Sure, we've interviewed local artist/living legend Jason Barr before (read it here), but we wanted to check back in with him for a few rants and raves prior to his "New Wood" opening this Friday at Frank's North Star. We think you'll agree that this interview is imminently quotable!
For more madness, follow @BARRR on Twitter and visit his BARRR Heaven site here for any other links you might need to experience the extensive social-media presence of this LFK treasure!
Enjoy the interview.
Chip: When I think of wood, the first thing that comes to my mind is boners. Tell us about your “New Wood” opening at Frank’s. I understand that the wood is a reference to actual wood, but PLEASE tell me you are at least incorporating a few dicks made of sticks in this exhibition, since we know you are no stranger to erection-related art.
BARRR: Well... I'm obviously not a newcomer to a play on words. I was actually banned from putting dicks in this show. Frank asked me not to fill his bar with "penis rainbows" or "masturbating demons." He was actually the manager of the Bourgeois Pig when my original Heaven Party show went through the whole lawsuit bullshit. Don't fear tho... I thought about it and I think with all the burlesque shit goin' down there I just included a LOT of TITTIES! You've never seen a sexier orange dripping blob of paint with TITS! My show at Franks is the art equivalent of "God's loophole." I'm just takin it from behind.
Richard: Walk us through a couple of your favorite pieces from the “New Wood” opening. How did they originate and what feelings do you want to evoke in the viewers?
BARRR: I planned on showing 4-5 brand new, very worked-over, enormous pieces. Paintings no one has seen in Lawrence. I have a huge show in KC right now at 208 W. 9th Street in the Crossroads. I didn't realize that the whole First Friday / Final Friday thing would leave me in the lurch. I was originally meant to show at Franks in November but I was laid off at the Lawrence Arts Center so I asked for my show to be bumped up. Papa's gotta make money! I gotta pay the bills. I'm kinda rabbit-trailing here but this is just where I'm at. I've got some intensely beautiful grotesque mixed media paintings that now take about a month to make each. That's a bit different from my original approach. I used to intentionally make a piece an hour. I wanted to make 40 paintings a week. I'm still doing that but I noticed that the stuff that was huge and more expensive started flying out of galleries. I don't know what's up. I basically just started getting invited to tons of shows and then shit started selling. Things are changing rapidly for me right now. That being said...this show is my original style but mixed with my new acrylic, pen & ink, watercolor style. It has more depth. It looks more graphic. BUT...it's small pieces so I can crank em out. Boom. There ya go.
Chip: I understand that Frank’s is hip as shit and everything, but I’m always scared to walk over the bridge into No Law after dark. There are hobos under there, you know, and possibly also trolls. Convince me in a few sentences that I absolutely MUST attend this event.
BARRR: This is a LATE opening. I'll be bar tending the Final Friday event at the Lawrence Arts Center and then the Threepenny Opera. I may have been laid off but they're still taking care of me. I'm just shifting what I do. THEN...I'm walkin over the bridge to host the Final Friday after party, which is "New Wood." I'm gonna give some new wood to this already old-as-hell feeling Final Friday. It feels old already, right?
BARRR: Before I start really diggin' myself in a hole... I priced all this work to be affordable for the LFK kids. It's hard to find any extra $$$ these days. It's not free but at the rate my prices are increasing you'll never find it this easy to take home a BARRR. This show is for my first-love LFK!
Richard: Obviously, we can't interview you and not let you cut loose on the 'scene.' Give us the inside scoop on what's shaking in the LFK art world.
BARRR: Alright...here's some shit talkin' now. There's basically the Invisible Hand & Wonder Fair killing it on the reg. Ben Ahlvers is also a treasure. That dude is bringin' some great shows to the Arts Center. The aforementioned people are bringing in fresh faces for us to consume. You've also got some of the Seed Co. shit going down that is awesome. But all in all...we still need to step it up. If someone asked me if there was a thriving art scene in LFK... I'd say no. I'd say there's some really talented people here (like Jeff Immer...go to his show at the Invisible Hand) but all in all it's old rich hippie bullshit shit or some wack dude making the same bullshit over and over.
[note: we showcased Immer's "The New Bullshit" opening at Invisible Hand opening yesterday on the blog: check it out here]
Richard: For awhile we all thought you were packing up and taking your hijinks over to KC permanently, but I’m glad you ended up staying in LFK and keeping things weird. Tell us what all you’re working on these days and what’s on the horizon for BARRR in the near-future.
BARRR: I was def moving to KC. If you picked up what I laid down in the previous ranty paragraph. I was over being around here. This place is suffocating for a dude like myself, that feels the need to constantly communicate with the scene or people around me. I do not feel supported by most of the people that I love to support. I think the older art/music scene are terrified to be affiliated with me. I scare the hell out of those old squares. AND now that I've lost my job here...I get it. You can't be too loud or wild here. You gotta make people happy and pacify people to keep scooping up the money from the college kids. Maybe I'm crazy. Either way... I'm still here cuz my wife is now a stylist at Headmasters on the west side. It's a killer job and I wanna support her. Elyse is pretty much the best thing that's ever happened to me. I gotta chill for a bit and help her career. I can make crazy paintings in the basement and chill out with my girls all day. I also got a crazy nice house in N. Lawrence thanks to Patric Hangaur from 1'000'000'000 Light Years & Fourth of July. If you saw how beautiful my house is...you'd stay in Lawrence too. I also don't go out much anymore. Why would you leave N. Lawrence now that Frank's North Star Tavern exists. Come fuck with me on Friday night! I'll be there at 10pm. Fuck wit me! See a living legend in the flesh. You're welcome Lawrence KS!
A glimpse at BARRR's "New Wood":