St. Augustine, Florida, known as the “Oldest City in America” was invaded by an exhibit of new and cutting-edge art with the opening reception for “Art Dorks Rise”. The gallery, space: eight, is currently presenting the show running through November 30, which features works by 30 internationally renowned artists who call themselves the Art Dorks. The group originally began in 2004 as a website created by Art Dorks founder Brendan Danielsson, based in Atlanta. Danielsson explains:
The site had a blog, events section, forum, and user gallery. The collective never would have happened had it not been for the community forum. That’s where the idea to show together as a group happened.
Since then, various line-ups of Art Dorks have been featured in eleven national shows; “Art Dorks Rise” is the largest to date, featuring both returning and new artists. And the ranks of the Art Dorks are growing Danielsson’s criterion for selecting the Art Dorks is casual:
Some I invited, but a couple asked to participate. Since the announcement of this new show, I’ve received a number of new people looking to be involved in future shows.
A decade ago, many of the Art Dorks artists would have been considered, if not relegated to, the Lowbrow or underground arts community. But the accomplishments of this inventive cooperative render such terms irrelevant; the Art Dorks are widely recognized both individually and collectively as fine artists, commercial illustrators and curators of the highest caliber. (If anything, you could categorized them as Rogue Wave)
“Art Dorks Rise” features original works by Aeron Alfrey, Dan Barry, John Casey, David Chung, Brendan Danielsson, Justin DeGarmo, Mark Elliott, Jad Fair, Joseph Daniel Fiedler, Charles Glaubitz, Robert Hardgrave, Gregory Hergert, Gregory Jacobsen, Jonnie Jacquet, Colin Johnson, Jason Limon, Jon MacNair, Dan May, Christian Rex van Minnen, Chris Mostyn, Heiko Müller, Jason Murphy, Katie Ridley Murphy, Kristian Olson, Matthew Pasquarello, Anthony Pontius, Meagan Ridley, Kim Scott, Scot Sothern and Scott D. Wilson.
The ten walls of space:eight feature a total of 36 works of primarily smaller pieces that run the gamut from illustration and painting to photography, collage, and sculpture. The works range from the semi-arcane collage work of Dan Barry to the haunting photorealism of Meagan Ridley; an equally poignant sculpture by Jonnie Jacquet adorned one corner of the gallery, while the mystically-imbued paintings of Charles Glaubitz and Kim Scott are balanced by the black-and-white works of Chris Mostyn, Jon MacNair, and Heiko Müller.
While the Art Dorks are spread around the globe, Danielsson, Meagan Ridley, Jason Murphy, Katie Ridley Murphy, Jon MacNair, Dan Barry, Matthew Pasquarello, and special guest Edward Robin Coronel, were in attendance at the reception. Local art lovers packed the gallery with attendees ranging in age from twentysomething hipsters and graying Generation Xers, many with their children in tow, to Baby Boomer-era art patrons.
Rob DePiazza, owner of space:eight gallery originally contacted Danielsson about a solo show in 2011. That idea then turned into plans for a four-person show. Danielsson then proposed an even grander idea. DePiazza, emphatically agreed to take on this challenge says.
A number of months went by and Brendan got in touch with me and said he was thinking of resurrecting a 30-artist-collective called the Art Dorks that he had put together years ago that had been disbanded for five years or so. I would say the lack of hesitation came not only out of excitement but sheer naivety; not that I have any regrets, but 30 artists … for fuck’s sake!
DePiazza printed up 6,000 Art Dorks stickers. Every artist received a minimum 100 stickers to plaster at will; those decals have now graced various light posts, buildings and other questionably-legal-surfaces in places as far afield as California, Mexico, and Germany.
I have literally spent hundreds of hours working on this show
says DePiazza of both the logistics and promotion of the exhibit. Danielsson agrees in describing the exhaustive efforts that he and DePiazza put into Art Dorks Rise.
Organizing this show took a lot of work. I’ll have to see how long it will be before I feel like doing it again … unless someone else wants to take the reins.
Story continues following images from Art Dorks Rise. Links to all artists mentioned at the end of the article
Key to the success of Art Dorks Rise is DePiazza’s ongoing efforts to present an array of interesting arts programming in a town that is known more for historical landmarks and tourist traps rather than retina-rocking visual art. Since 2004, DePiazza has hosted over three dozen group and solo exhibits, featuring artists Mark Mothersbaugh, Mitch O’Connell, KRK Ryden, Derek Hess, and Anthony Ausgang, among others. Along with offering innovative art, the space:eight opening receptions invariably feature a DJ spinning live music, musical performances, and blue-collar refreshments like beer, sangria, and a selection of junk food.
The Art Dorks Rise opening included a live performance by Abby “The Spoon Lady” Roach and Banjo Ben Shirley; a street-busker-jug-band duo from Asheville, North Carolina. “I wouldn’t say it’s a straight up mockery of the art establishment but it is a deliberate raised middle finger to the snobbery that surrounds a great deal of the art realm,” says DePiazza of his ideology as a gallery owner. “Ironically, that snobbery tends to emanate not from the artists but from the gallery folks or artist agents.”
A native of Southern California, DePiazza originally discovered art through collecting Zap Comix, where he first saw the work of Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez and Robert Williams. A voracious music fan, he also acknowledges the album -cover art of Rick Griffin, Neon Park, and Cal Schenkel as guiding beacons to his sense of taste and the possibilities of left-field visual art.
In 1977, DePiazza relocated to St. Augustine and in that same year opened his silkscreen company Screen Arts, the lobby of which was transformed into an art gallery 17 years later. Since then, DePiazza’s bi-monthly exhibits have unfailingly imported engaging work by innovative artists to Northeast Florida. Says DePiazza
The response has been pretty enthusiastic, especially from people who truly appreciate new contemporary art and, until very recently, had no other consistent venue in this area.
Art Dorks Rise
On display through Nov. 30
228 W. King St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Art Dorks Links:
Aeron Alfrey: http://aeronalfrey.blogspot.com/
John Casey: http://bunnywax.com/
David Chung: http://www.thechung.com/
Brendan Danielsson: http://bdanielsson.com/
Justin DeGarmo: http://www.justindegarmo.com/illustrations.html
Mark Elliot: http://www.markelliottonline.com/
Jad Fair: http://www.jadfair.org/
Joseph Daniel Fiedler: http://www.scaryjoey.com/
Charles Glaubitz: http://www.charlesglaubitz.com/
Robert Hardgrave: http://www.roberthardgrave.com/
Gregory Hergert: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.hergert.50
Gregory Jacobsen: http://gregoryjacobsen.com/
Jonnie Jacquet: http://jonathanjacquet.com/
Colin Johnson: http://www.colinjohnsonillustration.com/
Jason Limon: http://www.limon-art.com.
Jon MacNair: http://jonmacnair.tumblr.com/
Dan May: http://danmay.net/
Christian Rex van Minnen: http://www.christianvanminnen.com/
Chris Mostyn: http://chrismostyn.com/
Heiko Müller: http://www.heikomueller.de/
Jason Murphy: http://jasonmurphyart.blogspot.com/
Katie Ridley Murphy: http://kridleymurphy.com/
Kristian Olson: http://www.kristianolson.com/
Matthew Pasquarello: http://www.gallerynucleus.com/artist/matthew_pasquarello
Anthony Pontius: http://www.moberggallery.com/pontius_portfolio.shtml
Meagan Ridley: http://meaganridley.com/
Kim Scott: http://feedyoureye.com/
Scot Sothern: http://www.scotsothern.com/
Scott D. Wilson: http://www.scottdwilson.com/