Immanence and Imagery

Chip Southworth continues his lifelong exploration of art with faithful strokes

["Anxiety," mixed media on panel, 59 x 72]

[“Anxiety,” mixed media on panel, 59 x 72]

One roadblock I have experienced in writing about art is the same impasse encountered when I am looking at that very thing: distance. My own personal volition in creating this blog was to celebrate and explore not only the arts in various forms but also to try and reveal the intentions, philosophies, histories and hopefully very lives of the equally diverse people who choose to create. I guess what I have been seeking is some kind of articulation of intimacy.

This entire STAREHOUSE experiment was based on a few very encouraging conversations with people I had either known from my past or had the good fortune to encounter during my brief tenure as the Arts and Entertainment Editor at Folio Weekly. After amicably resigning from the paper, folks like Staci Bu Shea, Tony Rodrigues and Rob DePiazza in particular were supportive to the point of demanding that I at least attempt to aim my writing directly into the blogosphere and I am publicly indebted to these three, as well as others who pushed me forward during a weird transition in my life. A short list of local artists I had wanted to write about soon became a longer list and I am as grateful for the small audience that reads these pieces as I am for the gleeful sense of freedom in handpicking who I wish to feature. And that list, penciled in a spiral bound notebook, thankfully continues to grow. The fact that they have let me and my questions into their studios, homes and humored me with some oppressively long phone conversations says as much about their generosity of spirit as it does about my own skills at lock-picking the hearts and minds of artists.

I say all this as a possibly overwrought disclaimer that my lack of neutrality in writing about Chip Southworth is indicative as much of my affection for the person and his art as it is my certain admission that I am still and forever not a journalist; just another person who loves art.

I have interviewed Chip a total of three times, in successive features for Folio Weekly; one for last year’s retrospective at DVA, a second time for a story that chronicled a dozen individuals working in the art scene of Northeast Florida and most recently in a piece that previews his upcoming show at space:eight gallery in St. Augustine. For the sake of brevity and to avoid any redundant information, I would direct the reader to reading the stories available on those links.

I originally became aware of Chip’s work in an awkward way; by originally declining to write about it. This was due more to space content in the paper than any dislike of what he had sent me via e-mail. In fact, I was intrigued by what I saw: paintings of stark figures on backgrounds of color, a study of bridges that I originally considered odd but then began to gradually appreciate, and then a growing and engaging approach in his work that began to colorfully scrutinize the universal model – the human form. After meeting Chip in person, a bond was formed and I found his openness towards any subject, including his life story, honesty of influence and candor in talking about his beliefs in Orthodox Christianity, refreshing and disarming, especially when meeting someone in the sometimes clinically-cool scene of visual art. I guess I found another comrade in self-disclosure and in that I am always grateful.

The biggest development in Chip’s recent life that has affected his work, family and life has been the health of his wife and muse, Rikki. In October of last year, Rikki was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has undergone two successful surgeries and is readying herself for the next wave of additional treatment. The prognosis so far seems optimistic and Rikki and Chip’s spirits are high. While they are currently uninsured, the couple has walked hand-in-hand through this experience with much faith and love for each other as well as being surrounded by the support by the local community, a remarkably spontaneous and swift movement of affection and financial support that speaks volumes about the protectiveness of this area between artists and non-artists alike. A website has been set up to accept the much-appreciated (and as you will read) much-needed donations to help the family during this time.

The opening reception for Chip’s latest show, “Deeper: New Works Art Exhibit to Benefit Rikki” is held on Friday, April 5 from 5-11 p.m. at space:eight gallery, 228 W. King St., in St. Augustine. All proceeds from the show will go directly to Rikki’s medical fund. The show is on display through May 24.

A few weeks back I visited Chip and Rikki at their home in St John to interview them for the last FW piece. While I had plenty of source material that I could have culled from that recording, I decided to speak to Chip once again. What follows is the result of a subsequent phone conversation.

