James Ostrer was invited by Absolut Vodka to launch their latest limited edition vodka bottle in Hong Kong for the asian market at large. Working with absolute Vodka wold be a relationship followed by both Warhole and Baquiet. James turned them down to their abject surprise as he felt promoting alcohol as a T-Total while also launching the show Ego System questioning corporate inducted addiction and greed was entirely inappropriate. James suggested he could put Absolut in touch with his spiritual guide Guru Jimmy.
“I am responding to the vast divide between what we are being sold and what we are actually getting. Trump is a self-proclaimed success story of delusion. This right-wing Middle American madness spearheads the complete lack of care for the rest of the world and its population. Donald Trump professes to be a hugely successful businessman capable of leading America into economic success, yet in reality he is a maniacal narcissistic billionaire that inherited his wealth and lost more than he has gained through failed business choices. At the same time he is using his current media platform to drive further racial divide in humanity.”
“Damien’s shark piece came out during my first year of art school and it blew my mind. He instantly became an art hero and I love and defend him every time people dismiss what he produces now as a load of bollocks for the rich to trade amongst themselves. When the artwork A Thousand Years first came out 17 years ago, Lucian Freud said that he felt sorry for Damien as he had made the best piece of work he ever could so early on in his career. This is as much a portrait about Hirst as it is about me and the second album syndrome fear I had after the success of my last show.”
“The Miley inspired emotional download represents the spectrum of change I have seen in the last 25 years where the portrayed ideals of female fame and sex used to be defined by a fur coat, some diamonds and a bit of flesh showing here and there to the now pneumatic pornification of women, perpetuating the apparent need to insert more and more silicon in various parts of their body and faces while removing all their natural ‘fur’.”
“When I walk through the airport and see a huge billboard of a shamed golf star selling watches, I start to think I actually need an expensive watch. Walking through the airport and seeing a big shiny watch and a huge smile on a famous golfer as I excitedly prepare myself for a flight to a show in a different continent makes me feel OK about myself. It’s a really funny balance as on the one hand I want to be a social activist saying we want to focus on saving the planet but at the same time I think I would love to buy that watch and be able to afford to upgrade my flight.”
“Cara famously has MADE IN ENGLAND tattooed on the sole of one of her feet and says it’s all about her modelling career. She is quoted as saying “you’re looked through, you’re not looked at, you are treated as a kind of mannequin...you kind of feel that you need to have no soul really, to do that job’. This work is more like a totem of the realities of the business she works in rather than about her as an individual. This piece is about the relationship between the icons that are positioned by brands to endorse what they have to sell but ultimately just become disregarded pawns in the corporate machine to drive greater consumption.”
“I once met a guy at a party who had recently retired from the largest commodities trading company in the world and he actively expressed his personal worth of around £400 million. In conversation he said to me, ‘when I watched the first bombs drop on Baghdad it was like watching fireworks at New Year’s Eve – I knew how much money I was going to make’. The thing that struck me was this weedy nerdy guy who said he was bullied at school and whose parents never knew how they were going to pay their next bill was now using exceptional wealth as his emotional armour to heal the wounds from his past. What was clear to me was that he had now bullied the world back and turned his internal unhappiness into the unhappiness of entire nations. When you look into the horse’s eyes they change from dominating the viewer to you then seeing the sadness and tears in them.”