Feb 13, 2013

It’s not hoarding if it’s art supplies

Everything isn’t art, but everything is art supplies—Lew Alquist

I just had a very meaningful 2-person art exhibition open in Las Vegas at a gallery called Tasty Space in a building that used to be the Fremont Medical Building and is now called Emergency Arts. How…dun dun dun… ironic considering my work has a lot to do with our inner workings and empowering folks to take ownership of our own health and well-being.

Early sidebar: I’m up in the top bedroom out here in the ranch house. Remember, I’m out in the middle of freaking nowhere. I had to adjust my pants and my underwear that was all twisted up from sitting on the bed too long. When I got up to hitch up my britches I actually glanced out the windows to make sure none of my Venice neighbors were looking in. Hmmm.  

The exhibition was meaningful in that it is the first time showing with one of my best friends; well he’s my more like a brother Tat-Dat Nguyen. Dat and I went to college together in AZ. He and I both went on a similar journey afterwards with our careers, but moved to different states. We both decided that being starving artists wasn’t for us and we got day jobs as designers. Dat has a very successful design and branding company based in New York and I have been based out of LA as a freelance museum exhibition designer for several well-known institutions across the country. All the while we both have been making art on some level and showing and selling when we can. I can't speak for Dat but I have recently realized that my artwork is becoming more important to me and it’s giving me a feeling of greater purpose within my many communities than my day job is and that the time is now to jump in headfirst and really go for it with the art side of my life.

For the past few years Dat and I began to ichat (video chat) with each other about our artwork and what the Hell we are doing with it and hope to do with it. We set goals for each other and critiqued each others work from opposite coasts. A few months ago we got offered an opportunity to show together from a friend of Dat’s named Dana Satterwhite. Dana, the gallery owner is also a designer and artist and he's originally from New York and makes art when he can. Dana gave us free reign to show and make whatever we wanted. We titled the show The Space Between You and Me as a nod to our weekly bi-coastal art critiques and to the overlapping concepts we have in our work dealing with the body and mind connection.

Tat-Dat and I at the Burn last year. We compliment each other. Nyuck Nyuck.

The poster for our show that Dana designed. I really dug the concept.  He  referenced the vertical lines in my sculpture and used them as a design element to create distance between the two paintings.

A studio full of art supplies and Jack, formally known as Jack the attack cat, and now known as Jack my lovely assistant. My intention was to bend the skeleton into a fetal/cannonball pose. With much care I got him into it later, but in this shot he looks rather coy and posed more like a cute cheerleader. Under the blanket is a real coffin that may become an art car and raced at top speeds of 5 mph in the coffin races at Burning Man.
In the new straw bale art studio working on the top of the first "portal" for the sculpture I was making for the show. The studio has a wood burning stove and at night I would light a fire and set a stick of Palo Santo on top to smolder its delicious scent while I worked.
The piece is starting to take form. This is the reason I don't think Jack is a real cat, but maybe a human or even alien in a cat disguise. I left this hanging up in the studio every night when I left. I left stuff all over the floor where Jack lives and I never once saw him even tap at, let alone swat at, one of the colored pom poms. Once when the owner came over he started to smack at the glue gun chord while I was using it. I think he was faking.
All packed. I got 5 decent sized paintings and a 3'x3'x9' sculpture and luggage for 2 with room to spare into the mini. Shout out to NRS makers of unbreakable and clever river rafting straps. We used these straps to pull a Navajo lady out of the sand late one night, but thats another story. That darn James Turrell and his crater make it into nearly every blog post. I cant help it. ITS RIGHT THERE!!!
Rolled into Vegas early on Thursday so I would have time to figure out how in tarnation  I was going to hang my sculpture from existing rails in Dana's gallery without damaging his drop ceiling. I worried (and tried not to worry) about how to do it for about 2 months.
Tasty Space was originally the X-Ray room of the medical center. The X-Ray machine hung from the rails somehow. It only took one trip to the Depot for airline cable and eye bolts. I got the piece secured up there exactly how I wanted it. I kept the skeleton connected by cable to the top "portal" and all of the lines of pom poms that hang down went in large envelopes to keep it all from tangling up during the shipping. The skeleton is still inside the box there on the table. I've been thinking about this sculpture for a long time. An X-Ray room was a perfect place to show it. Thanks again to Dana for giving me such an appropriate venue. Photo ©Jana Davis
So as I'm installing our show, I overhear a girl in the gallery next door talking about Roden Crater. I go in to see if I heard right and it turns out that she and her friends drove out to Roden Crater with the intention of storming the gates. They actually had to drive by our house to do it. Her and her crew drove past while we were all in the back in ceremony on December 21st. She remembered that our place has the blue roofs and took several photos of it. She said that not long after they were inside the gate a guard came out to head off the car and actually pointed a gun at them. Before he shoo'd them off they managed to tell him their story and he was nice enough to take them up to the top of the rim to look down on James' creation, but didn't let them go inside the crater. This was one of her photos from the show. James Turrell and his cows are freaking everywhere!!!! TARNATION!!!

