancholia, Arrival, Glass Chin, the list is too long.
What’s the topic you are most expert in? Hopefully art, and writing. Definitely NBA basketball from 1986-1995.
Have you ever been in love? Yes.
Where do you live? New York City.
Which neighbourhood? Chinatown.
Where are you from? Kingston, Jamaica.
Other cities where you’ve been living and how long? I grew up in Toronto. I lived in Vancouver from 2002-2013.
Which languages do you speak? English, Spanish.
Which are your favorite places in your city? I like PINGPOD on Allen Street, Manny Cantor Community Center on East Broadway, and Water Lily Spa on Elizabeth Street.
Favorite songs? Schubert Piano Sonata no 13 & Scherzo no 2 by Sviatislov Richter, Blasé by Archie Shepp, Little Girl Blue by Nina Simone, Permanent Smile by Smog, Sailing by Christopher Cross, I can Read your Mind by Allan Parsons Project, Fly Away by Equiknoxx.
Favorite bands? Kansas, Clikitat Ikatowi, Smog, Wu-Tang, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Clan of Xymox, Codeine, The Commodores etc.
A famous band you don’t like? I dunno, Coldplay? Never heard.
Favorite books? All Patricia Highsmith, all Martin Amis except The Yellow Dog, all Nabokov except Ada & Lolita, The Satipatthana, Submission & The Possibility of an Island, Michel Houllebecq, The Dain Curse Dashiel Hammett, Time Loops Eric Wargo, too many books a lot of books these all change. Saul Bellow Edith Fromme Philip Roth Dorothy Parker etc.
Favorite authors? Highsmith, Nabokov, Amis, Dostoesvky Dashiel Hammett Michel Houllebecq David Foster Wallace Susan Sontag Nicholson Baker Lawrence Sanders etc too many.
Favorite artworks? Too many.
If you can choose 5 celebrities to have party with who they would be? Buddha, Jesus, Neem Karoli Baba, Seungh Sahn, Saint Francis.
Do you feel envy for anyone? If so, for whom? No.
The material good you most desire and envy? Financial stability.
The quality you would like to have and don’t have? Ability to tolerate financial instability.
There are more and more models who do not respond to the “classic” aesthetic canons, do you think that brands really try to change the social dynamics or do you think they are choices dictated by marketing reasons to exploit the politically correct? There are few things I find less interesting than this subject, but if any choices are being made they serve capital by nodding to politics, and aren’t sincere. Maybe that’s okay. I don’t know. I’m only really qualified to talk about one or two things.
Have you ever been offered something in exchange for sex? Yes.
If you had the possibility to remove social networks from the world, would you delete them?Probably.
And what about globalization? Yes.
The craziest experience you’ve ever had?Transforming my body through weightlifting. One particular experience with 5-meO-DMT. Being offered the opportunity to publish a book of short stories. Being forgiven.
What do you think about influencers? I don’t.
What’s your favorite historical character? Sherlock Holmes seems interesting. Don’t know if he’s real or not.
Can you define yourself with an adjective? Probably.
Your favorite actors? I like Hugh Grant, seems nice.
Favorite TV series? Cheers.
If you were an animal which one would you like to be? Goblin shark.
Have you ever had sex with more than one person? I’ve been married three times, so at least three.
Your favorite position for sex? Anti-gravity.
What time do you usually go to sleep? Midnight.
What time do you usually wake up? 8:30 AM.
What’s your favorite city in the world? Siena in Italy, or Miami, or Thetis Island off the coast of British Columbia.
Do you believe in some religions? Yes.
The richest person you know? Janet Jackson.
Your favorite dish? Bowl.
Do you have some phobias? Yes.
Favorite fashion brand? Issey Miyake.
How important is it for you to be rich from 1 to 10? 10 I guess, that seems like a normal desire, seems safer to be rich.
And fame? 1.
How important are fame and money to impress a partner? I really don’t know.
And what about beauty? Probably that one’s important.
And intelligence? Big deal to me.
The smartest person you know? I’m lucky that I know a lot of smart people.
Do you consider yourself smart? Definitely.
If you could choose any actors to be in one of your works, who would you choose? Hugh Grant, also Cameron Diaz seems nice and seems like she needs work lately.
The most precious material thing you own? A Helmut Newton photograph.
What do you usually drink at the bar? Soda water, Coca-Cola.
An advice you can give to someone that want to do your job? Don’t compare yourself to others.
Best party you’ve been to? The after party the Chicago Bulls had after winning the 1998 NBA finals.
Do you know someone being a real racist? Yeah I do.
Do you think that if people couldn’t post on Instagram about it, they would take part as well to social movements? I hope so. They used to.
What do you think about the existence of royal rulers for birthright? I dunno, they mostly seem like losers, I wouldn’t want to have a hard job just because of my family.
What drugs have you done? Sadly most of them.
And which one you use more often? Now, nicotine.
