Okay, here’s something new! Over the next few months I’m hoping to have a few of my favourite curators from around the Internet pop in as guest contributors. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere! This is just a chance to get some content here and there from a fresh pair of eyes – eyes I respect – that will hopefully put you on to things that I don’t know about!
First up, is Zach Tutor, the curator behind the popular blog, Supersonic Art. If you’re into contemporary painting and illustration you should check it out. We’ve yet to meet in person but we’ve been Internet buddies for awhile, he actually submitted a great drawing to our “Drawing On The Past” project. Anyways, I thought the easiest way to introduce him to you would be in the form of a little interview.
Jeff Hamada: I know from reading interviews and Skyping with you recently, that you’re based in Oxford, Mississippi, your father is the famous photorealist painter Glennray Tutor, and you have a cat named Bookie. Tell me something the Internet does not already know about you.
Zach Tutor: Haha, yes all of those things are true! I suppose I should start back at the beginning with a nice little story my parents would tell me about where I came from when ever that question would arise from me. They would tell me that during this intense, hurricane like thunderstorm that they began hearing something knocking at their backdoor. At first they were afraid to answer it because the storm was so scary. But eventually they did, and there in the flashes from the lightning and pouring rain was a frog who had brought me to them. I always thought that was a pretty fantastic story about coming from somewhere. Being born from a thunderstorm. With the frogs and wilderness.
Another nice story: I think one of the things that peaked my interest in seeking out treasures/art was that my grandparents lived in this little, very little, town called Malden in Missouri. And every time my mother and I would go visit them, my grandmother, two aunts, mom and little young me would go antique shopping. It was like a physical Internet. You never knew what you’d find, especially in these truly bizarre, small towns in the “bootheel” of Missouri and northwest corner of Arkansas. These antique stores were like all the art and artist sites out there and my job was to find the best, most beautiful thing in there. Of course at the time the most awesome thing would be a really cool, strange action figure or ancient board game. I found some amazing things. Maybe I just like searching out treasure.
JH: What websites do you usually go hunting for treasure on?
ZT: I have about 60 pages that open up when my browser opens and I spend all day, seriously – around 8-9 hours looking through them, following links, looking at other artists links to other artists, etc. etc. Some of my favorites are BOOOOOOOM (duh), Carbon Cradle, Artnau, Arrested Motion, and Beautiful Bizarre. The best is when you come across a site you’ve never been on yet. There are thousands and thousands on Tumblr to discover. I really feel like Tumblr has changed the game at getting art and visual stimulation into the world.
JH: How has running a Tumblr with hundreds of thousands of followers changed your life?
ZT: Geez, I don’t know. I try not to think about it. But it is a strange thing. I’ve been lucky enough to write for art magazines like Hi Fructose and Juxtapoz, I’ve met some of my all time favorite artists ever, and I curate an annual art show called the Supersonic Invitational (The 4th one is in January at Spoke Art in San Francisco!) where I get to see all my favorite artists’ work in person. Those are all dreams, beyond my wildest dreams, that have come true. And I’ve made some of the best friends of my life by creating and dedicating myself to Supersonic. And seeing things I didn’t know were there or wouldn’t have thought I’d ever see. One strange side effect (I guess that’s a good term) is being recognized more and more at the bookstore I work at or in larger cities. “Hey you’re Supersonic aren’t you” is always surreal and then learning about the person who says that is a gift too, they’ll be from Maine or some place far away from what I know and it’s just like, “wow, the Internet is crazy.” It’s really nice to know people are looking at the art because that’s the reason I do it. But to sum it up I guess the way it’s changed my life the most is giving me more dream fuel. And telling me, “Hey – keep going, there’s even more! You don’t even know!” Life sure as heck is an adventure.
JH: You’ve already written for respected magazines and hosted art shows with high profile artists, so what new goals have you set for yourself for this next year?
KT: Supersonic does studio visits and my photographer, Shaun Roberts and I have been looking into getting a book done of the visits. I’d like to do more than one art show a year. Maybe on the east coast or somewhere outside the United States. The more I can get artwork into other people’s photoreceptors the better. I’ve also been working with a print company, The People’s Printshop, and I’d like to develop that more and more. The best things are things that just happen though, which these things I’ve listed sort of have. I have way more ideas for what I want to do, but I also like things to be organic and develop naturally.
JH: Yeah, I agree about not forcing it. Okay, if someone turned your life into a big Hollywood movie, what would it be called, who would play you, and what song would play in the intro?
ZT: Hahaha, I’ve actually thought about this a lot. (Is that weird?) There’s various versions of my life film that go around in my head so I’ll combine one or two of them. This would be an action comedy. Ewan McGregor would play me in a slightly hyper fictionalized story of my life wherein I’m an art curator by day / diamond thief by night. Woody Allen would play my worrisome mentor and the love interest would be played by Aubrey Plaza. Tom Hardy would be the villain. Guy Ritchie would direct it. The theme song would, of course, be “Supersonic” by Oasis and the title would be “Supersonic” as well. It’d be ahead of it’s time though and become a cult classic. Ewan McGregor’s career would be ruined.
JH: What was the best film you saw this year?
ZT: Insanely difficult question, Jeff. I love movies. I watch as many as possible. But I’ll try my best at naming off my top three. #1) Snowpiercer. #2) Edge of Tomorrow #3) Joe (This list might be skewed because I haven’t yet seen Nightcrawler, Birdman or Inherent Vice. Unfortunate side effects of living in Mississippi.)
JH: Nightcrawler was definitely one of the best films I saw this year. Does the difficulty of seeing particular films, or whatever else, ever make you want to leave Mississippi?
ZT: Ah! I gotta see it! Jake Gyllenhaal is one of my all time favorite actors, too. I don’t know, maybe it makes things more exciting? You have to work to get things here in Mississippi and the reward is maybe that they’re a bit more special? Not that I haven’t thought about moving. I’d move to California or New Orleans if I did move. Mississippi is the poorest, most uneducated state in the United States – but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad place. I mean, Rock and Roll was invented 40 minutes from my house. William Faulkner lived down the street. Magic still exists here and it might be the only place. Or maybe we’re just too dumb to try things other people would say “that would never work!” Haha!
JH: Yeah, staying naive has been one of the most important things for me. You might be the exact person to do the thing no one thinks can be done, and if you give too much of an ear to skepticism and negativity you’ll never find out. Can we end this with a piece of advice to the high school version of yourself?
ZT: Dear high school me: Don’t waste those next two years in college – go do what you want right now, you’ve got some good ideas! Save your money and travel more. Take more photographs. Write things down more often. Start drawing cityscapes now, not in four years! And in three years Steve Jobs is going to introduce this thing called an iPhone and it’s going to have something called “apps.” There’s this really great one called “Instagram,” which lets you put filters on photos and share them with your friends. Invent that. Also, there’s this website coming out next year called “YouTube” that lets you watch anything you want and it’s amazing. Invent that too. But basically though, don’t worry too much. Just do what you feel is right. Learn from your mistakes. The world is a beautiful place.
JH: Thanks for doing this, Zach!
Keep an eye out for Zach’s posts (you can follow his posts here) I’ve specifically asked him to select works by contemporary painters. Be sure to check out his website, Supersonic Art.