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Gutter Kids art show opening Friday at Buffalo Exchange celebrates '80s pop culture

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For Gutter Kids, Ben Chavez's latest art-minded production through his company Chubby Robot, the curator, party thrower and MC once again looked into his past. Inspired by the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards he once collected, the self-proclaimed "80s baby" reached out to his friends in the local creative community and asked them to make two-foot-by-three-foot trading card paintings of their own.

The resulting work will be shown tomorrow August 2, at Buffalo Exchange at the Chubby Robot Gutter Kids art show and gathering.

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Already known for his throwback, Nintendo-inspired 8Bit Art Show parties, Chavez says the night is all about inviting spectators to be just as much a part of the show as the artists.

"People know me for having crazy, harebrained ideas," Chavez says with a laugh. "The way it first started with Chubby Robot was, I was curating a show called 8Bit, which we are in our third year of. That involves customized Nintendo consoles. I'm an 80s baby and anything that takes me back, I just love it. So the way I try to go about developing ideas for my company, I call it making magic — if someone can emotionally invest in your show, feel like they are a part of it, or if it relates to something they were into as a kid, that's magic to me."

That personal investment from viewers of Gutter Kids comes at a very inexpensive price. To truly mimic the excitement of collecting Garbage Pail Kids, Chavez had made Gutter Kids trading cards from each of the paintings, which will be sold for just a buck a piece at the opening.

Gutter Kids pieces from more than a dozen local artists — including Aisha Renee, Xencs L. Wing, Delton Demarest, Tim Arndt, Karma Leigh — will be for sale in both trading card and full-size painting form. The artists will also be on hand to sign trading cards.

"Basically, what I'm trying to do with Chubby Robot is to make a creative, fully interactive event. It's not just art curating that I do — I throw hip hop shows, metal shows, punk rock shows," says Chavez. "I feel like, anytime I used to go to a show, I didn't feel included. So I thought, how if I like this, can I be a part of it?"

The Gutter Kids show opens this Friday, August 2, at Buffalo Exchange from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Music from DeeJay Tense and Dr. Zilog will keep the party going, with cupcakes provided by The Shoppe and beer from Great Divide will be available for those of age. For more information on the Chubby Robot Gutter Kids show, visit the Facebook event page.

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