The Real New York

Have you seen that artist camped outside of the Guggenheim the past few years painting bright cartoon-esque portraits of the building? He goes by the name Borbay and you can expect to see him there for the next 16 years. That’s true determination. Aside from his attempt to make it into the Guggenheim (why wouldn’t they be interested in exhibiting a series with their portrait over the period of 20 years?), Borbay is also known for his vibrant celebrity portraits, some of which will be on display during his upcoming exhibition “Kick Ass Actors in Kick Ass Roles” at Wix Lounge on January 16th 2013. We interviewed the artist ahead of his exhibition to get the low-down on what visitors can expect at the exhibition, his take on the recent Golden Globes award show, and his experience with Donald Trump, among other funny anecdotes!

NYC-APS: Where did you grow up and what was your earliest art experience?

B: I grew up on Long Island, Nesconset to be specific, which is about the geographical center of the amphibiously shaped land mass. When I was maybe 2 or 3, my Mom was painting a wooden bunny for Easter and I asked to join her… that was the nexus of my art career. A wooden bunny. I actually made an embarrassing book about it in college…

NYC-APS: How was the book embarrasing?
B: Ah, well, the book was actually more embarrassing for my youngest brother Tim, since I pasted a photo of his face into an extremely crude South Park-esque book about painting a wooden bunny. He’s a good sport though…

NYC-APS: Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming exhibition? What will you be showcasing?
B: Absolutely. The show is titled Kick Ass Actors in Kick Ass Roles… it will feature seven collage paintings ranging in size from 30″X30″ to 40″X40″, and showcase my favorite thespians in what I consider their best roles.

NYC-APS: Any hints as to who will be making an appearance in these collages?
B: Oh, I can lift up the skirt and share the fully monty… It will be Brad Pitt in Snatch, Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Justin Theroux in Mulholland Drive, Uma Thurman in Kill Bill II, Morgan Freeman in Se7en, Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters. I’m maniacally obsessed with repetition, and I’ve watched each of these films at least 20 times, probably closer to 50.

NYC-APS: Nice! Did you watch the Golden Globes yesterday?
B: Oh, I did… probably the most important takeaway was Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t give a shit about ease-out music, he just balls. And I had no idea Jodie Foster was so cray… appreciate her (finally) coming out and all, but her entire speech seemed like a gigantic fuck you to Hollywood.

NYC-APS: Celebrities make an appearance in a lot of your artwork – how does the public respond to these pieces? Also, have any of them reached the celebrities themselves?
B: Great question… I’ve been fascinated with the construct of celebrity since I was a kid. Perception of a person who constantly molds into different people with varying degrees of success who are then publicly analyzed, celebrated and skewered is a phenomenon. So, it’s reinforcing as an artist… I can paint a Gigli, but then come back and bang out an Argo, you know? As for celeb connection, I believe many of them have seen their own portraits… Diddy retweeted his… but outside of a few paintings I was commissioned to create for a pair of NY Yankees, none of them own their Borbay visage. If Bill Murray silently walked into the show on Wednesday night, grabbed the painting off the wall and walked out, I probably wouldn’t sob.

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