P.S. 4: Scavengers - Chris Lawson
Featured Artist Evening: 1/24/2018
Chris Lawson is a New Orleans-based artist, writer and filmmaker. His works were included in Louisiana Contemporary 2015 and 2016 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Lawson is a participating artist in Southern Abstraction at The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery. Lawson’s work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (now part of National Gallery of Art) in Washington D.C., Java Contemporary Art Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Fosaj Art Center in Jacmel, Haiti. Lawson creates music videos and album art for Saddle Creek Records. In addition to serving as a Resident Advocate, he is also artist-in-residence at Covenant House New Orleans.
"I've been an artist since just before midnight, October 31, 1984. There's no significance -at least none I'm aware of- that it happened on Halloween. Halloween being the day and day-into-night when the membrane that separates this world and the netherworld is at it's thinnest, and all manner of spirits traverse that threshold. But don"t get me wrong--I love Halloween, really_dig_it. But same token I'm equally jiggy with Thanksgiving so...who knows? And -hello!- X-mas is right in there, a close 3rd, maybe even a tie, so who knows? Who knows what currents flow and cross, and which tides call us, by name or out-of-sight, and flowing deep, still deeper than the potatoes grow? Anyway so it was about 10:45 p.m., Halloween night, 1984. Kind of a warm and balmy night I recall, but with a Halloween vibe, overall. You know what I mean. The smell of candy corn in the air, faint soupcon of cyanide, and the sound of sirens off in the distance? And I'd just gotten off work waiting tables at the Magic Pan. Omg I was so semi-depressed from serving fake-French food in restaurant which had absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with whatever aux-en-provence dream/lie/why(?) As if the capers could do it all by themselves? Please. How superficial calling pea soup "Pottage St. Germain" and "for 10 cents more a dollop of sour cream"? Please ya mutha effers. And all the while listening over and over to canned classical music- Vivaldi's freaking "Four Seasons" and Pachabel's "Canon in D Major", which I actually loved back in the days before I slung crepes at the southtown mall. Also -and I'm sure you can relate- I was melancholy that I wasn't a kid, back in time, in a time machine, in a costume, trick-or-treating as say the...Incredible Mr. Limpet (1965) or Count Yorga, Vampire (1971) or accidentally-on-purpose burning up Mr. Johnson's Cadellac (1973). Oopsie. So I popped over to my good friend's apartment to hang-out and self-medicate with a 6-pack of Iron City and a thimblefull of de skunkweed. Then totally sink into the hand-me-down couch that smelled like his grandmother's dead peek-a-poo, and transfix on his big t.v... which was almost always playing MTV. And that's when it happened: sitting on brown naughahyde, dressed like a peguin freak, stinking of bongwater, with a half-dollar-sized stain of veal scallopini on the cuff of my sleeve. That's when it happened. That's the when and the how of how the thought happened, and how the thought came firing into my brain. Like a bullet. With the urgency of warm blood and how the scalp tingles. With the hope. For a change. Which means NOW. Well you know what I mean...not now-now but now-then. With such a rush that I had to say it out loud, had to stand up and say it out loud: "We seriously need to go to Eckerd's and buy a ton of arts and crafts sh*t! Like those pens you know or -oh better!- Crayola markers, and drawing paper. And paint...omg! We need to go and we need to go right now!" And there's the denouvement...sorry for the rough landing. I went to the drugstore and got the art supplies. But not before I looked at the t.v. one more time, see what was playing on MTV at that exact moment, that one exact moment of possibility. Hoping maybe it would be The Clash with "Rock the Casbah". Even the Safety Dance would do. No such luck. Just some old gal name of Madonna singing thru her nose some tigerbeat b.s. My good friend said: K-serra serra. Sometimes we pick the songs and sometimes the songs pick. Us. On the plus-side---we still have a lot of time. And that light up ahead sure looks beautiful! But the peek-a-poo set me straight on that count. No sir, she said, that's just a cheap old candle. Kind you can get at the Dollar Tree."