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Gallery

Americans have always regarded their cars as more than vehicles.

Nothing demonstrates that aspiration better than the typography and proper nouns used to name those dreams.

We last spoke to photographer Jesse Chehak about his show “Western Views.” Check out the Q&A below for Chehak’s take on modern appliances, travel reading, and the connections between art and life.

Born in Tarzana, Calif., Jesse Chehak studied large format photography and Art History at Sarah Lawrence College. He lived in New York City from 1998-2009, Santa Fe until late 2011, and currently lives in Tucson and Los Angeles. Chehak has received notable attention for his work, including PDN30 in 2005, The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward in 2007, a Baum Nomination in 2008, and AP25.

Images used with permission. All images © copyright the artist, all rights reserved.

TMN:

What’s your favorite car model name?

Jesse Chehak:

If you are talking of all time: VW Thing.

TMN:

What’s your favorite household appliance?

Jesse Chehak:

Tie between the refrigerator and the dishwasher.

TMN:

Where were your “Autotypes” found?

Jesse Chehak:

Redhook, Brooklyn, New York City.

TMN:

You live in LA and Tucson, both car towns. Do you think better while driving or walking?

Jesse Chehak:

Long, traffic-less drives have always been a space for reflection and generating ideas.

TMN:

Do you normally respond to typography?

Jesse Chehak:

No, not really. However, I have become more aware of subtle typological differences recently. Typologies, yes.

TMN:

Do you like art and entertainment mixed or kept separate?

Jesse Chehak:

I don’t see art as separate from anything. It’s a frame of being.

TMN:

How do you complete a project when everything seems doomed?

Jesse Chehak:

The universe and all its parts have a beginning and an end.

TMN:

Do you nap?

Jesse Chehak:

Yes, as taught by my son.

TMN:

What’s your favorite camera right now?

Jesse Chehak:

Leica M6/50mm/2.8

TMN:

What do you read on planes?

Jesse Chehak:

I like reading essays regarding transcendentalism currently. And the SkyMall catalog.

TMN:

How long does a project normally last?

Jesse Chehak:

Hard to say. Some are longer and some are just moments.

TMN:

You used to live in New York. How would you compare western light to eastern light?

Jesse Chehak:

The source is the same, although the vibe couldn’t be more different. And this difference is why Hollywood became.

TMN:

What are your dreams like?

Jesse Chehak:

Vivid, narrative, at times terrifying, and at their best lucid.

TMN:

At what time of day are you at your best?

Jesse Chehak:

0600.