When we decided to start artduh.com, our first step was to meet with our buddy Gavin and get his support. After all, he was our favorite local art and culture blogger. Interestingly, though I expected a competitive relationship, Gavin and I have developed a great friendship. We toss each other information constantly and chat every few days about ideas. It doesn’t hurt that we both work in media, me on the PR side and him in early morning TV. The cool thing is that there is so much going on in the old SLC, that we have been able to refine our specialties. Gavin doesn’t often toss out a recipe or craft project. And I leave comic books, graffiti and gallery stroll to his superior knowledge. All in all, I think between the 2 of us (and Toddy’s occasional art history lesson, of course), we provide a great picture of what’s happening in our town in the alternative arts, entertainment culture scenes.
So today we wanted to talk about Gavin, promote his blog and encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. Here’s our interview with him, with of course, a Halloween twist:
1) What is your Halloween costume? Why did you choose it?
My costume this year is of The Question from DC Comics. He’s a detective who deals in a lot of conspiracy theories (or theory, singular, as he would say) and disguises himself in a faceless mask. I picked it because I dig the character and the story behind him. He’s kind of a lone gun in one of that universe’s worst cities, almost like Batman but slightly different in many ways. And he’s one of the oddest characters in their library, which makes him fun. Provided my costume is made this year, it’ll be fun running around in a faceless mask that I can see and breathe out of.
2) What is your favorite holiday?
I really don’t have one, but I love the fall. And its not for the color of the trees. That slight warmth and chill mix before we’re pushed into winter, it reminds me of good times. Halloween falls in there, so let’s go with that.
3) Tell us about your collages and art collection. What’s hanging on your walls?
I’ve been covering the scene on the blog for over 2 ½ years, and over time I end up collecting a lot of junk in my pockets. Flyers, cards, passes, tickets, etc. So I decided to take it all and start framing it. I really didn’t know what I was doing with them, at best I thought it would be something fun to hang on an empty wall. Now its going to need more space and its almost become a collective visual tome of our scene, in its own little way. Its by no means an impressive collection, and I don’t really look at them as art, its more of a record of where I’ve been and who I’ve talked to in a more colorful manner. Hopefully people get a kick out of seeing something they’ve done framed in the mess.
4) Who is your favorite local artist?
Oh you know I can’t answer that! I’ve covered so much and see so many various artists, there’s no way to pick a favorite. I’m not gonna say they’re all my favorite, there are some people who’s work is just bland and has no originality, but we have too great a talent pool for me to pick just one and do everyone justice. I will say that at the moment I’m loving the work by B3RG, mainly for the fact that its brief and fleeting. He’s the artist posting all the portraits of the Hungarian girl in the beret, which I didn’t know what it was until I interviewed him. And that’s the problem. Unless you’ve read my interview the chances of the average person knowing who that girl is are slim and none. So of course since she’s dressed up with a uniform and a gun, the city and uneducated people take the meaning the wrong way and are pretty damn gun-ho to mark up and rip down his works. When you can find it you should take a picture of it, because chances are it will be gone within three hours.
5) Why are you so passionate about the local scene?
Honestly, there’s a couple of reasons, but I got into it in my teens playing in terrible bands as a drummer and going out on a regular basis. Some awesome foundation shows back then. It really instilled in me the ideal that there are some really talented people around here that could run circles around what we’d consider “mainstream” entertainment, but get overlooked daily because they’re not “mainstream”. And that stuck with me ever since. A lot of the people here do what they do because they love it, not because they woke up and thought they could make a quick buck off it, and that’s really inspiring and empowering that you can do what you want on the side and possibly make it your career for life. How can you not support that?
6) What’s your take on local media – and changes in entertainment news with the death of the DesNews features desk, cut backs at TV news etc?
I think I’ll skip out on the TV lecture for now… Radio I’m near done with because it seems no one wants to take a chance on localized music beyond block programming. Which I think is pathetic, and anyone who tells you it wouldn’t work is full of shit. There’s an AM station in Boulder and an FM in Denver who have locals playing throughout the day mixed with “popular” singles. And they’re doing absolutely fine. The DesNews has so many factors attached to it, you wanna jump for joy a little but then you start hating everything about it. I had six friends lose their jobs over there, all because they wanted to merge with KSL and make it an LDS paper where readers could become unpaid writers. But hey, you know what? …It’s not my money going to waste. And in the meantime I believe we’d be more than happy to take whatever turned-off readers they send our way.
7) What’s your take on the local art scene?
We’re thriving, but we seriously need a kick in the ass. Maybe a couple. We’ve got this giant sandbox for everyone to play in and others to come observe what they’ve done with it, and then we’ve got people who love to build walls in it. Like the art scene is a giant game of Risk and we’re all fighting over Kamchatka this month. It turns people off from going to galleries, makes artists rethink whether they want to display anywhere, and makes it harder for galleries to find an audience. It’s not like its big fights, just weird little in-bickering. If a number of people could get over that and just do their best, every week could be glorious in this city. Especially with all the artist we have. The print-works crowd alone could turn this city on its ear if they threw a stroll-like night at various businesses. Or the graffiti community, if they took over an abandoned building once a month and painted it from top to bottom. Or hell, let’s take over Pierpont or East Broadway and turn that into a free-display hub for just one evening. Look at what SLUG did with Craft Lake. We have the people, artists, businesses, organizations and drive to do great things in this city that would force people to take the art scene seriously and more than likely propel everyone as a whole into the greater consciousness. But that’s just me as an observer.