Five questions to SFMOMA artists, staff, or guests. Today I talked with Jefre Cantu, an operations technician at the museum. You may remember his Collection Rotation here on Open Space. After nine years at SFMOMA Jefre is leaving to move to Berlin! Along with being one of the most charming and dependable people at SFMOMA, he’s also been our resident yoga instructor, is a well-known and prolific musician, and has a great sweatshirt collection.
Do you collect anything?
I collect records and Le Creuset pots. That’s about it.
If you could steal any artwork in the world to have up in your home, what would it be?
Right now the first thing that comes up would be a Morandi. Paul [Clipson] and I were just in Spain, and I saw some de Chirico’s that were totally amazing. I’d never seen any in real life and I’d never been a fan, but sometimes you see things in real life and it totally changes. I think I’d go with Morandi, actually. They’re so small; they’d be easy to put in a bag, too. If you’re really going to think about stealing something, you could practically steal it. You could throw it in your backpack, or in my wife’s purse. And they’re also beautiful.
What do you listen to while you work?
Well, I make music, so I don’t listen to anything while I’m making music other than what I’m doing. I don’t really listen to music at work, although on my lunch breaks I usually listen to Fresh Air from the day before, because they archive it. When I’m cooking I like to listen to ragas or the Velvet Underground or recently Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Other than your phone or keys or wallet, what do you always carry with you?
I don’t have a phone. I have a land line so don’t ever carry a phone. Oh, my watch and my wedding ring, those are the only pieces of jewelry I wear. Pretty simple.
What’s your favorite tool?
For work or for art practice? Well, everyone likes using hammers, the whole motion of it. Maybe that’s just a male thing. I wonder if women like using hammers, too. Making music, that’d be my ax, my guitar: a 1976 Fender Telecaster which I’ve had for many years and that I totally love. It’s one of those things you can just hold and things will start happening. You don’t have to go at it with an idea. It just feels nice. I’m sure other musicians have that experience with their instruments.