Sometimes it was frustrating to be his friend


“Sometimes it was frustrating to be his friend. This sounds terrible but sometimes he would treat strangers with more respect than people he was sitting with or something; he had the utmost respect for people. (…) You were used to getting time with him, and then all of a sudden he’s encouraging conversation with complete strangers.”

Marc Swanson


In more recent work, Swanson stretches T-shirts

In more recent work, Swanson stretches T-shirts and treats them like the skin of animals, and as most of us know, favored clothing may at times resemble a second skin. Speaking about some of his most recent work, a mixed-media piece that includes a T-shirt that was for a time on extended loan to the late musician Elliott Smith (with whom Swanson lived for a time), Swanson explained, “That piece is elegiac, for me personally. It also includes bottles my grandmother made, and during the time I spent with Elliott, we drank a lot.”

Marc Swanson

“Elliott cared about how he looked and what he wore. He did care. He really cared. He wasn’t into fashion, but he definitely liked specific things that he would wear. Vintage stuff sometimes that we would find, that he wore – but very specific stuff. He would find what he liked and just wear that and he wouldn’t change clothes, especially when he was on tour. He had that shirt with the 88 on it that was a Stephen Sprouse, who styled Debbie Harry but I doubt that Elliott knew it was designer, that he loved and borrowed from me and he wore it to the point that it was literally falling apart. I had to steal it back from him, I had to basically get it myself and tell him I was taking it, and by that point it was unwearable.”

Marc Swanson