What follows are excerpts from a conversation with artists Tom Sachs and Van Neistat at Sachs’s
New York City studio.

“Everything is an art supply. For instance, you once found a blind person’s cane on eBay. Now, we use a lot of those as extendable poles.” — TOM

“You like when someone is taking his time, doing his absolute best, and the quality of the end result is still just crappy enough.” — VAN

“All I really care about is getting it done — not about people who are nice, only about people who are good. That’s the most important thing.” — TOM

“I worked as a fabricator here from 2001 until around 2005. I’ve since moved into another studio, but I’m never really getting out — even after death. Our movies started with NUTSY’S, followed by TEN BULLETS, COLOR, LOVE LETTER TO PLYWOOD, SPACE CAMP, and most recently, A SPACE PROGRAM.” — VAN

“We go crazy making them. My studio is small for all that I attempt to do here, but I try to hold onto all the materials I think are worth keeping.” — TOM

“Esoteric hardware is like special purpose hardware.
We don’t use it as much, but keep it just in case.” — TOM

“There’s also Esotapica, or weird tapes that have a distinct use.” — TOM

“Everything is so organized because it has to be.
We don’t have a lot of extra space.” — TOM

“Sometimes we use the empty liquor bottles in sculptures. They’re empty because we drank them.” — TOM

“In COLOR, we say purple is forbidden and that there’s no excuse for it.” — VAN

“It’s a gratuitous color that gets used too liberally. Really, that’s the issue.” — TOM

“We constantly restock, but also work to throw out materials that don’t apply to the projects we’re doing.” — TOM

“We’re always trying to make 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY or THE SHINING; our movies look casual but they’re as carefully done as any KUBRICK film, just with fewer resources.” — TOM

“I hope what comes across [in our films] is that it’s not the action,
but the result of the action, that matters.” — TOM

“We’re always changing what the materials [we use] are.” — TOM

“One lesson to be learned from [keeping (Live) Pistol Ammo] is always be respectful of people with badges. That’s something certain people need to learn over and over again.” — TOM

“I’m kind of a cobbler. We collaborated with NIKE for A SPACE PROGRAM.
The Shoe Parts are all from that time.” — TOM

“The tea bowl [the astronauts] drink out of in A SPACE PROGRAM was bought online, and then I engraved the NASA logo on it. When ceramics master JJ PEET, whom I’ve known for more than a decade, saw it, he said, ‘Shame on you for not making it yourself.’

I realized he was right, and began to study with him. I’ve since tried to make the bowl that was in the movie by hand — so far, there have been 400 attempts.” — TOM

“Of course the best hotel sewing kits are from the PARK HYATT TOKYO.
And the best toothbrushes, but they’re made for baby teeth. Or for brushing one tooth at a time.” — TOM


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told to Anthony Rotunno

Tom Sachs is sculptor based in New York City. Van Neistat is a filmmaker based in New York City.

Did you see? Artist Craig Costello shares prototypes and products that chart the history of his ink and marker company, Krink, Kanye West “answers” The Thick Questionnaire.