Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grass Hut Gallery Profile, Part Deux!


When last we left our intrepid interviewer, we read about Portland and its amazing explosion of artists, the best of whom are featured regularly at Grass Hut Gallery. But what about the work of co-owner Mr. Bwana Spoons himself?


PD: You have a new show open every month, but how much permanent space do you dedicate to your art and to Scrappers'? How has owning and operating the gallery affected your output of Bwana Spoons originals and toys?
BS: We dedicate a wall behind the driftwood counter where we sit to both our art. Not too much of it goes out into the main area of the shop. We mostly save that for all the other peeple we love. Having the shop has def slowed down my original output, but not really the toys. The one thing that really gave way was the zines. At first i was pretty sad that I don't have enough time to make my zines, but having a new artshow every month is really fulfilling the feeling that i would get showcasing an artist in Pencil Fight or Moonshine. Not being able to produce art is the one thing that I was afraid of with also running a shop. So far it's worked out pretty good, but I am sure i could do better at either if i gave one up. But right now i'm not giving up jack. I love making art, and showing the earth other peeple's work too much to give up either. Toy production has been pretty easy. I like working on toys at gh.


PD: What considerations do you have as an artist/gallery owner that another non-artist owner might not have.
BS: I think i have to be consious not to throw myself into every show just becasue I might want to be in an artshow with somebody i like. It looks kinda goofy to have a show like, "look, it's a Nara and Bwana show at Grass Hut". You know that would be my fantasy, but it would be just wrong.


: How about the advantages of being a gallery owner who's also an artist?
BS: I don't think there are any artist advantages. Owning a gallery and being an artist. Any smart and or sane person would do one or the other.
I guess maybe always seeing lots of OG art up close and personal is a nice advantage. it's very inspiring.


PD: How would you describe your art, and the direction it has grown in the past, say, 5-10 years? There's a distinctive environmental theme in your work. Is there a particular message you're sending out, or a discussion you are exploring visually with your paintings?
BS: I love the earth, and have a belief that no matter how bad we fuck it up, time, matter, and everything in between will continue on. I think in my art I try to show what life could be like if the earth were entirely covered in moss and mushrooms. Over the past years it evolves sometimes becoming more abstract and layered. I love reaching something new with paintings, either with aa technique, or through a new way to compose the piece. I think the whole time i have tried to make sure it is my own and not too much of a current current. So when somebody new looks at it, whether they like it or not, it can't be directly linked to another artist or movement. And for a returning viewer even as it evolves it's still recognizeable as my own work. Does that sound corny?


PD: Is that a trick question? Which answer will give us more time with you?
BS: Right now i love looking and being in nature. Uh... that's nothing new, but i always find something that feels refreshing and new to me.


PD: What's currently interesting you and influencing your work?
BS: The list of artists that turn me on would be endless and dorky. So i won't bother you with that.

PD: Is any or every part of your name your parent-given name? Too personal?
BS: Not too personal, but i want to leave a little to mystery.


PD: And when is your next non-GH show? Anything lined up?
BS: I have a solo show next week in Paris at Artoyz. I am excited and nervous. My goals for the nearish future is to have shows in more galleries about the earth. More installation work, more sculpture. there are some peeples working on a cartoon for me right now too. That's been exciting. As for other shows coming up non GH related- A few of us have a mini show coming up at Outre in Australia, and I'll be back in Tokyo in April as a guest at Superfestival (toygeek paradise), still working out the details for an artshow to coincide with. Oh, and I'm in a group show in Miami this December during art basil at Harold's place.


PD: What about Grass Hut's upcoming shows?
BS: Coming up-
Oct- hut on an island- Islands Fold x grass hut artists collab show + mini show off with Luke Ramsey
Nov- Evan Harris and his father
Dec- Grass Hut show- grass hut artists get together.
Jan- Gargamel Gang- they are coming to portland all the way from Koenji, tokyo for this. I am excited.
Feb- Sasquatchtenial- Ryan Berkeley, Theo Elsworth, Emily Counts, Erik Gage, and more. oregonians showcase eh.
March- Colin Johnson, Kristen Cammermeyer, Dan May, and Elizabeth haide (this one will shred)
April- Amanda Visell, Michelle Valigura, Anna Chambers, and joe Ledbetter (wait, this one will shred)
June- Bwana and Scrappers (maybe)
July- Together Gang
August- TBA
Sept- Itokin park, Martin Ontiveros, Le Merde, and a few others TBA
Oct- lori Damiano either solo or friends.

James Jean, by request

PD: So where do you see GH Gallery going? Any big plans or hopes for the future?
BS: I want to keep GH around for a while. It will evolve, but in what direction we don't know. We want it to evolve naturally. Maybe someday it will be grass hut gallery, shop and teahouse. Or maybe it will remain an art market. My original vision years ago was a gallery called Homecash. You could check out new art and get fresh eggs and milk.


We want to thank Bwana for taking the time to give us the lowdown on the amazing Grass Ht Gallery. And while we LOVE GH, we sincerely home to see a Homecash coming to our neighborhood soon. Don't forget to sign up for the GH newsletter that gives you first access to all of the incredible art GH has to offer.


And here's more on Bwana's Paris show Hunt and Gather, opening Thursday September 25 at Artoyz. "Bwana Spoons was raised in the woods. He likes moss and Lego and monsters. When he was a little one he would draw detailed crayon renderings of all his favorite Star Wars figures.

When he was older he lost them all in a battle with a mildew giant. He likes making zines and comics and paintings and silk-screened prints and designing toys and making things with rainbows and animals. Recently Bwana was bitten by the textile bug. He has designed shoes for Converse, and Dekline, tees for Giant Robot, and MonsieurT., and baby strollers for Bumbleride. This is his first exhibition in Europe, and he’ll be in the attendance for the opening party that will take place on Thursday 25th September from 7PM."

Grass Hut Gallery Feature, Part One

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