Acclaimed Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley, who died this last Tuesday from what is believed to be suicide, told Artillery magazine back in November that he was through making art. The statement so shocked Artillery editor Tulsa Kinney that she ended the interview. “There was a sadness in his voice, and he looked sad,” she explained today in a letter to readers. “It felt invasive to press on.” The interview had already been a difficult one. Kinney reflects:
Even not knowing Mike, I could tell when we met that he was depressed. For our interview we sat in a darkened living room and he left the curtains drawn. As we spoke, he blankly stared straight ahead, replying to my questions in a deliberate monotone.
Kinney goes on to share notes she made while typing the interview:
He seemed solemn, almost melancholy even. He was dutiful in carrying out his promise to me, which was to let me interview him for the magazine, but it seemed like it was going to be a painful ride for some reason.
Heartbreaking, in context.
The Kelley interview is the cover story for the February issue of Artillery, an L.A.-based publication widely available at art galleries here and in New York. Only a small portion of the interview is currently available online.