With heavy hitting headliners like Mux Mool, Lorn, Shlohmo, Death Grips and dozens of other killer musicians slated to perform at Harlow’s and Momo Lounge on May 3—5, Sacramento Electronic Music Festival will surely not disappoint in the audio and aural categories. Neither will it in the visual sense. After a little digging, Submerge got a better idea of what you can expect to see at SEMF when all those sounds are pulsating at you. One interesting installation piece that we got wind of from festival co-organizer Clay Nutting is being created by local artists Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel, collectively known as L/C Mural and Design. No doubt you’ve seen their impressive murals around town, whether you know it or not. For SEMF, the two are working with another artist, Jonathan Messerschmidt-Rogers, on a large installation for the back patio area at Harlow’s.
“We really wanted to be able to use what we know about making a space cool and use it as a chance to for the first time combine what we usually do, which is outdoor murals or art installations, with something we’ve never done before, which is projection,” Lacin told Submerge. “So we are collaborating with Jonathan and he, Hennessy and I are going to create kind of a moving piece that’s all about connecting people through music.” The approximately 8-foot-by-8-foot piece is made of wood, is a weird “cluster shape” and will feature “projections coming in from all around the space and congregating on our canvas.” Sounds dope. Lacin further explained the duo’s concept: “You always have to have a really strong concept, and so we asked ourselves what is this festival about? What are music festivals?” she said. “We just kind of realized how unique it is to draw all of these people together from different backgrounds, different places, and then they’re all drawn together for their common love of music, so we wanted to make the piece about that.”
On top of that piece from Jonathan and L/C, expect wild multi-angle projections from Creative Projections in Harlow’s main stage area, mind-bending laser shows from Double D Productions and more installation art from local Danny Scheible. “Together they are going to transform it with badass laser shows and visuals,” Nutting told Submerge. “It’s going to be bananas, it will not look like Harlow’s.”
No doubt it’s going to be a wild weekend full of both aural and visual stimulation, so get your three-day pass now at Harlows.com for just $30. Learn more about Lacin and Christophel’s work at http://lcmuralanddesign.com/. Learn more about SEMF at http://sacelectronicmusicfest.com/.
On the art of Danny Scheible
Words by Bobby S. Gulshan
In the last few months of 2010, Sacramento’s Second Saturday Art Walk emerged as a hotly contested locus of debate. People wondered out loud if the event had strayed from its original mission; was the benefit to Midtown businesses and artists enough to justify the risks? Because opinions abound on both sides, we will likely not see any significant change to the Second Saturday event any time soon.
One thing, however, stood seemingly beyond contention: the art community is an important and integral part of the Midtown scene and of Sacramento in general. The amount of activity within the visual arts in Sacramento defies the notion that a vibrant art community that generates meaningful and important work can only exist within the major metropolises of New York or Los Angeles. To be sure, those cities remain important cultural centers if for no other reason than the sizes of the markets they inhabit. Yet, as artist and sculptor Danny Scheible tells it, there is something special about making art in Sacramento.
“You meet people here and they want to help you,” he says. “There is a community already there. Having been to bigger cities, it’s very much an exchange, what can this person do for me?” This sense of community, of art as the beginning of a practice of going beyond oneself, or perhaps toward some more complete version of the self, resonates centrally in Scheible’s work.
In sculpture, materiality and spatial context play vital roles in the interaction of the art object and its observer. As Danny and I spoke, he crafted flowers and other more abstract objects from rolls of masking tape. “Tape is something that everyone has in their house or wherever, so it’s something people can immediately identify with,” he says. “But it’s also about taking that everyday object and seeing the aesthetic potential in it.”
This intentional choice represents a movement toward the audience, toward their cultural and social location. With respect to spatial location, Scheible sees the importance not just of the gallery setting but of public space. While it brings with it some level of anxiety (things being damaged, openly criticized) venturing into public space is a further gesture toward the audience. In this case, it is to de-familiarize the everyday and punctuate it with an aesthetic gesture. “I might put a small piece out somewhere and then stand across the street and watch and see how people react, or I may leave things along my walking paths,” he says. Scheible will chronicle reactions, and these impressions further inform his process. In this way he is, as he says, “constantly creating myself as a person through my art.”
