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Interview Mon Feb 08 2010

Children's Stories and Grown Up Drawings: An Interview with Josh Lucas, curator of Torn Pages

This Saturday, recently relocated OhNo!Doom gallery hosts the 'Torn Pages' group show, a series of artist/writer collaborations focusing on imagined children's tales and the illustrations they've inspired. I spoke with art blogger and show curator Josh Lucas, and we touched briefly on the themes behind the show as well as Chicago neighborhoods, fairy tales, and the trials and rewards inherent in running a large group show.

"The Following are Pages Torn from our Most Favorite Imaginary Books", takes place on Saturday, February 13th, 2010, and runs through the end of the month. OhNo!Doom gallery, 1800 N. Milwaukee Ave., 6-10pm.

What's the Torn Pages Show all about?

The Torn Pages show is about a few things. Bringing people together who don't normally work together. in the creative world people tend to congregate together in what they do. writers will have readings, artists have shows, etc. but they rarely do things together. I believe the things that connect people are more powerful than the things that make them different. The creative process, and act, is a very beautiful and personal thing. And at the core, it's that feeling, and need to do so that every artist understands.

It's also about that feeling you got reading a story as a child. And wanting to get back to that place. The full show name expresses this "the following are pages torn from our most favorite imaginary books", it's about that story you always had in your head, or maybe just an image. But it was yours and now we get to share those things with the public.

How did the idea/theme happen? How were the artists picked?

The idea for the show was just a quick thought at first. My girlfriend was telling me about a story she was working on, and as she was telling me about it I saw it in my head, illustrated by a friend of mine. So i sat on it for a month or so and then started sending out emails to see if it would work. And it just kind of evolved from there.

The artists and writers were picked from names I'd seen around, and a few people I already knew. My girlfriend suggested some great people. I also got some help from Jason over at "Orange Alert": he sent me some great suggestions. I got really lucky with the people who are now the lineup for the show.

What sparked your interest in the show? Was your interest recent, or something that started way back?

I've always been a fan of children's stories. and good writing, and good art, but have never been able to create works myself that I was happy with. So i started thinking about curating. and here I am. The classic "those who cant do, teach..."

You describe yourself arts blogger/curator/fan. What kind of blog do you have? Any shows you've recently curated, besides this one?

I have a blog called the pod collective: On the blog i focus on mostly street art, and friends work. This is really my first big project. i just moved from Humboldt Park (where I have lived my entire time in Chi) to Logan Square. And love it so far.

Going along with that, what do you think makes the show unique to Chicago? Why is it important that it's here?
I believe the artistic talent in this city is immense. But a lot people don't know it. We have a few names on an international level. But for the most part it's unknown. And I think that the current state of artists and writers in the city are perfect for this kind of show. And like I mentioned earlier, all this talent, in a lot of ways, has been operating without knowledge of the other. I wanted to do something original, and also bring the two mediums together.

Okay, because I'm curious: is there a children's story/fairy tale that's a favorite of yours?

Well, I feel that with it's current popularity Where the Wild Things Are is a cop-out answer. But everyone loves that story for a reason, it's just about perfect. Also Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, and it's possible that you were never a child if you didn't love One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss was pure genius.

From "Michel" by Nancy Khurana:

Soon enough, this practice of created speech filtered into every corner of the city Titter-Tatter, now Spitter-Spatter, Fatter-Dadder, Alma-Matter to some and others. Everyone spoke their own language. They thought in their own words, dreamt in them, wrote in them, argued in them. My, what a relief! They felt. To say what you mean. They carried on so long in this fashion that that the students could no longer learn as they couldn't understand their teachers; doctors couldn't help their patients because they didn't know what ailed them; and taxi drivers couldn't take passengers, not having the slightest idea where they needed to go. The city of Titter-Tatter went silent. Coffee conversations between old friends turned into hours of stares and blinks, a silent parting, as each walked away carrying a newspaper neither could make sense of.

From "Pronounced Squichon" by Tim Hall:

The boys crouched outside the white picket fence and peered through the gate. Truck pointed.

'There he is! That's the Squicky dude!'

The man they called Squicky was in the garden. He was standing very still, looking up at the sky.

Jagger had never seen anybody like Squicky. He was very strange looking. He was short, not much bigger than the boys in fact, and had large, sad eyes.

From "Bloom" by Lindsey Markel:

The poppy that Gloria picked for her class did not live long, although she placed it in a filled water glass and taped a sign next to it that said DO NOT TOUCH UNTIL AUGUST! By the next morning, the flower had already lost most of its shape. The next next morning, the petals had fallen, and a thin layer of dusty pollen covered the table. Gloria gently laid the stem outside, so it could be with its old friends.

By Dominique Arrianne Holmes, for "Flight" by Ben Tanzer:

By Andrew (Flip) Johnson, for "Henry Valentine & the Angry Arms" by Jill Summers:

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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