Supersonic Electronic Invitational: An interview with Zach TutorIllustration // Thursday, 02 Jan 2014
I recently sat down with Zach Tutor, the ambition and talent behind the highly successful online art source - Supersonic Electronic. Zach founded and has been maintaining the art blog for the past 3 years, and iIt has generated such a positive response that it has developed into an invitational exhibition. Come January 9th, Zach will also be putting on his 3rd annual show in San Francisco.
Spoke Art is pleased to present the Third Annual Supersonic Invitational, a group show dedicated to highlighting emerging as well as founded artists in the New Contemporary art movement as chosen by curator and creator of Supersonic Electronic, Zach Tutor. Zach Tutor is an art blogger from Oxford, Mississippi. He has been named one of the "100 Best Southern Artists" by Oxford American magazine and has curated 2 previous Supersonic group shows.
These 41 artists have been chosen for their diverse ways of expressing similar reflections of life in the second decade of the 21st century. Each of the artists has existed in a world with instant access to unlimited aesthetic inspiration resulting in a very multifaceted generation of artists whose work displays and contains an extraordinary amount of influences. This access to all forms of art and media has shaped their creative output greatly and has pushed art forward to an exciting new era that is only just beginning to be recognizable.
“I see Supersonic and Spoke Art as the seeds and hopefully roots of this burgeoning movement as Supersonic is a source of this aesthetic inspiration for many artists around the world and seeks to chronicle, as well as unify, the styles of this generation’s work.
The 3rd Annual Supersonic Invitational Group Show at Spoke Art
January 9th through January 25th
Reception January 9th at 6pm
Zoltron will have exclusive prints for the first arrivals.
HS: Hey Zach, what are you wearing?
ZT: I am currently wearing my signature navy hoodie which I am almost always wearing, a red flannel shirt which made an appearance in an Instagram selfie I took earlier today if you need evidence, blue jeans (also a staple) and duck boots because it's really cold and raining outside and I was walking around out there earlier, grumbling.
Where are you right now?
Physically I am in Oxford, Mississippi - my hometown and place of residence for the past 27 years of my life. I'm sitting at my desk in my bedroom, I have coffee even though it's 10 at night and my cat, Bookie, is in my lap. There is artwork by Seamus Conley and Sam Wolfe Connelly on my wall in front of me.
Its your third anniversary show this year, correct? Tell me how this all started, when you started blogging did you always want to curate gallery shows?
Yeah! Third times a charm right? It all started a little over 3 years ago when Ken Harman, the owner of Spoke Art, took a chance on me and let me curate the first Supersonic show. I had just started posting only art on Supersonic about 6 months before hand (prior to that the blog was a mixture of personal posts, cats and ephemera that I started in 2008) and interviewing up and coming artists. Ken emailed me and we worked together for an art magazine for a while and became really great friends and discovered that our visual tendencies were in line. Ken asked me to do that first show and my response to him was "Ken, I've never done anything like that" and he told me "I trust you." Which is crazy. But it worked out. And was really successful and the second year was even bigger and more successful. This third year is even bigger and so is the blog, it's always surprising to look back and see where I'm at now. It's exciting!
Did you anticipate it being an annual show??
Nope, never. I didn't think anyone was going to show up. I still don't think anyone is going to show up. I have nightmares!
I suppose you 'curate' your blog content on a daily basis though, so I'm assuming you show all artists that you've given exposure to in the past correct?
Yeah, the blog is sort of a general gathering of these artists that have been around and exposed to massive amounts of media their entire lives. Many of them have had access to the Internet for most all their life, which has led to them having access to unlimited aesthetic inspirations. So you end up with this generation of artists with so many influences and so many styles that the barriers of genres are starting to break down. It's really interesting to watch and try to quantify, in a sense, what's happening. But the gallery show is a show case of who I feel are the best examples of this via technical ability, imaginative ability and subject matter. Seeing art in person, not through a screen, is so important.
