Thursday, December 20, 2012

Interview with December Artist Shana Cleveland of La Luz

Hi folks!

TONIGHT is Cairo's December art show featuring "Famous Faces" by Shana Cleveland

For this exhibition, Cleveland recreated promoshots from the early days of rock'n'roll, as well as silhouettes and shadow puppets. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing and chatting with Shana last week about her artistic style, Detroit MI, and crazy stories from the road. 

Keep reading to learn more and come to Cairo TONIGHT 7-9 PM to see her work! 

The Foster Twins

The Supremes

Tell me about your work for this show, "Famous Faces". 
This show will be mostly comprised of portraits that I did for my calendar this year, which is called Famous Faces. There are 12 portraits for that--it's all old rock and rollers from the 50s and 60s. There are also going to be a lot of silouhettes--I've been doing a lot of those lately, and maybe a couple other things. My favorite portrait is the one of the Foster Twins. 

What other mediums have you used in the past, if any? 
I've taken a lot of art classes but I've mostly just dabbled in different mediums. When I was in art school in Chicago I did a lot of 3D design work, sculpture, and photography. I went to Columbia College--I started majoring in photography but ended up graduating a degree in poetry. 
I do a lot of design work for show posters in general,  but I don't really consider visual art as my specialty--its just something I like to do. I focus on music the most, artistically speaking. 

How would you describe your personal artistic style in any creative endeavor?
It's weird…when I draw people, I think it looks exactly like the person in real life. But I know that's not true. It's really pop art, kind of comic, I guess. I don't put a lot of artistic weight on it. 
It's different with my music, I usually try to make something that's really fun and familiar, but not something that I've heard before. I wanted to make something really fun to hear and easy to understand, you know? Music that is not exclusive or necessary to be a part of the scene to enjoy, but also have more depth there for those who want it. I want it to stand a lot of listens. 
Lyrics are really important for me, too. I wanted the lyrics to be easily understandable, but not cliche. 

Any mediums you want to explore? 
I am pretty much doing exactly what I want to do with music right now--La Luz is the most exciting thing I've done so far. We just started up this summer, after I got back from tour with The Curious Mystery. We have a tape coming out on Burger Records, and a 7 " coming out on Water Wing which is a division of Mississippi Records. Those are coming out at about the same time, so we are going on our first tour of the West Coast in March. 

What are you most proud of in your career so far? 
Hmm, I don't know. I am most proud of La Luz, I think. The portraits, as much as I love doing them, are easy. Mostly, this new band is what I am really proud of. Marian played in The Curious Mystery with me and The Pica Beats. The other musicians, Abbey and Katie, I met at Cafe Racer. They do mostly classical and jazz music--I met them at a jazz jam session at Racer. This is their first rock band. 

Where are you from? 
I am from Kalamazoo, MI. When I was 18 I moved to Chicago for school. Kalamazoo was cool though, there were a lot of underage punk shows and a cool music scene happening when I was there. 

Where is your favorite place on the road?
I really love being on tour. I liked playing on house shows in Michigan and Philadelphia--places where kids are really excited and stoked to see a band. One of the best tour experiences I've had was when we played at a DIY loft showspace in Michigan. The kids were totally flipping out and screaming and dancing, and when I told them we were originally from Michigan, they went hysterical. It was amazing. 

Best tour story?
When we were toured this summer with Calvin Johnson's band The Hive Dwellers, and we went to Greensboro, NC. We were  crashing at our friend's house while he was at work because he set up the show for us. All of a sudden the cops came and apparently they received reports that people had broken into the house and were ransacking the place--but we were just sitting around--reading. More and more cops kept coming, and eventually the house was full of cops, and they were asking WHERE'S THE DRUGS???  It was a total misunderstanding and no one got arrested but I was pretty sure we were going to. Calvin was making fun of the cops and they took him outside with his hands behind his back. Ha, that was pretty crazy. 

What are your greatest musical influences? 

Lately I've been influenced by Link Wray more than anyone on my quest to become an awesome surf guitar player. And classics like The Velvet Underground, Billie Holiday, the Beatles, Kinks, Stones, and Stevie Wonder. And Television. And Mississippi Records tapes bigtime. Really amazing singers like Irma Thomas and loose wild singers like Will Oldham and Ariel Pink and Lou Reed...Lou Reed's got the coolest noises.

See you tonight!
507 E Mercer 

7-9. Drinks and conversation provided ;)

No comments: