“A star is born. His name is Kalup Linzy,” it read in the NYTimes’ review of performance and video artist Kalup Linzy in 2005. Nine years later, the talented Brooklyn-based artist is hard to miss—especially after releasing an EP with movie star James Franco. Now, as the artist celebrates his 37th birthday, he’s releasing the complete 4th season—consisting of only one episode—of “Melody Set Me Free” with co-star Macaulay Culkin and The Pizza Underground.
We met up with the birthday boy to discuss the intricate science of his art.
Lars Byrresen Petersen: How did you get into creating these videos?
Kalup Linzy: They began in graduate school when I was developing my thesis.
LBP: Did you start by wanting to be an artist or did you want to be an actor?
KL: I was wanting to be a filmmaker and screenwriter who acted. I was a natural performer, so I was always encouraged to nurture that aspect of my talent. By the time I completed graduate school, art with a concentration in Electronic Media, I had evolved into a performance based video artist.
LBP: While your work is highly recognized and appreciated in the art world it borderlines entertainment, how would you define your work?
KL: Conceptual, conventional, and experimental.
LBP: You’re inspired by soaps right? So do you have a favorite show?
KL: Primarily American soap operas. At the moment, The Young And The Restless and The Bold And The Beautiful. The Guiding Light when I was growing up, but it has been cancelled.
LBP: How is your work affected by all the celebrities who often appear in your videos?
KL: The works are more interesting when celebrity types are in them in relationship to myself. It potentially widens the audience and interest, but they always become more layered and dynamic.
LBP: What is your favorite character to play?
KL: At the moment, KK Queen
LBP: Tell us about the episode we’re airing?
KL: It is Season 4 of Melody Set Me Free. KK Queen, a music executive, is interviewing a record producer played by Macaulay Culkin, who is trying to convince her to also sign his band, played by his real life band The Pizza Underground.
LBP: You’re also known for your singing voice, how much music have you actually released?
KL: I have released three albums, three EPs and a few singles. They are available on iTunes and other digital outlets.
LBP: What kind of music would it be?
KL: It is D-I-Y R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop, and Dubstep
LBP: Who’s your idol? One in music, film and art?
KL: In music I, idolized Whitney Houston. In film, it is hard to choose as I admire so many greats like Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, John Waters. In art, Cindy Sherman. Although I appreciate many.
LBP: When is your next performance happening?
KL: The two I am in the process of booking are in September and October of 2015. I am hoping a few invites come before then.