i know it's april fools day, but this isn't a joke, i actually posted a bunch of drawings, paintings, and etc etc stuff on a flickr site last night. it's 7:38 am and i've been doing this since 1 am. it's done though! well, 95% done - so check it out:
yep! i put about 40 photos from my bike trip that would eventually snowball into 'next stop adventure 2'. i will apologize in advance for the "rainbowing" that happened on some of them - they're super glossy prints and my scanner isn't dealing well with that. but still, they're fun. oh, and they're in my 'photos' section under the album 'bike trip 2005' - bet you coulda figured out that one. nice work, detective.
just as a heads up, this is an interview, conducted with me, matt gauck, and awesome dude jes, the guy putting togther this zine, called das diabolical. as with all diy efforts, any and all support for him is appreciated. thank you in advance. and huge thanks to jes, for making me feel like i deserve to be interviewed. ha! ps - there's a link to the pdf of the whole zine through his website - it's got pictures that go along with my interview not featured here. this is just the text. you probably know that. thanks again!
Hey! To start off, introduce yourself and what you do.
my name is matt gauck, and i'm trying to sustain myself solely through illustration and painting. and dumpstering food.
Do you have any works for sale, or anything we should be aware of and where should we go if we want to view some of your art?
much everything i paint is for sale, which means all the stuff i do in my free time, i try to allow anyone who's interested the opportunity to own it, or a print of it. the most updated outpost of my endeavors is at my website, www.thedreamerandthefool.com - i also have a myspace site, but i try to keep my website more updated than my myspace. old habits die hard, i guess.
You seem to have a lot of different styles, regarding your art. Some are paintings, some are sketches, but all are very different and very good. How would you describe your art, in your own words?
to me, painting has always been a "necessary step" to be taken more seriously. i have always loved pencil on paper, and if i could simply leave images as pencil images, i would. however, the people want full color, and thus, i paint. i've also been told i use a paintbrush like a pencil. at any rate, drawing is the backbone of any good piece of art, so in order to paint well, one must draw well. stylistically, i think i aim to get the most said with the fewest amount of lines, in a way. i try to keep everything simple, yet capable of portraying something greater. i like to think i work with ideas, and the art itself does the communicating.
I think your art communicates quite a bit, actually. Is there any specific message you are trying to communicate through your art, or does each piece vary?
i aim for broad messages, but always something centering around 'creation' of things. this can be as broad 'creating your own world' to 'creating a friendship with something'. i like to think all my images are the start of a story, and that story always goes in the positive direction. i'm not much for destruction. i'm more of a 'hope' kind of guy. that's the general overarching idea, but i think each piece has a more specific message.
What is your favorite type of artwork to work on? Do you prefer any method over the others?
pencil is ideal, but i am also quite taken with printmaking, specifically etchings. i couldn't explain why, but i love it. oh, and scratchboard - i really love scratchboard.
What types of things do you get inspiration from, regarding where your ideas come from for different pieces?
to some extent, i'm not sure any of us "know" where ideas come from, but if i had to guess, i'd say it's all concepts of what i want to do with life, coupled with memories of growing up with my younger brother. most of my work involves travel of some kind, and i think that's very important to me. alot of times i'll have some great idea in my mind, and then while sketching it out, i'll tweak it to reflect something in my life. it's like my brain talks directly to my hands, without letting "me" know what i'm thinking. that sounds ridiculous, but i swear it's true.
As far as what you want to do with your life, what are you plans for the future? Where do you see yourself - artistically and personally - in 10 years or so?
having adopted the "i'll cross that bridge when i come to it" philosophy, i can't say with any real certainty. i'd like to find a box of money to pay off my student loans and travel perpetually, but failing that, i think i'll try to keep making art to support the diy community, and keep doing as many band-related things as i can. the problem is that so many other areas of illustration are used in ways i simply cannot support - selling stuff that shouldn't exist in the first place. I can get behind individual or small group efforts (bands, books) and even some larger ideas i agree with, anything inspiring or creative; but the vast majority of american illustration goes toward promoting a way of life i'm not only NOT supporting, but i am just plain 'against'. having said that, since i have a master's degree, i could teach, and i would really enjoying teaching printmaking, drawing, or a low-level painting class. preferably college level, because then i could convert all kinds of kids to diy ideals. like a project where you have to dumpster all the materials...ha, that's gonna be fun...
