Art and performance are sacred weapons for American artist Steven Johnson Leyba. Which he uses to break down his very being and attack any and all systems of control.
Born during the late 1960s in the outskirts of Los Angeles, Steven works in the mediums of art, performance, writing, and music. All of which stand alone and also inform his intricate, hand made, one-off books – Personal grimoires that are part diary, part art and part ritual.
With all of Steven’s creations being transgressive, in your face, deeply spiritual and hauntingly beautiful. Gaining Steven fans in such notable, fellow dwellers of the underground as William S. Burroughs, H.R. Giger, Poppy Z. Brite, Clive Barker, Todd Tamanend Clark, David Cronenberg and Genesis P-Orridge.
In addition to his art, Steven has also spent his life exploring the worlds of the occult and the esoteric. Which he uses to both build upon, and reflect his life and artistic practice. With his rituals inspiring his art and his art inspiring his rituals – A perfect ouroboros of art, belief and the self.
A friend of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey, Steven was formally made a Reverend of the Church in 1992. Going on to found his own occult group, The Coyotel Church, in the early 2000s – Who have released books and other media over the years, whilst also working privately.
Wanting to get to know him better, we sent Steven some questions to answer over email.
Explore his world, below…
Name + D.O.B?
I am Reverend Steven Johnson Leyba.
“…Was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas Day When the New York Times said, ‘God is dead and the wars begun…'”
No actually it was September 3, 1966 Anno Satanas First year of the Satanic Calendar as defined by Anton Szandor LaVey.
He started the first above ground Satanic Church that year. The Church of Satan.
City, State and Country you currently call home?
United States in the state of Colorado, at the foothills of the Rocky mountains in a remote location 20 miles outside of Denver writing my new memoir, “From AIR to AETHER an Atmosphere of Uncertainty.” A book about living in a tipi in southern Arizona and New Mexico for a year. It’s my 20th hand made book, 21st if you count the experimental book White Buffalo.
Will be starting a podcast with a friend here ARSENIC FILES and I have a new music project ARSENIC WINDS with a classic rock spoken word album with various musicians called “I SPEAK THE SONGS THE WORLD NO LONGER SINGS.”
All music is original music not the original music from the songs but ours. For instance Dr. COYOTEL made my spoken word version of Slayers “South of Heaven” into a soul song.
Kay Two turned Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” into an Industrial spoken song.
Kassandra LaMent and I are about to finish some of the last songs including the controversial Frank Zappa song “Bobby Brown Goes Down.”
Album is scheduled to be released MAY DAY, May first via Human Future Recordings, who also released my last spoken word album with composer Marly Preston, “PRISONS OF THE DISINFORMATION AGE.”
City, State and Country you’re from?
Whittier, California in the United States, what used to be all orange groves before the suburban cul-de-sacs and endless concrete, asphalt and shopping plazas.
A place that Richard Nixon was also from.
It’s a banal Hell on earth where every aspect of everyone’s life is commodified.
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, religion… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I was a very quiet child and loved to draw monsters and crazy killer robots. This helped me deal with the terror I felt most of the time because of the loud threatening world of adults.
I wasn’t exposed to religion – My stepfather Greg and mother Marie didn’t push politics or religion as they were more agnostic and didn’t have any respect or interest in religion or politics as it seemed somewhat contrived and bullshit. However my mother always said it was my choice what religion I chose.
She also once said, “the Bible was written by aliens.”
That has stuck with me.
We lived in suburbia outside of Los Angeles till 1979.
My twin brothers were born in 1972 when I was 5 and my best friend was a black Labrador / German Shepherd named Stash.
We were a typical middle class family – Seemed to be your normal L.A. family going to the beach often. My brothers John and Greg and I loved to skateboard all over the neighborhood.
It was a great time to be in Los Angeles but by the end of the 70’s it got ugly. Gas shortage lines with Jimmy Carter. Colour coded bad air pollution alerts.
In 1976 California turned super colorful red white and blue for the Bicentennial and it was over the top.
The darker part of it was stories of people killed accidentally at Disneyland and random murders of people being poisoned by random fruit left at construction sites.
Places where people road motorcycles and motocross bicycle were getting decapitated by cables tied on the trails.
I couldn’t understand why people would do that.
California was too crowded and much of the time was spent stuck in traffic jams.