Neutrality and distance, as ever, be damned.

Starehouse: I gotta warn you that today my phone is being bombarded with images by [space:eight gallery owner] Rob DePiazza. He sent me a picture of some person in a gas mask from a heavy metal album cover and he just now sent me a picture of some polka band. I think he is in Nashville. I hope he’s in a record store; otherwise he has finally cracked completely. We might be interrupted.

Chip Southworth: (laughs) oh man.

S: How are you doing?

C.S.: I’m good. I’m exhausted. I’ve been working my ass off – all of those new paintings that I sent you, with the gray backgrounds, I finished the “Fetal” one and finished ten of these. Only nine will make the cut. I did four of the square ones and I did five of the tall ones.

S: Jesus, man. You seem to work pretty intently. Did you naturally go into a kind of heightened state to do that or is that an energy you need to somehow conjure up?

C.S.: Yeah, when I’m working, I work hard and I do it for 15, 16 hours on end.

S: Do you crash and burn after that? Do you get like a “painting hangover”? I mean, you have a regular day gig freelancing, too.

C.S.: Yeah, I have kind of a painting hangover right now and I just did two long nights of photo shoots (laughs) so I am beat as fuck right now.

S: Well, stagger along with me here. I’ll try and be mindful of that. I want to get right to the roots with this interview. I’m into the roots trip. You know Ray McKelvey [famed singer and frontman of punk legends Stevie Stiletto and The Switchblades] just passed away.

C.S.: Oh no.

S: Yeah, Stevie Stiletto has left the building. We spoke about some of this before, and you were a 730 Club [former punk club operated by McKelvey in the mid-1980s] kid. How did you get into that punk trip?

C.S.: Oh, the 730 club was just a good old punk club, man. I had lived in South Carolina for a little bit with my Dad and had come back here to live with my Mom. They were just trying to figure out what to do with me because they were not happy (laughs) with me being a punk rocker.

S: Right. Now was this pre-military school?

C.S.: Yeah.

S: Military School: the great American antidote to hardcore punk.

C.S.: Yeah, I went a couple of times [to 730 Club] when I was in military school but then it closed and I guess it re-opened a little bit later down the road.

S: Why did it close? Was there a “Taps”-like incident? A coup d’état?

C.S.: I don’t know. It was a crazy scene. I told Rikki how you used to walk in the door and there’d be a bag of mushrooms there, right where you paid. You could pay to get in and grab a handful of mushrooms basically.

S: Oh, the club.

C.S.: And it was constantly like that, you know?

S: (laughs) I guess this isn’t the military school, this is the 730 Club!

C.S.: (laughs) right. It was a cool little scene. It was a tight, small club. The parking lot across the street was an awesome place for a 13 year old kid to be. It was awesome (laughs).

S: Yeah. Now, when you were in your teens you were already helping work on billboards and design things. Did you Dad own a company or was he a freelancer?

C.S.: Yeah, my Dad owned a billboard company pretty much most of my life and from the time I was like, ten years old, I started setting type on a giant photo typography machine.

S: Now was this something that you were into or did he see glimmers of pre-punk rock so he was trying to keep you out of trouble?

C.S.: No, it was just a way for me to make money. You know? That’s all it was.

S: Some kids had a lemonade stand; you were adjusting fonts. You know what’s weird is that [Northeast Florida-based artist] Eric Gillyard also grew up in that business. His dad worked on billboards.

C.S.: Yeah. His dad worked for Clear Channel the entire time. My dad worked there when it was Lamar Dean and I think David [Gillyard] worked there when my dad worked there, too. He’s one of the two or three people that knew my dad, whenever I worked there.

S: Eric was also a punk rocker. I’m discovering now that some of the 21st century art scene was at one point fueled by billboard companies and hardcore punk. It’s apparent.

C.S.: (laughs) very.

