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Interview

Craig Wedren: My 90s, an exhibition of Craig’s Polaroids + Book

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MUSICIAN, FILM & TV COMPOSER & FORMER SHUDDER TO THINK FRONTMAN

MY ‘90s
INTIMATE POLAROID PHOTOS SERIES FEATURING BANDMATES, MEMBERS OF FUGAZI, PEARL JAM, ‘THE STATE’ & MORE

PHOTO EXHIBIT OPENS MARCH IN SAN FRANCISCO & AVAILABLE AS
LIMITED EDITION BOOK

ANNOUNCES TOUR DATES WITH THE MESSTHETICS


Craig Wedren got his hands on a Polaroid Spectra in the early 1990s and used it to document his late nights and early mornings on the road with his band Shudder to Think and time with friends including Fugazi, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, members of The State and more. Today, the acclaimed songwriter, singer, film & television composer and Shudder To Think frontman announced My ‘90s— a limited edition book and upcoming art exhibit.

My ‘90s will open in San Francisco, CA on March 7 at The Loin (914 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA) and feature some of the Polaroids he took throughout the 1990s and into the early aughts. They range from shots of life on the road to candid moments, to time in the studio with his band, actors on set during the filming of Wet Hot American Summer and Laurel Canyon–both of which he scored, and much more. Read a statement below from Wedren on My ‘90s.

A limited edition run of hard-bound books featuring the prints will also be available in-person at the gallery and online via Wedren’s website (http://www.craigwedren.com).  
Wedren will also perform at the gallery at on opening night (9pm sharp), and has announced select West Coast dates in April with The Messthetics featuring Brendan Canty and Joe Lally from Fugazi (dates listed below).

‘MY ‘90s’ by Craig Wedren

My ‘90s were nocturnal, for better and for glorious worse.
I was in a band, Shudder To Think, that had been my primary framework and source of identity since 1986–again, for better and for worse; but mostly for better, because we were a very special group.
I’d always been a visual kind of artist -my lyrics tended toward the dreamlike and cinematic, my style of dress and hair ever-changing and somewhat theatrical.
Punk Impressionism.
When I got my hands on a Canon A-1 sometime during High School (a holy hand-me-down from my Stepfather, I think), I naturally and immediately began taking pictures that fell right in with the music, lyrics, and other art I was (and still seem to be) feverishly generat
ing.

Cut to 1992.
Shudder To Think was on tour with Fugazi, delivering our sensual assault to college towns around the Northeast.
I believe it was Guy Picciotto (one of Fugazi’s singer/guitarrorists) who, in a chilly, grey parking lot (it was Autumn) turned me on to the gadget that would instantly become my constant companion for the next decade or so, the Polaroid Spectra camera.
But this was no ordinary camera.
It was ugly as hell, big and plastic, like a cheap tennis shoe fucked a cut-rate spaceship.
Unintentionally–or so it seemed–the design of this model (and this model only, as far as I can tell) was such that you could trick it into taking multiple exposures, as many as you dared, in a single photograph.
That, in addition to the ways one can manipulate/mutilate a still-fresh Polaroid picture, gave me a portable engine, an image-kiln for loooosely documenting the parade of experiences, colors, feelings, and sounds that filled my circus-like, and often just plain boring-ass days and nights.
And late nights.
And verrry early mornings.

Every few years (if you’re lucky, if you’re looking) a new technology arises that is roughly the same shape as one’s heart.
The chemistry is immediate, love-at-first-sight, like the artist and the instrument are two pieces of a two-piece puzzle.
For me, the Spectra camera was just that.
I grabbed it and never let go.
Until they stopped making Spectra film, that is, alas…

What you see here is a sliver of my favorite images from that era.
I hope they infect your dreams, and help connect you to your own vision.
Thank you.