We moved to southern Arkansas – Camden Arkansas in 1979. Next town over from Hope Arkansas where Bill Clinton was from. I went to a watermelon seed spitting contest there once.
* Your teenage years:
Spent 1979 to 1985 (the year I graduated High School I was 17 and looked pretty normal but seldom spoke) in Arkansas.
Started drawing people because I realized they were the real monsters.
My stepfather Greg got a job in Southern Arkansas, so I went from suburbia and places to skateboard; to living on a ranch up on a hill, 10 miles in the woods.
I loved going into the woods and daydreaming and streaking.
I wrote about this in my autobiography, “The Last American Painter; My Life as SEX as ART as RELIGION as WAR.”
Made crazy comedy tapes.
I was Steven Edward Johnson “total crazed nut” comedian.
One time my mother had some friends over and I was making cassette recordings and rewrote the Paul Simon song singing out “50 ways to leave your mother.” To this day she is insists I was singing “50 ways to kill your mother!”
I listened to it recently. It’s 50 ways to leave your mother.
I wanted out of Arkansas as soon as I could and that was the day after high school graduation.
I had the Memphis College of Art calling my high schools’ office because I got a scholarship there.
The principal said I wouldn’t ever leave Camden Arkansas. I said I’m not from here, I will never return.
I have a memory of the first time I voted in 1984. I don’t think I was actually old enough to vote till the next year. It was Ronald Reagan’s re-election.
I felt sorry for him because he got shot.
I didn’t know much about politics only programmed media on television. I lived to regret this.
The girl I was in love with was Cheryl Burroughs. We couldn’t date because she was a Jehovah’s Witness and I wasn’t. Her and I were the best artists in High School. Her mom would tare up her art.
I remember she did a drawing of the angel baby smoking a cigarette that was the album cover of Van Halen’s album 1984. A Great album.
I gave Cheryl an abstract oil painting I did called “A Hundred Million Demons in Paint.” Her mom buried it.
We used to exchange love letters. I would fold the letter and quote Billy Joel lyrics on the outside.
Her mom said I was a Devil worshiper. I wasn’t even into Satan at the time.
Read a lot of occult books. Was surprised the high school library had a great collection of occult books. This was the time of Satanic Panic and backwards masking.
A Baptist gave me a typed out piece of paper that described the songs with backward masking. It also said Olivoia Newton-John had sex with dolphins which was stupid. I didn’t know at the time that when dolphins ejaculate it is so much pressure it would kill any human it ejaculated in.
Also it said in this document that one of my all time favorite songs, “Hotel California” by the Eagles was about Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan, “I called up the Captain, please bring me my wine. We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.”
LaVey was referred to as the Captain and wore a Captains hat in Hollywood when he was a consultant on horror movies. It was the year he wrote The Satanic Bible.
My father Crazy Bennie was a free spirit – I met a lot of magical people growing up.
He always told me to speak up.
He and my grandmother Fanny drove all the way from Grants Pass, Oregon to come to my high school graduation and drive me back; and he paid for my 2 years at the commercial art school Pacific College of Art and Design in Central Point Oregon.
I stopped wearing the middle class uniform of the time – color stripped shirts and jeans.
Started dressing wild – color splattered torn clothes.
I started to get out of my shell and become an extrovert.
Though it was a commercial school I had the strangest. most horrific and surrealistic subject matter.
* Your 20s:
Then one of my greatest teachers Hal Maddox said if I was to go further with my art I need to transfer to the Pasadena College of Art, or the California College of Art in Oakland California. I chose CCAC and did one year there.
I didn’t like what Time Magazine’s art critic Robert Hughes said of Fine Art Schools – because of modernism from the 40’s there was what he called “the suppression of skill” meaning if you could draw and paint figures realistically like the old masters it wasn’t art. Because of the abstract expressionists like Pollock and Rothko there was no reason to ever go back to the figure. A canvas surface is a flat surface and there is no need to paint realistically.
I had a teacher tell me to draw with my feet.
That was the last straw.
I wanted to learn to draw the figure and get some skills I didn’t already have so I transferred to a commercial art school, the Academy of Art in San Francisco, studying illustration. I wanted to be a horror illustrator and I was doing some pretty horrific painting in traditional oils but mostly acrylic.
At my mid point review they said, “your ability is there but your subject matter is not.”
