Sunday, June 24, 2007

ENTARTETE KUNTS...OPENING RECEPTION!

Here are just a few shots from the opening reception. 15 artists, 44 pieces of amazing work, hordes of rabid art fanatics, and enough beer to keep us all smiling for the photos. Thanks to everyone who came out to support REAL underground art! Entartete Kunts will remain on display until July 19th so visit Optic Nerve Arts before it's gone...















Thanks to Noah Campbell, Martha Splatterhead, Jim Blanchard and Patrick Rosenkranz for these photos!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

THE LEGACY OF MAD MARC RUDE


In honor of Mad Marc Rude's birthday I'm posting the memorial I wrote 5 years ago for Destroying Angels, just days after learning that this legend of underground art would never drink, fight, fuck, or draw again. Hail the Zombie King! Happy Birthday, Marc Rude...

GOVERNMENTAL BLACK DOTS
The Legacy of Mad Marc Rude

I was laying on my couch watching My Bloody Valentine when, for the second time in one year, my own heart was torn loose. I had just come off a 13 hour non-stop marathon finishing up a drawing for deadline and watching stupid canucks pickaxe each other was all I could do to stay awake. The phone rang twice and we ignored it. Then a third time. Meadow checked the voicemail and it sounded like someone was trying to call collect. When the phone rang a fourth time she caught it and received a collect message from Las Vegas, Nevada. Mad Marc Rude was dead. Over the past year and a half I had spent months trying to track him down. It seems legend followed Marc like a shadow and he left a trail of urban myths, burnt friendships, dead-end leads, and art in his wake. Always the art. He was a specter missing in action and already more than a few people had chalked him up as a goner. Not so. He was simply underground, as he had been for more than 20 years. Mad Marc Rude (a.k.a., Marc Hoffman) was one of the original fathers of underground punk art.


Rude was old school back when the "Old School" was just a snot nose runt. In 1983 he spent more than 300 hours drawing the zombie epic album art for `Earth A.D.', the Misfits' proto-thrash classic. He was 29 years old. Now I'm no spring chicken, but back in 1983 I was still excited about Iron Maiden's new singer, the "Air Raid Siren", and sitting in my bedroom making badly drawn comics about ninja crime fighters. Marc was already well known for the artwork he had done for a local San Diego band, which he also managed at the time, called Battalion of Saints. Those insanely detailed album covers for Battalion of Saints, including lyric sheet art for songs like 'Cops Are Out', and the countless show flyers he designed are now relics of the first wave of hardcore punk. Although he later transcended the simple stigma of "punk artist" Marc's early drawings helped set the standard for D.I.Y. aesthetics that gave shape to the emerging southern California scene. Throughout the years he would tattoo his way back and forth across the country several times, up and down both coasts, and provide album cover art for Tex & The Horseheads, Hirax, The Offspring, The GC5, and many more. Art was so much a part of Marc's life that to call his accomplishments a career would be an understatement. He was one of a rare breed of artists who truly lived for his art. No art school shit, no fine art sellout, no compromises. Marc was an outlaw artist until his final day. The events leading up to that day are as extraordinary as his frenetic life and the official cause of death unclear. Marc had his demons and it seems they took a heavy toll. But all that is of little consequence now and it's really nobody's damn business anyway. Once again the world was too stupid, too insensitive, too busy to understand the mad visions of its living artists.


When I finally caught up with Marc he was nearly destitute, recently remarried, and pushing ink in Vegas. I sent him some of my drawings and asked if he would be interested in an interview for my zine. He responded by inviting me down to visit him and his old friend and current wife Lyn Todd. He would do the interview, share with me his recent work, and show me the town. I told him I had to wait until my tax-return check came so I could buy a plane ticket. When Lyn called to tell me he was dead I wasn't surprised. In our last brief phone conversation he had sounded old and tired when he told me I should try to visit soon because he didn't know how much longer he would be there. I thought he meant Vegas. When Lyn told me I was one of the first people she called I was a little disturbed. I had never even met him. Had Marc alienated himself from everyone in his life so much that nobdoy cared? She told me that two days before he died they received a package I had sent. It contained a copy of a drawing I had just finished, a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald, and a short note telling him that I was still waiting for that fucking check to arrive. She said she could see Marc's spirit in the drawing and knew that I must have been inspired by his early work. She said that it had pleased Marc in his final days to know that someone cared so much about his art and that this younger artist had taken up the proverbial sword. Three days after she told me all this the tax-return check arrived.


