Although much of my work falls into the high art catagory - I'm a Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webbie award winning and nominated songwriter, artist, multimediaist, director, collector, party thrower - much of it flirts with or is enabled by Kitsch. It's this juxtapostion of hi and lo art that most interests me as an artist. The quality of the art, ideas and enabling technologies at the top and the fire, passion and ultimate belief in self at the bottom where nothing can stop the unskilled art laborer from pursuing their dream. Self expression and creativity are the road to self esteem and happiness. That's what's always driven me as I crush high and lo art together to escape the middle.
I started hosting parties, exhibitions and auctions of bad art in 1982. Although I've rarely seen the original artist perform any of my hits, I'll drive miles to see singers and musicians of limited skills destroy songs I've written like "September", "Boogie Wonderland", "Neutron Dance" and "What Have I Done To Deserve This?". In 1985, I discovered the creme de la kitsch music group, The Del Rubio Triplets, octegenarian identical triplets in mini skirts and go go boots who sang and played out of tune but perfectly in tune with each other. I also wrote "I'll Be There For You", the theme to Friends, considered a Kitsch classic in many circles including my own.
I love Kitsch, be it an object, photo, person, song, performance, anything, because it reflects moments in pop culture that make people smile when they remember it. Kitsch artifacts - Snuggies, Pet Rocks, white polyester Disco suits, Eva Gabor chin straps and the like - are distinctive and evocative because someone believed in themselves and their idea enough to see it through despite it being off from the norm at the time they conceived of it.
I don't have the same view of Kitsch as a lot of other people who see it strictly as something born of bad taste, a gaudiness spawned from the overcommercialization of society. I LOVE popular culture and am thrilled by the the trends, objects and ideas it inspires, bold interpretations of the mentality of the times executed by creators truly excited by the era they live in.
Kitsch is often pooh-poohed by those trying to walk the safe middle road or those too scared to leave the snotty, narrow confines of life at the top. But my brand of Kitsch is a celebration of the kind of ingenuity, imagination and balls that turns everyone and anyone into an artist. Many actual artists' beef about cyberspace and the fact that everyone thinks they're a creator. That's exactly what I LOVE about it. Since 1991, I've been crowing about the fact that, via digital technologies and, specifically, the Internet, the thoughts and creations of everyone is what creates the culture, not just the work of those who get the breaks and big deals. Cyberspace is the perfect breeding ground for Kitsch, both the sharing of that which already exists and the creation of that that doesn't yet. That's why the main wing of The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch lives in cyberspace. The climate is perfect.