Scheible is the self-proclaimed “Art Ambassador of Sacramento.” His primary diplomatic function seems to be to inject into the experiences of his artwork–and thus himself–a dialogue or process by which further discovery can be made. “It’s a spiritual or meditative practice,” he says.
Many of our notions concerning modern sculptural works come from either our experience of sculptural objects in a gallery setting or the placement of sculptures in public places such as parks or commercial centers. These experiences tend to remind us of a kind of critical distance that exists between the object and the observer. In the case of minimalist sculptural works, the movement of the observer is a sort of theatrical gesture, but the object remains mute, having no specific relation to the audience other than its spatial fixedness. Scheible’s entire practice, and indeed process, seeks to reinvigorate this relationship with a certain kind of intimacy. In the works that he has given away, Sheible has encouraged others to produce drawings of his work that may subsequently be used as screen-print images, or alternately as hand drawn images, which again become the subject of his own process, as a sort of perpetual feedback loop. And this is key: The constant dialogue, or even dialectic, that generates the self through the process of offering forth the piece, having it reflected, and then taking that reflection as the starting point for the next iteration of work.
Scheible tells me, “I was born and raised in Curtis Park, and I live here now.” Locality is key to his process. The dialogue with the audience requires an immediacy that his interventions in space reveals. However, I don’t suspect that if Scheible keeps it up for long his bounds will be geographically limited. There exists a crucial point at which his art dares to reach into a universal realm: “An artist isn’t something you are born as, it’s something you make yourself into.” For Sheible, this is as much material and spatial as it is social. As he tells it, his strength lies in getting other artists to work together, to show together, and to promote together. This is a fundamental characteristic of anyone who dares to push the art that they believe in to the fore, and make it geographically and socially relevant.
We could have spent hours talking about the importance of public versus private space, or how hard it is for an artist to fix the damn scooter when it’s wrecked. But I look forward to an upcoming solo show, and the show he is curating, all here in our ever-vibrant Midtown arts scene.
Danny Scheible’s latest solo show at Lauren Salon will have its opening reception during Second Saturday in March (March 12, 2011). Scheible’s curated show will take place at FE Gallery and will also have its opening reception on Second Saturday in March from 6 to 9 p.m.
Artist Jared Konopitski Makes Mixed Things Match
Maybe it’s just a negative stereotype that creative people—you know, musicians, artists and people who go out and get drunk alongside musicians and artists—just aren’t morning people. Artist Jared Konopitski, a Midtown boy, born and raised, was waiting for our phone call at 9 a.m—bright-eyed, bushy tailed and sounding rather chipper. So maybe he is a morning person, or maybe it was the sugar high from the bowl of mango ice cream he’d just eaten. Ice cream for breakfast—he is an artist after all.
Artist is perhaps too narrow a term for Konopitski. Polymath may be more apt. Colored pencils, paints, photography, pencil and ink, Shrinky Dinks (huh?) are just some of the media he’s used during his career. Often, these different media will blend and bleed into one another in Konopitski’s work.
“It’s something that I would say I’ve always done as far as multiple mediums,” he says of his artwork. “They crossover as I learn more mediums. I just get bored, I guess, so then I try to explore, and then I come across something like Shrinky Dinks, and then they come together and it creates all kinds of eclectic work.”
This sort of mixing and matching has made Konopitski’s work not so easy to categorize, even for the artist himself, though he says he tends to lean more toward tattoo culture, cartoon and comic art—and, though he’s a bit loathe to say it, lowbrow culture.
“I think [lowbrow] was a term created by that culture, and in retrospect, they wish they hadn’t come up with that term,” Konopitski says.
