Known the world over as half of the iconic comedy team Cheech & Chong, Cheech Marin
is a renaissance man who has transcended his career as an actor to become a children's book author, comedian, director, and renowned Chicano art collector. A week before his first scheduled visit to the Hamptons for ArtHamptons
(July 13-15, 2012) I caught up with Cheech who was relaxing and enjoying a day off with his family in Los Angeles but eagerly looking forward to the visit, with a laugh he said, "I can't wait to get there!" Chicano art is close to his heart and at ArtHamptons Cheech will be, "Curating a gallery there and showing some Chicano art. The work is really great! I want to introduce Chicano art to the East Coast Hamptons crowd."
Unlike many other celebrities I've interviewed he answered his own cell phone on the first ring with a friendly voice and his famous sense of humor. He was the Cheech I had hoped to speak to, the easy going guy I knew from movies, his comedy performances, and television. We spoke about his career, dear friend Tommy Chong's battle with cancer, upcoming Birthday Bash sponsored by Hamptons.com
and Duck Walk Vineyards
, and his amazing art collection that began nearly 30 years ago. Cheech even took time for questions posed by the Hamptons.com Facebook Fans.
NBB: How do you define Chicano art?
Ha! It comes with a side of beans and salsa. A Chicano artist takes the experience of being a Chicano, whether it's historical or sociological or class or gender, and puts his or her point of view together. To put on canvas the experience of being Chicano in this country.
NBB: You've been called one of the most important collectors of Chicano art, when did that begin?
I've always educated myself about art and didn't start collecting until I got some money in the early 1970s. I got started and collected art deco stuff and when I finished with that I discovered all these Chicano painters in the mid-80s, like 1985.
NBB: Any favorite Chicano artists?
I don't have a favorite, I can't. It's like trying to decide between your children. There are a lot of Chicano artists and for the last 12 years I've been doing shows and spreading the word and getting it out there. I'm excited about bringing new artists out there to the Hamptons like Carlos Donjuan. Isn't that a great name? And Werc, that's his tagging name and he's really good. Margaret Garcia is another artist. It's a really good display and it's got a lot of really beautiful big works.
NBB: We told our Facebook Fans that we'd be chatting with you and asked them to send us questions. Here's what they wanted to know...
Yeah man, I love surfing! I love to go surfing but I'll be really busy at the fair but I'd love to.
You know they are the same. John Lassater at Pixar and Robert Rodriguez
are both very improvisational. The direction style is very simple and I can do that really well. I really love working with them. The product is very different but the process is the same.
I think I'm going to have to make my own. [Laughing] We'll search around and see what Hamptons' tacos are like.
I love to cook and I've been a cook all my life. I cooked at hotels and I cook every day here at the house. I just love it. I've been on a couple of cooking shows with Rachel Ray
and Guy Fieri
and I'd love to do more cooking shows. I'm hoping to start a restaurant here in Los Angeles called Cheech at the Beach.
Tommy Chong. Either him or Snoop Dogg.
We're still working together and do concert things all the time. He's doing really well battling the cancer. It's under control and they caught it early enough. He seems to be healthy but he keeps using the excuse, "I can't pick that up because I have cancer. I can't do that because I have cancer." He cracks me up.
Iconic comedy team Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong. (Courtesy Photo)
What's next for Cheech? Never one to sit idly by, Cheech has quite a few movies under consideration as well as a few television projects. He's also bringing a new book with him to ArtHamptons. Drop by ArtHamptons at Nova's Ark (60 Millstone Road, Bridgehampton) to meet Cheech in person over the long festival weekend, July 13-15, 2012, and join us for Cheech's Birthday Bash and enjoy the wines of Duck Walk Vineyards by following the links from www.arthamptons.com
Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com