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Art Interview: Charles Yoder


charles yoder interview


07/16/13:
Interview with artist Charles Yoder.

Soylent Green Blog: At what age did you know you wanted to become a painter?

Charles Yoder: 
I've always drawn ever since I was a kid. I didn't really start painting until college. Not seriously until after college. You see, painting was supposed to be dead at the time. I was doing collage and conceptual pieces. In the late 70's I started hanging out with painters my own age. I think that's when I started.

Soylent Green Blog: What made you gravitate towards nature?

Charles Yoder: I've been doing these really large abstract paintings using my hands, pushing the paint around, like fingerpainting. And I was very frustrated at the limitations of the marks and colors I was getting. One night In winter I was out in the country and stepped out into my backyard. It was a full moon and the shadows from the pine boughs were dancing across snow. It just hit me that this is what I needed. All information I needed was right there at my feet. And I wanted to do them big. Very big. The first one took me about three months just to figure it out the basics. That was about 1996, 1997.

charles yoder interview

Soylent Green Blog:
 Do you ever think you'll live in Maine again year round, or are you a New Yorker now?

Charles Yoder: 
I can see spending more time in Maine but not year-round. I've got a house out on the end of Long Island. It's really beautiful. In the middle of white and black pine trees and near the ocean. I'm pretty happy there. But I was on Monhegan Island last year and really loved it. Got a lot of really good looking photographs and painting ideas. And I'm still in love with New York City. No better place for an artist, but things change. You never know.

Soylent Green Blog: Who would you say has influenced you the most in your life and art?

Charles Yoder: 
Most influential person? My personal life: I guess my Dad for not getting in my way and my Mom for telling me I could do whatever I wanted. I had a shrink Larry Sullivan who probably saved my life and believed in me when I didn't have anyone like that in my life.

Probably the biggest artistic influence in my life was Robert Rauschenberg. I knew him for almost 40 years and I worked for him for over 12 years off and on. His work ethic was fantastic and I think he was a true genius. One of the best artists ever. Showed me that anything can be art (Whatever that is). These days I guess art is anything I say it is. Bob Rauschenberg taught me that it was the work that mattered. That everything else was secondary. Another artist like that was my best friend Al Taylor, a great artist who was always working. Always. Through thick and thin. These guys made me realize that the making of the work is what made you feel worthwhile. I learned that this was the way to be ready for my luck.

I've had many influences in this strange world I've fashioned but the main reason I'm still so involved is my wife Charlene Keogh. It's no coincidence that my serious concentration on full time painting coincides with the time we've been together. She's been and continues to be my biggest supporter and steadfast promoter. There's a lot of "Check it out. I finished it." with her reply: "You're almost there." "No. I mean it. It's done." "Just a bit more, dear."

She puts up with all the moods that come with living with someone whose life's work, for the most part, is undefinable. It took me a long time to find someone to love like this.

Then there's the usual list of suspects: Matisse (my favorite today. It'll probably be different tomorrow.), Picasso,Cézanne,Rubens, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Johns, Duchamp, Homer, Sargent, Monet, Da Vinci, Goya, Velasquez,Munch, DeKooning, Charles Burchfield, Bruce Nauman. I have to stop now. I'm starting to feel like a real whore.


charles yoder interview

Soylent Green Blog: 
Looking back on your career, which painting would you consider to be your favorite?

Charles Yoder: Paintings are like your children. You're supposed to say that they're all equal and have special traits of their own. But you know there are those that you really favor but you just can't say it out loud.

Soylent Green Blog: Was there ever a moment in your life when you considered quitting the art world and getting a 9 to 5?

Charles Yoder: 
I still think about it all the time, but I know by now that I'm practically unemployable in any other occupation.

In fact, it's always been the other way around. I've worked nine to fives to support this art habit of mine for way too long. These days I teach part time and paint full time and I'm very lucky to be in this situation.

So very few friends I started out with as artists are still artists today. In fact, I can't think of any right now.

charles yoder interview

Soylent Green Blog:
 At what age did you finally feel like you had "made it"?

Charles Yoder
The answer to this one depends on how you interpret the word "made".

Financially this career of mine is nowhere near "made". What I considered to be commercially successful remains elusive.

In my late 40s when I was painting more and more, I slowly noticed that it became easier to say that I was an artist. But I still tell people that I'm a picture painter rather than an artist.

I have this notion that only other people can tell me what they think I do and what to call it. It seems to be beyond my own description. You're playing between the areas of sacred and profane when you call yourself an artist. You have to use that word carefully.

