Archive for the 'Interview' Category

10
Nov
09

26 Interviews: (D)ixie Longate…

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Dixie Longate is an off-broadway solo-act performer and Tupperware sales lady. Her show, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” has earned her the title of “America’s #1 Tupperware Sales person”.

Currently, the Alabama born Dixie has taken her show on the road, creating Tupperware converts across the country. Her routine, a mixture of humorous, brass, endearing and informational performance, makes anyone in Dixie’s path fall in love with her  and (even more importantly)  her product. 

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Jon Miller: There are so many products that are sold at “door to door” style parties similar to your own. Some, such as sex toys and make-up, seem like a more obvious choice for a salesperson as brassy and fabulous as yourself. What made you gravitate towards Tupperware?

Dixie Longate: Well, my parole officer was the one who got me started in Tupperware.  I guess I was always pretty good at sales looking back.  I mean the amount of times I would leave the trailer in the morning to go to school with empty pockets and by lunch time, end up with enough Lincoln’s to buy half of the cafeteria a pint of 2% milk, well, lets just say, it made this 4th grader pretty proud.  My parole officer told me when I got released that I needed a job in order to get my kids back.  Seeing how the restraining order prevented me even going into certain parts of town after 6pm, I told her that it was just a ridiculous idea.  Well, she worked her magic as only a lesbian in the police force can do, and Shazaam, I started selling these fantastic bowls. 
When I did my first party, I was terrible.  I would pick up a bowl and call it a spoon! I was knocking everything over. I have to admit, I was just plain nervous.  Not the nerves you get on a first date when you have seen his dirty pictures on the internet and you are just biding time till you get to hop in the back seat and verify that it was a real picture in his profile. Not that kind of nervous.  I mean truly nervous. 

 I hadn’t sold anything for ages.

But when the host of the party brought me out a cocktail and didn’t charge me for it  and then people started buying things and giving me money, I felt a little shiver come crawling up my spine.  I couldn’t imagine actually getting paid to drink for free.  Right then and there, I knew I had found the job for me.

JM: You must be the most radical thing to happen to the Tupperware brand since it’s inception. How did you successfully pitch the idea for your show to the Tupperware corporation?

DL: You have to keep in mind that although the creation of the products was all from the mind of Earl Tupper, it took a woman named Brownie Wise to actual take the products off of the  shelves and create the Tupperware Party.  She was a revolutionary business woman back in the day.  She was the one who figured out that in order to sell brand new, space age, non-breakable bowls, with an air-tight seal to women in the kitchen, she had to actually bring them into the kitchen.  Back then, that was a very radical idea.  I mean, selling products door to door was nothing new, but to bring women together and get them in a buying frenzy in the middle of their own living room, well, that was truly breaking every sales tradition that was out there.  Tupperware has always been a pretty progressive company I think.  You really have to be progressive and ever-changing and filled with incredible vision to be able to get a company whose mainstay is plastic bowls to be able to remain success and survive for 65 years.  It’s no easy feat.  And who hasn’t heard of a Tupperware Party?  Everyone knows about it whether you have been to one or not.  That is what is so remarkable about the brand. 

When I asked them if they would let me keep selling their products and bring them to a whole new group of people that probably forgot that Tupperware even existed, well, I have to give them tons of credit.   They approached the idea with lots of integrity and lots of smiles.  That is why I still love working for Tupperware all these years later.

JM: In your show, you can sometimes come across as a bit….confrontational. Do people in the audience ever not get the joke?

DL: Sadly, sometimes people sit there and end up all grim-faced and frowny.  I don’t understand that.  I mean if everyone around is laughing and having a good time, why are you working so hard to be moody?  What does that get you in life?  I am a woman with 3 kids from the not too good area of Mobile, Alabama.  Where I grew up, you had to get good at fighting for what you believe in. I never had much money and it didn’t look like I was going to have all that good of a future.  I really struggled for a good long time and I have to tell you, I earned my right to be where I am.  So many people who are looking down their nose at me probably didn’t have to lift a finger to get where they are.  When they are having a miserable time in life, it gets my back up.  I am just here trying to spread some love and uplift some people.  I want people to understand that they are in control of their own lives and there is so much more out there for most people than they can ever even dream of.  Sometimes, when I come up against someone who is grim-faced, I get a bit stern I guess.  It comes from raising three kids on my own.  I never want to be mean, but I will tell you, I’m not a push over either. If people are being slugs at the Tupperware Party, and taking away from other people’s enjoyment, well, don’t start crying when I get up in your face and tell you to shape up.  It is what we call “tough love” back at home.  You might not like it, but it is how you grow.

