Spencer Keeton Cunningham, Erlin Geffrard, Daisy Ortiz and Jaque Fragua recently opened their latest show ‘ARCHETYPE$’ in San Jose.
Erlin Geffrard Interviews Spencer Keeton Cunningham about the show:
Erlin Geffrard: Tell me a little about this show…
Spencer Keeton Cunningham: Basically Erlin, as you know, You and I have been making paintings together and video works which we call video paintings since around 2007. Sometimes it’s hard for people to even tell us apart within the art world. That’s part of what we have been attempting to show in our art since we first met way back around 8 or 9 years ago. And Jaque Fragua has been a fellow art collaborator and friend ever since we started doing shows together in San Francisco around 2008. This show is a culmination of works both solo and collaborative both on video and canvas between all of us.
EG: Tell me about Jaque Fragua, and who else is in the show.
SKC: Fragua and I have also been collaborating on large scale paintings on walls as well as video for many years. Daisy Ortiz is another amazing artist that has been a part of almost every one of your shows over the past years. Ortiz works in textiles and we are collaborating with her as well on this show. It’s hard to understand really but we almost create work as a family unit. It’s going to be a pretty “magical” art show for lack of a better adjective. I think nowadays the magic has been gone in the art world.
EG: Where did you meet me?
SKC: I lived in San Francisco for 10 years working as an artist. Originally met you, Erlin Geffrard while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. I graduated there with a BFA in film work.
EG: Early influences on your art?
SKC: Big influences from SFAI for me were George Kuchar, Carlos villa, and Suzanne Olmstead. All veterans of art. 2 of whom have passed away.
EG: What do you hope to achieve with this current exhibit ARCHETYPE$?
SKC: This show for us is kind of a re-Introduction of ourselves into the art world. We’ve been doing art shows together for a long time and, in a sense, we all coexist in the same “art realm” together, even if one of us in Alaska and one of us is in New Mexico.
Each show we try to do something completely different and create our own world in a sense when you step into a gallery space. At times transforming galleries with large scale sculptural installations and paintings that you can sometimes walk inside of. Our collaborative works are always meant to be interactive and go beyond what you may expect when you enter an exhibit in a gallery or a museum.
EG: How does video come into play in this show?
SKC: We are all video artists as well as painters (Fragua, Geffrard, Daisy and I) and we all use video in our art practice to our advantage in unorthodox ways in gallery and museum settings. Almost all of us have exhibited works in museums. One being an exhibit in Guangzhou China with Erlin Geffard in 2013.
EG: How long have you been an artist?
SKC: Personally I myself have been exhibiting art for almost 14 years in various counties and around the US. Ive been an artist since about maybe 4 years old I guess.
EG: Tell me about the current trip you’ve been on
SKC: I have now been traveling for almost 18 months non stop painting and have been quoted as being on a “permanent painting adventure.” That adventure has taken me on a long road from the lower 48 states to Alaska and then down to the furthest southern most points of Mexico. I’m currently in Seattle now. About to hit the road to go install the show in San Jose soon.
EG: Anything else you would like to say about the artists in this show?
SKC: As far as the artists in this show, we come from various backgrounds culturally and stylistically But we have all come together over the years to frequently imprint out style on art history. And question art history and critique the art system itself. We are in a sense all part of a “movement” if you’d like to call it that. And we’re also for lack of a better term , “under dogs” of the art game who have been slowly and steadily pushing forward for the past decade with little or nothing known of our works to a mainstream North American Audience.
Erlin has been advocating for his art alias Kreyola Kid or “Kool Kid Kreyola” for years now. Too many to count. And Jaque Fragua has been steadily grinding in New Mexico and across the globe making strong statements about native America with his art. Whether it’s reclaiming a billboard or working side by side painting alongside Shepard Fairey. He’s always painting, I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with Jaque as a painter. Erlin and him are 2 of the hardest working artists I know in the art world. Daisy as well. She is the backbone of a lot of things we do as a group.
EG: What is the relevance of the title “ARCHETYPE$”?
SKC: The name “ARCHETYPE$” is something that has been a part of what we do for quite some time now. It was chosen due to it’s context within its meaning as “a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches.”
Over the period of about 10 years we have all created our own themes and dialogues within our work that have to do with racism, issues in native America, the role of alternate personas in art, and more often then not using humor in a playful manner to discuss and critique serious subject matters. This show is just one branch in the tree of our collaborative works of the past.
Photos by Daniel Garcia