S: We had talked at one point and you told me that you had been into “Star Wars” and all of that stuff, 1970s whatever…science fiction, “Conan” action…

C.S.: But for me, I think skateboarding was the impetus to punk rock, that’s where it all came from.

S: It’s the gateway drug.

C.S.: Yeah, I started skateboarding when I was eight and a half. I was into BMX actually, I was racing BMX bikes and I used to ride to the races with The Cyclery, the BMX shop.

S: Did you go to Kona [Skate Park in Arlington]?

C.S.: Yeah. I went to Kona to get a pair of Vans [eternally coveted skate shoes]. I called the company in California and they were like “Kona is the only place in North Florida you can get ‘em.” So my Mom took me out there and I can remember walking through that door and it was like I was entering a fucking dream world (laughs)…it was amazing. It’s still amazing to me. Whenever I go there today that whole scene amazes me.

S: Now it’s become like a spiritual homeland. It has been well documented, but that is such a visually exciting scene. There are no bland skaters.

C.S.: Dude if you look on the third cover of Thrasher Magazine from 1978, [actually the cover of the Sept. 1981 issue] I’m in that picture right below Steve Caballero. I’m standing below him at the base of the Kona ramp, looking at him.

[At the feet of a master: A young Chip Southworth checks out Steve Caballero's skate movies at Kona Skate Park, circa 1981. Cover courtesy of Thrasher Magazine.]

[At the feet of a master: a young Chip Southworth checks out Steve Caballero’s skate moves at Kona Skate Park, circa 1981. Cover courtesy of Thrasher Magazine.]

S: So you were into punk rock, skating, you did this billboard work as a kid and survived military school. But I know at some point you started going to the Jacksonville Art Museum [now moved downtown as Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville] and in your own words “experienced’ the work of artists like Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg … and those are all strong painters in the sense that they aren’t ambiguous painters at all. But was it about those particular painters, or types of painters, that kind of hit you in such a heavy way?

C.S.: I guess because I wasn’t surrounded by modern art when I was growing up; like my kids are now. My mom had a crazy mix of like American country, dime store print stuff basically, and some post-Renaissance type stuff. Big, marble, togas (laughs)…

S: But at least there was art in the house.

C.S.: Yeah, there was, and my room was covered in “Star Wars” posters (…) when I was really young it was The Bee Gees, “Star Wars” and then whatever I was into kind of covered my walls. We talked about this before, but “Star Wars” kind of started it all. They guy, Ralph McQuarrie, he did all of the “Star Wars” conceptual art [McQuarrie, who died in March of last year, was the designer and illustrator who designed the original Star Wars trilogy] I would say he had a major influence on me.

S: What do you mean? In what way?

C.S.: My mom bought me a book called “The Art of Star Wars.” It was funny, the only “Star Wars” book I could find was at that old mall, I think it was called Market Square near the end, but there was a bookstore in that mall and my mom went there all of the time. And I’d always look for “Star Wars” books but they were always novels. And this art book was the first one that I had even seen that was nothing but pictures. And then later on I got a full set of lithographs of scenes from “The Empire Strikes Back” and you know, I would get my hands on as much of that McQuarrie stuff as possible.

S: Do you think you liked it because it was so overtly “painterly” and was more like fine art?

C.S.: It is: it’s painterly; it’s abstract in a way that I now abstract my own work. But it has pieces of drawing in there (…) it’s loose but it’s also very exciting. And I would look at those pictures and think, “man, those movies come from these paintings” and I was blown away by his imagination and ability. It has a big influence on me.

S: Plus someone like he or Frank Frazetta and Richard Corben, they were more reverent about that whole realm. You know, when we were kids everything was inundated with “Star Wars” imagery. You had “Star Wars” Band-Aids; it didn’t really matter. “Star Wars Septic Cleaner” with a Jawa on it. But when you saw these more “fine art” type painters, was it so affecting because it was an alien trip? You had art in your house, art in your room, but someone like Rauschenberg …

C.S.: Yeah, well I guess it just comes down to seeing something and you know you like it. Abstract Expressionism is something that I’ve always really liked. I have always liked looking at it, I’ve always liked doing it.