I had sent slides to Vincent Price because he did horror and collected old masters like Goya. He wrote back saying, “you paint like an old master; why get stuck doing violent subject matter. Look at Georgia O’Keeffe and how she painted flowers.”
I appreciated his hand written, old school snail mail letter but I wanted to depict actual violence and horror and terror.
It was weird – none of my instructors could paint traditionally.
I got very lucky because two instructors who were doing a comic strip of a Clive Barker story for Eclipse Comics and knew how much I loved Clive Barker’s work, so they gave it to me to finish. Jim Pearson did the drawings that I painted and Alan Okamoto did the background acrylic paintings.
Then I got my own story to illustrate in Marvel Comics’ Hellraiser.
I was so fucking happy. I was an actual horror illustrator!
The story I illustrated was called “Old Wives Tales” under the name Steven Johnson.
It’s in the Hellraiser Summer Special.
The comic compromised 5 short tales – With Steven’s art being featured in “Old Wives’ Tale.”
At the time the controversy over the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit “A Perfect Moment” was in full swing – It was exhibiting in Berkeley where I was living at the time and it was a national scandal; as government money was spent for it by a National Endowment For the Arts.
Mapplethorpe himself was very sick from AIDS.
Partially inspired by seeing this exhibit and following the controversy in the media I created my first hand made book, “My Stinking Ass.”
I left the Academy before graduating as I was already a horror illustrator so I moved to the belly of the beast, NYC. My girlfriend Miran Kim was already there and doing Marvel comics illustration. Funny we both painted dark subject matter that the Academy said we wouldn’t get work doing that.
They always stressed if you are going to be a serious illustrator you need to go to New York City. So I did and we both were the only students who actually moved to NYC. Don’t know how I did it. I had never been to New York or anywhere on east coast.
I took a bus from Southern Oregon and as the Billy Joel song goes, “I took a Greyhound on the Hudson River line.”
As it turned out my girlfriend at the time wanted to do editorial illustration but she was getting regular illustration work from Marvel for all these amazing comics.
I didn’t get anymore horror illustration and started getting editorial illustration assignments for Hustler and High Society magazine because I’d bring my portfolio to art directors and say, “would you like to see My Stinking Ass?”
I got regular work in Big Butt magazine and the gay porn magazine Honcho, the same porn magazine Mapplethorpe sold photos to in the early days.
At the same time I was getting editorial and erotic assignments I was getting shows as a fine artist because I was doing huge canvases. Miran would have people come over to see her art and they’d see My Stinking Ass and wanted to touch it and see what it was.
There was jealousy and I didn’t blame her, however she was taught to be a technical artist in Seoul, Korea where she was born and we taught each other a lot and somehow paid the expensive rent in the East Village for 5 years.
That is my longest relationship to date.
I gave her the burden of True Art. True Art being breaking new ground for art that moved the human soul and not for the simple minded who just like what the so called culture tells them to like.
At this time I was looking for a publisher for My Stinking Ass. My good friend, underground comic Leslie Sternbergh said ask Uncle Bill Burroughs for an introduction and it will help you find a publisher.
I found his P.O. Box address in Lawrence Kansas and asked him if he’d write an introduction. I sent a bunch of xeroxes blindly. He then sent me the introduction.
The thing about Burroughs that many have forgotten all of his work was about “sabotage all systems of control.” This helped to further politicize me.
I was invited to Lawrence, Kansas because I wanted to show him My Stinking Ass as well as Book 2, SEX & VIOLENCE. I got to spend a day with him and it was a life changing moment. His assistant said he was nervous to meet me.
(Ministry was just there the day before filming Burroughs for video of their song “Just one Fix,” off my favorite album of theirs “Psalms 69”.)
The Grandaddy of Punk and I spent the day talking about art like Warhol and looking at my 2 books. It was an exciting time to be alive!
At the time the art writer Carlo McCormick said of my work, that “Leyba is the father of Sexpressionism!”
I found a publisher for My Stinking Ass in London. I was done with my life in NYC and was focusing on promoting my art in Great Britain and Europe.
Then everything turned to shit.
I lost the book deal because one half of the publisher took the money after his divorce. The other partner said we can’t publish you – You can sue us in international court for breach of contract and you can keep the advance. I took the advance and the auto-erotic rituals I wrote back to San Francisco and made my Apache Gaan Dancer headdress and wrote political rants for performances; and my friends and I started the band USAF / United Satanic Apache Front.
