INTERNal Affairs is a series by GCAC Curatorial Intern and CSUF Art History major Shauna Hultgrien.
It’s spreading. Fast and unapologetic, the Creative bug is buzzing and has struck the arts community of Santa Ana. I’ve been on the front line here at Grand Central Art Center for just a few months now, but in that time I have seen artists turned mad with ingenuity and innovation, hardly able to contain their creative impulses; once the Creative bug bites the virus seems to run rampant through its host. After experiencing October’s first Saturday Art Walk, it has become abundantly clear that this outbreak has viciously begun to affect the arts community at large. The symptoms by which this virus manifests itself are as diverse and varied as the artists themselves. It is still unclear as to how this creativity spreads: is it contact? Is it airborne? Is it something in the water? Perhaps it’s some sort of contamination of the food? As you know, my Internet friends, I am no doctor; no, I am simply GCAC’s humble intern and your loyal reporter, so let’s take this time to review the evidence together and get to the bottom of this epidemic.
I did my best to expect the unexpected during October’s Art Walk. I realize that this is the month of mischief and mayhem, so I kept an open mind and a watchful eye for anything out of the ordinary. This proved to be an arduous task; the last three months GCAC has happily facilitated artist Eamonn Fox, and for those of you who have experienced Fox and/or his work can sympathize when I say, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish the ordinary from the extraordinary. I have somehow seemed to normalize absurdity and thusly am phased by very little. This speaks volumes to my bewilderment that was to occur on Saturday, but I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning.
So, it began like any other art walk, eager patrons strolling in to GCAC to get their last glimpse of Beatriz Cortez’s The Time Machine, and Eamonn Fox’s Solo Residency Exhibition for the Purposes of Furthering My Career, as well as to witness the unveiling of Cumulus, the newest installation in the main gallery by Matthew Moore and Braden King. Fox decided to take full advantage of his last art walk here with us by using his space to host The Eternal Telethon, a telethon for the 21st century organized by artist Jen Bruce, with Paul Michael White Jr., Niko Solorio, Alexis Disselkoen and Marcos de la Siref. Artists of varying talents took turns in front of the crowd and in front of the webcam (the telethon was streaming live on the internet), showcasing their skills for our enjoyment. This was the first indicator that the Creativity virus was spreading; artists from San Diego to Bakersfield turned out to plug in to this artistic outlet. There were musical acts, comedy routines, performance pieces, and two lively MCs that seamlessly supplemented the show. The inundation of artists and their passion for their craft indicated that they had not escaped the clutches of the Creative bug. Upon noticing this, my concern for the patrons grew. Not wanting to alarm anyone at a potential infestation of creativity here at GCAC, I carefully and quietly scanned the masses for signs of the Creativity bug. The crowd persisted through the Telethon in its entirety, excusing themselves occasionally to take their turn in The Time Machine or to gasp in awe at the enormously impressive Cumulus. All seemed well, until I saw it. I caught a glimpse of a patron’s eye and there it was, that glimmer of craze. I knew they had caught the bug; a sort of benign rabidity that propelled them through the galleries until their creative appetites were satisfied hastened their movements.
The glow of the perfectly formatted projections on to the wooden reconstruction of the LA Aqueduct emanated from the gallery that houses Cumulus, or what King calls, “ 50 feet, 6,000 pounds, and18,000 lumens of awesome.” Feeling overwhelmed by the artistic greatness housed in GCAC and by the realization that the Creative virus is much bigger that I had initially suspected, I ran into the promenade for some fresh air, but that crazed look was in nearly everyone’s eyes! The vendors, the street performers, the passerby’s; in a dazed panic I stumbled towards the nearest illuminated room and found myself in the Memphis of Santora’s Backdoor Gallery. The modest gallery, donated by artist, curator and CSUF/GCAC MFA alum David Michael Lee, has become the new home to the works of some of Cal State University Fullerton’s students. Curator, featured artist, and GCAC MFA resident Caesar D. Alzate Jr. assured me that this was to be the first of many shows that would take place in the space. I was happy to meet our neighbors, but it only confirmed my fears that this Creative bug had spread past GCAC’s walls and was now beyond anyone’s control.
(Artists Matthew Moore, Braden King, Micol Hebron, Carrie Marill, Jesse Sugarmann, Tony de los Reyes gather with program/projection system designer Brian Chasalow, Cherry and Martin gallery owner Mary Leigh Cherry, Filmmaker Alexa Sau, Sound Editor Borja Sau for post reception get together at C4)
My head spinning, I made my way back to GCAC where I ran into Matthew Moore and Braden King, who were both enjoying the opening of their remarkable installation, along with program/projection system designer Brian Chasalow and project assistant Kim Larkin. I knew that the Creative bug had bitten them all; it was abundantly evident in their work. Over the last month their condition never stabilized, it only intensified as the scope of their project seemed to abandon all boundaries until it eventually culminated into the fantastic creation that is Cumulus. It was then that I began to notice some familiar faces around the gallery and I realized then that I had been naïve to believe that the Creative epidemic had only been affecting Santa Ana. The return of Mary Leigh Cherry and Tony de los Reyes to the corridors of GCAC was a happy reunion after de los Reyes 2012 show in our gallery, but this also a red flag, the Creative bug was much more powerful than I anticipated. This was further confirmed when I noticed Creative Capital grantee artists, Jim Skuldt and Jesse Sugarmann bouncing between the galleries. King and Moore are also Creative Capital artists, so to have four under one roof was overwhelming to a young, impressionable intern such as myself. Artists Carrie Marill and Micol Hebron were roaming the spaces as well. The coup de gras, however, was when Lauren Bon parked her mules from her upcoming, 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct so that she could experience Cumulus, which stands as another homage to the centennial celebration of the LA Aqueduct. It was then that I came to a full realization that Creative bug cannot be contained; it’s indiscriminately hitting everyone and surfacing in the form of fantastically innovative works.
So that’s it Internet community, but I don’t know where this leaves us. After this recap of events, the only conclusion that I have reached is that no one is safe. I suppose my only advice is to enjoy it, because if you haven’t encountered the Creative bug yet, you soon will. Especially if you choose to join us on November 2nd for the first Saturday Art Walk when GCAC will continue Cumulus and open two new shows, Aili Schmeltz’s Cross Cut and Rage Bear: Juggling Awesome curated by MFA in Illustration student Marvin Chow. That evening will also mark the beginning of Tim Youd‘s month long “Performing” A Scanner Darkly and we’ll host a one night Big Draw LA event for the entire family with Ryman Arts throughout the evening. And did I mention, artist Vincent Goudreau arrives in residence this week from Maui and will be at GCAC for the next two months? Since contact with the Creative bug is inevitable, I suggest you welcome it with open arms and join us sooner rather than later here at GCAC. I hope that you come to your senses and embrace the madness because if you can’t beat them, join them. This is the GCAC intern, over and out.