JM: You are billed as “the #1 Tupperware seller in the US and Canada”. How competitive is the  business? Do you have any Tupperware enemies as a result of your success?

DL: Currently, I have slid in sales a bit.  I don’t know if it is the economy or that people don’t really get that they can buy Tupperware at the shows, but I am still working everyday to stay on top.  After all, that is what a good Christian does.  I go to the Jubilee Convention every year and watch as new people get on stage for recognition.  It is so amazing to watch people stand onstage and be cheered for and respected like they have never been before in their lives.  And they did all of this on their own.  This is by virtue of their own work and ingenuity.  That, I have to say, earns them respect from me every time.  You know the funny thing; the people that I am standing onstage at the top with, they are never jealous or ungracious about success.  Last year, when I earned the Top spot, I remember standing onstage with another gal who had worked her tail off all year.  Right before they announced me as #1, she turned to me and grabbed my hand and said,”I just have to tell you this.  I am so proud of you.  Congratulations.”  Now THAT is a classy lady.  I have a picture of her on my desk where I put in my Tupperware orders.  The people who work the hardest are never the ones who give you grief.  It is the people who aren’t successful who are always jealous and saying that others are bad because of this, that and the other thing.   “I can’t get anyone to host a party cause Dixie takes them all from me.  I can’t sell lots cause I have four kids and I work full-time.   It’s not fair that I’m not onstage getting recognized because I worked just as hard.”   Shut up you damn whore.  Stop making excuses for the lack of your success.  Ain’t nobody going to hand it to you.  You gotta earn it.  Hell, I did.  Do you think someone just came up and gave me almost a quarter of a million dollars in sales last year when I was #1?  Hell, no.  I had to earn every single one of those sales.  I did party after party, and sold bowl after bowl.  I didn’t make excuses, and I was rewarded for it.  That is my advice to people I guess.  Stop looking at others as the problem.  Take that time that you are bellyaching about something and get off your duff and do something about it.  Because you know what is more fun that bitching about what you don’t have?  It’s earning the things that you do have.  Amen!  I’m proud of what I have achieved and you know what, I am proud of every single guy and gal that I stand on stage with at the Jubilee every year, cause I know they have worked every bit as hard as I have.  I respect those people.  That is who I look to the for advice.  You want to do better in life?  Get a better group of people to hang out with. 

The cream always rises.

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If you live someplace kind of boring (sorry Minneapolis!), then soon you just might get the chance to see Dixie live!

Hartford, CT The Bushnell 11/13/09 – 11/15/09
Green Bay, WI Weidner Center 11/17/09 – 11/22/09
New London, CT Oasis Room 11/30/09 – 12/06/09
MESA, AZ Mesa Arts Center 12/08/09 – 12/13/09
DES MOINES, IA Temple Theater 01/13/10 – 01/24/10
Mississauga, ON RBC Theatre 01/27/10 – 01/31/10
STUART, FL The Lyric Theatre 02/02/10 – 02/03/10
Minneapolis, MN Hennepin Stages 02/09/10 – 02/21/10
Yakima, WA The Capitol Theatre 03/09/10 – 03/14/10
Greenboro, NC Odeon Theatre 03/18/10 – 03/21/10
Newberry, SC Newberry Opera House 03/22/10 – 03/24/10
CLEARWATER, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall 03/30/10 – 04/03/10
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL Broward Center 04/07/10 – 04/18/10
HUNTSVILLE, AL Merrimack Hall 04/20/10 – 04/25/10

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.

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14
Oct
09

26 Interviews: (C)asey Parks…

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Casey Parks is a writer, videographer, and photographer for the Oregonian newspaper. Her work there is largely focused on covering both city government and schools. A major emphasis of the stories she chooses to tell involve writing and filming about the experience of Oregon teenagers.

In addition to her work for the Oregonian, Casey also creates short video interview series about the people in her life, usually based around a singular topic or idea.