I was roommates on 16th Street and Natoma in the Mission on gang territory with the writer, journalist and pornographer David Aaron Clark. He’d do porn reviews, so the front room were stacked walls of porn VHS he’d review.
I started calling our apartment, “The Porn Palace.”
I saw him do a bleeding reading for a novel he wrote. His Catholic Schoolgirl dressed girlfriend Joanna cut him with a scalpel. I was so inspired.
He reintroduced me to the modern primitive photographer Charles Gatewood who I had showed my My Stinking Ass book to at his exhibit in NYC in the early 90’s. I was hooked after David suggested his ex Jobie, who was visiting from Belgium where she was doing dominatrix work – I was using a suction cup to get blood from cuts on my hand, to get blood for pages in my 3rd book APACHE MEANS ENEMY. I thought all the BDSM stuff was silly. Whips and chains. I knew it scared the straights but didn’t see the big deal with my transgressive art friends – Then later, Jobie cut and pierced my chest.
I didn’t know the adrenaline and dopamine that would kick in.
It took me deeper into myself.
I knew I could do this in front of a live audience and it be about my political message and not the audience.
It was also a very good way to showcase these outrageous hand made books I made as I’d read from them and people would go, “WHAT THE FUCK IS HE READING FROM?”
* Your 30s:
I was tired of illustrating other people’s bad ideas.
I started Book 3 in New York City, in the East Village. I was getting into my American Indian heritage starting with Book 2, SEX & VIOLENCE, then entirely with Book 3, APACHE MEANS ENEMY.
I was still working on Book 3 when I left my life in New York City moved to Oregon, then New Mexico and worked on it and did my experimental drawing book WHITE BUFFALO.
Then I moved back to San Francisco and became a political ritual blood performance artist and performed regularly and got known on the underground for The Apache Whiskey Rite.
The idea was this – “Being Apache alcohol fucked up my family for seven generations – Old Number 7. If alcohol is going to FUCK me it’s going to FUCK me in the ass, literally!”
I made a leather strap on that would hold a fifth of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey so known as #7 (7 is my life path number.)
I became known as the Satanic Apache.
Then I got asked to perform at a political consultants’ birthday party. The Sheriff was there,the DA, the board of supervisors and many of the football team the 49ers. They wanted a new stadium and mall and wanted the tax payers to pay for it. I put a curse on them that still stands. Undisputed.
Photo by Joanna Vargas.
My first wife Leslie, a friend of my roommate David Aaron Clark, originally began to stalk me because of all my bad press.
Later she said she read The Satanic Bible to get into my pants.
Stripper and brilliant Ivy School graduate from Emerson. She came over to the Porn Palace and saw the infamous asshole paintings. I was hiding in the back room.
Any gal who wanted to FUCK me because I got fucked by a strap on Jack Daniel’s bottle was not the woman I was looking for. Oh but she was.
Leslie would cut on me and do USAF show at the big music venue at the Trocadero.
My first art book – ‘Coyote Satan Amerika: The Unspeakable Art & Performances of Reverend Steven Johnson Leyba’ – was published in 2001 by Last Gasp in San Francisco.
A monograph of Steven’s art, published by Last Gasp in 2001.
I was with my first wife Leslie for almost 5 years. Almost all of Book 5 are of her. It’s a huge heavy square of a book.
Because of all the lace on the edge of every page in all bright colors people have said it looks like a wedding cake.
The cover is her used tampons encased in a design making a Navajo Whirling Log or Swastika. It is the oldest man made symbol used in most cultures. It is an Animist symbol meaning harmony with nature, including human nature.
Unfortunately much of humanity want to make it only a hate symbol.
I was inspired by American Indian heritage and a Canadian artist, ManWoman, I read about in the late 80’s book “Modern Primitives” by RE/Search Publications.
I first started incorporating it in 1992. I still use it. A lot of people’s across the world still use it in sacred ways. Many use it secretly. My goal has always been to add to it’s history through my paintings and performances.
It was thought to be only 3-5 thousand year old symbol but recently anthropologists have found it to be 15 thousand years! Making it the oldest man made symbol, right there with the spiral; but that symbol you can find in nature.
* Your 40s:
I just had finished 2 more hand made books – Book 6, SKINWALKER and Book 7, BLACK SWASTIKA.