Love, always.
Craig

Wedren released Adult Desire Expanded in late 2018. The album features the 14 tracks on his experimental, electro-acoustic and highly melodic 2017 album Adult Desire–the first record he made since moving to Los Angeles and one Los Angeles Times called “a tender and fearless set of electro-acoustic pop ditties…” Wedren adds that the album is “a meditation on age, death, sex, marriage and family best described as ‘domestic Surrealism’.” The expanded version also features eight additional tracks including new songs and alternate versions of some of the original album’s songs including the Chris Cornell-inspired “Into The Blue Sky (Acoustic Demo).” Read more via FLOOD Magazine.

Throughout his illustrious career, Craig Wedren has made a name for himself in the world of film & television beginning with the soundtrack work for the late-’90s films High Art and First Love, Last Rites which he worked on with his bandmates in Shudder to Think. His recent projects include scoring the NBC hit show New Amsterdam, GLOW (Netflix) and the upcoming first season of Shrill, premiering on Hulu in March. His resume of composing and scoring for film and television projects includes the Wet Hot American Summer movie and television series, Role Models, The School of Rock, Afternoon Delight, Laurel Canyon, Reno 911!, The State, How to Be A Latin Lover, and much more. Last year, he also worked with longtime collaborator and childhood friend David Wain on the Netflix film A Futile and Stupid Gesture starring Will Forte.

CRAIG WEDREN TOUR DATES

Mar 7 San Francisco, CA – The Loin (My ‘90s Opening)

Apr 11 San Diego, CA – The Casbah*

Apr 21 Santa Barbara, CA – Velvet Jones*

Apr 22 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel*

April 23 Sacramento, CA – Harlow’s

*notes dates with The Messthetics

CONNECT WITH CRAIG WEDREN

http://www.craigwedren.com

IMDB * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

SLOW JAMS: An interview with DYoungV

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Recently the loin had an opportunity to catch up with DYoungV about his upcoming show.

THE LOIN: What’s behind the title of your upcoming show, ‘SLOW JAMS’?

DYoungV: It’s my sarcastic personality, primarily. I like finding and creating contradiction in things. A “slow jam” is a term for music that holds R&B or Soul influences. This music is soft sounding, laced with highly romantic and emotional lyrics. This type of music, despite how good it is, resembles nothing in my personality or work. I was listening to Hardcore Punk the whole time I was creating this show, which you can see it in the work. Also, when someone familiar with my personality and outlook on things hears the words ‘slow jams’ come out of my mouth, it strikes a bit of humor….
However, there is a dual meaning in this title. The pieces I am exhibiting are 19×24 inch drawings created entirely with Micron 08 pens. These pens are generally meant for creating smaller, highly-detailed works. Yes, my work is detailed, but also requires a lot of fill-ins that this pen is not generally used for. Every single pen stroke is visible, so the viewer knows it took a long time to create every individual piece. I like the repetition, time consumption, and look that works like these allow. It’s like painting your apartment with a hand brush instead of a roller–lots of time to think. And though I have a process down and an idea of what each piece will look like, the result is not immediate. It takes a while to get there, hence the title ‘SLOW JAMS’.

01

TL: After several years of residing and being active in San Francisco, you recently moved to East Oakland. How has the move affected your work?

DYV: After moving to East Oakland recently, I was extremely curious to see what changes would occur in my work as an artist. What I have learned through both moving to California from the East Coast and traveling throughout the world, is that each new experience results in drastic changes to the way I go about doing art. There is something about a drastic change in routine, scenery, and lifestyle that causes my art to adapt to new environments.
Although East Oakland is only a short train ride from San Francisco, it is an entirely different environment. I now live in a warehouse instead of a small apartment, the weather is warmer, I wake up in an industrial area instead of a dense, urban environment. It takes much more planning to get food and supplies, I commute instead of walk everywhere, and I spend much more time alone then I did before. The communities here are mainly working class Black and Latino families, as opposed to San Francisco’s Asian and predominantly-white, transient populations of San Francisco. The move has done a lot to change my perspective on both my life and my history in the San Francisco area.
Once I moved from SF, I found it easier to get ideas out that I’d conceived of earlier in the year, when I was abroad. Since my first weeks in Oakland, I have noticed changes in the scale of my work, color pallette, and nature of concepts. Having access to larger walls to work on, I spent my first few months working on large-scale, hand-painted gallery and street pieces. Those pieces are an extension of what I was working on previously in SF, but far more detailed, larger, muted in color palette, and representative of recent travels.
As refreshing as the new context is, I’m still needing to be more mobile so that I can create while not in the studio. Being mobile has helped me to go back to older styles that I had been wanting to reintegrate into my work, like doing Micron pen drawings with no references, just working off the top of my head. Since I moved out of SF, I’ve done a lot more drawing at cafes, and socializing while working. Most of the work created for this show was drawn at cafes or delis all over the Bay. I was working out of the studio so much, I bought a specialized art backpack that holds my drawing pad and supplies perfectly–almost as though it was made specifically for me!