I'm of the generation that thought being an artist had religious overtones. This is a discarded notion these days. It's easy enough to be a priest of a failed religion and not know it.

Soylent Green Blog: What is your favorite gallery in New York?

Charles Yoder: 
I don't have a favorite gallery these days. I like galleries that have eclectic tastes that show all different kinds of art ,not just one school or theory. Probably my most favorite art place is Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by the Museum of Modern Art. Then there's the Louvre and Musee Dorsay in Paris, the Prado in Madrid, the Uffizi in Florence, Blah blah blah.

charles yoder interview

Soylent Green Blog:
 If you could go back in time, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Charles Yoder
As for an alternative past: I'm not one to dwell on the past and am not much for regrets.

Soylent Green Blog: Do you have any advice for up and coming artists?

Charles Yoder: 
My recommendations would be to trust your own sincerity and work even when you don't feel confident. The work will help you find your way even if you don't know what you're doing. I think my work would've progressed further than where it is today if I done that.


charles yoder interview



-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

 
TV Interview: Dicky Eagan


dicky eagan


02/27/13
 - Interview with Dicky Eagan - writer for Lopez Tonight, The Wayne Brady Show and Head Writer for Last Call with Carson Daily. 

Dirty Awesome: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Dicky Eagan: 
Pretty soon, hopefully.

Dirty Awesome: How old were you when you lost your virginity?

Dicky Eagan: Pretty soon, hopefully.

dicky eagan

Dirty Awesome:
 Why LA over NYC?

Dicky Eagan: 
I watched a lot of TV as a kid. I feel like I've always lived in LA.

Dirty Awesome: What is your favorite food, movie and band?

Dicky Eagan: 
Mexican, Star Wars, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

dicky eagan


Dirty Awesome: 
What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you working for a show?

Dicky Eagan: Mike Tyson punching me repeatedly in a fit of laughter was pretty crazy/terrifying.

Dirty Awesome: What's your favorite show on TV right now?

Dicky Eagan: 
Colbert. 

dicky eagan

Dirty Awesome:
 When will you standup again?

Dicky Eagan: 
Hopefully never. I'm okay at it, but too anxious to do it full time.

Dirty Awesome: Would you rather have sex with Jennifer Lawrence or Bradley Cooper?

Dicky Eagan: 
Jennifer Lawrence.

dicky eagan

Dirty Awesome:
 Have you ever been in a street fight?

Dicky Eagan: 
Yes.

Dirty Awesome:  If you weren't a writer, what would you have done with your life?

Dicky Eagan: 
Street Fighter.

dicky eagan


Dirty Awesome: What other writers do you look up to?

Dicky Eagan: 
John Steinbeck, Mel Brooks, Larry David, Peter Farrelly... all my friends who are late night writers.

Dirty Awesome: What's your next project? 

Dicky Eagan: 
Installing a timer in my front porch light.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.


 
Food Interview: Abe Furth - Owner Of Woodman's And Verve In Orono, Maine


abe furth


02/18/13
 - Interview with Abe Furth - owner of Woodman's and Verve in Orono, Maine.

Dirty Awesome: Who are you and what do you do?

Abe Furth: 
Heather and I are entrepreneurs that fix up old commercial buildings and start and operate restaurants.  So far we've started Woodman's and Verve, and we're opening another Verve this year. 

Dirty Awesome: What made you decide to go into the restaurant business?

Abe Furth: I love the business and the interaction with customers and employees. 

abe furth

Dirty Awesome:
 What made you decide to stay in Maine after you graduated?

Abe Furth: 
The people in Maine are the best. I like how friendly and unassuming Mainers are. The physical beauty of Maine is a huge selling point too. And family. And there is a ton of opportunity to get into business and make it in Maine. 

Dirty Awesome: What has been the hardest part about running your business?

Abe Furth: 
The emotional stress of taking that leap and getting a loan for our first business eight years ago, and then the process of opening your first business and putting all your waking hours into it. 

abe furth


Dirty Awesome: 
What's been the most rewarding part about running your business?

Abe Furth: Having it work and being able to love doing it. Working together (as a couple). Changing the landscape of our community. 

Dirty Awesome: Are you planning to expand beyond Bangor?

Abe Furth: 
We'll see. We're focusing on Verve in Bangor now, but when the time is right again, we'll keep on creating. 

abe furth

Dirty Awesome:
 If you could go back in time, would you have done anything different?

