Please join us this weekend
at Needles & Pens,
Saturday 6:00 - 9:30 PM
(October 3rd, 2009)
for the opening reception of
If, Then Maybe...
featuring new works by
& Michael Sieben
Three fellows from Austin, Texas
and a gent from Southern California
** In Addition, there will be an olde-time musical
performance by Tim Kerr, Eric Landmark and others! **
Tim Kerr is most well-known as being the guitarist in the seminal Austin Texas skate punk band, The Big Boys (and later such influential acts such as Poison 13, Lord High Fixers, and the Total Sound Direct Action Committee). In the last decade, he's also taken to the visual arts and has been well received for his paintings. He's shown his artwork internationally, in Chicago, New York, London, and most recently Berlin. The works pay homage to the inspirational figures he's encountered throughout his life - artists, jazz musicians, poets, authors, civil rights leaders, etc... Kerr's work is the equivalent of a history lesson, but not the kind one would read in the average text book. Rather, the individuals in Kerr's work are the unsung heroes of America, ...the little guys you don't hear about. Staring at the work, one can't help but be moved and overcome with the feeling to contribute something positive to the world, or as Kerr would demand, 'What are you doing to participate?' - Andrew Scott
Russ Pope has been an artist since he was able to hold a pencil. He drew through many days at school when others were doing schoolwork. He drew comic book superheroes at home and invented characters that came to life with the touch of his pencil to paper. Art classes were the best part of high school. As a teen, art and skateboarding first collided when some of his art was used by skateboard companies. During these years, he worked and rode for SmallRoom Skateboards, traveled to skate spots around the US and worked in a skate shop in San Luis Obispo, California.
Since then, skateboarding and art have continued to sustain Russ's drive to create. During his college years, he ran SMA Skateboards, and later started Creature Skateboards, Scarecrow Skateboards and did stints at Black Label, Duffs, and currently finds himself at Fallen Footwear. Early on, he took art classes at night. Living in a redwood grove in a house heated only with a homemade wood-burning stove, Russ set up an easel in the kitchen and, in the winter, often had to paint by candle light when the power went out for days at a time.
When one looks at Russ's art, it is easy to see that his painting is as integral to his life and sanity as food, water, music, skateboarding and family. The rawness of his work can be felt by viewing the large brush strokes, thick lines and drippy backgrounds of many pieces. One senses music and movement through the application of color, image and brush strokes. Elements of culture, politics, animals and celebration pop out of the base of his art. It is easy to feel freedom, chaos and release when one views Russ's pieces as a body of work, these feelings are fundamental to his life and work. --J. Bostwick
Michael Sieben received his BFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. He was one of four founding members of Camp Fig Gallery (2002-2006) and is a founding member of Okay Mountain Gallery (2006-Present.) His work has been shown throughout the United States as well as Japan, London, Mexico, and Peru. Michael works as a professional illustrator and designer primarily within the subculture of skateboarding and has been a staff writer and illustrator for Thrasher Magazine since 2004. In 2008 he and his friend Stacy Lowery launched their own skateboard brand, Roger Skateboards. Gingko Press in association with Upper Playground recently published a 96 page book of his artwork titled: There's Nothing Wrong With You (Hopefully.) Michael currently lives and works in South Austin in a red brick house with his wife Allison, their two cats, and 5 raccoons in the backyard.
Mathew Rodriguez "This is the thing about stripped-down, bare-bones cartoon illustration: It can communicate important safety information or juvenile fantasy proto-political stencils. The outlined character art is clear, transcending linguistic barriers and uniting those who were raised by TV, the kind of people who keep a TV schedule in their minds that's more accurate than their résumés or their diaries. Matthew Rodriguez is a TV kid, but in a good way. Though raised by TV, he is a self-made man and open to city life as it really is. Drawing on typing paper, painting rainbows on purses, drinking Sparks, and making puppet shows. His comical paintings evoke smiles via familiar song lyrics and cheerful imagery. What I call recycling found objects, he calls Dumpster diving. His resourcefulness is impressive.
Rodriguez has enough sense to listen to the people, to listen to his audience. Bums tell him about his painting, and he asks questions. He leaves a box out in the gallery for secret notes, decorated with "I'll write back." People leave him notes, they stuff stickers and drawings in there, and they invite him to parties. For the cartoon heritage, for the shy guy, the artwork speaks, so he doesn't have to. His puppet Coupon dances and throws things, so we can laugh and not throw things.
Rodriguez is a rising star on the national art scene. He's had successful exhibits in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, to name some outside of Texas, and this week he's opening his first solo exhibit, "duck, duck, GOOSE," at Volitant Gallery here in his hometown. He's motivated and ambitious, with boundless energy. I know one thing: When I'm at home sleeping my regular nine hours, he is not. As director of Gallery Lombardi, I have a less-than-objective view of him. Since 2003, I've worked with him on "Language of the Railroader," "Beans & Rice," "Mulligan Stew," and now "Austin Graffiti Art From Birth to Present," opening Aug. 26. So there, is this guy really that funny? Go see his artwork and decide for yourself." - Rachel Koper of the Austin Chronicle
(*on display through November 1st, 2009)