Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here at Culture Lust, we've heard our fair share of tales about artists tapping off-the-wall sources in search of inspiration. But for artist Jason Sherry, an unexpected muse came in the form of a... landlord?
“I own a duplex in South Park, and when Jason and his girlfriend - now wife - wanted to move in, I made sure they were the first people to get a unit,” says filmmaker Matt Hoyt.
Both musicians, the two originally met when their respective bands shared multiple gigs, and they're now neighbors (and, naturally, best friends). They frequently collaborate to create artsy shorts for Hoyt's studio, Wormwood Films, and their latest, "Antarctica...Huh?" was selected to be on display at MCASD's "Here Not There," which bills a carefully-curated selection of local artists on the rise.
The mixed-media installation that features the Wes Anderson-esque, lo-fi hilarious T.V. pilot ensconced in Sherry’s imaginative set has been garnering serious buzz – and even a smile or two – from the local culture club.
Want in? You can catch it at the museum ‘till Sept. 19, or you can visit the Sherwood Auditorium tonight for a special screening at MCASD’s Film/New Media Night. We caught up with the duo to find out what it’s really like to collaborate with the artist next door.
Tell me a little bit about your working relationship. What’s a typical brainstorm session like?
Matt Hoyt: We constantly bat ideas back and forth when we hang out or talk on the phone. These ideas can range from concepts related to film, television, music, technology, food, art, etc. Jason just bought an ice-cream maker, so we’ll see what comes of that.
How did the idea to collaborate come about?
MH: The idea to actually produce a TV show in our backyard has been on the table for quite some time. In fact, we joked so much about actually producing” Antarctic…Huh?” it almost turned into a dare to see which one of us was going to start our respective roles first.
Matt, plot is everything. Where’d you come up with this one? It’s pretty unique.
“Anarctic…Huh?” came about when I was working on an independent film that never reached completion. While driving from San Francisco to LA, I came up with the idea of making a TV show that was a parody of a TV show. The title and the premise of a guy working the landfill on Antarctica really cracked us up…after years of running possible scenarios, plot outlines, and character sketches in our heads, Jason and I finally sat down and figured out a way to essentially produce everything ourselves.
And Jason, tell us a little more about the room you created at MCASD... creative catalyst?
Jason Sherry: The environment within the video was inspired by my mode of art-making in general, which is one of scavenging materials out of necessity. All of the imagery that composes the backdrop of the video is made up of found images. They are mostly images of peoples’ vacations in Alaska, Puerto Rico, Germany, Hawaii, Denmark, Mexico, China, and England that I have found in thrift stores and swap meets over the past fifteen years. Some of the other images are from my grandfather’s Sears catalogs he saved from 1978.
Wow. All in the details, right? What else?
JS: Another key aspect of the environment in the video is the miniature snowscape I constructed containing the models my friend, Jesse, and I built. The inspiration for doing the miniatures comes from my love of all the movies that have ever used them, and the desire to actually do that myself. The environment made to accompany the video in the museum was conceived as an inviting place to sit and watch a TV show that was informed by the objects that surround it.
There's a couch in the museum so people can sit and watch your video. Why the couch?
JS: The couch in the installation was constructed to be a functional couch, but at the same time be a conceptual accompaniment the video. Where I am presenting a kind of archeological presentation of a normal American couch, we are also presenting a sort of dissected version of television. The specific inspiration for the couch came when my neighbor, Andy, and I finished ripping off its upholstery. I noticed how the staining of its nails and decades of wear had made it visually interesting. It made me think of when I visited Pompeii. I took special notice of the frescoes. They were trying to preserve them by screwing plexiglass over them, yet, essentially being invasive to the idea of preservation.
And how do you two think environment affects the relationship between art and the viewer?
MH: The specific use of space in the museum allows the viewer to watch our video on a television screen, then, at some point, the patron will realize that the fictional world portrayed in the video is actually sitting right in front of them in the form of a miniature 3D model - the actual model that’s used as one of the sets - and that’s an exciting revelation. It’s environmentally conscious.
Jason, as a well-known S.D. artist, is there anyone that made an impression on you at “Here Not There”?
JS: All of them.
I agree! So, any caveats to collaborating with a friend?
MH: It’s fun – but sometimes, it’s too much fun, and you stay up til 6:30 in the morning watching “Three’s Company” reruns, and that ruins your day.
Ha! So, for fun, you…
MH: We spend a great deal of time watching the worst movies and television shows we can find, that are all but lost in the annals of obscurity. It’s for research, but the fun kind of research.
What’s next for both of you?
MH: Episode 2 of “Antarctic…Huh?” for both of us. Jason continues to work on new pieces in his studio for the Luis De Jesus Gallery in LA for exhibition sometime next year. I’m working on feature film scripts, more TV ideas, and directing a commercial.
You can catch a special screening of ”Antarctic…Huh?” tonight at 7 at MCASD’s Film/New Media Night, happening at the Sherwood Auditorium. An artist roundtable will follow.