Here to Help!
John P. Hogan
Studio Manager Flyers, California Institute of the Arts, 2006-2019
John P. Hogan
Molly Jo Shea
Michael Ned Holte
Concept: John P. Hogan & Dameon Waggoner
Cover & Layout Design: Dameon Waggoner
Paperback, Full Color, 128 Pages
Cover Price: $32.00
Along with the book we are releasing ...
Here to Help! (within reason) Acrylic Pin (1-7/8" x 1-1/2")
AND The Unholy Den Limited Edition Print by John P. Hogan
PLUS Here to Help! (within reason) Sticker (3" x 2-1/4")
Only Available with the Print Edition!
Get Yours Now! at a Special Discount before they're gone!
In the mid-2000s, CalArts was still operating in an alarmingly analogue fashion. Inter-office mail was delivered via reusable envelopes dating back decades. Work orders were filed using carbon paper. There was a large bulletin board in the art office, originally a muted light green, eventually painted a screaming loud red-orange, where memos were left for students under the first letter of their last name. This bulletin board was actually visited, these memos actually retrieved and read. Emails, on the other hand, were completely ignored. If you had something to tell someone and you emailed them, you may as well have written your message on a post-it note and thrown it in the trash. Phone calls and even a printed memo in their student mailbox were a better bet. For a school with a reputation for being on the cutting edge, its bureaucracy was entrenched in the expired twentieth century.
All that is to say, flyers were actually important. The hallways were covered in them and people would read them. You'd need to put up a ton of them because a lot of them would get stolen - and they needed to compete with the hundreds of other flyers people put up requesting voice over actors for animated short films, dancers/models for vague independent "projects," and someone to take the extra room in the local Valencia 3 Bedroom some grad students were renting.
The flyers served as the watchful eyes of Big Brother, establishing the idea of my presence in corners where I was rarely actually present. I was one person, who had between 0-2 student workers at my disposal for a handful of hours on any given day. I had 172 studios I managed, serving 300 students, distributed across 5 campus buildings, and I also managed seven student galleries.
The tone of the flyers was important, and a tricky thing to nail. Given the scale of the people and places under my purview, I could not have students hating my guts. As someone who self identifies as "Artist," I did not want to be despised by my future cohort, and tactically, earning the enmity of students was counterproductive. There are no security cameras at CalArts, and the students do not snitch. If they hated me, all they would have to do is blow out a fire extinguisher in a studio block here, light a couch on fire there, kick some holes in the walls of a gallery and they'd have made my life significantly more difficult with no personal consequences. I am not an intimidating person by any reasonable standard, so bluffing with tough talk would have been unsuccessful. Eventually, I settled on the more authentic persona of Put-Upon-Moody-Neurotic, who many decide to cooperate with simply to spare the embarrassment and frustration of increasingly fraught studio checks and enforcement measures. Flyers were a way to telegraph all this - at their best they are funny, yet they contain a latent threat. While the theft or destruction of these flyers is not encouraged, it is expected, and certainly preferable to direct confrontation. They are available to be admired, defaced or despised at one's leisure, so long as their creator is kept out of it.
"The security staff thinks they own this place! They rip down the kids' work. Last year, one of them took a piece off the wall because he said it was a fire hazard - said we couldn't hang anything unless it was approved... One of them goes around asking people to pick up their crap in the studios. And that weird little creep who sees everything as a fire hazard! I told him, 'Didn't it ever occur to you that this is an art school?' He just said, 'It's a fire hazard!' A lot of changes had to be made because of this little creep with the fires." -Anonymous CalArts Community Member, Artists in Offices: An Ethnography of an Academic Art Scene, p. 118, Adler, Judith E., New Jersey: Transaction, 1979.
Born in Paterson, NJ in 1978, John Patrick Hogan is a visual and performance artist based in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in Art and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts in 2006 and his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2000. Hogan is the singer for the art-rock band Ponce de Leon, and has exhibited and performed at venues including Human Resources, REDCAT, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Automata, MAK Center and Machine Project. He has written about art and culture for Art:21, The Comics Journal and X-TRA. Hogan has taught drawing, performance and exhibition strategies at CalArts, and has been the Studio and Gallery Manager there since 2006. In 2021, he served as a member of the Bargaining Committee for the CalArts Technical Artist Support Staff Union (TASS Union, CWA Local 9003) as they negotiated their first contract.