#56: Alvin Gregorio and Petra Sertic
Petra Sertic is a curator with more than fifty exhibitions under her belt; Alvin Gregorio is an artist and CU professor whose own exhibitions have circled the globe. Together, they founded Launch Pad in 2012, a flexible forum bringing together artists and art-loving audiences together in public and private spaces. Last summer's Launch Pad 002 gathered more than forty artists together to create outdoor works -- installation to performance-based and everywhere in between -- on private property in the Boulder foothills; currently, they are putting the finishing touches on the mysterious Launch Pad 003: Secrets and Herbs, and looking forward to their fourth project in the coming year. We asked the world-wise pair what makes them tick; keep reading for their answers to the 100CC questionnaire.
Alvin Gregorio, Petra Sertic and Koko.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Alvin Gregorio: G Scott Dreger, an old friend who has an amazing depth of skills and knowledge. He was trained as an artist, but went on to pursue other interests. We started working together about a decade ago and weren't able to get much off the ground. We are at a very similar place in our lives right now, so it would be interesting to see what we would produce.
Petra Sertic: I'm already working with him. Alvin is the most supportive and inspiring friend and collaborator I could hope for. I learn so much just from observing the way he interacts with people, especially his students at CU Boulder.
In my enough-of-the-art-world moments, I have a vision of running a small but exquisite knitted wool fashion label with my grandmother in Croatia. I remember being hypnotized from watching her spinning wool when I was a little girl. We'd have our own sheep and would design a line of fine natural wool sweaters and things. All hand-knitted, of course. Maybe Jill Desmond would like to join in, and we'd have showrooms in Dublin and Düsseldorf.
Justin Beard, performance. Launch Pad 002: Land, 2013.
Ken Hamel, denverarts.org.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
P.S.: Cornel West for "keeping alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. - a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice," and for saying things like, "It's not pessimistic, brother, because this is the blues. We are blues people. The blues aren't pessimistic. We're prisoners of hope, but we tell the truth, and the truth is dark. That's different."
And Russell Brand. He might just start the revolution.
A.G.: I am very interested in people who are living within their means and simplifying their lives. As well as those artists who include their overall health as an important part of their studio practice.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
A.G.: I want to see art trends die this year. I want people within the arts to stop trying to be hip and witty, but to endeavor timeless expressions of human experience.
P.S.: Also top ten charts and best-of lists. Like Nick Cave said when he declined the MTV award for Best Male Artist: "My muse is not a horse, and I am in no horse race."
What's your day job?
A.G.: Right at this moment, my most important job is to help my six-year-old son, Koko, navigate and enjoy the world. Through this endeavor, I force myself to question how I am utilizing the precious time I am given each day.
P.S.: I'm an independent curator and teach art history at MSU Denver and RMCAD.
Viviane Le Courtois, "Room Fresheners." Launch Pad 002: Land, 2013.
Ken Hamel, denverarts.org.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
A.G.: Pay off the debts of all of my dearest friends and loved ones, so that we have the ability to reprioritize the way we distribute our energy. It is my hope that they are able to have a second chance at finding fulfillment.
P.S.: I'd like to organize Launch Pads all over the world. Get to know different places and work with local artists on projects that are meaningful to their community and introduce them to an international audience and network.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
A.G.: Stop thinking we live in the shadow of Big City Art Centers. We have a unique environment that should be more deeply explored for what it is. We will never be Los Angeles or NYC, and that is a blessing.
Mike Bernhard, "An Improbable Task." Launch Pad: Land, 2013.
Ken Hamel, denverarts.org.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
A.G.: How many pages am I allocated? Andrew Williams is making some of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen. Denver is lucky to have Rebecca Pebbles and Christian Butler, two of the most genuine people I've met in Colorado. Louise Martorano works tirelessly to support the arts. I work with Petra Sertic because I love her wonderfully idealistic vision of how the world should be. Also, the creative who does their thing with little monetary gain or recognition, but does it for the sheer joy of making.
P.S.: There are so many - inevitably I'd leave somebody out and would regret it later. But, despite my fear of repeating what many must have answered before, I think there are some figures that hold a special place in Denver's art community -- artists such as Clark Richert, Phil Bender and Mark Sink have not only contributed their creativity for many years, but by their presence have helped shape Denver's artistic community and identity. Notably, they all are closely connected to the Colorado art community and are supportive of young, emerging artists.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
A.G.: Launch Pad is in its third year and we're doing a series of events that deal with Secrets & Herbs. Stay tuned.
P.S.: I am curating the annual resident artists' exhibition at RedLine Denver and developing a few other curatorial ideas and projects. And Launch Pad 004.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local art community in 2014 and beyond?
P.S.: They probably won't, but would deserve to be recognized: those who support artists in the most immediate way - the partners, parents and friends who provide financial and moral support, encouragement, time and space.
A.G.: I think Kara Duncan deserves recognition for providing support to experimental projects that don't yet have a home. She has personally funded VERTIGO and has provided opportunities to some of the most exciting artists in the region.
P.S.: And Jon and Jen Wittemyer, who for the third time in a row will open their home to whatever it is that Petra and Alvin will come up with this time.
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Launch Pad 003: Secrets and Herbs, a project based on an unnamed artist's deepest secret will debut in Boulder on October 4; sometime thereafter, it will be open for public review and critique at a time and location to be determined. Need more information? So do we. Keep an eye on Show and Tell for further details.
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