It is possible that people are tired of the hyped-up winter-sport photography and short films that will rule TWSSF this week. They may be looking for something fresh, or at least a little different. Like, say, lowbrow canvas representations of Mexican wrestlers?
Yes. That is exactly what they are looking for and that's exactly what Blind Mute Productions will be giving them. "La Violenta Tormenta de Arte" ("The Violent Storm of Art") is a Mexican wrestling-themed art show that will feature 35 artists, three DJs and "arte muy raro."
The artwork had yet to been turned in when Pique spoke to Blind Mute's Dave "Pepe" Petko and Randy "Randoid" Smith on Thursday, so they're as clueless as anybody what the exhibit will actually look like, but it will most definitely contain the same post-pop-surrealist, lowbrow and contemporary portraits of whatever this year's theme will be.
"We just gave that (theme) to the artists and let them go with it," Petko says. "We'll pretty much show whatever they put in, as long as it's in the theme."
Blind Mute promotes local up and coming artists, as well as art as an alternative to the winter sports photography and paintings that more or less rule the Village galleries. The seeds of Blind Mute were planted with the split of the Jettisons, a collective of Whistler alternative artists who had been repeatedly censored by the Whistler Arts Council and other organizations at large events. They began hosting their own art shows in town but split up in 2006 after four shows.
Smith says, "They were throwing the shows at my old shop and I talked to Pepe about doing a show and we started by doing the 'Circus-billy Freakout.'"
It was a relative success and featured weirdo circus freaks and the bizarro artwork that would come to characterize what their shows are all about. They went on to throw annual events on the final weekend of TWSSF with themes like "Attack of Kittens and Bunnies" and "Let's Talk About Feelings," which meant mountain-bound Blake Jorgenson and Steve Lloyd were never included.
"(That stuff) has been done so much," Petko says. "You go through most of the galleries in town and it's trees, mountains, snow, stuff that pays the rent, that sells. A lot of the artists that we work with, they don't do that type of artwork. They're either street-based, lowbrow or kind of alternative."
Artists from across the Sea to Sky corridor, Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and Germany will be showcasing their work this year.
Nelson's Yan Zombie will top a line-up of DJs that also includes Whistler/Squamish DJ the Librarian and Victoria's Jake "Destro" Spade. Smith also promises some kind of surprise in the line-up.
La Violenta Tormenta de Art will be held at the 1212 building in Function Junction on Friday, April 22. Tickets are $15.