- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- GUERRILLA ART! : Co-organizer Neal Breton of San Luis Art Supply (he’s the guy with the screw gun) helps donating artists mount their work on the wall of a construction barrier on Higuera Street, the scene of the last impromptu art show in which passersby were invited to take the work home for free.
You shouldn’t buy a pig in a poke. Why? Because a poke is a sack, and if you don’t look in the sack first, you might get home to find you’ve purchased a feral, one-eyed, three-legged kitten with abscessed sores and rabies.Never look a gift horse in the mouth. You can tell a horse’s age by its teeth, so it’s insulting to the giver, who wants someone else—a sucker like you—to take over the care and feeding of this ancient, expensive, and useless pile of future glue.
Now I’ve got a new one for you: Never trust free art.
Think about it. Somebody gives you some art for free, and, first of all, you won’t value it as much as if you had to lay down some hard, cold cash; and second, you’re gonna get this thing home, pin it to your wall, grow tired of it, and stick it in the closet. Then, naggingly, every time you open the closet and see it shoved in there like that thigh exerciser you bought that one time, you’re going to feel real, real guilty for taking home an artist’s work and then not appreciating it enough to display it like the treasure the artist’s mom thinks it is. Seriously, she’d have that sucker on her fridge in a second, but the artist and his or her mother aren’t speaking right now because of that cigarette smoking thing and the sneaking $20 out of her purse that one time. Well, you know. Artists!
I mention all this because New Times Arts Editor and New Art Collective founder Ashley Schwellenbach has once again hooped me into another of her crazy schemes. The last time I agreed to one of her ideas, she had a bride running down Higuera Street during Farmers Market while being chased by a frantic wedding party, only to have the bride jump on the back of my motorcycle and race away as the bridal party broke down in tears and committed ritual suicide near Nipomo Street (I may have embellished that last part—I was racing away with a wedding gown-clad babe on the back of my bike, so I was preoccupied).
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
- YOU WANT IT? SO TAKE IT! : On Saturday, Dec. 5, the New Art Collective will again mount an underground art show. To find out where it is, you’ll need to visit San Luis Art Supply (1120 Morro St.) between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m., and not look like a cop, because if you do you’ll get sent on a wild goose chase, suckers!
“Mostly we hung out for awhile and then the various artists took home each other’s work,” said Breton of the last guerilla show. “There were a dozen or so people, but it was a Sunday morning—logistically I think the planning should have been a little more developed—so it was almost like an art show for ourselves. There were some passersby walking through and looking, and some took some art. We felt it was a success because a group of artists gathered, exchanged ideas and critiques.”
OK, but why would artists want to give away their art for free?
“Well, being an idealist, I think they would feel like having their art out there for someone who would enjoy it is part of the payoff of being an artist—to enlighten and make someone else happy,” offered Breton. “And it’s good promotion. Put it out there for free for a while, and soon you can charge for it. It’s like what Shepard Fairey did, like what graffiti artists do. They fall all over themselves trying to get their work out there, so this almost the same sort of thing.”
On the plus side, the New Art Collective artists aren’t defacing someone else’s property, only borrowing a wall for display. I’m told no walls will be harmed in the mounting of this art show.
“I hope artists will want to take part because they’re sick of the way galleries are treating them,” continued Breton, building steam … a little of which seemed to be slipping from his ears as he thought about the evil gallery system. “They’re sick of galleries saying, ‘You’re not painting what we think people give a shit about.’”
He actually spit the word “shit.” Stupid galleries!
“Schwellenbach,” I say, “quit licking my hand and explain why you’re going to give away your photos.”
“Well, a) Because no one’s going to pay for them in this economy and I haven’t established a name for myself as a photographer, b) I already have them. They’re just sitting on my computer and it doesn’t cost all that much to print them and someone who hasn’t been to Morocco can appreciate them, and c) It’d be nice to be on the other side of the gallery, to be the artist instead of the critic.”
Yes, this all sounds idiotic. And yes, I’m an idiot because I agreed to donate some art. But I’m also very, very clever. I’m going to go through the stacks in my studio and pull out the most horrifying, terrible, pathetic images I’ve ever constructed and then pawn them off on Ashley and Neal’s artist friends, or you if you’ve got the stones to go by San Luis Art Supply on Saturday morning to discover the secret locale for this art show, then go to it, and then take home one of my horrifying images.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to herd a pest out of my office. All that licking is beginning to chafe.
Glen Starkey takes a beating and then keeps on bleating. Contact him at email@example.com.