Jim Jocoy was born in South Korea 1952. He was given two names when he was born, his American name, Edward Monfette, and his Korean name, Hyoung Su. Lee. Jocoy’s father was a US Army soldier and his Korean mother, is Hi Ja Lee. His father got in trouble and was sent away, never to return.
Jocoy’s mother US Army soldier Robert E. Jocoy when he was 6, and he was given a new name, Jimmy Jocoy.
The Jocoy family settled in Sunnyvale, California in 1969, and Jocoy became a student at UC Santa Cruz when the Punk scene started in San Francisco in 1976. He dropped out of school, got a job at a copy store, and went to punk clubs at night. Jocoy and his friends made art, music, videos, and many other DIY productions including a punk/art magazine/fanzine called Widows and Orphans. Jocoy took photos at the punk shows and had a few published in SF fanzines Search and Destroy, Research, and Punk Globe.
Jocoy’s punk photos were only shown in public twice back then, first at a show of the Xerox color prints at San Francisco State and then as a slide show presentation at the 70th Birthday party for William Burroughs. Then the photographs went into deep storage for over 20 years, until they were discovered by Thurston Moore and brought to powerHouse Books, where they were published for the first time as We’re Desperate in 2002. We’re Desperate became a cult classic, having been shown at the Bay Area Triennial in 2006, as well as inspiring Marc Jacobs to have Juergen Teller shoot an ad campaign in the style of Jocoy.
What’s more, the book’s publication inspired Jocoy to return to photography, which he had not done since 1980. With his trusted Polaroid in hand, Jocoy has since photographed the likes of everyone from Michael Jackson, Robert Evans, and Paris Hilton to Joe Strummer, Eddie Vedder, and Ian Astbury.
We are fortunate to have Jim Jocoy discuss his contribution to “Delayed Gratification” and his vision of art in the Digital Age.
Which work will you be exhibiting? Why did you select this piece?
It is a Polariod photo of Sid Vicious from January 1978. It was taken just after the Sex Pistols performed at San Francisco's Winterland. It turned out that it was their last performance together. The photo was taken at a party just after the show. I saw him arrive in a cab. He got out, pulled his out his wanker, and pissed in the middle of Masonic Street in the Haight. He went into the flat where I took this photo of him before he disappeared into the bathroom. I did get his OK first.
I chose this photo because many people like it who have seen it. For me, this image seems to keep strong as the years go by. It is a disturbing and sad image as well. He looks exhausted and damaged. Much of the damage was self-inflicted. The cuts and scratches on his chest, I was told were from a twisted and broken flash bar of a Polaroid camera. He was 21 years old when I took this photo. He would overdose on heroin 13 months later. The photograph is now over 31 years old. I am very pleased that Shepard Fairey used the cropped face of this photo for one of his large format prints.
What is your charity or cause? Why did you select this? Where does community work fit in with your ethos as an artist?
My non profit organization is the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless at the UC Davis. It is a student-operated organization, providing free care for the animal companions of the homeless.
In addition to improving the lives of pets of the homeless, Mercer Veterinary Clinic works to reduce pet over-population. Clients are counseled on the benefits of spaying and neutering. Surgery is provided at no cost." I selected this organization because I love animals and took my pet dog to UC Davis Veterinary Clinic years ago where she got excellent care.
Delayed Gratification reveals the power of patience, of the change that takes place when reward is not the goal but a byproduct of success. Please talk about your ideas of Delayed Gratification. What do these words mean to you?
Delayed gratification is wonderful. I like on time gratification as well. But delayed gratification is something special, especially if it took much time. I recall how amazing it felt when I had my book in which the photo of Sid Vicious first appeared (We’re Desperate) published: a 20-year "delay" from when the photos were taken and when they were published!
A recent example of delayed gratification I had was where I trained for a year to go abalone diving. I have not been diving in over 12 years. Ab diving is strictly regulated and is a very physically demanding sport. You have to be able to hold your breath, dive up to 25 feet deep in waters off the rocky coasts of Northern California. You wear total body thick diving gear, mask and snorkel, a 22 lbs. weight belt and a tool called an Ab iron.
My friend Chris Warden and I had a talk last summer and planned for a dive the following Abalone season. I trained for a year. I tried to run and swim twice a week and do some strength training once a week. I kept at it for most of the year. I was in pretty good physical condition by this summer. The diving weekend went well.
Unfortunately I did not get any abalones. It was still a very good delayed gratification for me. All the preparation was well worth it. I got in good physical condition and had a great weekend diving with my friends Chris and Paul. They were more successful with the diving and so we had plenty of abalones for dinner around the campfire the weekend and plenty to take back home. A year to prepare for something you and your friends have not done together in over 12 years was very nice.
My garden is a source of ongoing delayed gratification.
Edition One Hundred is founded with the idea of providing artists the opportunity to transform new technology into a tool to both produce affordable art while simultaneously connecting to non-traditional art collectors. What are your thoughts on Edition One Hundred? Why did you decide to be involved? How do you see this as a platform to reach a broader audience for your work?
I love the idea of Edition One Hundred. I am very honored to be asked to participate. I want to get involved because of curator Sara Rosen. All the wonderful things she has turned me onto have always been a great and productive experience. Thank you very much for the opportunity.
I find it very fascinating that this image has another process and platform it can experience so many years later. This image started off as a medium to be shared by personal experiences with much physical handling. Then it went into deep storage for over 20 years. And then it became published in a book after the deep sleep, reproduced in many magazines, became an Shepard Fairey OBEY print, in many art shows, and now into this new phase with Edition One Hundred.
What are your thoughts on Art in the Digital Age?
I think Art in the Digital Age is great. It allows for greater participation with the world around you. You can take the DYI into the Digital Age and go for all the possibilities. A little while ago I looked up images of Sid Vicious on Google. I was surprised to see that this image of Sid was included somehow. I did not set it up but it was there. I could have never imagined that when I took this photo that it would be having the kind of exposure it is having now.
As an artist, you regularly produce work that is a manifestation of your distinctive vision. Yet at the same time you are influenced by the work of others. Do you collect art? If so, who do you collect? And if you had all the money in the world, who would you buy and why?
Yes I collect art. As much as I am able. I have a nice collection of art from these friends and artists, Robert Hawkins, Gilbert Haacke, Shepard Fairey, Tom Bonauro and Chris Johanson. If I had tons of money, I would buy tons of art. I would fill rooms with Robert Hawkinss volcano paintings, rooms with Op Art, collaboration paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, works by Eduardo Paolozzi, Damien Hirst, Peter Beard, Victor Vasarely and many, many more artists.
Why should people buy art?
People should buy art because it makes their lives more rich and thoughtful. I love visiting homes with art collections. Many of my friends have great art collections. They usually have great music collections as well. Buying art helps stimulate the economy, support artists and in this instance with Edition One Hundred, it also helps many great non-profit organizations.
Edition One Hundred is curated, limited edition art available in editions of 100, priced at $100.00. Prints are hand-signed and numbered by the artists in a size and/or print exclusive to Edition One Hundred. More here.