When I turned 40 I was finished with Book 8, Pentagon.
Endless western traveling and bringing my books around the world.
Lots of exhibits in Zurich Switzerland.
Was a nomad painting anywhere and everywhere.
Even streaked around Zurich drunk on art and Absinthe painting pages in Book 9, THE GREAT SATAN.
Photo by Charles Gatewood
* Your 50s so far:
I’m 56 now.
I’ve done a lot.
There is so much to do.
I spent a year living in a tipi in Forestry land away from people. I’m writing about that now, “From AIR to ÆTHER: An Atmosphere of Uncertainty.”
I have other books available. Several are about the COYOTEL Church.
I am a reluctant cult leader of a disorganized religion.
‘The Trickster’s Bible’, ‘The Coyotal Way’ & ‘The Trickster’s Torah’
I have a few copies of my last memoir which is also a limited edition art book WE ARE ALL INDIANS NOW (same title as my 15th hand made book.)
It’s $90 signed and numbered out of 333. I’ll even do a drawing in it for you.
Also have some copies left of first art book COYOTE SATAN AMERIKA.
I’ll sign and draw in for $60
Email me to purchase.
And my PayPal is email@example.com
Photo by Dario Impini.
“You gotta be crazy not to be crazy.”
“Nonsense makes the most sense.”
“Not everyone is an artist but everyone should create.”
What role did toys play in your childhood?
I was really into science fiction, so I had a bunch of the Micronauts toys which were so awesome. They had all kinds of tiny parts and a couple could shoot missiles.
I had this huge spaceship toy that was a giant Wasp. I loved to watch and taunt real wasps in the woods and loved for them to chase me… It really helped my imagination go wild and helped me invent my own sci- fi worlds. They were not part of some big movie that spoon fed the imagination like Star Wars toys; but yeah I had Star Wars toys, even had the Millennium Falcon.
When and why did you first become interested in art and everything creative?
Art was the only way I could express myself. I was very shy.
I was so scared to speak to anyone, so I expressed myself through art.
I was an introvert.
At 3 I made my mother a poop sculpture painting bathroom instillation. I locked myself in the bathroom and spaced all her makeup on the floor and grabbed my poop and spread it just on the top of the make up without getting any on the bathroom floor.
I went and got my mother Marie and she was mortified!
Steven’s 8th hand made grimoire.
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
Surrealists, Dali, Burroughs & LaVey.
Salvador Dali was my biggest inspiration most of my life, since seeing his work early on; about 7 I think. His paintings showed me you could have skill and do epic, fantastical weird dark twisted art.
At 16 I read his “50 Secrets to Magic Craftsmanship.” He wrote it in the 40’s and it is valid today.
Also Max Ernst of course. I did an acrylic copy of one of Max Ernst paintings and immediately sold it.
Meeting and becoming friends with H.R. Giger was so incredible. It gave me a direct connection with the history and made me a descendant from Surrealist masters.
I met Giger in 1992. He did 2 cameo mixed media pages in My Stinking Ass which he put the Polaroid of us with him holding the book in the piece.
Also traveling to go meet William S. Burroughs the same year in Lawrence. The last page in My Stinking Ass. His life’s’ work was always about “SABOTAGE ALL SYSTEMS OF CONTROL.” This has never left me and made such an impression
If you had to explain your creative endeavors to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
I wouldn’t have to tell them anything.
The books speak of animistic biological exaltation without the mere confines of the written word and languages. I think Carl Sagan would agree. Hail SAGAN!
I would show them the books and see how they would respond rather than trying to spoon feed or explain.
Steven’s 5th hand made grimoire.
Who are some of your favourite artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
Art: Dali, Max Ernst, Rothko, Pollock, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Barron Story (who I had as an instructor, who is in my documentary, ‘What is Art?‘) and Billy Soza War Soldier & T.C. Cannon.
Billy Joel favorite
Favorite author is Colin Wilson absolute favorite book of all time is The Outsider.
Baudelaire – Flowers of Evil & On Wine and Hashish.
Dali – The Secret Life of Salvador Dali & 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship.
REsearch – Modern Primatives & Apocalypse Culture
The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey
Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene
The Tears of Eros, George Bataille.
