Back in February of 2010, Sean Leonard and I moved out to New York to open up a Zerofriends pop-up shop in the East Village. After the first night of being in New York, Sean meet up with Tara McPherson and I had a suspicion after that night that when the pop-up came down, Sean was going to be staying in New York. Luckily, Sean came back with us to California to run our pop-up shops in San Francisco and in Los Angeles that year, but after that he was ready to move back to New York with Tara and start a company that would become uniquely theirs. —Darren Scott
When did you and Tara start The Cotton Candy Machine and where are you located?
The Cotton Candy Machine started in 2010 when Tara and I decided to launch a proper apparel line with her art. We had a busy convention schedule and we had plotted out a CCM pop-up store tour of Brazil in early 2011. After all of the traveling we got back to Brooklyn and converted Tara's ground floor private art studio in to the Cotton Candy Machine Boutique and scheduled a year's worth of events. On April 9th 2011, we held the grand opening event with the Tiny Trifecta group show featuring 100 artists all doing $100 tiny pieces of art of the 100th day of the year. We have been putting on shows with our favorite artists ever since.
Q: What were the early ideas for The Cotton Candy Machine?
Tara has always had a really full vision of what she could do with her art. She made sure to have an accessible side to her work because usually original paintings are not in everyone's budget. Making prints of her work like affordable postcards and lithos allowed more people to have something from Tara to make their life a little sweeter. Throughout her career Tara's personal work has come to life in books, toys, sculptures, rock posters, art prints, and other collectables. Most of our friends and the artists we know make artistic things with their work as well. Our goal with the boutique was to open a space right here in Brooklyn where we could have all of our favorite artists show affordable original works and carry all of the other goodies they make too.
At first were you more interested in starting a shop/gallery (let me know what you guys like to call your space) or were you more interested in the clothing line?
Opening the boutique and hosting shows with these incredibly talented and creative artists has definitely been the most exciting and interesting part of the whole project. It is without a doubt a dream come true. The CCM clothing line is wonderful because it is another accessible way to get people familiar with art and the artists we love. Still what I enjoy most is getting to share the work of these artists on a daily basis- -from selling original paintings to eager collectors all the way to introducing someone to an artist they had never heard of through a sexy t-shirt.
You guys just had your second Tiny Trifecta show. How did you come up with that show and how has the response been?
The first Tiny Trifecta was a huge success so we knew we wanted to do it again. We just didn't want to do it in April this time, on the 100th day of the year, because it was too damn cold. So we set the date for July and came up with the idea of making the "trifecta" this year be that each artist do 3 pieces of art for the show and still just $100 each. Tara curated, once again, a massive group of her most talented and favorite contemporaries to join in on the fun. With artists like Audrey Kawasaki, Esao Andrews and Jon Wayshak returning from last year and adding Josh Keyes, Aj Fosik, Zoé Byland and more to the list, we knew the work would be amazing. To make the opening as fun and fair as possible, the pieces from the show are sold first-come first-served, in person only. We set limits so that each person could buy two pieces from the show and only one from each artist. The response this year was insane, eight or nine people slept in front of the boutique to hold their place in line. Then, starting early in the morning, the line grew all day long until the opening. Throughout the day we set up check points registering the people in line and giving them breaks to go eat and rest. It was a hot, HOT Saturday so it added to the level of commitment on their part. With the phenomenal group of artists Tara had put together for the show, everyone who stuck it out was able to get some incredible original work for a great price. This year's show was even more of a success than last year. We will be doing the Tiny Trifecta again in 2013 and I bet it will be even better.
What type of artist do you look for when thinking about who you are going to show?
Tara does most of the curating for the shows but we always talk a lot about who and what we want to show. So far it has been very organic in the way that most of the artists we show are our friends first. Tara of course has been showing and exhibiting in galleries for years now and has a lot of friends who also create art. I worked with you and Alex Pardee doing Zerofriends and have a lot of friends who create art too. So through our large web of artists and friends we have been able to put together all of the shows so far. We have been showing mostly illustrative artists, some dark, some sweet, some erotic, some psychedelic, but all talented! We like an artist who, on top of their new original work for the show, have some other collectables like toys or prints. Again, we like to have a little something for everyone!
What future plans do you have for your clothing line and gallery?
The future is looking sweet! The rest of this year's line up for shows is top notch with Bwana Spoons and Joe Ledbetter to name a few. We have shows in the works for early next year with Dave Cooper, Buff Monster and David Cook. Let's see, next month is October and that means New York Comic Con! We have a big old booth and we are going to have a few new releases from Tara and we plan to have a few artists do signings and print releases with us. On top of NYCC we will be hosting a two woman show at the boutique called "The Candy Escape" with new works from Camila d'Errico and Brandi Milne. It's going to be a great weekend. You and the Zerofriends crew will be in town killing it at the Con, the Designer Toy Awards are happening that weekend and I don't have to host this year so we can just heckle from the crowd with Skinner.
When is your next show and who is it with?
Our next event is a solo show from Glenn Barr called "Detroit Rooms." We are very excited about this one. Glenn has always done such amazing work and I am personally a huge fan. He has created a large body of new paintings filled with his stylized girls riding monster sized robots. These intimate paintings place you perfectly in Glenn's world where the best mode of transportation is a tricked out moped. I'm very excited for you all to see the new work. The opening is this Friday September 14th from 7 to 11pm.
Will you marry me?
Nope I'm taken. But I do love you Darren.
Cotton Candy Machine
235 South 1st Street Brooklyn, NY 11211