Juxtapoz Magazine – Interview: Jason Andreasen on the History of the Surreal Salon at Baton Rouge Gallery



Just a few weeks in the past, we introduced this 12 months’s Surreal Salon, the sixteenth version of the esteemed juried artwork competitors. Seeing that the deadline for submissions is October 20, 2023, we needed to share our interview from final 12 months with Baton Rouge Gallery CEO, Jason Andreasen, on the historical past of the Surreal Salon. 

It has been a staple right here at Juxtapoz for years now, the protection we now have in affiliation with the distinctive and pop-surreal showcase, the Surreal Salon. For happening 15 yeras now, Baton Rouge Gallery CEO Jason Andreasen has introduced a specific imaginative and prescient of surrealism, fantasy, costume and pleasant competitors to Louisiana, the place the Surreal Salon takes artwork from all over the world with a visitor choose to find out the “better of present” and, most significantly, to ascertain a brand new era of pop-surreal painters. From judges like Liz McGrath, Ron English, Craola and this 12 months’s choose, Marco Mazzoni, Andreasen has created a particular expertise within the south. 

Evan Pricco
: It is superb that it has been 15 years for the reason that first Surreal Salon. For those who have been to construct a linear line by means of all of them, what do you suppose has made this so enduring? 
Jason Andreasen: Once we began, it was solely meant to be a one-time, one-night occasion that was held offsite at an area area referred to as The Ephemeral Gallery (which was actually the workspace of native printmaker Kathryn Hunter and her husband, situated in outdated partially burned-out warehouse). The thought was that we’d have the ability to create an occasion that might be thrilling for artists whereas additionally getting a youthful (underneath 30) viewers in our space enthusiastic about artwork. We invited everybody to come back out in costume, had plenty of interactive components for folks to interact with, and two completely different bands on the invoice. We misplaced cash the primary 12 months, however we knew there was one thing particular concerning the expertise and the suggestions we bought. In its second 12 months we opened it as much as artists throughout the U.S., made it a month-long exhibition, and it took off from there.

I feel the costume component to the Surreal Salon Soiree, which stays a continuing 15 years later, has made Louisiana audiences actually embrace it. We’ve got a splendidly unusual predilection for costumes down right here, be it for Mardi Gras, Halloween, or every other purpose to show into somebody or one thing else for an evening. It’s been cool to see that the faculty college students we’d hoped would come to that first occasion are nonetheless coming and it has grown to welcome audiences of all ages too! So far as the artwork itself goes, I feel it’s so simple as the sheer high quality of works we’ve been in a position to share. It truly is an exhibition that these in our space stay up for yearly. However when you’d instructed me once we began Surreal Salon that we’d be shifting into our 15th 12 months having featured lots of of artists from throughout the U.S. and the globe, I’d have checked to ensure you weren’t carrying some type of poisonous face paint that was messing together with your mind. 

And in an identical vein, how has it modified? 
There’s the apparent issues in that it has gone from a one-night occasion to a month-long exhibition. It went from being open solely to Louisiana-based artists to being a possibility for artists throughout the U.S., to finally being open to artists worldwide (beginning with Surreal Salon 10, juried by Ron English). There was the addition of prize monies ($2,000 might be awarded in 2023). The actually particular half for us, although, has been seeing the evolution of works being made by artists who submit for the present. We’ve seen virtually each media conceivable and the truth that the present by no means has an expressed theme means it casts a large internet and makes for an exhibition that may be splendidly dynamic every year.

What was the massive breakthrough for the occasion? 
I’d say there have been two large breakthroughs for Surreal Salon (one for the annual Soiree and one for the exhibition itself) that helped it grow to be what it’s right this moment. And each occurred fairly shut collectively. The primary was once we hosted Surreal Salon 5. We’d tried for a number of years to have The New Orleans Bingo! Present play the Surreal Salon Soiree. They mixed elaborate and interactive vaudeville-like performances with some actually enjoyable, experimental music (utilizing quite a lot of youngsters toys). They’d clowns and burlesque dancers and a number of rounds of bingo performed throughout every of their reside reveals. For those who referred to as out that you simply had “bingo,” you’d get introduced up on stage and both be celebrated with a bouquet of flowers or beat over the top with them. They performed the Soiree in 2013 and I feel it actually instructed folks what sort of occasion we’d purpose to convey to Baton Rouge yearly. Within the years since, we’ve had a “Japanese motion comedian punk” band, a band that performed “Russian Mafia music,” puppet-fueled rock bands, and a few dozen various things in between. However I feel the 12 months New Orleans Bingo! Present set the stage for every of them. 