Abe Furth
I would tell my 23 year old self to relax. 

Dirty Awesome: Do you have any advice for any wood-be restaurant owners?

Abe Furth: 
Be prepared to put everything you have into it at first. Find people that you can trust, train them well, and then trust them and take a couple days off. Get as much experience in the industry as you can before you decide to go for it. 

abe furth

Dirty Awesome:
 If you could change one thing about Bangor, what would it be?

Abe Furth: 
I'd make Hermon Mountain the size of Sugarloaf and I'd like it if the park next to the parking garage was a nice place.

Dirty Awesome: What's your next project?

Abe Furth
Verve in Bangor!

abe furth
 
Interview: Street Artist Pigeon


orsen horchler


02/01/13
 - Interview with street artist Pigeon.

Dirty Awesome: Who are you and what do you do?

Pigeon: My name is Pigeon and I’m a street artist and an activist. I also write, perform and produce songs under the name of Nelo Pidgin, and try to operate a personal life and raise a child under the name of
Orson Horchler. I pay the bills running a carpentry business.

Dirty Awesome: When did you start doing art in Bangor?

Pigeon: I started putting art up on the walls, doors and bridges of Bangor on July 27, 2011

orsen horchler

Dirty Awesome:
Where are you from?

Pigeon: Oh that’s complicated… Born in Philly. First birthday in Bar Harbor. Lived in Ellsworth until I was 4 at which point my Mom got serious cabin fever or something so she took me, left my Dad and brothers behind and went back to France (though she was born in Morocco. I told you it’s complicated…) So I grew up in a suburb of Paris that was more or less what you would call an inner city in the US. There were gangs and racial tension. But there were no guns so people didn't die too often. You could tell how much fighting experience one had by the number of scars or a broken nose so there weren’t too many surprises, like some baby face dude pulling a gun on you. Me I just did a couple trips to the hospital for being a loud mouth and not putting up with the good old dominance strategies of gang/mafia culture that poison the world anywhere you find people who want power but who arent strong enough to stand on their own 2 feet… Anyway, there was nothing to do there. They tried to open a movie theatre 15 minutes from where we lived and within a week it got burned down cause they wouldn’t let this kid in without paying so the next day his brother’s gang came over and lit it up. There was less to do there than in Lincoln.

Then, I came back to the US right after high school to dodge the draft and get to know my dad who had stayed in Ellsworth. Since then I have also lived in New Orleans and then Lo
ísaida, NYC. That place stole my heart. Sorry Bangor. But you can still have my body... Between the place I grew up in France and feeling stuck in Maine for family reasons, I realized at some point that I spent most of my life living in places where I felt alienated. That’s when I decided to stop bitching about it and to tackle the problem head on. And that’s why I started doing street art.

Dirty Awesome: Tell us about your shirts.

Pigeon: Well the first shirts I did were just iron-ons with the I <3 BGR Pigeon. I used to have contests on my Facebook page. I would announce how many new pastes I put up on any given night but not say where. The first person to post phone pics of all of them would win a T-shirt. So of course local living-legend William Young was the first to get a Tshirt because he’s the man. We didn't know each other so I stalked him online, found out where he worked and dropped it off at his workplace.

Then, I did the infamous Ghettobetters tshirt. A spoof off the Leadbetters store right across from where I live. Anything can happen there. It’s a trip. If you get one, make sure you walk in there wearing it when the owner is behind the counter… By the way, the only rule I have about mixing my wheatpaste when working in Bangor is that the flour has to come from Ghettobetters.

I think that the real ethical dimension of street art is that if it is well done it takes into account where it is made and takes responsibility for were it is placed. That’s what makes it radically different from the monster fine art has become. That’s a philosophy I wanted to apply to making Pigeon Gear as well. I really wanted to create some apparel that was really specific to where I would be selling it and Bangor didn’t have that yet. I did the I <3 BGR to express Bangor pride and the Ghettobetters because I liked the inside joke aspect of it. I mean you wear that shirt because you know what it means in Bangor vernacular and other people will recognize it on the street or at a party only if they are also part of the community. My shirts are so local that when Metropolitan Soul wanted to carry my shirts at their Orono shop, we couldn’t do it because the designs would be meaningless to people living even just 10 miles away!

Now my shirts are silkscreened at Daidala Studios in downtown Bangor and they do a killer job. I am really proud of our last creation: the RISE! T-shirt. It represents a mural of the same title, one version of which I put on the side of the Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor and another on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Harlem last week. The mural depicts a flock of pigeons chasing an egg-stealing eagle. A true scene you’ll see over Pickering square in the spring.