The Surrealist Manifesto, Andre Breton
Diary of Anais Nin
Nadja, Andre Breton
The Great Gadsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Cannery Row, Steinbeck
Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy, Douglass Adams.
Burroughs – Naked Lunch and The Yage Letters.
J.G. Ballard – Crash and the Atrocity exhibition
Absolute favorite poems:
Alone by Edgar Allen Poe
Daddy by Sylvia Plath
Shine, Perishing Republic by Robinson Jeffers
Hymn to Pan by Alister Crowley
Ode to Salvador Dali by Frederico Garcia Lorca
Any poetry written by Dali.
David Cronenberg (he owns one of my paintings) – The Fly, Video Drone, Scanners, Dead Ringers, Named Lunch, The Brood,
Rabid and Existenz.
Most movies by Woody Allen.
Every single movie from Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Most things by David Lynch.
Everything by Surrealist Andre Bunuel.
Anti Crist, Melancholia and Nymphomaniac by Lars Von Trier.
Love, Enter the Void, I Stand Alone and Irreversible by Gasper Noe.
If people wanted to check out your art, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
Website / blog: https://leyba.tumblr.com/
Email me for commissions or works available for purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org
My new website www.booksofleyba.com is under construction.
Check back in the spring.
Steven’s 6th hand made grimoire.
Occult & Religion Questions
What role has the occult, the esoteric and satanism played in your personal and artistic life?
The thing about the occult it is opposite of most traditions – it seems to free people not enslave.
But just as Erich Fromm‘s book Escape from Freedom states, many can’t or won’t take on the responsibility and burden of truth seeking and truth speaking.
Satanism gave me a direct road to my freedom and a direct strategy to sabotage societies’ systems of corralling and controlling.
Liberty and socio political fight against this Protestant Christian country of the United States.
Against Christianity that was responsible for the American Holocaust.
Being mostly Native American Satanism helped me be empowered by my heritage and use that, and history, as weapons for me to keep fighting this ongoing war!
Can you please share with us some of your memories of Anton LaVey?
A modern day Samuel Clemens, junk yard philosopher.
He played the organ twice for me late at night inside the black house.
There is a picture of him and I in the kitchen by his organ, he is holding Book 2 SEX & VIOLENCE.
I met him just as I was about to move to NYC to be an illustrator. I sent the Church of Satan some slides of my paintings, saying the grief I was receiving at the Academy of Art. I got a physical letter back that said,
“Well maybe you haven’t found the right audience. Maybe now you have. The Dr. would like to pick your brain.”
I was a little scared and let people know what restaurant I’d be meeting him and Blanche at.
I had him sign the painting I did of him in My Stinking Ass that was published in COYOTE SATAN AMERIKA.
I’d spend my summers in San Francisco 1990-95 – Can’t stand the summer humidity on the East Coast.
I’d visit LaVey many times and we would talk art and philosophy and make each other laugh.
Whenever it was time to say goodbye he’d stand above a lamp and do what I was taught in illustration class was “monster lighting” – light from below.
LeVay was a Sacred Monster.
Something I have also made myself into.
With both men holding Steven’s 2nd hand made grimoire, ‘Sex & Violence.’
What does God mean to you?
God is an oppressive control grid system of brainwashing.
If you look at all the indigenous peoples of the world they lived in nature and considered themselves part of that.
The “God” of Christianity was used to bring in the middle man manager, to separate people from the earth, from nature, from their nature, from their bodily functions and sexuality
The unique thing about my ancestors – American Indians of the United States and Canada – is they were all animists.
There was no all controlling “God.”
No God figure was worshiped.
There were origin stories to inspire people but no big beard white control freak asshole telling people what to do.
Animist felt all was connected, all life and nature – even rocks. In the 20th Century science proved this. Everything is atoms.
All the mystical things all the indigenous peoples of the world is looking like actual science now with Quantum Physics.
God died in the 60’s just as the Time Magazine front cover said in 1966 the year I was born.
God is dead.
Just as Satan means Adversary and I Apache and Apache MEANS ENEMY like Coyote and Prometheus – The Trickster’s show us how to escape societies’ slave control grids.
One of Steven’s 5th hand made grimoires.
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
All of the Americas before Columbus and the Christian criminals from Europe gave us their viruses and “God”.
That was the freest time in human history.
And or the Renaissance when art broke out of the Churches’ control and science flourished in Europe.
Does sex change everything?