 

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Oregonian Videos:

 

When I was 14:

 

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Jon Miller: What style of story do you find the most interesting to cover?

Casey Parks: Some of the other videographers at the Oregonian prefer to create a video by first securing solid visuals. I was a writer long before I was a photographer though, and I like videos that have a good story. To get that, you need someone who is a good interview. It’s hard enough getting people to open up to you for a written story. But in an article, you can work around that by just hanging around long enough, or pulling things out slowly, or inferring, or talking to other people. With a video camera, you’re not only more intimidating, you also can’t work around any holes. What the person says is what you have. That said, I’m most interested in reporting about teenagers. Sometimes they don’t make the best video subjects (such insecurity! so many “likes” and “ums”) but I have found a few who were really candid and comfortable being themselves. Or maybe they were uncomfortable, but they let you see that in a compelling way. Those are my favorites.

JM: The adolescent experience does seem to be a recurring theme, not only in your work for the Oregonian,  but also your personal creative projects. More so though, it seems that you are fascinated with the idea overcoming expected mediocrity. What are your feelings on contemporary youth culture? Does there seem to be much of a shift in the way young people identify as individuals now vs. the experiences recounted in your When I Was 14 project?

 CP: Portland is such a different town than the ones I grew up in (mostly in Louisiana). So, yeah, the teens I meet through work are much different than I was. But I don’t know how much of that is growing up now as opposed to growing up in Portland. But they do all seem to be more savvy. They’re more clued-in about the world, more clued-in about themselves. I could just be choosing savvy people to interview, though. I’m not sure. Either way, I wouldn’t say I’m a modern teenager expert. I just like interviewing them because no one else at my paper really does, and the teens themselves are usually pretty excited to be in the paper.

JM: How do you imagine hypothetical When I was 14 interviews with modern teens would differ from those with the adults you are currently filming?

CP: Oh, I think they’ll be embarrassed by themselves just as all my friends are embarrassed of our 14-years-old selves. They’ll also, I think, like us, feel amused and probably some kind of weird love for their own self. For instance, one of my 25-year-old friends talked about how her parents were divorced and how sad she felt, how she watched her brother play video games and felt lonely. It’s hard to really express all that while you’re in it, to put all the pieces together. I do feel like kids start that nostalgizing fairly early, though. When I did a story about Miss Junior Gay Pride, who is 18, she talked about being 14 in ways not so different than I might. She regretted her hair and clothing decisions. She longed the crazy sleepovers or lunch-time antics she had then. At 18, she feels like she already knows the world so much better than she did then. I imagine that feeling will just grow. The same was true of an 18-year-old I interviewed who was training to become a sheriff’s deputy. His parents were deported for selling methamphetamine, and he spent age 14 in Mexico. But when I asked him about it, what he remembered was how ugly his hair was, how into skateboarding he had been, and how the music he had liked was cheesy.

 JM:   It’s strange how similar the coming of age experience can be despite the seemingly substantial changes in the physical setting and circumstances. What are your memories of being 14? Were you an over achiever like the kids you interview?

 CP: When I was 14, I was an overachiever in school but not in other ways. I didn’t really join clubs or do things outside of myself or school. I read a lot (I even wrote reports from encyclopedias just for fun!) and went to church a lot. I had an awful hairstyle. I used this product Sun-in to “highlight” my hair. Instead, it turned it bronze. I spent two years growing it out, so my hair was bronze on the bottom, brown at the roots. I was really awkward and bossy. My parents were separated, and I lived with my dad, which meant I got away with a lot more than I should. My curfew was something like 4 a.m. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have friends, so I didn’t take advantage of it all that often.

JM: Have you ever done any film work about your family and your experiences with them? 

 CP: Yes.  The first was with my little brother. Last year, he got out of the military and got really involved in anti-war demonstrating. While I was visiting him in Texas, I interviewed him on video. There were so many things I could never ask just as his sister, but with the camera wedged safely between us, I asked everything I ever wanted to know. We ended the shoot with both of us sobbing. He has a funny way of talking, but he’s so open with his feelings. He talks about seeing a friend killed, about how he can’t get over the war. I learned a lot. And then I cried a lot.

