Meet Jo Rosenthal
ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
I try and spend as little time as possible getting ready in the morning. I like sleeping as late as possible before I have to leave to go anywhere (haha) so I usually just get up, wash my face with water, look in the mirror and think “oh boy ANOTHER day!” or something like that, or I just stare at myself for too long for no reason, and then I put vitamin E oil on my face and if I don’t shower, I wet my hair in the back and then towel dry it because having short hair makes me almost always wake up with a giant cow-lick in the back or really poofy hair.
Some may say that I have really bad taste in music, but I don’t care because I like what I like and I can always get down to the things I’ve liked 10 years ago or the things I liked yesterday.
ON performance art
I first got inspired to do performance art when I was in a Ryan Trecartin film called The Re’search. During filming he let me do the most fun things like pouring fake blood on myself, breaking a bunch of mirrors and wearing 3 wigs at a time. From then on I learned that performance art is so incredible and fun and challenging to do, so I knew I wanted to do it. Thanks to my amazing friends Claire Christerson and India Menuez, and a professor I had named Norene Leddy, I was able to continue to do performance art with their help and guidance. For me, similar to the physical art that I make, I want my performances to be as honest as possible so I’ll do something along the lines of reading letters I wrote to people that I would never have the courage to actually say to their face (what I did for Bookclub 10 at MoMA) or tripping and catching myself while saying as many embarrassing or strange facts about myself as possible.
On Personal Style
I feel like every time I go shopping, I go to a different place. For instance, a month ago I really wanted red silk pants, and I knew that at Pearl River Market they would have them and sure enough, they did! I’m always a fan of Topshop and Madewell because I always find something I like, and they have like a million different sizes in everything so I can decide how I want something to fit. I wear a lot of my dad’s old shirts and baggy jeans that I buy at thrift stores and I cut the bottoms of them to look frayed. I really like when my ankles show in pants that I cut so that I can wear cool socks. My stepmom is like #1 thrift store amazing clothes finder, so she will always send me huge dresses or hats she finds and we come up with ideas on how to tailor or cut them. Also with dresses and t shirts, if I don’t want to pay to get them tailored I will cut them in different ways and depending on the stitching I will either leave them messy or hand sew the bottom.
I think my aesthetic is ‘small 90’s boy mixed with 80 year-old Florida grandma’ or ‘River Phoenix mixed with girl who get’s paint on everything nice she owns by accident.’
On HER FAVORITE SKINCARE PRODUCTS
Thanks to my cousin Anna (who has the most beautiful skin) I only use natural oils on my skin. There’s really a different oil you can use for every part of your body, which is so cool. I really only look for products that say exactly what they are and don’t use anything that I know will give me a rash, which most products with things you can’t pronounce on them do. A good tip for pimples is to use pressed pumpkin seed oil or tea tree oil and if you want your skin to just all around have a natural glow use vitamin e oil. Try to not use any products with added waters or things you don’t know because generally those things just make your skin addicted to them so that you keep buying them.
On making a book about all of the guys she's kissed
I was so fed up with all of these awful guys around me and I needed an outlet to get closure on them so I wrote a poem about all of them and then decided that it would be fun to paint their portraits from memory. It’s funny because with the more guys that I’ve kissed the more the zine turns into an actual book. I honestly use some of my zine making as a way of therapy because when I experience something that had a negative effect on me and it wasn’t something necessarily tangible, I can make a zine from it as a way to take that moment, experience it again, share it with people and then let it go.
As a child I always liked art that was big and colorful and had lots of texture. Miami (where I’m from) only recently expanded its art scene, but I grew up trying to be as immersed in it as possible. When I was old enough to walk around some parts of it by myself, I became good friends and incredibly inspired by Jim Drain and Naomi Fisher, who would let me hangout at their studio and make art with them or help them organize their amazing collections. My dad also used to paint in his spare time, and would always give me a small canvas so that I could make something while he made something. That picture on the wall is one of my favorite art pieces that I have because I bought it from a third grader named Mateo and when I saw it I immediately knew I needed to have it. It was part of a class art show at Ciao for Now on 12th street and Avenue B and I had to speak to the manager about getting me in contact with the family of the kid who made it. When I got in contact with Mateo’s mom Barbara, she told me that Mateo had drawn every president from memory and that the piece was called Waiting for Hillary. It made me smile so much and anything I can do to help young artists is truly an honor for me because I remember what it was like being young and wanting to be an artist so badly. The piece has now been in two different apartments that I’ve lived in and everyone who comes in is amazed by it. I like to surround myself by art that makes me and the people around me smile.
Jo's Favorite Books
Jo's Favorite Records
JO's favorite places
Essex Street Market for Japanese food
Cabalito for lunch