Three days and counting until The Cheaper Show rolls out their 2011 art sale on Saturday night. We expect the folks around their office are mad crazy dirty busy right about now, with none being busier than its Founder & Creative Director, artist Graeme Berglund. What better time, then to get in his way with a few questions?
Three things about your neighbourhood that make you want to live there: I’m a long standing Mt. Pleasant resident. My friends sometimes call me Two-block Shakur; for four years my home, my art studio, and any required amenities were within a four block radius. Mt. Pleasant is the neighborhood most densely populated with artists in North America. You can’t walk a block without seeing someone you know; and chances are they are an artist. Being in a community of such commonality and distinction it allows for great conversation and exchange of ideas. This aspect, plus having great coffee and being close to the water. It’s a great hood.
Many people say that that Vancouver is not willing to spend money on art. Do you agree? When you spend money within the creative community, you are investing in the quality of your life. You are watching a beautifully written play. You are laughing your ass off at some improv. You are dancing in the club to the dirtiest southern rap ever invented. You are astounded by the timbre of the voice of the writer’s recital. You are witnessing the tormented swans at the ballet. You get hit in the head with a drumstick at the hardcore show. These experiences colour your life indelibly. I think people are starting to get a better understanding of this investment. The same is happening with purchasing art. There is a recognition that you don’t have to buy the print of the Eiffel Tower at Ikea. You can go to a gallery, buy a piece of art and invest in something legitimate. People are starting to invest more in the quality of their lives, living it by their own design.
How do you perceive the landscape of the city today as compared to when you started the Cheaper Show? Is it still hard for emerging artists to show in this city? I don’t think its ever been hard for artists to show. You just throw a show. The difference is that there are better venues and galleries coming up and surviving. Businesses are making an effort to bring in rotating series of artists for display. There is a greater sense of esteem attached to collecting art, even among younger patrons. There are more one night shows in uncommon locations. There is a higher focus on curation and presentation. The art that is coming out of the city right is incredible. The Cheaper Show functions to expose artists to a new base of potential clients and to introduce new buyers into the system. It is not difficult to buy art. Most artists post their work online. Google the name of an emerging artist’s work you’ve seen. Scan their flickr/tumblr page. Write them a message for a studio visit. Buy some work. Hang the work in your home. Show your friends. Inspire them to do the same.
What are you listening to as you answer these questions: The Weekend.
What inspires you? The people around me inspire me. I work with my best friends every day. The work we do brings community together and therefore inspires them. We are all like single teeth on the blade of a chainsaw and we’re carving a section of a fir tree into a bear. Now, we’re a bear. What’s up.