The second is my grandma talking about the little community where she grew up. It’s full of one-liners (“I didn’t see a box of Corn Flakes till I was 7 years old. Now does that tell you something?”), and she also talks about how she truly, truly believes she saw a UFO once. It cracks me up every time I watch it; I still can’t believe I got her to do it.

 JM: What future projects are you developing at the moment?

 CP: Over Christmas, I’m going to go home to Louisiana and try to do some work on an audio story I’ve wanted to do for a long time. On her deathbed, Audrey Ellis confessed to my great-grandmother: “Rita Mae, Roy is as much as woman as you or I am.”

Ellis was Roy’s mother. Or at least that’s what everyone in Delhi, Louisiana thought. She had raised him, anyway.

Back then, Delhi had a population of 1,800. Everybody knew everybody, and though people liked to gossip, nobody asked any questions when Audrey Ellis and her husband (whose first name no one seems to know) showed up with a 26-year-old son. It was 1953, the day Hank Williams died. My grandma remembers her brother listening to Hank Williams records on repeat. “Then they just showed up across the street.”

As an adult, Roy wore Dickies, work boots, birth control glasses and a crew cut. He mowed everybody’s lawn by pulling a manual mower behind his bicycle. He never married, and if people had suspicions, they didn’t voice them. His obituary — run in the Delhi Dispatch in 2006 — ran as Delois “Roy” Hudgens. Secondary references called him “Ms. Hudgens.”

Small towns — even those in the conservative South — accept people without question. Town drunk? Well, that’s just Jim. Town cross-dresser? Well, that’s just Roy. No one knew exactly why Roy — clearly a woman — dressed as a man. And no one asked.

My own grandmother often told me stories about Roy. I usually had to beg her — She never wanted to seem like she was talking bad about him. Until college, I didn’t know why I was so fascinated by the story. It was strange, but my family had plenty of strange stories. This one was different. I, too, grew up in the South, but the cities I lived in were bigger. They lacked the small-town, accept-everybody-because-they’re-just-like-family feel. And when I confessed — at 18, in church on Easter Sunday — that I’m gay, most people didn’t take it well.

I never felt like a man, but I did long for some town where I could be me, Casey, no questions asked.

 

 

For more from Casey Parks, check out her 78 (!) videos on vimeo.

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.

20
Feb
09

Jon: Interview with Photographer Holly Andres…

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time recently speaking with Portland photographer Holly Andres about her recent collection of images, “Sparrow Lane”.  Andres’ mysterious and theatrical photographs have been enchanting the local art community for several years now, and it appears that the national scene is now starting to catch a whiff of the Portland darling’s talents. Andres’ was recently written up in both Art in America and Art Forum magazines (a very very big deal) as well as finishing up a recent piece for PBS. If this effervescent artist can continues winning hearts and making great art, she might just have what it takes to become the next important American photographer.

"Behind the Old Painting" Holly Andres 2008

 

Jon Miller: Your photographs seem to contain a quixotic and unsolvable narrative. Do you go into the process of creating each photograph with a known solution to the question posed by the image?

Holly Andres: No, which was an intentional departure from my previous work – specifically Stories from a Short Street, in which each narrative is based on recreating a quite specific childhood experience. I felt like I learned something really valuable with the Short St Series, which is the importance of relinquishing control when you offer up your work to public consumption and interpretation. Despite the specific content that I was examining, it was fascinating to realize that ultimately people arrive at all art with their own life experiences, connotations and associations. Ultimately that’s part of the power of art.

I felt as though I wanted to exploit this understanding a bit as I embarked on Sparrow Lane. By juxtaposing rather suggestive and familiar iconography such as scissors, chrome flashlights, bird cages, skeleton keys, and open drawers, doors and windows, I’m interested in suspending any overt clues from the viewer so that they are encouraged to arrive at their own assumptions about what they think the scene is about.  The body of work presents an elliptical narrative, a mystery, to encourage viewers, much like the characters in the images, to engage in and strive to solve along the way.

sl1JM:Your choice of models/locations implies on some level a commentary on race and class. How do you perceive these as elements in your art?