S: So you were probably in your late teens at this point? When you saw the abstract stuff?

C.S.: Yeah. I was in high school.

S: Then you did this kind of serpentine path of going to college and ultimately it was in Panama City where you met (artist and instructor) Roland Hockett?

C.S.: Yeah.

S: And you had told me that he was the person that directed you towards what you described as “foundational concepts”? Were you painting by this time?

C.S.: I was drawing a lot. Hockett started me painting. I was a big drawer and I was really, really interested in line. I guess that is what I mainly did in high school, you know? High school art is a litany of projects that everybody did in high school art, you know what I mean? You do the grid and the three dimensional projects …

S: The “line drawing.”

C.S.: Yeah. Everybody does a city scene where you’re learning perspective. And I enjoyed that stuff but it wasn’t really until I got to college (…) one of the assignments was we had to pick something and at the time you didn’t know it, but you started drawing this item (…) I picked a shoe. But I never would have picked that damn shoe if I knew that I was going to have to do 50 different types of drawings over the next semester (laughs) but it was always constant exploration. It didn’t really matter what we were drawing; it was exploring texture and line. It got to be around that time where my drawing was getting pretty wild because there was so much line and abstraction and negative space. If you were looking at the drawing you might not really know what it was. It was really very much Abstract Expressionist drawing. That was my real “coming out” period and discovering the versatility of it all. And then I started painting and man, I really loved painting.

S: So do you think someone like Hockett was really crucial because he helped kind of “bring it on home.” You know, in the way that self-taught artists might continue to do the same thing without growth but someone like Hockett comes along and opens you up to things the like the value of line. Besides getting you into painting, do you think he might have also showed you the value of something like texture; he also helped you become more aware of something like intention?

C.S.: Oh yeah, all of it.

Fetal final

[“Fetal,” mixed media on panel 72 x 80‏]

S: Looking at the earlier work that you have posted online, it looks like you really shifted gears in a short time. Those older pieces like “Family” and “Riverside Girl” just kind of vaguely hint at where you were going and it seems like they are much more directly abstract but you really almost abruptly made a change in what and even how you painted. What happened there that made you swing in this other direction?

C.S.: Jenny Saville; seeing her work in real life and “in person.”

S: Your work was already figurative. They just weren’t as fleshed out. The figures seemed more like they were in the background and suddenly they popped out. I like the fact that you are so straight up honest about her influence, but what is it about Saville that was so affecting?

C.S.: I think that in my work, before I saw Saville’s work, is that the figures were important but they were more like an element. The background, the whole painting would be much more abstract and it was still a study of paint but in a much broader scale. Big space would be filled in with color blocks (…) and I think that these recent paintings I did are like a real melding of the two. The illustrative quality of having the drawing left in and the paint being applied very freely with the ink and the burning (…) and the color just blocking in around all of it. I guess prior to seeing Saville’s work, I was putting more emphasis on the background and less on the figure and now it’s the other way around. But I think the application of my style and my little signature line things that I do. It’s all there; it’s just working in a different direction.

S: Yeah and the things you showed me at your house (…) it’s very decisive and mapped out. It isn’t like you throw paint on the canvas and then “pull out” a figure from there. It’s not like a Rorschach test. These works you sent me. I can see the burns and the masking lines.

C.S.: Yeah the burning is very deliberate.

S: And they are getting bigger and bigger. It seems like the only thing inhibiting you from going even bigger is getting them through your door and out of the house.

C.S.: (laughs) yeah.

S: Is that where you’d like to go; just as large as possible?

C.S.: I dunno (…) I guess time and sales would dictate. I like large scale and I think large scale in itself is kind of powerful and shocking in some ways. And to incorporate the imagery into it and have that kind of freedom and be able to move the paint around like I do (…) it’s fun and I am really enjoying it (…) but these recent pieces I knocked out are pretty small in comparison.

