AN INDEPENDENT CHANNELTheory Magazine is an arts and culture publication based in Bozeman, Montana. We feature talented artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers from the area, and from around the globe. Our open call for submissions is always extended, to let everyones voice be heard.
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Interview with painter and digital artist Jonathan Raney from Theory Magazine Issue Two.
What was the first piece of art that you remember making?
When I was young, I would take my favorite comic books like X-Men, and redraw them, so it was probably a Ninja Turtles drawing.
Who are your artistic influences?
It started off with Michelangelo and DaVinci. I learned about all the well known artists first. From there it was just reading books and learning about more minor artists from the same time period, Renaissance artists. At first I was really against modern stuff, then I slowly started to read about the Impressionists, and finding out what I could about them. From there it has kept going, so it’s all the old artists, but also newer artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Dali and Goya. The list goes on.
Posted on: March 8, 2013 by Brian Thabault
Interview with Napping Artist (Mindy Bechtell) from Theory Magazine Issue Two by editor Ashley Moon.
Describe your background story in three sentences.
I was that weird kid with a stutter and lisp. I just sat around drawing all day and didn’t really have a life. Then all of a sudden, I was the weird ugly duckling who became obsessed with art.
How has art changed you? Has it taught you anything about yourself?
I think my art has made me realize how important I am. I’ve had a lot of people in the last year call me an inspiration and tell me that they are doing things because of something I have done. Before, I never thought lowly of myself, but I never really thought much of myself. Now I know that I actually matter.
What are some things that people have praised you for or what’s their favorite aspect of your art?
I usually get compliments on colors, creativity, and the story that goes behind it, or just the fact that I’m doing it and showing it. I like to share my story. A lot of people say that it takes a lot of courage and inner-strength.
Posted on: March 7, 2013 by Brian Thabault
“I don’t know why I left, but I left on my own, and it won’t be long till-I, till-I, till-I get on back home…blood, guts, sex and danger I wanna be an airborne ranger…hi ho didlley bob, wish I was back on the block, with that bottle in my hand-I’m gonna be a drinking man, I’m gonna drink all I can, for Uncle Sam–re-up you’re crazy, re-up you’re outta your mind…”
This weekend I spent chain-smoking cigarettes and drinking, talking with a friend I served with in Iraq – he just returned from Afghanistan. The point kept resurfacing of feeling great worth in a worthless endeavor, and then feeling worthless upon returning home after a deployment. When I returned from Iraq I felt like an alien here, Iraq was my home, I had a purpose there, and all the continually fucked-up situations felt normal. Here the violence, aggression, and fear which made me successful in Iraq continue to cause struggle and pain.
Posted on: January 6, 2013 by Brian Thabault
This Friday November 28th at the Waller-Yoblansky Gallery, Chris Holton, Shane Johnson and Matt Schwager Present Second Sight, an interactive multimedia art installation. Without giving too much away, it is going to be a blend of video and imagery with ambient and interactive sound. The project has been developing in the minds of the collaborators for three months. It has come together in it’s current physical manifestation within the past three weeks. It is an ongoing experiment that relies on viewer interaction to reach it’s full potential. The collaboration brings together three minds with different expertise, they are combining they’re knowledge of conceptual art, sound design, and computer programming to create a network of video projectors, webcams, and laptops running MAX MSP to manipulate video and sound.
The result is going to be downright trippy, and a fun interactive exhibit for art appreciators of all ages.
The opening is from 6PM to 9PM Friday, November 28th at the Waller Yoblansky Gallery. Click Here for Directions.
Posted on: November 27, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Francesco Gillia is a grad student at MSU in Bozeman. Painting is his latest pursuit after formally working as a product designer in California and founding Bottega Montana, a custom furniture design and longboard company. The work shown is from the series PRONAOS, which is Francesco’s thesis project.
How did growing up in Italy influence you becoming an artist?
I’ve always been doing art. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Rome in 1999. I then came to the States to be an artist. I ended up doing product design and designing sneakers for the lifestyle market. It was cutting-edge projects for skateboarding, surf and lifestyle brands. It was fun. I was a Sneaker-head. Back in the 80s when people started collecting Jordans, I was THE Sneaker-head. I worked doing product design for three years, then started a company called Bottega Montana with my brother. We designed and manufactured wooden furniture and longboards. Now I’m back to art, but when I look back, my entire process of change was pretty obvious. It’s like, if you look at a color spectrum, the beginning and the end are very different. It’s black and white; there is no connection. But if you look at every step along the way, then it makes sense.
Posted on: November 26, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Rollin Beamish is a Professor at MSU. He lives in Bozeman, Montana, while often traveling to Berlin, Germany and the rest of the world for artist residencies and to show his work. This interview is from Theory Magazine Issue Two which is available to order here.
