Shrine’s Empire of Love Shack at Craft and Folk Art Museum

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P1500581Shrine’s beautiful new window at The Craft and Folk Art Museum

This May, Los Angeles was practically run over with art openings and happenings. Cartwheel Art engaged many of our contributors to get out there, take pics, enjoys spaces, talk to artists and generally take in all that was going on–in order to share, share, share!

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the lovely, intriguing and very special Craft and Folk Art Museum to witness the artist Shrine’s opening of his newest “Love Shack,” carefully constructed in their  front window.

Shrine, a very well-respected and much-loved guy here at Cartwheel Art, utilizes recycled and repurposed material to create shrine-like, spiritually-minded Shacks, often dubbed Temples. He uses wood, bottles, bottle tops, old books, paintbrushes, and as he often says,

anything I can get my hands on.

He fits them together, builds them, paints on them and offers them to the public to enjoy–often at festivals, sometimes in galleries, and on Saturday in a Museum window and lobby.

He has painted the floor, and papered the wall with his art work—work he created throughout this last year on his travels to India, Africa, and Haiti. The CAFAM show is the first time he’s put these pieces together to create a beautiful map of reds, teals, yellows and oranges, with feathers and spirals and mask-like faces alongside poetical quips.

Shrine and the Craft and Folk Museum truly fit seamlessly together. This museum is about offering classes of all sorts to the public (book binding to name just one! For a list, please check their website!), Shrine speaks endlessly about the joys and benefits of participation in artistic expression.

Shrine’s work is always about feelings-creating mischief in the heart and pulling on strings of nostalgia. His installation opening at the museum on Saturday did not disappoint. Friends encircled the artist the entire night. Most weren’t asking him questions at all- many people seem to like to just be near Shrine- and I don’t blame them, his good natured enthusiasm and love of life is contagious!

I am always struck by the recycled nature of his work, and curious about his message, so I asked him about it:

You often comment that your work is about the heart, and feelings, not intellectual. Do you think the feelings you provoke in the viewer and audience is more important then the message your work presents of the need to repurpose our waste and reimagine our disposable world?

 Not more important, however I prefer to relate emotionally through the way it makes you feel because things like language, culture, education don’t come into play. The idea is to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. When I’m in a country were I don’t speak the language and the people aren’t concerned with conceptual art or the people haven’t been exposed to Art history, I can still totally inspire and connect with those people. If people prefer to conceptualize my work that is also an option. Any person can still make up their own story about what it means.

How do you choose the materials you use in your Shacks and other pieces?

I use the materials I use because they inspire me not because it’s the right thing to do, at least that’s how it started. I like transforming the material, its a magical process. Either way, if you tell people to do something because its their responsibility to save the world they start to gloss over, but if people see that you do something because its fun, rewarding, inspiring, then you get their attention.

I am am taken with the spiritual aspects of your shacks. You mentioned the art participation events you are creating for groups of people who have experienced tragedy and loss. How does that tie into your art philosophy?

I’m interested in facilitating groups of people that have experienced some great or small trauma–cooking a meal together, making art, singing together, sharing what comes up and dancing. I compare it to the process of taking trash and found objects, broken things, discarded things and turning them into something inspiring or beautiful, what I’ve been doing for more than half my life. The idea is to continue that process but to apply it to bad experiences, hard times, abusive situations, hurt feelings and turning them into inspiration, healing, growth, expansion.

You can catch Shrine’s latest installation at the Craft and Folk Museum now through August 24, 2014. You can read more about Shrine in our recent Lightning in Bottle preview post, and in the related links below.

Also opening this night was Dario Escabar’s Broken Circle. Escobar attaches 1,000 red bike reflectors to white walls to create mosaic patterns- the result is a mural like experience in circular and weaving patterns.

On the top floor is a thirty year retrospective of Stoney Lamar, a wood turner, whose carved, polished wood is something beautiful to behold. Hurry to see these–summers tend to go by awfully fast, and you don’t want to miss out!

Photos: by Julio Moreno













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