S: Well, that could have been as much your time constraints.

C.S.: I also wanted to knock out those pieces almost as a kind of study and see how I could transition them into what I am doing right now. And they’re still pretty free, you know? I think that they’re pretty much a miniature version of what I do. They’re just not as freeing; the brushes are a lot smaller so you can’t get too crazy. But I think it is very much like the rest of my work.

S: I noticed too that you usually use a single model or person. You don’t really use several people or a crowd. Why is that?

[Artist Crystal Floyd is immortalized in the large scale piece, "Crystal,' mixed media on panel, 72 x 108]

[Artist Crystal Floyd is immortalized in the large scale piece, “Crystal,’ mixed media on panel, 72 x 108]

C.S.: I think that’s just where I’m at right now. I have thought about it (…) it’s kind of weird, this figurative stuff (…) once you add in another person it almost takes on a whole new realm (…) things like “Is it sexual” or (…) you know what I’m saying?

S: Right, because another relationship now happens inside of the piece.

C.S.: Yeah. So it goes down a whole other road. This show is about that kind of solitude we go looking for, so they were all going to be individual models. But going forward, I think I’m going to take a few months off after this show and work on some, I think I had mentioned to you, small religious paintings.

S: Some of these new ones, at least in title and seemingly content as well, are overtly religious. I know in the show you have the piece that you showed me, “Forsaken,” but even the ones you sent me today touch on that both in title and in the positions of the models. So is that already happening?

C.S.: Yeah. I purposely have the models do these crucifix-style poses.

S: I want to talk about this because you and I have talked many times about faith and beliefs (…) I mean, are you cool talking about this?

C.S.: Yeah.

S: I know that you and Rikki are both into Orthodox Christianity. I thought that she had turned you on to that; or did you kind of get into this together.

C.S.: I was always really anti-religious.

S: Amen.

C.S.: (laughs) I had grown up going to a lot of Protestant churches and my Christianity was really judgmental and shitty, you know? It wasn’t Christ-like at all. And at the time I was working with this friend of mine, Bill Birchfield, and he was converting to Orthodoxy. And this guy would come into the office, who was an old friend of his, and was kind of an older gentleman and a First Baptist-type person, and he would argue with Bill. And I would listen to their arguments and Bill was always really good about (…) this other guy’s arguments were pretty much my preconceived notions (…) and Bill would either talk about what the Orthodox thought was on the subject or he would actually go research this, get an answer and come back. It was interesting because the answers Bill was getting were the answers I always wanted to hear (laughs) you know?

S: Yeah, I do (laughs).

C.S.: Just a kind of Christianity that I think is ideal. It is based on love instead of judgment.

S: It seems like Orthodox Christianity is also inherently surrounded in this strongly mystical idea of direct experience of Christ and God, a bit like Gnosticism or something. I know that some of the Orthodox writers or saints (…) it’s imbued with that personal experience of God.

C.S.: Yeah. I mean, unlike Gnosticism, it’s all out in the open but the early Christian church (…) the way they do things now isn’t like the way they did it in the year 300 A.D. but that’s not to say there aren’t good contemporary churches. I’m friends with some people who are involved with modern churches (…) but with Orthodoxy I am just blown away by their (…) holiness, I guess; you know?

["Christ," mixed media on panel, 18 x 18]

[“Christ,” mixed media on panel, 18 x 18]

S: And with the icons, and you have that beautiful shrine in your place, it is such a visually charged stream of Christianity. Could you ever see yourself maybe painting tributes to those in some way?