The second turning level got here when Greg Escalante, a co-founder of Juxtapoz, served as our Particular Visitor Juror for Surreal Salon 6. Our longtime companions on the LSU College of Artwork initially introduced us collectively and we couldn’t be extra grateful. Not solely did he put collectively an unimaginable exhibition, however I feel he had extra enjoyable than anybody right here when he got here to city for the Surreal Salon Soiree. He all the time mentioned he had the most effective fried hen of his life right here (because of the Baton Rouge establishment that’s Hen Shack) and I feel that helped gas his love for the present. When he went again to Los Angeles, and we didn’t know this ‘til years later, he began speaking to many artists about his expertise in Baton Rouge. We came upon later {that a} large a part of the explanation that artists like Liz McGrath, Shag, and Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins signed on to function Jurors is as a result of they’d talked with Escalante first. 

Jason Andreasen

Why do you suppose Baton Rouge is so open to the Surreal Salon and the Soiree every year? What makes the town so linked to this occasion? 
The costume component of the Soiree is certainly a part of it. We love a purpose to dress up down right here. We truly cost a barely larger ticket value when you don’t are available in costume! What’s nice is that you simply very hardly ever see store-bought costumes, virtually the whole lot is handmade. So in a manner, for this one night time, Surreal Salon goes from having about 65 items of artwork to having 700+ items. Plus, the costumes function pure icebreakers, so that you may see somebody from a wealthier background or a very completely different metropolis placing up a dialog with a broke school scholar the place they may not have usually had a possibility or a purpose to. As well as, whereas there are a number of galleries and areas inside driving distance of Baton Rouge that present the type of work you’d see at Surreal Salon, there aren’t numerous alternatives to see such a big illustration of pop-surrealist/lowbrow artists from all around the world, so I feel our space will get actually pumped about coming to see what artwork is up for any given 12 months. 

What have you ever seen, when it comes to fashion and method, has modified within the artwork that’s submitted every year? 
Because the present has advanced and grown, I’d positively say the standard of the work has grown with it. It’s been actually thrilling to see acquainted names of artists who have been part of Surreal Salon go on to indicate at a number of the finest galleries in world that targeted on this sort of work. Every year is its personal self-contained factor, although, which is all the time enjoyable to observe take form. One 12 months we’ll discover plenty of works have skulls in them or one other 12 months may need numerous crows or cats, or another recurring visible component. However I feel the most effective half is seeing every juror put collectively a set of works that brings collectively artists working in plenty of completely different media to create a present that could be grotesque in a single nook of the gallery, candy in one other, and hilarious in one other.

Liz McGrath at Surreal Salon Soiree

And eventually, you might have had some superb judges every year, and this 12 months is not any exception: Marco Mazzoni is a grasp. Why did you select him and what do you suppose his eye will convey to the desk this 12 months? 
Marco has type of been on our dream-scenario shortlist for plenty of years now. We’ve been extremely lucky to have some wildly gifted folks function jurors over time, due in no small half to help from the LSU College of Artwork. A part of what I feel makes the entire expertise enjoyable for the jurors and for these in our space is that the juror usually will get to go to with college students at LSU and tour their studios. And Marco might be no completely different this time round. His use of colour and his technically attractive renderings are one thing I feel numerous us have fallen in love with over time. Plus, his capability to travel between stunning and haunting – or to reside in each these worlds inside one piece – made him somebody we have been desirous to ask about guiding this 12 months’s present. He’ll even be the present’s first juror not primarily based contained in the U.S. What was nice about Marco is that we have been nervous about asking and he appeared to leap on the concept, saying “Simply feed me after I get to Louisiana!”

So, evidently, there’s some good Cajun meals in his future. Then we determined to press our luck and ask him if he’d reimagine the branding we use for the present and he did! He took the unique cloud-faced lady character from the primary Surreal Salon poster, which was designed by Scott Campbell (an area artist and graphic designer on the time), and gave it an entire new life that actually drew gasps from the employees right here. We will’t wait to see what he does with the Surreal Salon exhibition itself.

Artists curious about being part of this distinctive and thrilling exhibition can discover extra info here. Artists working in all media are inspired to submit as much as three (3) works for the juror’s consideration. The deadline for submissions is October 27, 2022.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here