HA: For Sparrow Lane I specifically selected character’s that I thought would reflect our culture’s stereotypes of innocence and girlish femininity – hence the fair skin, blue eyes and light hair. Furthermore, Sparrow Lane is in some ways an abstraction of my own childhood experiences. I grew up in rural western Montana with very little ethnic diversity and most of my peers were similar in appearance to the Sparrow Lane girls. In addition, it often seems that when a photographer chooses to depict racial minorities that, unfortunately perhaps, race becomes a significant part of the content, and I did not want the work to explicitly be a commentary on race.

In regards to class – and race and class are undeniably intertwined – the girls appear to be relatively privileged, and I intentionally sought out to imply that the girls are sleuthing the grounds of a grand fictitious estate. Certainly not the environments that I experienced as a child, but they perhaps are fantasies of houses I would have liked to have lived in, maybe because they reference the novels I devoured, primarily Nancy Drew.

JM:Each of your images is impressively staged. From a technical standpoint, can you explain the process of preparing for some of your more complex pieces?

HA: Though the photos weren’t all shot in rooms in the same house or neighborhood,  I intended to create a fictitious space with hopes of creating more conceptual and visual unity with in the narratives. I’m really conscientious of the spaces in which the characters exist, and instead of finding houses to shoot in, I completely transform an existing space (usually my own home) to look like the one in my mind. They can be thought of as installations that are activated by the characters and then photographed.

This pre-production is a big part of the process. I engage in a lot of thrift shopping – often times I will find an object that will trigger a thought that I can craft a narrative around. I’m trying to create a non-specific time period. I like to think of them as sometime between the era of the 1950s – 1980s – but they’re not the present. I think this sense of nostalgia also reinforces the mystery.

Regarding the directing of my models, I revisited many of the Nancy Drew book covers that I read as a child and I love the melodramatic body language of the characters and opted to emulate that aesthetic – the way their bodies frame the scene, the separation of their fingers, the way their hair frames their face and their startling – but lovely- expressions.

The hyper-staged quality of the work is also part of the artifice of working with a large format 4×5” camera. Setting up the lights and dialing in the exposure is a very extensive process – there isn’t much room for experimentation – and so I exploited this limitation in the work. I should note that the photographic process is in collaboration with my husband Paul Rich, who is an excellent technical assistant. He’s an integral part of my work.

sl4JM: What do you draw from for the inspiration of Sparrow Lane?

HA: Looking back on the trajectory of my work, it has always been self referential and filled with personal narratives. I continue to be quite mystified by the past and the experience of being a child.

‘Sparrow Lane’ was in part inspired by a conversation I had with my friend, Fiona –  who I’ve been photographing since she was 7 and who is the little girl who loosely represents myself in the ‘Short Street Series’. She was telling me with so much enthusiasm how she had been reading the Nancy Drew novels, and it was delightful to reminisce with her, because I too had read most of the books when I was a young girl, and although I couldn’t recall a single plot, I realized the provocative images from the book covers were still nestled somewhere in my mind. 

I also had been wanting to start a new photo narrative series with adolescent girls in more empowering depictions and of course Nancy Drew – the sleuth – has consistently been one of few smart, curious, and empowering role models for young girls.

I used these formal/thematic conventions as a point of departure, but ultimately the forbidden knowledge the adolescent girls are on the cusp of acquiring in the “Sparrow Lane” series is a metaphor for the precarious transition from ‘girl’ to ‘woman’.   

My photo process has been also informed and influenced by my early training in traditional painting, my interest in religious Renaissance art and the mise en scenes of classic films – such as Alfred Hitchcocks’ work – the highly theatrical lighting, rich color combinations, compositions, and his many female protagonists. He was also a master at creating visual clues to communicate narratives without relying on dialogue.

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 Make sure to visit Holly Andres’ website to view the entire “Sparrow Lane” collection as well as additional photographs from her other bodies of work.

14
Jan
09

Jon: Perez Hilton interviewed by Chelsea Handler….

I hope you all are religously watching Chlesea Lately, the only worthwhile late night talk show since Conan O’brian stopped trying. Last night she had a fantastically catty interview with Perez Hilton which, though I don’t really like him, is totally entertaining.