The soul of the world is diminished when we lose artists like Marc Rude. Marc survived where most would fear to tread. Where eagles dare, as the song goes. He thrived in the dark places, permanently off the grid, those governmental black dots. Marc told me that his art always saved him. It could be argued in hindsight that art was the only consistent thread in his do-or-die existence. Family disappeared, friendships fell apart, musical trends ebb and flowed with the seasons, but Marc's fantastically stippled art was the one thing he could really take into his hands and control. And Marc's art is all about discipline and control. It takes hours and hours of confident patience to transform those tiny black dots into textured images. He put in the hours. One of his last major projects was a collection of 32 illustrations he created for Blag Dahlia's novel Armed To The Teeth With Lipstick. He spent 18 hours a day poised over the paper working on those drawings. I suggest everyone stop reading now and go find a copy of that book. Marc spent hours perfecting the delicate folds of clothing, the cracked forms of statues, the shine of leather and chrome, and the subtle expressions of the desperate characters it became his life's work to document. The skulls, the flesh, the clowns, the freaks, these are not mere artistic devices. This was his life. Marc said it best himself, "I firmly believe that there are some people that are born alternative, it's genetic and...it's in our hearts. We always go to the other side of the fence, it's the only way we can live, we're outlaws, we're an extension of every fuckin' outlaw that ever existed." Strange to miss a man you've never even met. But certainly stranger things are happening. And the sheep are still scared.

Dennis Dread
2002

Mad Marc Rude
1954-2002
R.I.P.

Monday, June 04, 2007

ART OPENING THIS MONTH!

COMING TO PORTLAND, GOREGON JUNE 21st!

OPENING RECEPTION
THURSDAY JUNE 21
7pm-10pm

OPTIC NERVE ARTS

SUPPORT REAL UNDERGROUND ART!
Our allies at Optic Nerve Arts have made special arrangements for this exhibit and will not be taking any percentage of final sales from this show! That means if an artist sells their work, the artist keeps all the money! This sort of deal is unheard of in the art world. So come out for the Opening Reception June 21st and BUY ART! You’ll walk away with a piece of history, knowing you did your part to support raw unbridled expression in this age of quiet desperation and just plain old boring decency.

WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT MEAN?
“Entartete Kunts” is a bastardization of the German term “degenerate art” and a snide reference to the infamous 1937 Nazi purging of all art deemed objectionable by "Der F├╝hrer." The pun seems somehow appropriate for a bunch of drooling degenerates that consistently crank out uncompromising eyesores with seemingly little regard for commercial viability or etiquette. As it turns out, the title also insures that many local businesses will refuse to display the flyer or otherwise promote this questionable subculture extravaganza. Entartete Kunts is in fact a very special exhibition that assembles some of the most devoted artists from around the country for a rare glimpse into the thriving underground...

WHO ARE THESE DEGENERATES?

Sean Taggart is a legend of New York Hard Core cartoon art! Perhaps most widely known for his Jerky Boys artwork, throughout the 80’s Taggart created amazing flyers and album covers for bands such as Whiplash, Agnostic Front, Crumbsuckers, Cro Mags, and Carnivore. Insightful and hilarious, nobody would ever suspect that Sean Taggart is the artistic equivalent of a steel-toe boot in the face!

Ed Repka is the undisputed King of Monster Thrashing Madness! For more than 20 years he has painted the chromatic soundtrack to every teen thrasher’s stage diving apocalypse! He has created some of the most memorable album covers for seminal bands such as Megadeth, Venom, Massacre, Ludichrist, Evil Dead, Three Inches of Blood, & Death. He is also the designer of a full line of bobble-heads and monster toys. This is Repka’s first gallery show on the west coast! SCREAM BLOODY GORE!!!!

Stephen Blickenstaff’s playful paintings recall the grotesque splendor of Basil Wolverton and the golden age of Mad Magazine and Tales From The Crypt. Most widely known for his leering zombie on the classic Cramps record ‘Bad Music for Bad People’, Blickenstaff most recently created a line of shirts entitled ‘Legends of Cryptozoology’! Big Foot advocate and all around nice guy.

