Thursday, November 13, 2014

David Barclay Interview

Today we are talking with David Barclay about his creative process, zine making, and of course, Tim Allen. 

Check out his website:

Your body of work is pretty sprawling, you've got music projects, zines, t shirts, maps. How would you describe yourself creatively?

Amateur artist, in the sense that we are all amateur artists.  This may sound naive, but almost all the music I've made usually has some sort of theme along the lines of 'everyone can/should be in a band'.  I guess I feel the same way about art or pretty much any creative outlet a person may have - at least as a counter to the constant 'your hobby is for professionals' message that gets hammered home 99% of the time we consume any type of art/music/craft/etc.

Let's talk about Tool Time. The lyrics are all inspired by the 90's family sitcom "Home Improvement" and the music is composed of samples of the 90's prog metal band TOOL. Do I have that right? How did this idea form?  Is there a live performance aspect to the project?

Yes, the music by the band 'Tool Time' is entirely created from samples of the band 'Tool'.  The original idea for the band was to be a power trio, where I (Al Boreland) play bass, Greg Prout (Tim Taylor) play guitar and some unknown person plays drums behind a white picket fence (Wilson).  Since the internet makes all novelty ideas into real, true, fruitful and meaningful ideas, I eventually (2+ years later) recorded a few songs under this original vision, using the Tool source material in the place of instruments.  
The subject matter of the music deals with Tool Time, Tim "the tool man" Taylor, Home Improvement, Tim Allen and all the boundaries between them.
I have played a few shows and one key aspect of the band is that I wear blue jeans on stage.  This is notable considering my personal history of never ever wearing blue jeans in real life ever in my whole life.

Your website has a lot of different offerings, most of them sold out, but it serves as a good history of your work. There's a sweet map of all of the vendors of maps of the homes of celebrities in Beverly Hills, a cassette tape compilation of one note guitar solos, and a zine about St. John's, Newfoundland that highlights Pontiac Sunfires in different locations.  How long have you been doing this, and what is the thread that ties all of these sundry ideas together, if any?

I started lumping music, t-shirts, internet stuff and zines together in 2008ish.  Some of the t-shirts were about songs that my wildly unpopular San Diego based band at the time (the endless bummer) was performing.  The zines were mainly a result of taking the unanimous and ubiquitous hobby of 'photography' slightly more seriously.  In general, many of these projects are based on the popular push to classify everything, something that the digital sledgehammer of the internet/computing really allows us to do.  I also really like the idea of large impossible tasks being broken down into trivial infinitesimal tasks, carried out over a long period of time.  This is something that people do in science all the time, and seems like an appropriate and personal approach to art/craft/whatever in the hyper internet/computing era.

You recently put together a zine of photos of closed or otherwise prohibited destination in Cape Cod, called Vacation Paradise. Did go out with a camera with this idea in mind, or did it come together later?

The original idea was to photography all the ice cream stands of Cape Cod in the middle of winter.  I spent a few days doing it, but was underwhelmed with the results.  In the meantime, I had been collecting photos of the wastefully excessive empty and boarded up summer homes as well as the hostile and elitist private beach/no access signs.  It was pretty obvious that even though these images weren't a strict visual collection like my previous zines, that they were a succinct summation of my relationship with this place, which was the original objective of photographing the ice cream places. (check it out here )

A lot of your work has a lot to do with location. Do you get inspired by places in different ways?

I think this is just because I like using photography as a tourist would, not as an artist or a studio?  I definitely get inspired by place quite a bit, but have never really questioned if that is a common experience or not. 

I've heard you have a very large record collection? 

Sadly, yes.

Any future projects in mind? Will you be DJing anywhere soon?

I've been playing a bunch in the band 'coach longlegs' but the keyboardist is going to Russia for a year, which means I'm going to start a new band.  I've been thinking about that almost everyday.  I've been DJing once a month in Cambridge at a weird sit down bar called River Gods (next night is November 22nd).  I've been slowly working on a project that involves me listening to radio stations from all over the world and listening to the 'best music' and 'top hits'.  That's about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

John Denmat Interview

Secret Awesome artist feature with John Denmat! John currently works as a tattoo artist at Bambu Tattoo Art Studio in Providence, RI. We talk tattoos, rad drawings and podcasts.

Check his work out here:

Do you remember what got the ball rolling for you creatively?
-Things really took a turn for me after college. I graduated from art school and basically went right into working the lowest paying jobs of all time (seafood restaurant, pizza place, grocery store). I barely did any drawing it was such a bummer! After a few years of that I realized I couldn't take it anymore and promptly quit my job, moved to Falmouth and met up with Zak and the rest of the SA crew and it really jump started my creativity in a huge way. Been drawing like a maniac ever since!

What sorts of things inspire/inform your work?

-So much! The more I open myself up to inspiration the more I can learn. Science, astronomy, science fiction and fantasy play a huge part in what I like to draw but I am also really inspired by the work ethic in others. My friends make so much amazing work that is way different from my own, and that really makes me want to get drawing.

You work as a tattoo artist, has your drawing style always lent itself to that, or have you had to create a style in tattooing that works for you?

-Tattooing is so unlike drawing in just about every single way. A lot of the stuff I draw tends to be highly detailed and geometric, and that's really no good for tattoos (Well, maybe not for beginners like myself. There are some amazing tattoo artists that specialize in micro detail and geometry). Learning to draw simplistically is challenging but it's fun because I feel like I am expanding my style.

You've also designed skateboards, album covers, and fabric for hats, is that a different mental process? Do you hope to do more things like it?

-It's so much fun to do that stuff! It is honestly something I wish I could go back in time and show to my younger self. I'm most proud of my collaborative projects and especially the other artists I work with, because they do all the hard work and actually make the thing! It's so cool to see an idea become reality like that.

Do you make art for the fame or for the immeasurable wealth?

-The thought of being either famous or wealthy literally makes me want to puke. I make art because if I didn't, my head would explode.

Your favorite music to draw to?

-I actually listen to a lot of comedy and science podcasts while drawing. The Best Show on WFMU, Star Talk Radio, Stop Podcasting Yourself, Stuff You Should Know and Superego are my go to podcasts. I also listen to a lot of rap music (what a horribly sentence that makes me sound like an old loser). I've been playing Freddie Gibbs and Run the Jewels on repeat lately.

What would your dream project be?
-Opening a permanent Secret Awesome gallery and studio space. In outer space. Tattoo studio adjacent. Reserved parking for me.