Artist and musician Victor Machado and his partner, Annie Carlson, took a leap when they opened and curated shows for Melon Gallery in their rented Baker-neighborhood home. But now, thanks to increased rent, they’ll be taking their leave, in search of more affordable digs in the expensive city that Denver has become — or maybe somewhere else. But in the wake of Melon, an alternative space where unrepresented artists were invited to hang their artwork, Machado still has music and his own neo-expressionist works to make after the gallery closes its doors at the end of the July. Machado talks next steps while answering the 100CC questionnaire.
#12: Victor Machado
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?
Victor Machado: My muse has always been my own mental illness. I make the most work when I’m the most sick, which can be problematic, as I tend to prioritize art over my health. My art is all about self-destruction, and I self-destruct to make it.
Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?
Larry, Moe and Curly? The Holy Trinity? Motörhead? Idk. I’m bad at parties.
As an artist and a gallerist, what is your opinion of the current climate in the local art world?
It’s hard out here. Denver can be a tough place to be an artist. Sometimes it can feel very niche, like what’s selling and what’s popular. Especially on Santa Fe. But there are also a lot of people motivated to keep art alive in Denver. It’s easy to meet people, and the community is pretty small, which can be good or bad.
Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?
I think we are all influenced by trends, whether we would like to be or not, but I don’t think any artist should follow them purposefully. For people to make the best work, it needs to come from a genuine place. If you’re constantly keeping up with what’s selling or what’s fashionable, you’re going to lose that. As far as current trends that I like go, maximalism is cool. For a while there it seemed like everything was so minimal, and it’s nice to see works with a little more going on. A trend that I hate is this return to surrealism. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong stuff, but it just all seems so contrived. Somebody prove me wrong, please.
What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?
I’ve really loved being a part of Melon. We were able to give some really great artists a platform to show their work, and I’m proud of that. DIY spaces are getting harder and harder to find. I’m sad to see it go.
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?
I’d love to try washing my face at night without coming back up thinking that someone is going to be standing behind me in the mirror. I need to stop watching horror movies.
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?
I’ve lived in Colorado pretty much my entire life, and I love my home. It’s getting harder, though. My roots keep me here; I like my friends and my life in Denver, but everybody’s leaving. Seems like everyone I know has plans to move. Denver is a great place, but it’s in a transition and the future is shaky. I think that’s why so many people are getting out. Uncertain times.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
TBH, my landlord. He is constantly pushing the art of passive-aggressive e-mails to new frontiers. Which reminds me, I need to weed my driveway.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Going back to school, working full-time, raising a cat. Really hoping to release an album I’ve been working on with my brother for about three years. Also, come check out Melon’s last show, Vol. 3 of Soft & Shallow, before it closes [details below]!
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Who do you think will (or should) get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?
An installation by Alexander Ablola, Meredith MacNicholas, Orenda Lou, Sammy Keller, Wade Novotny, Anthony Jones and Gaia Orr in conjunction with the release of Soft and Shallow’s third volume, "Wet Ruffles,” will remain on view at Melon Gallery, 200 Galapago Street, through July 29.
Sample Victor Machado's music on Soundcloud.