Would you say you were naturally gifted at drawing and painting, or was it something you had to work on to get really good?
ha - that's funny. i really believe everyone's got some creative force in them, and my happened to manifest itself in drawing. i drew a lot when i was in school, on math notes and such. i think i just kept at it long enough i got better. painting, however, i was awful at until like 3 years ago, when i gave up on advice from books and teachers, and simply starting painting more, trying not to ruin my drawings, like i normally did. i still have a lot of room for improvement, in both disciplines, but i am fairly happy with the direction they're both moving in.
How long do you usually spend when you sit down to work on something? Do you keep working on it until its done, or do you work on something over a period of time?
i really can't stand working on things over a long period of time, i'm more of a "start, work, finish" kind of guy. i'll often skip meals to finish paintings, and stay up stupidly late. there's something necessary, to me, about the immediacy of getting the idea "out" while it's still new. i've found that thinking about things for too long will result in over-thinking them, which ruins many brilliant concepts.
Who are your favorite artists?
i have two favorite artists, who i think it's painfully obvious that i really love their work - kathe kollowitz, a german printmaker whose images almost wholly dealt with starvation, the death of children, and the working class in the early 1900's. seriously, she can say more with one line than most people can with a bucket of paint and a megaphone. the other artist is bill watterson, the genius behind 'calvin and hobbes'. he stuck to his ideals, and kept the art exactly he wanted it, and produced one of the most memorable, yet simple, collections of socially aware artwork we'll ever see as a culture. both artists dealt with meaningful ideas, and both had beautifully simple rendering styles.
Do you think it's important for artists to convey some sort of "moral" or "meaining" in their work? It seems that a lot of the "modern art" you see doesn't really have much intended meaning - other than what you make of it. What's your opinion on this?
all art has meaning, often times what you, the audience, brings to it. some things are a little more straightforward, and offer little room for debate, which i tend to respect more. i think the "let the viewer find meaning" approach is kind of a cop-out, because while it does imply you have faith in the viewer (positive), it also means you can make arbitrary decisions without thinking about what you're doing. i cannot stress enough that creative production NEEDS to have a well thought out backing to it. without thought, you communicate nothing new. it would be like seeing someone at a protest with a completely blank sign. you understand they're trying to say something, but only you can assume what that is. and we all know what happens when you assume...
What is the best piece of advice you have or have gotten regarding the art community, and being an artist in general?
i think the best advice i got was to talk to just keep working at it, no matter what. nothing comes easy at first at all, i've done tons of drawings for little floundering labels and stuff like that, but for the one in thirty that makes it, and some kid emails me saying "man, i saw that logo, it was so cool!", it's always worth it.
Other than artwork, is there anything else your involved in?
i tour as an excellent merch guy, namely for circle takes the square, a punk band from savannah, georgia, and apart from that, i bike long distances when i get bored, and i'm a pro at dumpstering food. oh, and i write a zine, titled 'next stop adventure'.
How have your expirences on the road with CTTS been? Any interesting stories?
freaking awesome. i've toured 4 times with them, and they have been some of the most hectic and fun times of my life. travelling, in general, is something i feel everyone should make a point to do in their lives. it's easy to forget that there's a TON of life going on outside your field of vision. I've got a billion stories, met a ton of really awesome people, seen some great bands (including circle, obviously), and been to some really incredible shows. the official code of tour is "whatever happens on tour, stays on tour", which also accounts for why none of the stories are nearly as funny as they should be, when relayed to my "not tour" friends...but, i will give this one - after this show in madison, wi, we thought we had a place to stay that night, with a guy who said his place was "pretty small". we were touring with Junius, a really incredible band with even more amazing stage presence, so we had about 10 people that needed floor space, and we get to his apartment which has literally one room and a kitchen, and we PHYSICALLY couldn't fit everyone there. not even close. so instead, we crashed a house party across the street, danced a lot, and they let us stay in their living room. it was freaking hilarious.