This is our "nearly done let's rally with a little dancing" dance. Dat's generally a good dancer, so I'm not sure why he chose to do the running man there in place for twenty minutes straight. Photo ©Jana Davis
This is what we think we look like: An Artforum Magazine cover. Photo ©Jana Davis

This is probably what we really look like.

Tat-Dat Nguyen Untitled 11"x17" Mixed media on paper ©Tat-Dat Nguyen
Jana's piece in the gallery that very few people know about. Probably the best one in the show.
Bill Dambrova Just Passing Through  Scientific skeleton model, pom poms, mirror, polychromed wood, and glitter. 3'x3'x9'h ©Bill Dambrova
Just Passing Through Detail
Just Passing Through Detail
Just Passing Through Detail from above
A few months ago Sunny Bak planned to host an after party for our show while we were all hanging out at The Largo in LA waiting to see Adrock with Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments. It happened... and what happened in a drag bar stays in a drag bar. Sunny took the photo of Madonna and the drag queen back in her Brooklyn days. circa late 80's.

Jana and I went to a mini maker faire in Vegas and saw lots of cool gadgets and robots with their handlers.
I'm about to poke his blow hole. Photo ©Jana Davis

Las Vegas art. If you're into that sort of thing. Photo ©Jana Davis
Leaving Las Vegas. Photo ©Jana Davis
Meanwhile back at the ranch... I got a macro lens for my iphone at the makers faire and took a few shots around the grounds. This is a tooth from the lower half of a cow jawbone.
Macro of a dried Datura pod

Macro of a rabbit pellet.
We were only home for three days before we got back on the road and drove down to Tucson for the Gem and Jam show and to see a bunch of our friends that live down there and drove down  for the events. The Gem and Mineral show has been going on in Tucson for some time and is pretty extensive. After one day of looking at cool rocks and vibing off of giant crystals I got pretty overwhelmed and we only saw a fraction of it. The Jam portion of the show was all about music and art including famous visionary artists painting live on stage every night for three nights. Right down the way from the Gem and Jam was the African Village full of tents with piles of imports for sale. They sold mostly tourist items, effigies, beads, masks, and fetishes. It was like being in a bazaar in a foreign land as most of the vendors were speaking their native languages and interacting with each other in a lively way to ease boredom. I would only get snapped out of it when I allowed myself to look beyond the tents and up the side of a hill to see a forest of saguaro cactus. We also saw the Tucson Sculpture Festival that took place at The Whistle Stop Depot which might have been a converted train station. As usual I was more interested in the building than the art, but there was some pretty decent work in there. There was a lot going on that weekend but the best part was hanging out having breakfast with our Amphibia Phamily.

I'm spoiled when it comes to artifacts since I've worked so closely with  some of the most famous collections in the country as a museum exhibition designer. I did come across a tent with a pile of broken pieces that I can use in an upcoming art project. I made an offer and haggled with the dude and got these at a steal. (30$) Other vendors were a bit shocked or most likely amused that I bought these broken bits. They also thought I got a good deal so I felt pretty good about the transaction.  I was joking that when other vendors see me coming they will start breaking their merchandise. Everything is art supplies.
The Wac! Made by Mr. God and acquired by Mr. Mom. Mr. God drove it down to its new owner and it was going to be our ride all weekend but it was cold, windy, and rainy most of the time. Its super fun to ride in the seats on top.

The front doors at the Whistle Stop made from an airplane. The boxing glove is there to keep the door from bonging. 
Alex and Allyson Grey live painting at the Gem and Jam. What a great gig. A reminder to live your dreams!

Shameless marketing alert!!!
I wouldn't be an artist without your love and support!

Thanks so much for all of the great feedback for this blog and my artist website. If you would like to purchase a wonderful little gem of a book showcasing my recent paintings please click (here). Catch y'all in a couple of weeks! —B

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