C.S.: I’ve done some before, like iconography and I’ve dabbled in that. I’m not an expert and never have done any major things in the church but I have done quite a bit of restoration and helped out with some big stuff. It’s pretty cool; it [icons] is very rigid, very flat and very prescribed. But you know, I went to Turkey and got to see some things from the Byzantine times, before The Ottoman Empire ransacked Constantinople, iconography was progressing quite a bit there. Everything had stopped in its tracks, everything went underground and the iconographers had gone from doing these massive ceilings and walls to doing these small little boards and tiles. And because the way the church works, it has never progressed since then, you know? There’s been a couple of monks on the island of Patmos, which is where one of the icons I have is from, and there they went a little “outside the box” as far as materials, and they also have some other ones I like which are abstract; but I haven’t been able to afford any of those. And that’s somewhat that I’d like to do; and mix that in with Buddhist imagery. There’s so much similarity in the imagery and surely those to faiths as well.

S: Yeah, there are some heavy corollaries there. It’s weird too how the Christian and Buddhist higher mystics kind of meet in the same place. It’s kind of old hat, but if you read some of the Rhineland mystics they sound like some of the Buddhist mystics of the same era.

C.S.: Oh yeah.

S: During this experience that you and Rikki are going through, have you ever gone through any “dark night of the soul” type moments?

C.S.: Hmmm – elaborate here.

S: Well, I personally don’t believe that I am tested by some spiritual force but have you had to find a way where your faith has been more malleable or tempered and changed through this?

C.S.: You know, I don’t think it ever shook my faith but everything is (…) I don’t want to say that everything happens for a reason but it seems like there’s some order to it all. Just as your tested by all of that, all of your friends just show up and show you how fucking amazing they are.

["Rikki," mixed media on panel, 18 x 18]

[“Rikki,” mixed media on panel, 18 x 18]

S: Love shows up.

C.S.: Yeah, you know so aside from the initial shock of it all, it hasn’t been that hard because everyone has been so great. It’s crazy. I would have never, ever, thought of something like that in a million years.

S: And the art community in particular stepped up immediately.

C.S.: It was amazing; I sent out an e-mail the night after we found out that we wouldn’t have any money and would be facing this without any help and everyone just responded with such love and energy.

S: So what has happened now? Where are you at now? Didn’t you tell me you were approved for Medicaid?

C.S.: Yeah. What sucks is that Mayo doesn’t even take Medicaid after all of this [the Southworths were denied charity care assistance from The Mayo Clinic] but we’re going to meet Dr. Perez so we’re going to just pay like a $5,000 deposit just to get in with her. She’s one of the best cancer doctors in the world; she’s friends with Donna Deegan and Donna hooked us up with her.

S: It is money well spent.

C.S.: Hell yeah it is. I tell you what, we basically paid about $12,000 so far and we owe about $20,000 and most of that took place in two hours; almost $30,000 for two hours.

S: It’s staggering, really.

C.S.: In retrospect, (laughs) spending the $5,000 is an amazing deal. It’s been a crazy experience.

S: You were already working on this new show and Rikki’s diagnosis changed your lives but it also kind of changed the whole direction of this show.

C.S.: Well, a little bit. I had already done two studies and was working on a couple of portraits. I start every show with my own portrait, just because you know your own face so well. And I’m able to not really worry about imagery and just kind of tack it, you know? So I had done those and I started on the portrait and then we got the diagnosis. I didn’t do a lot of actual work because we were just so slammed with medical visits. I didn’t really work for about six weeks. Then we went to Art Basel [Miami Beach] again and down there you just get kind of re-motivated and energized. You come back and get ready to start working. But also, I was having a hard time just getting my models lined up and getting it all shot.

S: These models, is the criteria people you know or is it more that they have a certain look? Are they friends of yours?

C.S.: Yeah, they are. Holly is a good friend of Rikki’s. Ashley is a sister of an old friend. But she’s cool. We like them. I was going to use Carolyn but it didn’t work it in time.

S: [Local photographer] Carolyn Brass?

C.S.: Yeah. I’ve got a couple of other people that said they were down to model.

S: You primarily use female models, other than any self-portraits.

C.S.: Yeah. Personally, I think the female figure is more beautiful and exciting. It’s just softer and prettier to me; I don’t know. It’s not to say I don’t want to paint men. I’ve made some overtures; it’s just that nobody has taken me up on me.

