Desire obtain cherisH


jonathan paul

In 2009 I was an accomplished musician, DJ, and music producer, with hundreds of projects under my belt. I got an itch to work on a solo project I called OBTAIN, a mix of electronica, rap, and sound design. To promote, I went out late night wheat pasting posters around Los Angeles. Quickly setting my sights at going bigger, I started hijacking billboards. One night I signed  my work with the words - DESIRE OBTAIN CHERISH. The ominous lie that I always felt the billboard were trying to sell us.

Desire Obtain Cherish - You Want Me To B

Desire this... Get this.. You're going to love it... Only to eventually feel hungover and look for something else to make you happy.


More of a disrupter than artist, I quickly got swept up in the LA street art scene. Adopting the moniker DOC, galleries soon came calling.

Moving from rooftops to white cubes, I began a series of works which deconstructed celebrity worship into small gelatin pills. Focusing on celebrity OD's I attempted to unmask the glamour and expose the cracks. As obsessively made as the addicts that used, pill counts ranged between 4,500 to 9,000 individually wrapped pills  per artwork.

My next series came from my observation of social media's impact on relationships. After a conversation with friends about how people are becoming more and more 'instantly disposable', I created a sculpture of a blowpop candy that had been licked once and then discarded.


The Meltdown as it was titled, has since become one of my most iconic sculptures. Loved and hated, this candy sculpture is often misunderstood and copied by many. This series was quickly followed up with another inspired from my early days as a creative ad director of a fashion brand.

Desire Obtain Cherish - Mid Sized Meltdo
Desire Obtain Cherish - Designer Drugs -
Desire Obtain Cherish - Designer Drugs -
Desire Obtain Cherish - Designer Drugs -
Desire Obtain Cherish - Designer Drugs -

I believe that we don't live in a democracy. Instead, we live in commercial republic and addiction is its by-product. So I created fashion pills, or Designer Drugs as I called them - pharmacy ready packs of pills with the biggest names in fashion. 


I was the first artist to brand drugs and this very popular series gained attention worldwide. As my fame rose, so did copy cats and clones, and heavy criticism. I continued with IV bags, babies on drip, buddhist oxycontin prayer beads, and klonopin candy necklaces, I created a wide scope of society/addictive themed works.

“Desire Obtain Cherish is our social conscience, delivering up uncomfortable and unpleasant truths wrapped in the most beautiful and
seductive of packages.”  -  EIC Artnet / Art ritic Benjamin Genocchio

Text has been a constant theme of mine since the beginning, from billboards to altered street signs, restaurant plaques and text bubbles. Words are simple, quick, and crafting the subtly of meaning and directness of punch, I find exciting. 


Social media feeds are not unlike billboards. You have only a few seconds to get someones attention, it either works or it doesn't, and society's scrolling habits are picking up speed, as the infection of memes has clearly demonstrated.

In the mid 2010s, I began to shift to more conceptually rich works, substituting cleverness for subsurface substance, and directing my focus on us, the infected society.

Desire Obtain Cherish - Yeah, I Own This
Desire Obtain Cherish_Installation Galle

My early paintings were sprinkled with crushed up drugs, adderall, prozac, oxycontin, and viagra, mixed with acrylic. In 2015 I substituted the drugs for a hundred pounds of oil paint, as much as I could put on without it falling off.


I estimate in my lifetime, I've probably seen a billion images on screens. How does that infect my psyche? The weight of the paint, the wifi cancerous growth... my new concepts weren't easily digestible any more, and I began searching for something deeper. 

I viewed social media as an addiction, inducing a generation of modern junkies. Feeding us epic distractions that in turn induced a social cathartic apathy.

My attitude towards my practice was starting to feel more personal. It was as if 'Desire Obtain Cherish' had been my lens to create art through, one of distance, one of observation, yet personally I was increasingly more interested in merging sociological ideas into art rather than simply creating representative objects.I decided to make an intervention between myself and DOC. 

Shifting towards more performance based works, I began to feel as if the rise of social media was feeling vapid. Longing to feel more, I wanted to immerse myself as an artist, rather than be a passive observer.

I questioned the absurdity of humans choosing sides by outfitting goats and creating a court that represented some battle royal sporting event.

Unix Desire Obtain Cherish 9_7_18-00107.
All The More Best_Desire Obtain Cherish.

I impersonated Richard Prince in an attempt to appropriate the appropriator and elevate art appropriation to identity theft, and I created a pendulum to decide if you were worthy of being one of us, or you were simply one of them. 

Art I've always believed should tell stories about us that no other medium can tell. Artists are laying the foundation for social archeologists to look back on and document societies rise and fall. My purpose is to create stories, hopefully fun enough, or daring enough or absurd enough for someone to look back on and laugh and say, 'Yeah, DOC showed us who we were."


Art is really just a mirror of us all.