The Rock & Art Shop and Central Street Farmhouse carry my shirts. I am presently working with Harlem Underground to get them to sell my RISE! Shirts as well as an I <3 Harlem Pigeon-shirt. They are a small shop on 125
th street, which only carries Harlem specific apparel.

orsen horchler


Dirty Awesome:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Pigeon: In 5 years, I'll be hopping on planes to work on murals around the world and working on establishing a school in the Congo to rehabilitate child soldiers through the arts.

Dirty Awesome: How long do you think it will take Bangor to become as large as Portland?

Pigeon: It's really not that relevant. Its not about the actual numbers of residents, it’s about the culture of the place. Portland has 65,000 inhabitants I think and Bangor and Brewer combined have close to 45,000. If people got off their asses, turned off the TV, went out after work and stopped fighting the increase of culture and diversity of the city, Bangor would seem just as large as Portland.

I've been to seaside towns in Cameroon that have just a few thousand inhabitants and yet they seemed like metropolis compared to Bangor. Because at night everybody rushes out into the streets to meet each other, play music together, argue, hit on each other’s sisters… foosball tables back to back on the sidewalk. We just need more of a street culture. NYC didn’t rise to the top of world influential cities because of it’s size but because it has always had amazing street culture and was proud of it. In Bangor, barriers to utilizing our downtown like its our living room need to be broken down.

Kids need to be allowed to skateboard on the street and in plazas. We need to teach them young that downtown is the place to be, where you can feel free and surround yourself with cool people, not the fucking mall. I hang out with my 7-year old all over downtown, for hours. He gets to meet everybody in the community, every business in town has a drawing of his on the wall pretty much. He knows that Pickering square is the place to ride his bike because we get to chat with the little old people from the Freezes building and he knows that Daddy likes to go to Giacomo’s where he might run into one of his favorite ladies while he can run into one of his friends and that’s what life is all about. People need to realize that they are going to die and that the best thing about being on this planet is other people.

orsen horchler

Dirty Awesome:
If you could change one thing about Bangor, what would it be?

Pigeon: Well, since I don’t think banning the use of televisions after 5pm is realistic, I want to see the ban on open containers in public areas lifted. And not just around bars where the cool kids spend $7 on a drink, but more than anything, changing municipal law 231-7 to allow the consumption of alcohol in parks. I’ve worked in a homeless shelter and have slept in a couple, so I know all about the necessity of keeping these places absolutely drug and alcohol free for all the folks tying to stay clean. So where else are homeless people going to drink? I find it outrageous and demeaning they have to hide in the bushes to share a bottle of High Life, like they were 13 year-olds having their first cigarette. The homeless belong in this city as much as you and me. And if anybody think that if they had a couple bucks left to their name they wouldn’t spend it on a 40, they are fooling themselves and need to go out and do some serious living or they going to die stupid.

But I’m saying this for everybody. People need to start thinking about their downtown as an extension of their living room. Pigeon is all about drinking in the park on your day off. A public park is a perfect place to enjoy a bottle of wine on a sunny day, on a blanket, with some chocolate, a couple oranges and DirtyAwesome’s 01/09/13 Girl of the Day.

Dirty Awesome: What is Bangor's best asset?

Pigeon: The fact that people are so genuine. I hate posturing. In Bangor nobody is pretending to be anything. People don’t spend too much time worrying about being hip or talking ab
out what they’re going to do. But there are people, like the folks at KahBang among many others, working their asses off and making shit happen. That makes me proud to live in Bangor.

I did my “Wheat pasting in the Venice of the North” video of me wheat pasting on the canals off a canoe with my friend John Picone. I barely knew him at the time and he had contacted me saying hey me and my kids like your work, lets go canoeing sometime. He’s just a genuine down to earth yet super smart guy who took a break from being a surgeon to stay at home with his kids. Not some faker. And our video got posted on Brooklyn Street Art, one of the best Street Art blogs in the world. I believe it’s because what we did was so unique compared to a lot of what’s going on in the world of street art.