03
Dec
08

Jon: The Strange Objects of Nicholas Von Grainger…

I was first exposed to Portland artist Nicholas Von Grainger when I saw his solo show at local gallery Art323. The show was a part of first Thursday, a monthly art walk in Portland’s Old Town district. I distinctly remember being immediatly taken aback upon encountering his paintings.At first this was largely due to their dramatic scale and vivid use of color. Quickly though, it became apparent that this was not the usual first Thursday fluff. Von Grainger has a truly adept, meaningful, and sparse brush stroke. His use of space and color is visually effecient with out sacrificing effect.  Not many local artists dare to work in oil, and even fewer succeed at the level of Von Grainger. Von Grainger has achieved something that few abstract painters outside of those you read about in text books have: he has created emotional and intellectual resonance.

I thought about his pieces for months, until once again encountering his work at another local gallery. This time, I took the initiative to track him down and have a quick chat with him about his past, present, and future artistic intentions……

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Former Obsession Nicholas Von Grainger (Oil on Canvas. 60″ X 48″. 2007)

 

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Lost Moment of Bliss Nicholas Von Grainger ( Oil on Canvas. 36″ X 36″. 2008)

 

 

Jon Miller: Your portfolio contains artwork spanning several years. Every piece is an abstract done in oil. What caused you to gravitate towards this medium and style? Has it always been your preferred niche, or did you grow into it?
 
Nicholas Von Grainger: I would say that I have grown into it. I have painted for as long as I can remember. I have explored other modes of creation during my artistic training but I always have come back to painting. However I was not always an abstract artist, nor did I [always] work with oils. Most of my early works, if you can call it that, were landscapes or fantasy based; stuff that occupies the minds of young boys. When I started thinking seriously about my art I fell in love with the impressionists and the abstract expressionists. The idea that one could express so much with so few visual components fascinated me. As I began thinking of going to art school, my cousin (who is quite an accomplished artist in his own right) introduced me to oil paints. As soon as I started using them I knew that I couldn’t go back to acrylics. There is something about the visceral sculptural quality of the paints and the colors you can achieve that makes them, in my mind, far superior to
acrylic paints. That coupled with the long history of artists that have used them sold me. In fact, I came to a realization that I was attempting to paint in acrylic images based off of images that where painted in oil. I was inevitably frustrated by it.   
 
JM: Many of your paintings include abstract objects. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind them?
 
NVG: The objects in this body of work are best described as non objects, or rather the ghosts of objects. They are intentionally non dimensional, like thoughts fleeting in and out of existence. I think of most of my paintings as snapshots of the subconscious. Maybe it is my subconscious or not, but mainly the paintings depict a conceptual consciousness as described by psychoanalytical theory. I feel that images in the subconscious are distorted and abstracted to allow for the transference into affecting our conscious thoughts which are awash with images generated and processed during and though our day to day existence. Furthermore my images are purposely devoid of depictions of the true carnal nature of existence to allow the viewer to linger and ask questions.
 
JM: The inclusion of these “non-objects” in most of your pieces as well as your love of the textural and dimensional qualities of oil both seem to be indicators that your expression as an artist is at least somewhat based in the world of sculpture, whether literally or just aesthetically. Is this something you have explored in the past? Do you see your paintings as sculptural art?

NVG: Yes. I have often thought of myself as a sculptor that paints. But I also think of myself as a painter that sculpts. I’m concerned with the creation of physical objects. Part of this creation is the construction of what I’m making; I need to make it stand up whether that means hanging on a wall or creating an entire supporting environment.  At this moment in time, painting is the outlet of my vision. I do sometimes think of the paintings as wall hung sculptures, but I never use that as an excuse to ignore the dimensional illusions of the painting.

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 In an Instant Nicholas Von Grainger (Oil on Canvas. 72″ X 96″. 2008)

 

JM: I love the contrast between the relaxing blues and creams you use as background, and the striking, almost violent reds you use in some foreground objects. These red objects seem to exist on a separate dimensional plane from the other non-red floating objects. What is the meaning behind them, and why did they begin to emerge in your more recent paintings? Is their resemblance to geographical structures purposeful?
 
