#90: Rebecca Peebles
Rebecca Peebles is a creative Jill of all trades: Multimedia artist, designer, barista, quilter, curator, Westword MasterMind and artist cheerleader are just a few of the hats she wears. And along with GroundSwell Gallery partner Danette Montoya, Another Colorado Creative #91, she's now preparing to move on from their groundbreaking gallery to an unknown future as an artist on her own: GroundSwell's last show runs through May 6. We asked Peebles to answer the 100CC questionnaire as she stands on the precipice of a new chapter; read on for more about the leap.
Quilt sketch and fabric dye session (inset), winter 2013/14.
If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Collaborating can be so tricky! How about, "work with" or "apprentice under"? I'd like to work with Josef and Anni Albers. These two were such a powerhouse pair of artist-designers! About six years ago, I was gifted with and read the book Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Living (produced alongside a show of theirs at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum), and their lives and work inspired me to work like I do today. The person who gave me the book could see that my and my partner Christian Butler's life together is much like that of of this couple -- always working to create more beautiful, harmonious, soulful living whether through art, curation, design or all the other goings-about in a day. I would love to have been there when the Albers were at Black Mountain College, in their early years working and living in the United States after leaving Europe and the Bauhaus.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Can I say "myself"? I care very much about others, but I know myself the best.... I only say this because this past year, I started seeing a psychotherapist and through depth psychology, it is myself who is often on my mind. I've always been interested in the internal processes of self-knowing and becoming. It's been so important to my art-making all along. Otherwise, to me, the most interesting person in the world (other than me...) is my husband, Christian Butler. He's truly remarkable in his visionary work toward developing beautiful architecture in Denver. His plans and ideas for designing spaces for living and working are often a topic of conversation over dinner or during a long walk, and I love the problem-solving and imagination that go into developing quality spaces for people to inhabit. I've learned and gained strong inspiration from all the work we do under our roof!
Art excursion with Christian Butler, March 2014.
Photo by Eric Baillies.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Oh, trends.... Who pays attention to trends, anyway? The word "trendy" makes my teeth hurt. Is it a trend when the majority of working artists I know can talk about the "exploitation of the artist" as a problem for their professional work? If so, I'd like to see the end of art exploitation, and then I'd like to see artists begin to stand firmly with an expectation for fair compensation for their work. To be clear, when I say art exploitation, I mean, 1) Art auctions where the artist has no incentive other than notoriety and "collectors" get the work for cheap, 2) Gallery representation without clear contracts and boundaries for fair partnerships between artists and galleries, and 3) Any kind of "opportunity" for an artist to make his/her work to benefit someone or a business while only giving the artist "exposure" (no compensation, no budget/stipend for labor or materials). Maybe I sound a little disenchanted. I'm okay with that. I avoid these three scenarios every time they are presented to me because I know that my work is worth more than "exposure and notoriety" can offer me. In the meantime, can we bring art journalism and art critics back from the dead?
What's your day job?
On any given day, you might find me working in my home studio (sewing, drawing, computer-time, etc.), working at Pablo's Coffee (barista, print materials gal, donations rep and chai-maker), working at a landscaping plan or discussing design for Christian's architecture projects or holding down a random schedule of meetings and odd jobs that comes with running GroundSwell Gallery. Other jobs I give myself are: preparing awesome food and keeping myself fit with runs and yoga.
"Co Incidence," installation artwork in progress at Pablo's Coffee on Pennsylvania Street, July 2013. "I'm pictured at the counter working -- we're installing the continuous rainbow horizontally around the cafe."
Photo by Pattie Lee Becker.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Including myself, I'd create opportunities for artists to make their best work. Sometimes it's hard to do this without a clear plan or vision, so I'd probably hire a business partner (like Danette Montoya!) to help me keep it all organized and manageable. This would include some private ventures in purchasing art by other artists (pay it forward?), making an amazing studio for me to do my work and the more public curatorial work.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Denver, your city is a creative HOT BED right now! It's incredible what people are making and how prolific they are. Start investing in these artists by buying their artwork from them or their galleries (if they're represented), and keep them working. If you think that artwork is expensive here, please take time to consider the subjective value of artwork apart from the logic of commodity goods, the time and material that an artist puts into making the art and the competitive market value of artwork in other large cities. Artwork by artists in Denver is not only very, very good, it is very affordable. Not only will you be helping artists and the arts in Denver, but you will be contributing to your own mental and soulful health by giving yourself real art to live with and contemplate on a daily basis. Art in Denver extends far beyond the convention of Western landscape paintings. Check out DenverArts.org and Devon Dikeou's newsletter for good direction in searching out great art in Denver.
"Co Incidence," detail: "Self Portrait," July 2013.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Currently, I'm very much into the Oh No Twins, Don Fodness and Alvin Gregorio. I am grateful for recent collaborative work with Don as part of Direct Connect Denver (a new group we both helped to found). I think the work they do both together and separately is as inspiring and authentic as it gets. I can't wait to work with both of them in the future, and I hope all of you are Google-searching their art right now!
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
This year, Christian and I are building and then moving into our first development project (currently under construction, under Studio Limited, Christian's business) and starting a second project. We are getting our first dog, so I plan to take many walks and spend indulgent time training and just hanging out with that little guy. I am working on drawings and a large quilt that I would like to show toward the end of the year. Direct Connect Denver will continue to develop projects, and I have another curatorial project in the making as well.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?
Is this the point where he or she gets noticed? If so, I'd like to bring everyone's attention to curator Pedro Barrios at Svper Ordinary Gallery/Boutique. I don't know Pedro well, but I enjoy the artwork that he puts on the walls, and I'm looking forward to the shows to come.
Learn more about Rebecca Peebles and her artwork online.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
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