Gorgon Series (Greusslich Contemporary, Berlin, 2011)
How did the idea for this body of work initially come about?
Well, it started with an idea of thinking about people that are not well known, but are somehow interesting. I feel like they need to be portrayed in some way. There is so much dross in the cult of personality where peoples images are circulated everywhere. The people that are just pure celebrity, like Kim Kardashian. They are just an empty signifier. So, this started as this kind of weird interest in portraying people. I started out with Doug Koe, who is the leader of this psuedo-religious political activist group referred to eerily as The Family. Author and investigative reporter Jeff Sharlette wrote a good book on him. Doug Coe has this super capitalist ideology where he takes a Madisonian notion that elites should govern – like the stupid masses don’t know so they must believe – that whole thing. He takes that a step further and adds this pseudo-Christian vibe to it. Madison was coming out of the enlightenment era and felt people should be governed, and that our so-called democracy in the states was constructed with the mindset of keeping the money and land owners in control, since those were the guys who could vote and influence policy. Coe has similar ideas, he believes that the elite should lead, but he adds this twist where the elite have been put in the position of power for a reason. He called it “Jesus Plus Nothing,” I think. It’s the idea that if you are wealthy or successful, then it’s somehow God’s will. You hear the same story over and over again. This is the guy that organized the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, which every president since Nixon has attended. It’s kind of a bi-partisan representation, George W. Bush was a member who participated in the prayer breakfast, as was Al Gore.
So you don’t necessarily agree with all of your subjects political positions?
Posted on: November 21, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Francesco Gillia is one of our featured artist in the upcoming second issue of Theory Magazine. PRONAOS is the title of Francesco’s first art book that he is funding through Kickstarter. The book showcases his large scale oil paintings depicting nude human forms. You can see more about the project in this video.
Follow the link below to read about the other pledge rewards he is offering. Also check it out for more information about the project, including updates on its progress, cover images, and images of his color studies as they are completed.
An interview with Francesco is featured in our second issue, available soon.
Posted on: October 7, 2012 by Brian Thabault
A true renaissance woman, Lindsay is an artist currently residing in Bozeman who creates awesome things. She is a painter, photographer, filmmaker, set designer and art director. Her latest work, a film entitled “-Tic” will be premiering on Friday June 29th at The Cottonwood Club.
Here is a bit from the Artist about herself.
I was born in Kalispell, Montana, but I’ve lived in a different place every year for the past 7 years. I went to school at Pratt Institute (consequentially New York City has been “home” for the longest duration), and it was there that I eschewed the classical art that I had practiced and began to embrace expressionistic line and color in depiction of the figure.
My work represents my investigation of the human experience from a female view-point. Specifically, by exploring sexuality and the gender roles associated, I hope to discover my own personal truth – and hopefully, guide my viewers to their own discovery, too. Perhaps I’ll never find “the answer,” but that’s not really the point, anyway.
I like to keep myself immersed in various media because certain materials are more suited to some topics than others. The art needs to be able to live and breath, so, in my opinion, it’d be foolhardy to keep work constrained to a select few media.
The next images are photos from the shooting of the film FemNow.
Posted on: June 18, 2012 by Brian Thabault
Last but not least, our interview with Jaclyn Guenthner that was featured in Theory Issue One. We are certain you will enjoy.
Your pieces have a free-flowing feel to them. Do you know what a drawing will look like before you finish it?
I have absolutely no idea. I usually have an image in mind, and sometimes I go into it without any plan at all. Usually I’ll think about an image, but it never turns out like I expect it to. It never materializes. It never turns into my idea. It always changes.
I once read that “the hardest part of art is knowing where to stop.” How do you know when a piece is finished?
Oh my gosh, that’s really hard. Sometimes I will be working on something and if I don’t know if it’s finished, I will quit working on it for a while. Then, I will look at it again. I feel like it reaches a point when it doesn’t need anything else, when you’re not compelled to do anything else with it; then it’s complete.
Do you believe that art needs to have a deep meaning behind it to be beautiful?
What kind of question is that? How do you answer that? (Laughs). Everything has some sort of meaning just because it exists, whether it’s deep or not. The fact that it exists makes it meaningful in some way. It is what it is.
How important are titles to you?
I think that they are helpful, but I struggle when titling my pieces. A title adds another element to art, a title gives the viewer something to think about.
The title of your show is “Searching Uncertainty.” What is it about your work, or art in general, that inspire these feelings?
The fact that we constantly have to make decisions; you can never escape making choices. We are always questioning what the right choice is. You have to make decisions, that’s part of life. It’s the same way I approach my work, going in without having a plan and just working with the process. You make a choice and then you look at it, and that inspires something else. Each choice you make inspires a new choice; so you can never really know the outcome. I think that’s why I can never produce an image that is in my head. I’m always influenced by my previous choices, and you never know where your choices will lead you.
