This coming Saturday is the opening of Daily Consumption, a new show up at the Zepf Alternative Space in downtown San Diego. As is the case with many alternative art spaces, the Zepf Alternative Space is both challenging and fabulous. It's located in the not-yet gentrified section of downtown (7th and C, 1150 7th Ave)-- the gritty remainder of the real "downtown" that was pushed to the edges of the Gaslamp area. This basement space is part of a block-spanning, old building that I had once scouted for a horror film. True story. But now, the space (at least epf Alternative Space) is cleaned up, gallery-ized-- with white walls and visual art by some of San Diego's most talented and hardest working artists, and a success story for the creator of the space (and curator of this show) Andrew Estrada. Above, next to and around Zepf Gallery are artist studios.
I ran into two of the artists working in this building, Bret Barrett and bd Dombrowsky working in their studios last Saturday night, and I ask them if they would tell me a bit about their work, the building they work in, and the upcoming show that is will occur just underneath their studio spaces-- in the basement -- at Zepf Alternative Space.
An Interview with Artist Bret Barrett (B.B), interviewer K.S.
Barrett is a painter, sculptor, and kinetic artist whose work is frequently made from found objects with electronic and mechanized pieces. He automates these works to create breath taking, sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, typically beautiful art works that are novel, bizarre, and wonderful.
K.S. You are a multi-talented, multi-disciplined, multi-media artist, how many different kinds of work would you say you do?
B.B. Thank you, yes, I have been inspired by fibers and weaving, motors and paint, computers and virtual reality and all art materials in between. I like to think three. Kinetic sculpture and painting are the two main things I always do and then the third thing is usually a combination of those things or a different medium entirely.
K.S. What is your favorite at this moment?
B.B. The kinetic work is always a great mix of frustration and exhilaration.
K.S. How long have you been a working artist in San Diego?
B.B. I started my first paintings and sculptures here in the fall of 2000. First one person show in spring 2001.
K.S. Tell me about the building you're working in. It seems you have a creative, supportive community over there.
B. B. Working downtown in a space on the C street trolley line is perfect inspiration and energy. 630 C Street is the daytime entryway. The building is creepy and old, the other artists and businesses provide a serious, creative environment. bd Dombrowsky has referred to the place as the "ant colony", because it is kind of a tunnel from the entry at 1150 7th Avenue to the C street door and not easily visible from the street. Virtually underground.
K.S. Tell me about the gallery space below, Zepf Alt gallery space.
B.B. Zepf Alternative Space. 1150 7th Ave. Downtown. Andrew Estrada got the idea this past summer to turn his own painting studio in the basement here into an art show space. A truly underground gallery in San Diego. Andrew's excitement about art and being around artists and the creative process has led him to this venture. The first show took place in Sept. and was well attended, art was sold.
K.S. Tell me about the upcoming show. What are you puttting in it?
B. B. This next show is titled "Consumption". Andrew has opened the show to all artists and all media to interpret their ideas of things that are consumed each day. I have completed a kinetic piece titled "What The Nug?". It's all about chicken and egg riddles, jokes, sayings and convenient food.
K.S. Tell me about these two pieces (above)
B.B. "Titty Twister" and "Feminist Peace" from Zepf Alt. "One" show. Two collaborative pieces completed with Surly Gurly, an artist I met last spring who walks her talk and gets work done.
K.S. You have a piece in the front window at Alexander Salazar Fine Art, can you tell me a little bit about that piece?
B.B. Roost Turkey is one of the first kinetic pieces I completed in San Diego in 2001. It is a collection of materials I found here and brought with me. The main turning piece with the ball inside is made of wooden model airplane parts. The motor and sprockets are from an old film processing machine , the feathers are wild turkey. The metal parts are from my first walks on the streets of downtown.
See Bret Barrett's work and Upcoming Exhibition at Zepf Zepf Alt, 11/12/2011