S: (laughs) Really? Maybe men are too coy or something.

C.S.: It’s weird asking people to model. It’s getting easier.

S: I did notice in these newer pieces and works in progress that there was more noticeable action in the interior, in the model, rather than in the background, like “Suffer Well” and “Fetal” – there’s more going inside the figure. Would you agree?

C.S.: Yeah. It’s interesting, out of these pieces, which have happened over several months, there have been subtle changes; and for me every painting is a study of some sort, you know? It’s a journey and an exercise in pushing yourself with paint. At least that’s what I want it to be. And so I think some of these pieces you might see black outlines on some and no outline on others; that is just me exploring where I am going. But I’m enjoying it and want to keep doing it. But there is a level of what I call “creative anxiety” that comes with this.

["Standing Ashley," mixed media on panel, 12 x 30]

[“Standing Ashley,” mixed media on panel, 12 x 30]

S: What is that? Describe what you mean.

C.S.: It’s having a deadline on a show and knowing how many pieces you have to roughly produce. It’s not a drag, because now I have over 20 pieces I can pick from. But these smaller pieces also should be more affordable, something that an average person can take back to their house, you know?

S: What do you think will be the final count for the show?

C.S.: Probably around 18.

S: Plus, there will be prints as well?

C.S.: Yeah, there will be.

S: So you mentioned that you’re going to take some time off, but you are also being featured in Jefree Shalev’s upcoming show, which is being presented at the Cummer, which is fucking awesome. Can you talk about that? The premise is that they’re inspired by family films from his childhood and family, right? [Shalev is commissioning 25 Northeast Florida artists to render an interpretation of a film still taken from a collection of his family’s home movies. The exhibit, to be titled either “Our Shared Past” or “Under Two Seconds,” is slated to open at the Stein Gallery at the Cummer Museum and Gardens with a soft opening on Dec. 17 of this year and will run through May 2014. STAREHOUSE intends to post an interview with Shalev prior to the show’s opening.]

C.S.: The one I am painting is an image of Jefree’s mother on her wedding day, putting on a bustier; it is awesome.

S: So did you pick that image or did he kind of assign images?

C.S.: No, no we [the artists] pick them.

S: And that’s also going to be a large scale piece, right?

C.S.: Yeah. It’s going to be giant (laughs) and awesome. I envision it as being my best piece yet. I’m going to put my “special juice” on that (laughs).

S: (laughs) right on.

C.S.: I already did a study of it and took it to Jeff around Christmas time. And he was pretty excited. The original image is so great and I know I’ll do it justice.

S: Well, you have a cool patron there in Jefree. He’s all over it.

C.S.: Yeah, he’s a great guy and it’s a great idea.

S: It’s a cool project since it is bringing together all of these artists but it has such a uniquely personal thing behind it.

C.S.: Yeah, he’s someone who really knows the arts and he has taken the time to know these artists and know them as people. He’s beyond a collector. I mean, he’s an awesome collector and an integral part of the art scene and everything else but he takes it one step beyond. This show is going to be really special. There are some great artists in the show and I’m excited to be part of it.

S: Yeah man. So the benefit concert went well? [On March 22, local writer and all around good dude Jon Bosworth had arranged a second benefit concert at the venue Kala that featured bands including SUNBEARS! and Juicy Pony with all proceeds going towards Rikki’s medical expenses.]

C.S.: Yeah, all of those went well. We are so grateful for that.

S: It’s cool that Rikki has been so candid and open in all of this. That is a powerful approach.

C.S.: Yeah. You know, Rikki and I go everywhere together. We are an inseparable little team.

[Flower Children: Chip and Rikki Southworth at home, March 11, 2013.]

[Flower Children: Chip and Rikki Southworth at home, March 11, 2013.]

Daniel A. Brown

1 thought on “Immanence and Imagery

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