1xRUN Thru Interview
Curly by Gage Hamilton
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, is the original still for sale?
Gage Hamilton: I drew this piece at home with a ballpoint pen. I still have the original drawing, it’s on standard printer paper and has all sorts of sharpie marks around it. I didn’t really set out to sell the piece when I started, I was just kind of drawing and got lost in it.
1xRUN: Was this piece part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Gage Hamilton: This piece is part of a larger series I call “The Future Will Be Hairy.” The series as a whole has more of an imaginative fantasy element to it, like Where the Wild Things Are or Beasts of the Southern Wild. Organic furry forms kind of flow through spaces like lurking signs of impending doom, and then sometimes cover the objects or environments that surround them. The stylized element kind of signifies embracing those ominous signs and taming them. I also use a lot of traditional American icons in my work, that’s why I chose to draw a buffalo here.
1xRUN: When was the piece drawn and what material did you use to create it?
Gage Hamilton: This piece was drawn last January using a ballpoint pen on paper. It was the first time I started drawing in this style.
1xRUN: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Gage Hamilton: I knew that I wanted to do something with a buffalo, and I’d just come up with the idea for “The Future Will Be Hairy” theme, so I decided…buffalo with a jheri curl!
Some of my previous work had been aggressively political and I wanted to go a more subtle direction with something that allowed me to look at other things and leave room for more imaginative work. And I wanted to get back to drawing obsessively like I did as a kid.
1xRUN: How long did the piece take?
Gage Hamilton: Oh man, I’m not really sure, I started it pretty casually and then started getting excited about it and ended up staying up most the night drawing. I probably came back to it a couple hours per day through rest of the week. To get that kind of texture with a ballpoint pen takes some commitment.
1xRUN: What is unique about this piece?
Gage Hamilton: It’s the first of the series. I hadn’t ever tried drawing that way before, but I had the idea and just ran with it. I think it’s really unique, I haven’t seen anything like it out there.
1xRUN: Describe the piece/print in one gut reaction word.
Gage Hamilton: DAAAAAAMN!
1xRUN: This will be your first year with the Pow Wow Hawaii family, who are some of the artists you’re really excited to see painting out there? – Full line up here
Gage Hamilton: I’m really excited to see what Wayne White is going to do. And stoked to see Dave Kinsey’s work…Brendan Monroe and Spencer Keaton Cunningham as well. Definitely looking forward to catching up with Madsteez, Meggs, Kamea & Reka. No whiskey with Reka though, that dude melts my brain.
1xRUN: You’ve collaborated with some of the Pow Wow artists this year previously correct?
Gage Hamilton: Yeah, I did a wall with Madsteez here in Portland during the Forest For The Trees project, which is a mural project I host that’s affiliated with Pow Wow. He had to come up a couple days early and it came together super last minute. We pretty much just came up with the idea on the fly. Then another Portland artist Zach Yarrington showed up to watch and we told him to jump on with us. The wall is on top of a hemorrhoid clinic so we knew we needed to have some fun with it. Madsteez really wanted to paint Ice Cube, so we had him wearing a buffalo head. He coincidentally owns a buffalo hat so it was a good fit. Then Zach came in with “The Future Will Be Hairy” tagline. Meggs and I did another quick wall one afternoon at a local dive that had been treating the artists to free food & drinks all week. It’s a pirate themed sports bar so Meggs stuck around an extra day to paint them a skull as a parting gift. I was pretty much ready to hibernate by that point though after having organized the project.
1xRUN: Anybody else you’d personally like to collaborate with if the opportunity presented itself?
Gage Hamilton: Not especially, I’m just going to show up and see what happens. That’s the fun of it to me.
1xRUN: Have you been to Hawaii before or will this be your first time out there? What are you looking forward to?
Gage Hamilton: I went out there for last year’s Pow Wow just to check it out and meet some folks. I was already planning the Forest For The Trees project and Pow Wow had already agreed to get behind it with their support. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I’m not so good with sun and beach. I’m really just looking forward to painting, meeting all the artists and getting inspired.
1xRUN: Do you have any plans for your wall out there or are you just going to improvise it when you get there?
Gage Hamilton: I’ve got a few fresh ideas of directions I can take it, but I’m trying not to think about it too much until I see my wall and figure out whether I’m painting solo or with anyone else.
1xRUN: How did 2013 wrap up for you?
Gage Hamilton: 2013 was good. I met a lot of inspiring people, grew as an artist, and got shit done. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.
1xRUN: Aside from Pow Wow 2014, what are your plans for the new year?
Gage Hamilton: I’ve got a bunch of mural commissions lined up the first few months, and spending as much time as I can in the studio painting. I just had a show in Vietnam fall through, but I’m keen on getting out that direction and hopefully Melbourne too. Also taking part in a show in Tokyo this April with Hellion Gallery. And we are definitely continuing with the Forest For The Trees project in August, so I’ve got to get going on planning that.