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Chris Dacre Mini Interview

Written by Trippe   
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 19:00
Chris Dacre emailed over a few photos from his current show at Sharadin Gallery as part of his three week residency with Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA. Really like the images and wanted to get some more info on this artist we're unfamilar with. The show "War is Great!" runs through March 4, 2011.

Location? Age? Education? Website?

Las Cruces, NM (temporarily), 39, MFA in Printmaking from the University of Arizona, www.chrisdacre.com

How would you describe your work to someone?

Surveillance, the threat of nuclear attack, terrorism, ongoing wars in foreign lands; my work is a commentary on these sensitive issues. I use sarcasm, humor and cynicism to drive home my point-of-view and invite the viewer to question and explore the absurdities of war. My imagery is pulled from the eight years I spent in the Air Force, stories that are buried in the news, movies, documentaries and books on war.


Early on my influences were the Looney Tunes, especially Bugs Bunny. Artists I look to are Chris Burden, Red Grooms, Claus Oldenburg, Judy Pfaff, Alexander Caulder and Maurizio Cattelan – all for different reasons. I’ve always been fascinated by military aircraft and tanks.

Cheese burgers or tofu burgers?

>>>Cheeseburger with bacon, pickles, mustard and mayo<<<

Working routine? Music? Time of day?

I once heard an interview by some famous artist, I think it was Jasper Johns, talk about his daily routine as an artist and how he put in 8 hour days in the studio because he looked at it like his job, which it is- I try and look at my time in the studio like that. When I’m not teaching I am usually working on some aspect of my art whether its actually creating, sketching out ideas, applying for grants and exhibition spaces, whatever it is- it took me awhile to discover I wanted to do this art thing and now I realize how much time it actually takes. I love it.

Music plays a big part in my creative process- listening to it and allowing it to flow around me as I work. I’ve been listening to a ton of jazz lately (Jutta Hipp, Count Basie, Kenny Dorham, Coleman Hawkins etc…) but I go in waves- I go through a ton of music and spend quite a bit of time searching for new (to me) stuff. Deerhunter, Fuck Buttons, Fela Kuti, Ratatatat, The Kinks and Monolake are some of the other groups I’ve been listening to lately.... My time in the studio depends on my work schedule- anytime is okay with me.

How do you pay the bills?

Right now, teaching as an adjunct in Printmaking and Drawing at New Mexico State University along with grants I get every once in awhile.

Describe your process for creating new work. I believe in experimentation and am preaching this constantly to my students. If you don’t allow yourself the room for failure you never know what you are capable of. I tend to use a lot of what is immediately available- for instance, I was trying to figure out a way to display these new jet planes I was making and my girlfriend had left a spool of red crochet thread laying around and so I started threading it through the fuselages of the planes and now that is how they are hung when displayed. I never discount anything…recycle and reuse.

Tools of the trade?

Lately it’s been my sewing machine, etching press and screenprint equipment.

What are you really excited about right now?

Well, I just got done (27 Jan) with this three-week residency at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania where they gave me a nice sized stipend and 24 hour access to their gallery space (Sharadin Gallery) and allowed me to do with it whatever I wanted to, so I did. I had 9 tons of sand delivered and made a big sandbag bunker. It was also an opportunity for me to display the work I have been creating over the past five years together in one space. It was a little nerve racking but a pretty amazing experience.

I just gave you $1,000,000. Quick, what do you do with it!

Well, not show up for work the next day would be a start and then drive out of town with my middle finger in the air- just kidding. Am I? Who knows? When I get that check in the mail I’ll send you a postcard from somewhere.

Best way to spend a day off?

I love getting out into the solitude of the desert where you feel like no one else is around. Find a peak to sit on and listen to the quiet. It’s a great feeling. What do you love most about where you live? The mountains, desert and burritos.

Ok, your chance to rant and rave about something* Talk shit.

I have this theory that the next generation is going to grow up with hunched backs because of every one walking around looking down at their phones and squatting around their laptops. Put that fucking thing down and experience something other than what is on that screen in front of you. I hate cell phones.

Upcoming shows/ projects?

I was invited into the Printmaking Triennial at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb with five other printmakers that work in installation and deal with social/political themes. I’m pretty excited to be working with some of these guys and meeting the others I don’t know yet. The show opens on the 15th of February and closes mid-March. If you are in the area it should be worth checking out. If anyone knows of any spaces that may be interested in exhibiting this work then let me know- chrisdacre@gmail

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