Are you in favour of the liberalization of soft drugs? Yes.
And hard drugs? Yes.
What’s your best talent? Patience, perseverance.
What are the clothes you can’t stand to see on a man and on a woman? People can wear whatever they like, it’s doesn’t impact me.
What’s the item of clothing you spent the most money on? I bought myself expensive shoes last year.
Can you tell us a number from 1 to 89? I worry this question is a way to guess the pin code to my bankcard.
Favorite restaurant and bar in the city where you live? I like Wu’s Wonton in Chinatown. I don’t go to bars.
And club? Not a club guy.
Your ideal holiday? Mauritius, the Swiss Alps, the gulf islands in British Columbia, Luxor, Sandals Resort Curacao.
What would you have done if you had not done your job? Professional tennis or basketball.
If you could compose the best band in history, who would be in it? Buddha, Jesus, Vishnu, Saint Francis, Jimi Hendrix.
If you could choose someone to follow you on Instagram who would you choose? Who cares.
Do you think that if there were no hypothetical partners to impress, human beings would pursue success so spasmodically? I don’t know.
Do you think that in certain environments, especially those in which we find fame and money, there is a lack of certain values? Maybe, I don’t know.
Does the current concept of democracy make sense to you? Not really.
What is your position on a hypothetical enlightened dictatorship that could direct the good of people? Maybe it could work, I don’t know. Who defines enlightened?
What do you think about the psychological profile of politicians? Generalizing and keeping in mind the existence of due exceptions, do you think that politicians get to do their job for personal interests, such as ego satisfaction or economic profit, or for an ethical and civic help vocation? I think generalizing is unhelpful. I don’t know, I’m not that informed. I think having strong opinions is unwise.
Do you think politicians and influencers have similar psychological profiles? I don’t know what an influencer is, really.
Do you think that prison, intended as deprivation of freedom of a subject, is a correct solution for an individual who violates the laws of society, or do you think it presupposes an acceptance of participation in the social contract that some individuals may not want? Prison seems pretty lousy and unhelpful, corporate, cruel, racist and not designed to help the people it imprisons. Prison abolition seems to make sense and be popular. I also think there are some people in prison that prison abolitionists wouldn’t want as their neighbor. Seems like a complicated thing I’m not qualified to discuss.
There are those who argue that the death penalty is a non-penalty, in the sense that at the moment in which the penalty is executed, the subject who should undergo it does not exist anymore because of the penalty itself, consequently involving however an interference in the life of the subjects close to the condemned, who would become at that point the real passive subjects of the case, what do you think about it? This seems like someone is doing their thesis on prison reform or capital punishment etc and is looking for some input. I’m opposed to the death penalty for numerous reasons.
If we consider the death as the end of everything, hypothetically the homicide of a subject that for absurdity doesn’t have, and has never had, social relationships of any kind with anybody, neither economic, neither personal, neither juridical, and if he would be killed without inflicting any suffering and without that he could realize it, such homicide should be punished? Leaving aside the motivations of the agent, as well as the need to protect other subjects of a hypothetical society, in case he would be punished, the murderer would suffer the punishment for an action of which no one suffers any consequence, is it correct for you then to assert that death is something that concerns only the living? Way over my head.
Do you think that as animals, races also exist for human beings? Probably, who knows. Animals are like us we just don’t speak their language, don’t think they have language, so relegate them to some lesser status. They probably gamble and worry and maybe get bored like us.
Do you think that racism is a manifestation of some kind of deficiency, an aid to fill gaps in existence for those who approach it? Could this explain the fact that often the profile of the average racist corresponds to individuals with difficult lives who have to struggle with a variety of issues and who use it as an outlet? Every racist I’ve known was an unhappy fucking moron, if that’s an answer.
Do you think that a cultural growth is always good for an individual or do you think that in certain situations it is identified with a loss of intellectual purity? Culture is in some ways a virus.
Do you think that culture in the hands of a stupid person can sometimes represent a problem? Of course.
What do you think about the cancel culture? I don’t.
What would you answer to the dilemma of the Mandarin of Chateaubriand then taken up by Balzac and countless other philosophers? In this case, if in order to fulfill any of your desires, you had to end the life of a person who is extremely distant from you and about whom you know nothing, without them suffering and without anyone ever knowing, would you do it? No, I could never kill a human being, animal or insect.
If you could commission the theft of artwork what would you choose? I’d try to get one of my own paintings stolen from a gallery’s storage so I’d get the insurance money.
What are your thoughts on the outcome of Banksy’s experiment in which he sold his works on the street for a few dollars? Do you think that generally in the eyes of an observer the value of a work is given by the context in which it is seen? I don’t follow what he does.
Do you think it is fair to say that the art market defines what is considered art and what is not? For people without any taste, yes.
A question that we didn’t ask you but you would have liked to answer? I’m good, nothing missing.
If you could choose a person you know to read this interview, who would it be? Hugh Grant.