Mat Gleason is bold, creative, smart, and goofy as hell, so having a Star Wars themed show on International Star Wars Day (May the 4th, for the non-nerds reading this) with an artist who legally changed his name to Sean StarWars seemed totally reasonable. Kind of. As the show was setting up, Gleason joked:
Yeah well, one day someone is gonna say to me, ‘Oh you’re Coagula, you did that Star Wars show, with kids’ stuff, we can’t take you seriously.’
(And by the way, not taking Gleason seriously would be a major mistake; the dude has it down). Yeah, there was kids’ stuff. Costumed kids got grab bags, enjoyed a puppet show, watched Sean print tee shirts, and played with balloon light sabers and balloon animals made on-site while their parents sipped beer and water courtesy of Coagula or boba and iced tea from down the block. And there was a steady stream of Star Wars fans eager for a fresh take on their favorite characters (Darth Vadar and Boba Fet were the favorites, followed by R2D2)
Coagula Curatorial was hung floor to ceiling with Sean StarWars’ wood block prints, and tables were loaded down with more prints and tee shirts when the day began. Along with characters from Star Wars Sean had his prints of alligators, cats, Charles Bukowski, monkeys, band fliers, Mountian Dew (he’s a fan!), and more–all selling quickly. Prints sold off the wall were immediately replaced with new ones. It was kinda fun watching people point to one waaaay up the top and seeing Wendy “Art Slave” Sherman haul the ladder over, climb up, take down the art, then scramble back up with a replacement.
Family time ended at 6pm; by 9, the gallery was packed, with standing room only for a Star Wars themed comedy night hosted by Ricardo Rosario and Tony Bartolone. Prints were still selling briskly–artist Stevie Love scored a green Yoda–and the beer was flowing.
“May the 4th Be with You” was an outside the box show, and one that created a whole new batch of art enthusiasts (most of whom were under 12) who loved talking to Sean about Star Wars and making art when not jousting with their balloons or watching the puppet show; and it unleashed the inner nerd of just about everyone, while introducing people to Sean StarWars’ art.
Top image and comedy show photos: Eric Minh Swenson/thuvanarts.com. Used with permission.
Darth Vader; Sean StarWars screenprinting; StarWars with Wendy Sherman, Albert Cueller: Cindy Schwarzstein/CARTWHEELart.com
All others: Lisa Derrick/CARTWHEELart.com