NVG
: The red objects have several functions and meanings; they are at once reproducible stamps that I insert in my images and unique chaotic objects. The creation and destruction of the illusion of depth in paintings has always fascinated me (i.e. Japanese wood block prints where the clouds both create the illusion of space and at once flatten the image). I find the play in space causes the eye to flip back and forth into the different perspectives which in my mind creates beauty within the work. I have taken to calling these marks beauty stamps. The origin of the shape was as an incidental in one of my paintings. I noticed that the shape that was created was very similar to shapes that I was creating digitally using fractal geometry. So I set about creating these chaotic shapes based on a complex rule system that allows me maintain a similar but not identical pattern. I use them when the painting conceptually calls for them. They represent both emotion and feeling. They hide what can’t be seen. They interrupt the flow of the work and provide, much like the subconscious mind, the multiple overlaying thoughts in the painting.   
 
JM:  It is surprising to me that such a strong element in your work was created by using rule sets and fractals. This seems to further emphasize the duality present in your paintings between structural and emotional thought (i.e. right vs. left thinking). Do you think that as your work has progressed it has moved away from the emotional?

NVG: I cannot separate myself from my existence, so the work will always retain emotion. That said; yes the progression is more and more towards an analytical break down of an emotional existence. I seek to understand and ask questions of our mental and physical existence. To accomplish this I am exploring emotions scientifically, or at least psychoanalytically. Conceptually the duality in the paintings between the analytical and the emotional reflects our existence in this world. 

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Void Nicholas Von Grainger (Oil on canvas. 36″ X 36″. 2008)

 
JM: Who are some of the artists that inspire you?
 
NVG: There are so many artists that I have looked at and gleaned some piece of knowledge from that it would be impossible for me to list them. But artist that I go back to over and over again, in no particular order, are Matthew Barney, Odd Nerdrum, Francis Bacon, Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Stills, and Louise Bourgeois. As far as local (Portland, OR) artists go, I really like the work of Jennen Naggy, Jason Tregor, M.K. Guth, David Eckard, and Lucinda Parker.   
 
JM:  I can absolutely see the appeal that local painter Lucinda Parker would have for you. Both of your art seems to explore similar ideological space. However, her abstract studies portray the “subconscious non-objects” with-in a realm that is chaotic and, seemingly, bordering on violent.  Your paintings create a space that is entirely calming.
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NVG: My understanding of Lucinda’s work is that her subconscious non-objects are derived from a reaction to the natural environment which is infinitely chaotic and sometimes violent. Conversely my work is a reaction to introspective analysis. While the natural environments are often represented or present in my work, they are abstracted and simplified. The chaos is ever present but it is just not as energetically represented. I feel that in order to understand or analyze a subconscious thought it needs to be taken from the complexity of reality. It is still present in my work. It is just muted so the truth of the concept can be represented.


JM: What direction do you see your art moving towards in the future?

NVG: Currently the progression in my work has been going towards deeper subjects and situations. As my understanding of my research deepens, I’m finding the complexity of my objects is directly correlated to the complexity of the theories I am studying. My imagery is becoming more discordant and the surfaces are getting worked harder.

As to what I’ve got going on right now I just launched a new portfolio website at www.graingerstudios.com and I’ve been looking for a new gallery to represent my work. 

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Object 3 Nicholas Von Grainger (Oil on canvas. 60″ X 72″. 2006)

 

08
Sep
08

Jon: Sam Sparro interview and performance on ROVE…

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I think I’m in love. I’m not normally so into Top 40 club songs, or really dance music in general, but I just can’t get enough of Sam Sparro’s hit song “Black and Gold”. Plus, how hot is that chick with the electronic drum kit? I wish I had one… Any crazy Gaycondo stalkers wanna buy me one?

Those shoes really are pretty great too….

Part One (Interview)

Part Two (Performance)

I don’t normally get huge crushes on celebrities. Honest to god. But come on! He’s well dressed, talented, and he has a fucking cat named Helen Keller! Give me a break! How can any respectable fag NOT be in love with him?

02
Aug
08

Jon: “The proverbial cat lady. Yes sir, she’s a real hoarder….”

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via OMG Blog

“When I was a child, all I wanted was a kitten and my mom would not let me have one. So, she’s sorry now.

 

And here is the obligitory picture of our own little kitty sanctuary her at Gaycondo:

For another even more amazing video of the cat lady, keep reading….

Continue reading ‘Jon: “The proverbial cat lady. Yes sir, she’s a real hoarder….”’




Got any good leads?

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