Thursday, October 25, 2012

DANIEL HIGGS (lungfish) / / Arrington de Dionyso / / Calvin Johnson

BIG UP to Daniel Higgs, known primarily for his work in the seminal 90s punk band LUNGFISH. Cairo is proud to be presenting this show NOVEMBER 9th, at 8 pm. Joining him will be Arrington de Dionyso & K Records mastermind, Calvin Johnson.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Next Silkscreen Workshop is Nov. 13 at 7 pm

Make your own t-shirts, posters and more! $45 gets you this great workshop, teaching you the basics of silkscreening shirts and posters + 1 month's worth of 7 day a week access to our studio to create your very own goodies. Stop by or email cairosilkscreening (at) to reserve a spot!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sea Change: Inside the Artist's Studio with Shaun Kardinal

This month, Cairo is excited to show the work of artist Shaun Kardinal, in his series titled Reiterations. The collection, opening on OCTOBER 11th at CAIRO, features a progression of the artist's work with hand-embroidered two dimensional memorabilia, primarily in the form of vintage postcards and magazines. Shaun primarily works from home, which happens to be one floor down from my home. As building mates, we decided to hold the interview from 'inside the studio'. Here is an image of Shaun's workspace: 

 The 'studio'
During the interview, we caught up on the Space Needle as a public work of art, dog-people artists versus cat-people artists, and pizza at the neighborhood Pine Box. Here is a photo of Shaun in front of one of his favorite buildings in Seattle:

Shaun and his lady, artist Erin Frost, share an apartment and an enormous cat, who enjoys entertaining himself with much of the artist's supplies. 
The artist with blog star Charlie Chew

Read on to learn more about the collection featured and the artist himself! 

The Interview: 

Tell me about this show, "Reiterations". 
Both series that I am presenting are continuous and numbered–Alterations, an embroidered postcard project now past 60 works, and the bigger, collaged series Connotations pushing 40. The "Iterations" in the title comes from that ongoing count. "Reiterations" denotes that its not a new concept--its a continuation of those series. 
The whole embroidery thing started when I was sharing pieces of art in the mail a few years ago with some friends. At the time, I was focused on photography and was getting burnt out on my self portraits. When a friend sent me a postcard that was embroidered and collaged, I really loved the idea, so I made my own and sent it back. I got really into it and started sewing up postcards left and right. Of course, they were much more collage-oriented back then–little scenes built up with bits of string. One thing I really liked immediately about the medium was that there's not a lot of waste, especially compared to photography.

What other art mediums have you worked with in the past?
I did a little bit of screen printing for a while, then I was really interested in bumper stickers, as well as some some video and installation stuff. But since 2006 I've focused primarily on photography and these embroidered projects. 

When did you first start creating/making art? 
I always drew when I was a kid, but usually just cartoons and things I would see on TV. In high school I took a lot of art classes and got pretty skilled at drawing and photography, but I lost interest when I graduated. I grabbed my camera again in my early twenties. I worked at a frame shop in Pioneer Square around that time, and we started an art gallery there, so I started taking photos and compiling a body of work. My cohort Dan Carrillo bought me a great little medium format camera and I shot my first show with it. It was the first time I made an effort to be a part of the art world that I had worked with so closely at the frame shop. It was pretty great. 

How would you describe your personal artistic style? 
There is a lot of focus on color, with lots of geometry and planning. At the same time, I make a lot of arbitrary decisions--the images I choose for the work are chosen at a gut level, intentionally ignoring its content. For example, a lot of the time, the circles for the Connotations pieces are cut from the back, and I won't worry about what part of the image I will or won't cut through. Almost all of the postcards are completely planned out on the back with no correlation to the image on the cover–aside from the color choices. So yeah, a lot of arbitrary decisions, as well as hyper organization and focus on precision. It works for me--it's a productive pairing of things.

Which of your pieces are you the most proud of? 
This latest Connotations is my favorite thing I've ever created, I think. They are very satisfying. I am also really happy with a project I did last year with my girl Erin Frost

Where are you from? Do you think your upbringing manifests in your work?
I am originally from Tracy, California, right outside the Bay area. Tracy is nothing like the bay area, though: it's one of those middle-of-everything towns, super corporate. It was the largest growing town in the USA when I left because its right between Sacramento, SF and San Jose, so everybody just lived there and commuted, which made it a weird town. It was run by the teenage kids of commuter parents, all working at the myriad chain stores.

I moved here after high school. I love it here, but i feel like there is a ceiling you hit here in the art world. It's comfortable, and you can do well for a long time, but you can't reach past a certain point. 

As for my upbringing having an effect on the work, I think the content of my photography was more a direct result of that. However, I am attracted very much to vintage imagery, and I am unsure where that nostalgia comes from, since the suburbia I knew is not what appears in these images I choose. Maybe some kind of longing for a past I'll never have? Getting deep here.

Did you have a summer highlight? 
My trip with my girl to Portland was pretty great. We went down there to see Twin Shadow and stayed in a fancy hotel. It was hot there at the time, too--it wasn't quite summer yet here, even mid-August. I really like Portland!

Do you have a favorite record of all time?
I have a few. I used to have a real hold on that in my twenties... at-the-ready lists of favorites. But now it's hard to really call anything an absolute favorite. I can always go back to Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips, and I really love Microcastle by Deerhunter. I'll listen to most anything by David Bowie or the Beatles, standards like that. Pretty much every Pulp record. Tender Buttons by Broadcast. Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up, I am DreamingHoliday by Magnetic Fields. I listen to music all the time. 

Do you have a go-to karaoke jam? 
Yes, These Eyes by The Guess Who.

Where do most of your inspirations come from?
Being a web developer, I spend a lot of time online, including plenty of time browsing design and art blogs, clicking through my Tumblr dashboard. I save graphics with shapes and patterns I want to try to generate with the thread and refer to them when I need a kickstart. I love color, and I'm always grabbing more and more embroidery thread. 

Are there any local artists you've been blown away by recently?
Casey Curran is always amazing. A long time favorite of mine is Victoria Haven–I'm really looking forward to seeing her contribution to the Elles exhibit at the SAM. As far as projects go, I think everything that Todd Jannausch does is really smart. People should give him more money to do his projects. 

If you could do a public project of art, where and what would you do?
I mentioned bumper stickers earlier–a few years ago when that was my thing, I got a grant to produce an outdoor exhibition which would feature a series of stickers promoting everyday stuff like air, trees, sidewalks, walls, and on and on... which would be illustrated texts in the style of band stickers and campaign slogans. Unfortunately, for that project at least, by the time the money was available, I had lost interest in stickers. Thinking about it now, though, I feel like there could still be something to it. I wonder if I can still get that $1000...

Thanks to Shaun for the interview and we are excited to see you for the opening on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11TH at CAIRO!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cairo Digital Mixtape #12: Bouquet

Stream the latest Cairo mix from Carolyn of Bouquet, curated in anticipation for their show with Mt. Eerie October 12th. The mix features songs from band members solo projects and from Bouquets Cave Life EP. Download it over at the Cairo Bandcamp page and don't forget to purchase your tickets to the show online!