Jeff Gaither is one of the most prolific and instantly recognizable artists to emerge from the underground zine movement of the 80’s. If you’ve read any Xerox punk publication worth its staples in the past 25 years, you’ve undoubtedly been assaulted by Gaither’s militia of flying eyeballs and sutured monstrosities. He has worked for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and created album cover art for The Accused, The Undead, The Fartz, Hirax, and countless others. Legend!

Rich Rethorn is a former Bronx, New York grave digger. His dark surrealist charcoal drawings are informed by an intimate relationship with decomposition and the realities of the flesh. Inspired by the early 80's D.I.Y. punk scene, Rich began creating large scale oil paintings in 1984 and self-published nearly 20 issues of his own zine, HEADPUMP. More recently Rich was instrumental in forming NYC's acclaimed Lit Lounge & Fuse Gallery, where he served as assistant curator. Imagine Tex Avery performing an autopsy on Hans Bellmer and you're getting close to the mad, mad world of Rich Rethorn!

Frank Russo is the co-founder/curator of NYC’s MF Gallery. Since 2003 MF Gallery has been the Lower East Side’s sanctuary for great underground art. Frank’s own art fuses a life-long love for trash culture & fast music with a wide variety of media and styles. In the not-so-distant future Frank intends to destroy the human race with his robot metal band, Dethrace! Be prepared.

Jim Blanchard is a Seattle-based artist whose white-knuckle line drawings have appeared in numerous books, magazines, & album covers. His bad-trip doodles first emerged in the early 80’s with his self-published punk/art zine, ‘Blatch’. This zine was unique in its equal representation of underground art and music and was a big influence on Destroying Angels several years later. Jim’s recent work includes portraits of cinematic icons, often created using colorful consumer stickers, and his hilarious graphic novel collaboration with Jim Goad titled ‘Trucker Fags in Denial’.

Ross Sewage has a combined 17 years in the underground, handling bass duties, fire-breathing, and art direction for Impaled and Ludicra. He has also provided art for scores of other bands including Median and Ex-Dementia. His art has recently shown in Germany and he likes his ramen noodles without the meat.

Sean “Bloodbath” McGrath is an emerging artist whose fun zombie renderings most closely resemble the confident styles of EC masters such as Will Elder and Jack Davis. Sean holds high the six-string middle finger in Impaled and also handles much of the band’s art direction. Recently he has created album cover art, t-shirts, and logos for many bands that probably didn’t pay him what he deserved.

Andrei Bouzikov is a Russian immigrant and Academy of Art graduate with one boot in the punk gutter and one boot in heavy metal hell! He plays bass for Deadfall and has provided art for a broad range of bands as well as mainstream illustration gigs that actually pay the bills! Entartete Kunts is proud to display his freshly painted cover art for Municipal Waste’s latest full-length, not yet released!

Sean "Goblin" Aaberg is an uppity punk whose illustrations of mythological cider-swilling crusty trolls have graced the pages of zines since the early 90’s. Sean is a smart & versatile artist who gracefully handles multiple styles and projects, with an emphasis on subversive design and bold color. When he isn’t passed out near the train tracks with a 12-sided die in his hands, Sean teaches little kids how to draw.

Reuben Storey is an emerging cartoonist with an economical narrative style and a keen eye for mutant detail. His dystopian sci-fi cartoons often depict hilarious fat slobs puking into space and awaiting the inevitable mandroid takeover! Born in Louisiana, Reuben currently resides in Olympia, Washington where he ekes out a living while playing drums in two of the Northwest’s most promising metal bands, Funerot and Furdidurke.

Mark Riddick has been a staple in the underground since he sold his soul at age 14. His visual work has appeared wherever quality death metal has reared its ugly head and his rotting entangled zombies are instantly recognizable. Among the many projects of this veritable “renaissance man”, Mark also composes dark medieval-influenced music (along with his identical twin brother & band mate) under the moniker The Soil Bleeds Black.

Scott Stearns is a black wizard and he will stab you in the fucking neck! His dense sativa-soaked pen drawings have appeared on numerous releases including, most notably, Nunslaughter and his own band Necrodamus. Naked sluts, pentagrams, swords, goats! Scott is simply what great underground art is all about.

Dennis Dread is the curator of this mess and is currently writing about himself in the third-person again. Chronically behind on deadlines and wildly unpopular with the opposite sex, he still hasn’t purchased real art supplies or learned how to pay his utility bills. Buy him a beer and wish him luck…

OPENING RECEPTION
THURSDAY JUNE 21
7pm-10pm

OPTIC NERVE ARTS