Photography by Ye Rin Mok
Math Bass is a multi-disciplinary artist probably best known for their graphic paintings, which utilize saturated symbols to build up a language of signs that constantly converse with one another. But Math also works in sculpture, performance, installation, drawing, and sound — and we’ve long admired the facets of Math’s work which thoughtfully construct interventions within a space and employ bodies as architecture.
Apparent when you meet them, Math is feeling and listening, attuned to themself and their surroundings. We spent some time with Math in their Echo Park studio amongst works in progress and discussed yielding perfectionism in the studio where they find procrastination as a form of work.
Your work often makes reference to the architectural features of the space in which its shown, do you have any favorite architectural spaces?
The Schindler house on Kings road in West Hollywood is one of my favorite spaces in Los Angeles. I'm always excited by Le Corbusier along with Prouvé and Neutra.
One of our most memorable performances of yours is "Dogs and Fog"! Also featured frequently in your paintings is the dog bone - sometimes literal, sometimes abstracted. Can you tell us about your own dogs?
I have too many dogs, St. Francis must be direct dialing them in. Help.
What inspires the structure of your day as a working artist? Do you have a daily ritual you practice?
I usually wake up before the alarm goes off and hit snooze for about an hour before I scroll through a feed of devastating news, though lately I have dropped this habit because it is depressing. I then make myself a cup of black tea with coconut milk and shuffle about doing god knows what before making my way to either the gym or the studio. Eventually I end up at my studio where I tend to procrastinate until I can't take it anymore, then I begin working, though I think that the procrastination is an abstract form of work.
Personally, we tend to carry things in our bags that hold some balance between creature comforts and necessity. What do you carry with you everyday?
I carry an herbal remedy of adaptogens which I take 3x a day to balance my thyroid, boost my immune system and lower cortisol levels. I carry my keys, my wallet, sunscreen, sun glasses, spray on natural deodorant, which doesn't work very well, dog treats and poop bags... hmmm I think that's the bulk of it.
Do you uphold any "rules" in your personal life versus studio life?
Rules... There isn't much separation between these lives, though I am trying to learn how to feel more comfortable in domestic space. I am far more forgiving of myself than I am of my work, i.e. I am not perfect and I do not wish for this perfectionism to permeate all facets of my life.
What's your favorite thing about being your age right now?
I feel more comfortable with myself, with my shadow. I worry far less, stress far less. I feel more secure in knowing what I want, what feels good, what aligns with my highest self. I am learning how to have firmer boundaries while softening my heart. I am attaching less to my thinking and more to my body.