05
TL: In recent years you’ve been focused on doing both illicit street art projects overseas, along with commissioned murals in the US and abroad, as opposed to gallery projects. What prompted to to create a new body of work to exhibit in a gallery setting?

DYV: I suppose I got frustrated at the amount of work I had put into previous exhibitions, both on the larger installation scale and smaller intimate gallery settings. In either case, I rarely made my money back and was forced to deal with less than honest or inexperienced people. I realized that most gallery owners and staff don’t play the long game. They are in it for a few years, then cut out to pursue something else. Most artists pursue art because it’s in their blood. Really, it’s far more of a lifestyle than a career. Although I’ve had some great experiences and relationships with gallery owners and curators, I don’t expect the majority of them to pursue their interests with the same passion and zeal that I have. So as a result, my relationships with them are generally very short lived and disposable, with few exceptions. It can be extremely difficult to work with people like this, but I do sometimes like working with the exceptions.
As a result of my frustrations with the gallery settings, my emphasis became doing illicit street art. I could travel wherever I wanted, create what I chose, and put it out in the public eye without restriction. Of course, there are the authorities, angry locals, weather concerns, and all the usual concerns of breaking the law, but you’re doing your work on your own terms. The risk is worth the reward. I found that the cost of creating a new body of street art–buying a round trip plane ticket to almost anywhere on the planet, renting a hotel room, and bombing for one month (the same time a gallery show stays up)–was less cost (and stress) for me than putting on a gallery installation. Granted, I travel on the cheap and my installations can be pretty elaborate.
As far as doing large scale commissioned murals are concerned, I’ll take any chance to go big and get paid for it…this art game ain’t cheap!!!!
My reason for doing the current show is to set a deadline. I desperately wanted to experiment in this newer style that is a sort of continuation of a style I’d abandoned several years ago. The only people who knew of this style were locals I’d known years before I even entered the ‘art scene’. I’ll being showing new versions of that work to some of those very same people. The deadline (September 1st, 2016) will force me to continue with this style while expanding on it. Though I appreciate all the benefits of not having deadlines and leaving yourself to experiment, I needed to get my ass in gear and move this body of work forward into the public eye. Partially for myself, partially to show people that I have an entirely different side to me then what they are used to seeing.

03

TL: What is the biggest difference between this new body of work and your past works?

DYV: The most noticeable difference between this current body of work and what I was working on before is the subject matter. I feel that what I have been doing lately is far less cerebral, and more intuitive. I am simply drawing whatever I’m presently thinking, with very little planning. It’s a more accurate way to express my imagination, with far less filtering of it.

06

TL: Do you ever plan on moving back to SF?

DYV: I’d like to, eventually. I do enjoy the space and solitude I am offered in East Oakland, but SF (the TL especially) is where my heart is. So long as there is a Hemlock Tavern, I’ll always be tempted to make my way back…

 

D Young V ‘ Slow Jams’
Installation and solo exhibition of new work
Micron 08 pen on Strathmore Bristol paper, 19 x 24 in.

Thursday, September, 1st
6-10pm

the loin
914 Larkin
SF, CA 94109

DYoungV