Friday, April 23, 2010

I Went to Outer Space.

They let you paint on the walls.

I've had my doubts about Outer Space--the venue voted "best hipster hang out in Charleston"--but as an art gallery, they won me over last night.

Anson Cyr, one of its co-founders, says he knows sometimes people can get "wigged out" by the intimate setting. "I think it just depends on what you come to," he says. And he's right. Before I'd only been to small music shows and swing dancing lessons, walked away feeling like the setting was far too intimate to enjoy--more like a living room full of people I didn't know singing and dancing around me. But as an art gallery, it has a laid-back feel that's refreshingly different from all those places where you're terrified you might knock something off of the wall.

Cyr says of his role as art director of Outer Space: "We're moving soon, and when we do, I hope to be less curator and more into helping artists transform the space."

The most recent artist to transform the space is Brian Bustos. In his show "Deux," Bustos had literary inspiration. "I read a lot of Jack Kerouac, and he writes spontaneous prose. I used that idea in my art. You know, your first thought is your best thought, and just get it done. Go with it."

And yes, he got to paint on the walls as part of his show. So cool.

Local musician Chris Thomas has also put together a show to compliment the art. Bustos' fiancee says of Thomas: "He's shaving his head and eyebrows, painting his face white, and wearing a blue hoodie to look like that guy."

That's dedication.

The art-side of "Deux" is mostly drawings, accompanied by words. Some are just "random thoughts" according to Bustos, others sentences clipped from old books. My favorite was a drawing of a person whose head grew into a roof. It read: "Thus we have a heaven presented to us as mansions in which we are to dwell." Then, at the bottom was: "It held no meaning."

Bustos felt the above piece--being able to paint a black dot on the wall to tie together the art and the writing--was "aesthetically pleasing." The display started with, ironically, a picture of a NASA spaceship and the wording, "They said I could be whatever I wanted when I grew up. I wanted to go to space. Now I just draw unrealistic pictures of spaceships." Other introspective and quirky statements include: "I don't feel like a bear" and "Birds were probably really great people once. That's why they don't have to do shit all day. And they can fly."

Perhaps Outer Space was the perfect venue for "Deux." Bustos says of his chosen method: "Paintings you can change. Drawings are intimate."

"Deux" starts at 8 p.m. tonight, 623 Meeting Street.

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