There’s nothing more satisfying then seeing IFC’s Portlandia attach yet more humor to the inner crazy pretense of the art world.
Portlandia co-creators, Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are reprising their roles as those hyper diligent ambassadors of bad art. The last time we saw Gigi (Brownstein) & Phil (Armisen), they were running Bad Art Good Walls, a company whose sole purpose was to supply coffee shops with horrible art.
At one point in the sketch, as Phil gets an order ready, Gigi hilariously suggests they check in with their co-worker Sean (guest star Sean Hayes) for options because “he just got back from an art fair”.
This time around, they run an art supply store called Shocking Art Supplies, and it’s got all those anti-corporate art school project trappings – pre-smashed TVs, upside down flags, doll parts, and mannequins. Famed street artist, Shepard Fairey puts in an appearance as their jaded sales clerk. Fairey can be seen stocking shelves in the background and demonstrating how to intrinsically use mismatched doll parts. Mockingly good scene comes in at 0:52 as Fairey uses a stencil to spray a “Riot Cop” onto the chest of a mannequin.
Fairey announced the cameo on his Instagram saying, “The part I play, a jaded art store employee, was set in the exact art store where I bought my art supplies while staying in Portland for a stint a few summers ago. I’m no actor, but this part, along with maybe “jaded art student” or “jaded skate shop employee,” are the closest I’ll ever get to method acting.”
From Tim Hutton's red barn in Patterson, NY., on the throwback metro north it is an hour and twenty minutes to Grand Central. From Lyn and Sam Schwab's refined, high brow, blow your mind collection on the upper west, it is the F train straight down to my bare bones studio 6th + Spring. From LAFCO's warehouse where I nail canvas into the concrete walls and borrow house paint it is 3011 miles to Los Angeles, California.
The subway fare is $2.50 a pop and I hadn't sold in weeks so was entering through the exit, kissing MTAngels every time. My converse high tops are wrapped in gorilla tape and covered in paint. On the night train back to Hutton's rocking slightly and hearing Hendrix, I wondered why I haven't quit yet. Looking down at a hand-me-down blackberry making sure it wasn't impossible to hit the connecting train the red light blinked slow:
August 24, 2012
“Dana I believe in you as an artist.”
Flea. The king of my heart that night would days later pay my way back to the City of Angeles. It was time, once again to hustle up some good and raise coin for his music school. My duty and privilege. Silverlake Conservatory of Music (no 'the' same as no 'the' before Red Hot Chili Peppers) is the home I never had and the family I'll always fight for. Founded in 2001 by Flea and his not by blood brother Tree, SCM as we've tagged it facilitates basic music education at a low-cost for the youth of Los Angeles. If a child cannot afford to study, they receive a scholarship and an instrument. Period. Walk in the door at 3920 Sunset Boulevard and you'll be cold clocked by LOVE.
The dream is big. To purchase a neighboring building on Hollywood Blvd expanding the Conservatory's breadth and locking in its' permanence. Truth be told, when its all said and done the project will run close to 10 million bucks. Sitting in the 8am sun at Cora's in Santa Monica, Flea, Anthony and I all heard Steve Bing when he said with his trademark fast certainty- "...buy the building, raise the funds later....people need to see first." He is right.
On October 16, 2012, Flea turned 50 years young and wiser. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rancid performed acoustic sets the quality of which blew my mind. Read the Rolling Stone piece for the music exactness of it all, that isn’t my speak. Ben Harper responded to a ‘will you surprise flea + sing please ben’ text with an instant “yes”. We tried like hell to sneak attack our bass player, but alas night of Flea walked smack into Ben with his guitar in hand coming up the steep driveway. Nonetheless, ‘Hallelujah’ graced that lit up back yard with enough heart to break evil’s back. Three scholarship students performed with enough formal chops to open for rock stars.
Massive white art walls were erected by our beloved and brilliant friend Gareth Kantner whose vision matches his fire without fail. Takashi Murakami sent a portrait of Flea in a Fort Knox tight crate plastered with Japanese anime ‘fragile stickers’. The notoriously meticulous artist used Gus Van Sant’s photo of Flea clad in a ‘fuck you I don’t care about you’ tee as a floating foreground played over trademark pop daisies painted in platinum dust. Take it to the bank.
Before leaving NYC, I picked up 2 pieces from Raymond Pettibon’s studio on White Street, where a basketball hoop is installed along one wall and messy, chopped up genius is everywhere. 11th hour, day of the gig Flea declared, “hey Dana… Banksy’s sending work”. Not long after, a stunning pixie cut UK beauty appeared with a driller rat. It would sell to UFC president Dana White for $111,000.00. Matt Monahan’s wall sculpture balanced the strength of twisted iron with the fragility of gold leaf and just ached with beauty. Lara Schnitger’s cobalt fabric and bleach canvas entitled ‘Lick My Legs’ god smacked viewers with in your face honesty- imagine getting a french kiss and a black eye at the same time. Sterling Ruby’s ‘Vampire’ provoked, brightened and floated effortlessly- not everyone got it, not everyone will.
Shepard Fairey's Bad Brain's redo was our eastside punk wink hanging alongside Patti Smith's photograph of Flea. Patti's work regardless of medium- fluid, poetic brilliance. Ed Ruscha's oversized limited edition, 'On The Road' (courtesy of Gagosian Gallery) carried the weight of Kerouac's words and went home with Owen Wilson. Owen's old boy cattle dog Garcia made my night with his hustler nonchalance. Damien Hirst's 2 bass guitars crossed the pond and sold high, each housed in rock hard, high shine cases splattered with matching pallets. He also managed to deliver a massive spot painting to Flea's back door as a birthday gift without blowing it.
Cold War Kid's Matt Maust, printed up a work so fine that Tony Hawk beat out the competition (what else is new) with the winning bid. Sage Vaughn rained his butterflies down in steady pastels but if you look closely they will back hand you. Douglas Kirkland's John Lennon portrait sourced by powerhouse beauty Susan Wiesner stared back, Lennon's prophetic eyes full of his brave peace dare; "war is over if we want it". LA institution Gary Leonard donated not one but two photographs- one a portrait of Vin Scully holding a bobble head baring his likeness with a rainbow swooping across dodger field. Josh Klinghoffer (RHCP) loaded this and the Pettibon ballplayer into his truck just after midnight.
The 12ft x 20ft invitation art Flea commissioned sold for 25k….wonder if the buyer knew I bought the canvas tarp and blood red exterior house paint from the Tractor + Feed Supply joint in Patterson and FedEx’d it to California.
No one fell in the pool.
We raised close to $650,000.00 in a matter of hours.
Drops fill buckets and music unites.
I'm back on the C train covered in paint.
Silverlake Conservatory of Music I love you.