If I had to work in Portland or only worked in NYC, I’d be in some fake-ass social circle of hipsters who do street art because they think its cool or something. Here I have little old ladies coming to my studio to tell me they dig my stuff. And that’s what street art should be all about: breaking the barriers between art and the people. So in a way, because of that genuine quality of Bangorians, I feel like I am able to do street art that is more authentic, more true to its basic philosophy.

orsen horchler

Dirty Awesome:
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Pigeon: My greatest accomplishment? By getting people to go out into the street to look for my work and connect about something that had to with their environment, something fun and provocative, I think I created a phenomenon that helped people further their community ties and feel more empowered about their relationship to their urban environment. I saw it at my Studio Opening in November: all these people gathered there, from all ages, all social classes, people who may have never talked to each other out on the street, hanging out, talking loud, drinking wine and Allen’s Coffee Brandy and partying together for 10 and a half hours straight! …while I was giving out hugs and laying down the beats. The oxytocin was flowing! I live for that shit. It’s the kind of Sesame street style urban idealism I ascribe to. That’s what drives me. And I feel like I helped create some of that here in Bangor.

Dirty Awesome: What is your next project?

Pigeon: Hooking up with DirtyAwesome’s 01/09/13 Girl of the Day. Oh, sorry… It’s just that she’s got that guilty look. I like that. No, seriously, I am working on a lot of projects, doing the Light Ekphrastic thing (an online zine that put an artist and a poet together and get them to respond to their work and then publish the exchange); creating unique Pigeon art pieces for the Eastern Maine AIDS Network’s Red Ribbon ball and Auction on February 9
th; coordinating an event for Black Bear Skateboard Association where we are getting artists to put their own unique designs on skateboards that we are going to auction off to raise funds for the Orono Skatepark… and lots more. The only way Pigeon works is hard. But the thing I am most exited about is my application to Living Walls Atlanta 2013. 

orsen horchler


-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

 
Film Interview: Actor And Model Saul Luzeus
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saul lazeus
Saul Luzeus in New York


03/29/11
- We got the chance to catch up with actor/model Saul Luzeus while he was in between gigs in Brooklyn, New York. Here's what he had to say:


SGIMOP: When did you know you wanted to be an actor?

SAUL: Growing up in small household of 3, one can find a lot of time to use his imagination. I remember I used to sit in my room alone, acting out scenes from Terminator and Beverly Hills Cop, but it wasn't until later, in my high school years, that I became interested in making films. So, to answer that question, I wanted to act since I came out my mother's womb.

SGIMOP: Do you prefer the model type, or the girl next door? 

SAUL: I love a beautiful model, but I'm also fond of the cutie next door. Sometimes the girl next door is a model...Ha! But with me, the girl has to have a great personality, because looks come and go. Character is there forever.

SGIMOP: Why did you choose to pursue acting in New York over LA?  

SAUL: I choose to pursue acting in New York over LA only because if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere! But the fact is that the LA market is for people who have already made a name for themselves. New York is where you build it from scratch. We also have so many things happening everyday: student films, indie or spec commercials, music videos...and dont even get me started with stage. We have it all! New York provides work for actors. So if you're not working here, maybe this isn't the career path to choose.


SGIMOP: TV or film? 

SAUL: I love TV AND film. With TV, you earn a steady paycheck and people know who you are nationally (maybe international depending what show it is), BUT with movies, it's a big budget contract and its global! So overall, I would probably go with film.

SGIMOP: What's been your favorite gig so far?

SAUL: My favorite gig that I've done so far was about 2 years ago for this movie called It's Not You, starring Steve Guttenberg. I met some of the greatest people ever that are like family to me now. We still work with each other and help one another out with whatever.


saul lazeus
Saul Luzeus in New York


SGIMOP: Angelina Jolie or Jada Pinkett Smith? 

SAUL: Neither.

SGIMOP: What's the biggest name you've worked with so far? 

SAUL: I'd say the biggest I've worked with were Jesse Williams, Donny Wahlberg, and Allen Coulter.

SGIMOP: Do you prefer acting or modeling?  

SAUL: I'd pick acting over modeling any and everyday of the week, month, year, light years, but that doesn't mean I would deny a modeling gig though, haha!


saul lazeus
Saul Luzeus in New York


SGIMOP: Have you ever worked behind the camera?

SAUL: Yes. I actually work behind the camera most of the time. That's where I got started. It's not easy. You have to be focused and very knowledgeable. Time is money on a movie set.

SGIMOP: What's next for you? 

SAUL: I'm working on a few projects and I have a couple of things planned with Actor/Filmmaker Chas Bruns and Actor/Writer Francis Cooper. So you will be hearing about these names in the near future. Sooner than expected.

 
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