Sex ALWAYS CHANGES EVERYTHING!
If one is honest it is almost always for the best, that is if you know who you are and what you want however.
Warhol said, “some people get energy from sex and some people lose energy.”
Both Warhol and Dali were voyeurs, great masturbators.
What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?
My favorite three things in my collection are:
The Drawing H.R. Giger did for the introduction he wrote for COYOTE SATAN AMERIKA.
I didn’t know he was going to give me the original. Then he apologized because the bottle in the pentagram-pentacle didn’t look like a whiskey bottle. I responded, “no this is better. It is a champagne bottle.”
A much loved object in Steven’s collection.
Hand typed intro to My Stinking Ass by William S Burroughs.
I love it because he also sent me the first draft along with his pencil corrections of typos.
A much loved item in Steven’s collection.
The pubic hair of Lydia Lunch that she gave me for my pubic hair collection when I lived in NYC in early 1990’s
Because she is punk as FUCK and a huge influence with her spoken word, performances, music and being in many of Richard Kern’s transgressive movies.
Definitely she is a force of nature.
Great to see she’s been on world tour lately.
In a fight between the following occult-esque pop culture icons: Sabrina the Teenage Witch (from Archie Comics) Vs Chucky (From the film series of the same name) – Who would win?
…and why would they be victorious?
Oh geeze I fucking hate corporate mascot icons – However that’s a tough call as Sabrina is an ancient archetype of the witch, but with the modern spin of being open and out about being a creature of the darkness, and not being put to death for her occult beliefs, her female sexuality, and trusting her instincts.
Chucky comes from abuse (both physical and sexual) probably a victim of the US Governments’ Mk Ultra brain washing child abuse. He’s acting out and had the corporate backing and CIA and FBI and US military to back him up..
However if it is a fair fight he would stab and rape her and bury her somewhere. But he would go against his killer nature and his knowledge of forensic ccience and realize his terror of female power.
In his moment of regret he would realize how much he loved Sabrina and that thought would give her energy to return from the dead.
They would have a truce and peace talk and realize the real enemy is as it always has bean Christian oppression and how corporate culture is an extension of the so called “manifest Destiny” and “Divine Right.”
They would fire all bosses and managers.
Kill all politicians and celebrities.
Abolish all governments and restore the natural order of all things.
No gods no masters.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I was walking towards the biggest warehouse building I have ever seen in my life. Thousands, maybe millions were running into this building.
It was so huge it was like walking into a dragon so big you could only see it’s mouth. People were in fear but they just kept going deeper in.
I was ahead of the pack.
I slowed down to see what this place was and what for. I slipped to the left, just inside this monolithic structure. I let others go straight in.
They were frantically going to their slaughter. Like the picture of all the buffalo running off a cliff one after the other.
Somehow I found a way to the backdoor. Nobody saw me.
I escaped the through the backdoor.
There was a huge river. It was black mostly and the most horrible smell of death.
I simply walked across the river on the backs of thousands of people dead.
Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?
My outrageous hand made books of human liberation. They are just as much sculpture as painting. Adding to the long history of art that is a social critique.
My instructor Thomas Marsh studied under the apprentice of Rodin who did the famous “Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell” bronzes. So I have that direct lineage from the old Master.
The lost old school training of Master and apprentice.
I’ve always written and done paintings outside of the books but my books are legendary. They are legendary and autobiographical showing a life I’ve tried to live well, but most certainly the creative life.
Live life as you want. Create from the heart not for this authoritarian world and it’s corporate masters.
My books are like some strange artifacts found in a cave showing the possibility of ones true expression – creation not production, without all the garbage cookie cutter crap of society and pop culture and religious dictates. Those things I find oppressive.
I seek to liberate myself and others from all the brain washing and self loathing and authoritarianism.
In this world we live in there is less transgressive art because of this A.I., auto correct, auto pilot world moving towards global totalitarianism.
Somebody has to trip up the machine and piss on the robot minds.
The 2002 documentary about Steven, directed by Marc Rokoff.
- Steven Johnson Leyba – Website / Blog (via Tumblr)
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- Steven Johnson Leyba – Discogs Entry
- Steven Johnson Leyba – 1997 SFGate Article on Steven
- United Satanic Apache Front – Discogs Entry
- Human Future Recordings – Online Store
All images supplied by Steven or sourced online.