John Houck

(Born 1977; Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA)

I’ve been taking piano lessons for the last three years. It’s been really interesting to me in terms of thinking about the importance of touch and stepping away from technology a bit. I find something very fulfilling about it, something much more immersive for me than the kind of fractured feeling of being on the computer, dealing with the cacophony of windows and data. It’s allowed me to focus in a way akin to the way painting has as well. It’s given my work more focus and depth.

At LACMA they had this series of talks called “Words Without Pictures” that Charlotte Cotton organized. There was a book that came out of it and these incredible discussions about photography and the materiality of it as it was shifting from a chemical indexing process to a more kind of digital process. I was very luck to be around at that time. I was really drawn to the conversation around it. That’s why I started working in photography after grad school.

Museums interested in my work would send the photo curator and the prints curator to my studio because they weren’t sure what department to put me in. I had a curator tell me once that my work is a kind of collage where the glue of the collage is the photography. I thought that was a very nice way to sum up a lot of my work. The photography holds it together.

Being in the art world I just feel play is the most important thing, as in life, that feeling when you can go into the studio to start drawing and suddenly something emerges you never could have anticipated. That is the most magical feeling, to be in touch with your subconscious…….that kind of discovery is something I was looking for my whole life.

–Conversation on June 30, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:


Houck, John, Untitled #234_01, 3 Colors, #60A3C6, #87ADCE, #E3B7AF; Untitled #234_02, 3 Colors, #60A3C^, #87ADCE, #517DA6, 2015, Creased archival pigment, Each Sheet: 15 x 10 in