Whatever you call it, there’s no denying the charisma of Konopitski’s art. Whether it’s brightly colored illustrations, real-life photographs enhanced with his goofy characters, or the painted Scotch tape sculptures he created in collaboration with Danny Scheible, Konopitski’s work speaks of a limitless imagination and exudes a fun, lighthearted vibe. His latest solo show opens April 2, 2010 at Cuffs Urban Apparel in Midtown. When Submerge spoke with the artist, he was taking a much-needed break from preparing for the exhibition. He says he hopes to have 30 pieces done in time for the show. The works he’ll have on display will be mixed media pieces involving spray paint, vinyl records and Shrinky Dinks. Konopitski says that a few samples of the pieces can be seen on his Facebook page, but he urges those who are curious to check out the exhibit for themselves. We here at Submerge believe you should do the same. It’s a bizarre mixture of materials to be sure, but you know how those artist types are”¦
Are Shrinky Dinks something that you grew up with?
My mom actually introduced them to me. She pulled out her whole antiques there, her charms, and was showing me these little Shrinky Dinks, and I hadn’t heard of them since then.
I didn’t realize they still made them.
I actually ran into a place that was selling blank Shrinky Dinks sheets—just blank sheets like paper. But yeah, I just started making them myself and cutting them out. They’re awesome.
Does the medium you’re working with inform the artwork at all? Does it shape how you create a piece?
Absolutely. Say if I’m working with pen and ink—I don’t know if you’ve seen the tribal works I do—but they become more tedious, more detailed. If I’m working with colored pencils or Shrinky Dinks, they become more cartoonish. I made these sun prints”¦ That’s a whole different technique right there. Those result in creating cutout, silhouette styles and putting them on this paper that’s been chemically laced to react to the sun. So the medium dictates the style I’m going to do.
I saw that you work as a curator also. Is that a big separation for you, working as an artist and working as a curator?
Actually, that’s something I haven’t done frequently, but I have done for a few years. Basically, it’s a thing where I want to see this show, and I want to put this show somewhere, let me find a venue and put this call for art out to all kinds of people and put out a show I want to see, really. It’s like, this kind of show doesn’t exist and I want to see it.
Has working as a curator opened your eyes to how to present your work to other curators?
It helps with networking, I’d say, because then you’re working with other artists, and you’re giving back to them a little. As they find other shows that they’re curating themselves—I’ve found that a lot of artists, once they’ve been showing for so long, they’re also asked to put on shows as well, and they’ll say, “Hey, he gave me a show, why don’t I get him involved too.”
Was it something you went to school for?
I graduated with an AA from the community college, and I was going to move on to the Art Institute, but it seemed at that point that school was going to distract me from what I wanted to do, looking at the students’ work and such. Some of my favorite artists didn’t even go to school. They were all self-taught, so I thought I would save some money and not get all those student loans and try it myself.
We were talking about how the materials you use inspire your artwork. How did working with Shrinky Dinks and records shape your work for this upcoming exhibit?
As far as that goes, it’s kind of a new medium working with acrylic and Shrinky Dink combined. These are the most I’ve done in that way, I guess. They’re all vinyl records, so they’re all circular canvases, and for some reason, I don’t know if it’s because it’s a different shape, but it’s inspired me more than a square canvas. I can’t stop coming up with ideas for it. It’s been a blast. I have more ideas than time.
Has it been a lot of trial and error working with the Shrinky Dinks? I remember when I’d put them in the oven, they’d get all curled up.
This is true. In fact, I didn’t even know that they got so curled up so much at first, so I would take them out of the oven and they’d just be round, curved balls of plastic. I almost gave up, but then I read the instructions, which I don’t do too often, and it actually said to leave them in there longer and they’ll flatten out. I guess that helped out there.
What excites you most about working in the Sacramento art community?
What excites me most is that the artists are so talented. The city is full of talented artists. But what the city doesn’t know, and I didn’t even realize this until I started showing art more, is there aren’t only immensely talented artists, but there are also people who are either traveling through or live here and don’t want people to know that they live here who are big in the art world. There’s folks who have been shown in Juxtapose, High Fructose and those art magazines; there are folks who’ve worked for DC Comics and Marvel Comics, there are folks who know people who make the Cartoon Network shows and Pixar and stuff. I had no idea I’d get to meet these people. I thought I’d show some art in the little town I grew up in, but I had no idea Sacramento secretly harbors these people.
Check out Jared Konopitski’s work at Cuffs Urban Apparel starting April 2, 2010. For more information, go to www.jareko.com or look him up on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ people/Jared-Konopitski/838283475.