Alibi V.27 No.29 • July 19-25, 2018 

Arts Interview

The Art of Music

The diverse creative modes of local musicians

“Axis Bold” by Claudio Tolousse
“Axis Bold” by Claudio Tolousse
Courtesy of Inpost Artspace
New red rope is strung between mic stands at Outpost Performance Space's Inpost Art Space (210 Yale SE) to safeguard the freshly hung works in Musicians Making Art, a small collection of some of New Mexico's finest musicians' visual endeavors. These pieces—almost 20 in total—were submitted by Outpost founder and director Tom Guralnick's invitation, and curated by Erin Galvez and Robbin Bates.

Featured in the show are the likes of tuba player Mark Weaver, bassist Christine Nelson, drummer Cal Haines and guitarist Claudio Tolouse. Among the mediums are sculptural works crafted from reclaimed materials, mandala-inspired geometric pointillism works on paper, landscape paintings, prints and weavings.

That velvet rope protecting the works will come in handy over the course of the next few weeks as Outpost hosts the annual New Mexico Jazz Festival (which runs until July 30). If you're not stopping in for a concert, you can catch Musicians Making Art during box office hours (2 to 5:30pm) and by appointment until Aug. 26.

A few days after the show was hung, Guralnick unpacked this year's work and the legacy of the exhibitions that happen in conjunction with the festival, which have included a showcase of work by Reginald Gammon curated by Dr. Kymberly Pinder of UNM, an exhibition of album covers from the collection of former Dean of Fine Arts Tom Dodson along with creative responses from local artists, and a retrospective of paintings by trumpet player Jonathan Baldwin.

Alibi: So you came up with the concept?

Guralnick: I came up with the idea. There are all these musicians who make art in town. They're not strictly jazz musicians by any means, and I thought that it would be, you know, a nice tie-in.

Do you find that there's a big cross section of musicians and visual artists?

Yeah, there's a number here. And there's many more. We got going [on this show] relatively late. And it was just basically by invitation. … The instructions were, if it's music related, great. But it doesn't have to be—if you have pieces that are music related, that's fine, but we wanted to keep it really open.

Have you found it to be true that there are some sensibilities that carry over between making music and creating visual kinds of art?

[Artist Susan Holmes] … in her statement she kind of refers to the relationship between playing music and doing this. … and many musicians, especially more experimental musicians, do their own graphics or artwork for their covers.

“Ariel” by Terry Bluhm
“Ariel” by Terry Bluhm
Courtesy of Inpost Artspace

Do you think that it requires some of the same skillsets to appreciate a piece of art like this as it does to appreciate hearing a piece of music?

I don't want to speak as any kind of expert, but I mean, you basically have to in all those things—to appreciate any kind of art, really—you need to be willing to allow yourself into someone else's world. I mean, that's what's going to make it good. You really want to open yourself up to the world that these people are showing you, whether it's music or visual arts or whatever. I think that's true of life. If you are open to people's ideas, then there can be a lot more appreciation of life and you can see the diversity of people's ways of expressing themselves. You learn and experience new things that way. I guess for me, that's the relationship. In terms of having a venue, I really appreciate having the visual arts be a part of it.

Do you hope that people might get a different eye on these musicians by looking at their art?

Sure. I think there will be many reactions like I see some of the reactions being—“Wow, I didn't know they did that stuff.” And there'll be others who are just looking at it thinking, “I didn't know this person is a musician also.” Or they will just be really impressed that one person can be so talented.

Do you feel like you've learned anything new about these musicians that you've worked with and known for so long?

A lot of the work I hadn't seen. I knew that these people made art, but when I asked them to send me stuff—I was like wow, it was just so great. I guess I'm spread thin. … I don't always experience as much about people as I'd like. I've known a lot of these people 30 years, and I get little bits and pieces of information as the years go by. It's definitely made me notice how amazing these people are and really, what serious artists.

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