Describe your ideal environment for creating art:
Large and spacious–a place where I can make as big a mess as I want. I like open spaces.
Looking ahead in your career, is there any medium or creative industry you would be interested in trying out?
I would like to do more printmaking processes and combine painting with photography. I want to learn to work with technology as well. Computer things seem to be important this day in age. (Laughs).
Posted on: June 9, 2012 by Brian Thabault
This interview with Dalton C. Brink appeared in Issue One of Theory. Enjoy the new and improved digital edition.
Tell us about your background in art and what initially attracted you to painting and art in general.
Well I grew up in Memphis and there wasn’t anything beautiful there, no landscape to look at. There was nothing intellectual, just music and that was it. When I was five I picked up the guitar and I’ve been playing ever since. I started playing indie rock shows and punk rock/hardcore shows when I was sixteen. That opened me up to the world of DIY ethics. It was a shit-hole Mississippi town, so it opened my world view dramatically–a big paradigm shift between small town and big city. I grew more and more in love with music. I was obsessed with it and played in bands for years, put out albums and things like that. After I got out of the Navy, I moved back to Memphis and played in a band, but I got sick of playing with them because there was a lack of artistic freedom. You had to run the band with a group of guys instead of just yourself, so I decided to quit the band. I needed something I could do on my own without anybody telling me what to do. That’s why I started painting. I always wanted to be an artist, but when I was a kid I thought it was something that you did or didn’t have. I didn’t think you could learn it. When I got old enough to realize that you could learn it, I started teaching myself. It was kind of my escape from the drama and stress of the band. I had also always written poetry and stories. Painting came out of that, from illustrating my own stories. It kind of just grew into its own story.
Along the Walk
Your body of work has some recurring characters, is there a story behind them?
The whole thing is a story. Everything I do ties together, it’s all one story. It’s basically the story of human struggle, of coming out of the human condition to our enlightenment. That’s what everything is about. The UFOs symbolize our hope for a higher consciousness, but you don’t know if they are good or bad. It’s the hope of our savior, or whatever that higher consciousness is. The girl represents our innocence, and the skeletons represent death. All the alarm clock birds represent time. It’s the struggle of humanity trying to reach enlightenment.
You mentioned UFOs. Do you believe that extraterrestrials have visited earth?
Yeah, I definitely think so. I wouldn’t even call them extraterrestrial, I would call them extradimensional, from a different dimension all together. I believe they are still around, I don’t know if they are good or bad, but I think there are probably more bad than good ones. I think there are good ones too though.
Let’s switch gears. You started a DIY venue in Bozeman called The Cottonwood Club, what’s the story behind it?
When I moved to Bozeman there was nowhere for me to show art. Bozeman was mostly tourist art. I don’t know, there was The Emerson and stuff on campus, but I didn’t really fit into any of those categories. Neither did a lot of my friends that were doing the most interesting work. Bozeman didn’t have any DIY venue. When I grew up, DIY venues were the door to the world. It was out of necessity that I started The Cottonwood Club. Basically, It’s a space to build up an artistic community. It’s not a gallery, it’s not a music venue. It’s a place where people can come together, show their work and express themselves. All the other galleries I’ve been to in this town have all these stipulations, like you can only hang certain places, you can’t paint the walls, you can’t do all this stuff. Here is a place that you can do whatever you want. I don’t take commissions on work, sometimes I ask for donations and I hardly ever charge admissions, unless it’s a touring band–they need gas money. The Cottonwood is a liberation of artistic endeavors.
One of the regular events at The Cottonwood Club is Free Art School. How can it be a school and be free? That is contradictory to the great American tradition of profit-based educational institutions.
By free I don’t mean money. Free means to liberate; it’s a verb, not an adjective. It’s not school in your typical sense of the word; definitely not your typical archetype of American education.
What does the Cottonwood Club have in store for the future?
Hopefully we have seeded something that won’t die regardless of who’s in charge or what space it’s in. We’ve been kicked out of a couple different spots already, almost got evicted from this spot. If the idea is there, that’s The Cottonwood. This place is free and offers freedom to artists, unlike all the bureaucratic galleries and art venues around that are solely based on profit. When something is based on profit, it dies if you close it down. Something that is free and not based on profit, but on more of an ideology, you can’t kill that. Even if you shut it down, it will just spring up somewhere else.
Any closing statements?
As a statement to fellow artists, we have responsibility. We’ve been dealing with form way too long. We need to start acting as if we are calling out through the flames and say something with meaning. It is our responsibility as artists to take abstract concepts and to make them into physical objects or images; make something to show the audience, to show the world an example of what humanity should be. Anybody who doesn’t take that responsibility seriously is a parasite on the world. We should be fighting that with all we can.
Posted on: June 8, 2012 by Brian Thabault