Well, thanks for doing the interview. Anything else you'd like to add?
my pleasure - thanks for asking me! i only add that if you're interested in art-type stuff, email me. i'm really good about writing back. promise. oh, and thanks for reading.
that subject line, by the way, is, in fact, a play on that 'things that make you go hmmm' song from the ninties. if you missed it, i nearly did too. but forget that, this story is DYNAMITE.
so, the short 'background heads up' is that i recently moved to chicago, illinois. no real reason, per se, but i'm living here, and that's basically that. of the many things that happen in chicago, lollapalooza is one of them. this would have never affected me, as most music i listen to flies way under the 'pop music' radar, however, lollapalooza provided one gem this year.
my favorite band of all time, for the record, is rainer maria. i have nearly four thousand reasons to be head over heels for them, the least of which is their female singer (she touched my arm one time!). but that certainly isn't hurting them. now, rainer maria was, in fact, slated to play this year's lollapalooza, which perked my interest, as i could actually bike there in fifteen minutes, as compared to the previous 22 day bike ride to get to illinois. a small light in my brain flickered as i turned my nose up at the sixty-five dollar 'one day' ticket price. one band for sixty-five dollars? rainer maria would be worth it, yes, but if i could make a good story out of it...
ten a.m. - i wake up, grab one of my zines, and sign it 'to rainer maria, etc.'; and i also had the foresight to grab this little seemingly useless item of collectible uselessness; my 'last tour i went on' tour pass, with 'circle takes the square' written boldly on the front. basically it's a laminated 4 x 5 shiny printed thing, dates on one side, image on the other. looks pretty professional. looks may not be able to kill, but they CAN walk into places.
case in point - i show up to a 35 minute line around the block at the gate..and head for the 'back' end, where i knew the rainer maria stage was setup. i had hopes of AT LEAST being able to hear them play, which would've been good. but not good enough. i inspected the angles, threw out the 'fence hopping' idea right there, due to a lot of security. however, i recalled the reason the yankees win - everyone's always looking at the pin stripes...
i attached my keys and the aforementioned tour pass to my belt loop on the front, took a deep breath, and then walked right at security, faster than normal, like i had somewhere to be. in this case, the place was on the other side of the fence. i flashed the tour pass, and sure enough, got waved right in. my eyes widened a bit when i breached the first tier of security, and i rounded some trees, and popped out RIGHT at the stage i wanted to be at. i sat down near a tree, and for 25 minutes, i watched as a complete lack of security coming for me. it's almost like it WORKED!
and it did. rainer maria played, and it was great. being the only person who knew any words (in this case, ALL the words) was a nice confidence booster, to what was, at this point, a nearly unbearable ego, due to my charade as 'guy with the band guy'. so i figure, as they finish their set and exit the stage at the back, that perhaps i can push my luck even more. backstage was for people with the band, right? another security guard stood watch, and i wandered up, and was coincidentally met by the guitar player, to whom i talked for about 10 minutes. the last thing i asked was if their singer was around, so i could say hi, and he replied that 'sure, she's really nice - but i don't know if you can go back there'. i explained i had a pass, and he said 'oh, yeah, go for it then!' i even fooled rainer maria! i was in!
another confindent stride and a quick flash of my assumed status, and i was IN! backstage at lollapalooza! i hadn't paid anything! and didn't plan on it! ever again!
the long story short is that i talked to everyone in the band, and proceeded to overstep my lollapalooza boundaries (fences, if you will) by asking if they needed a merch guy, which was met with overwhelmingly optimistic responses. we'll see about that one, but since my quandry was met with more than a simple "no", i was ecstatic. i waved goodbye, which erupted in a group "bye matt!" from RAINER MARIA. it was great. i walked to the front of the stage, and found myself dead center of lollapalooza. for free. that's a funny situation to be in.
so after some aimless "i don't care because i didn't pay for this" wandering, i biked home, about 30 feet above the ground. best day in chicago yet. possibly ever.
for what it's worth, i came about a hair away from trying to get some free vitamin water for the 'band' i was with. the next idea i entertained was somehow getting a refund...
maybe next time. til then, cross your fingers that the next blog i spill out will be from the next rainer maria tour, titled "tales from the merch table..."