Tell me about your own personal collection- do you own the work of artists that you work with or admire? Favorites?
I try to collect the artists I post. I work two jobs and don't make much money so it's tough, though. My favorites are the artists I have featured in the 3 shows over the years. They're all so good. Art in general is my favorite thing and it's nice to be surrounded by what you love.
How did you link up with Spoke Art? Do you put on anything similar where you're based out of, in Mississippi or elsewhere?
I'm not really sure how Ken came across me. I don't like to question it too much because it seems like it might take the magic away from all the things that have happened. I'm glad it happened though.
I haven't put on anything similar in my neck of the woods but I was just elected to a museum board here in Oxford for the University of Mississippi's Mary Buie Museum which is a huge honor and I'm looking forward to being part of it. The closest big art scene is at SCAD in Savannah, about 5 hours from me. Oxford itself is the artistic center of Mississippi but there's not much New Contemporary work coming out of here. New Orleans is starting to get with it though, I'm excited to see what happens down there. It's about 6 hours from me.
Will you be making it to the show in SF?
I shall be there. Unless, you know, something goes horribly wrong. I have, very much, a Woody Allen mindset on life.
How would you say this show progressed or changed since the last 2 years?
I don't think the show has changed, but I think the artists have gotten better with their skills - many of them are returning artists and it's nice to see them progress with their abilities and where they're going with their art. Certainly the number of artists involved has changed. The first year was 16 artists, the second year 27. This year is 41. We're using two spaces to display all the work, the second space being Ken's new gallery Hashimoto Contemporary which is next door to Spoke Art.
What are the guidelines, for you or artists involved?
The artists are allowed to do what ever they like for the show. I always tell them to do something they've always wanted to do, just not had the chance. It's a showcase of their imaginative abilities and the beauty they're able to put forth. I'm never let down. The guidelines for me are to learn all that I can and to admire what is in front of me, to cherish it.
How do you select artists for your shows? Does the roster repeat?
It does repeat but some artists have gone different ways with their lives or I have other ideas for them with other projects or they're just unable to participate. So it's a mix of repeats and new artists. So I think it keeps it fresh while also well defined.
How would you define your taste?
Hmm. I grew up in an artistic household, my father is the artist Glennray Tutor and my mother always let me pursue whatever I could dream up. So I'm not sure if I have a taste that is so readily defined that I could put it into words. I try to look for beauty in all things. I enjoy simple things and symmetrical things, complex things and things that have no meaning at all. If dreams had a taste, that would be my taste in things.
Do these traits define the kind of work you show online at Supersonic Electronic?
I reckon that they show themselves pretty well for anyone going back through the archives of Supersonic. I try not to notice it and keep open minded so that I don't limit myself to one certain thing when the blog is involved. I've found myself enjoying things that I thought I'd never find interesting, but certainly - every once in a while - an artist will come along that just blows me away.
What kind of work are you partial to (medium, color, technique)?
I probably like paintings the most. Blue is my favorite color. The technique isn't as important as the final product to me.
Are you an artist yourself?
I am. I draw realistic cityscapes mostly using mechanical pencils. My father is a photorealist painter, so I'm sort of following in his footsteps with my own art. I'm working on a panoramic drawing of City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco right now.
Where do you imagine you would have ended it up if not in the creative field?
I think I'd either be a stunt man or a fireman. I used to set up all sorts of stunts like driving through flaming walls made out of boxes on my bike, jumping across gorges, jumping off of things - dangerous things that I'm lucky to have survived. My uncle is a fireman and I think it's an incredible, honorable job. If this blogging, curating and art doesn't work out, I'll probably do that.
Secrets? Indulgences? Beverage of choice? Anything else you'd like to share??
Secret: I once owned a Linkin' Park CD.
Indulgences: In n Out burgers and pretty girls.
Beverage of choice: Mountain Dew
Anything else? My middle name is Geronimo.
Zach Tutor. 2013
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