DY5TOPIA Opening Night
Thank you for your patience while Chet and I have been preparing for, and carrying out the DY5TOPIA Solo Show. I arrived on the West Coast Wednesday and set about making myself useful, assisting Chet and Jim Beinke preparing a host of items. Chet's "Interloper" was a foam monolith towering high, character masks needed molding and painting, and frame corners required finishing. The backyard was a bustling hub of energy as people came and went, carrying all manner of creepy and dark. The excitement was palpable as I helped complete an underpainting on the Interloper, and then watched in amazement as Jim set about "skinning" this seven foot plus monster!
It was incredibly gratifying to not only see the "Interloper" manifesting before my eyes, but moreover to have a hands-on experience in its very shaping. This "monster" has been a central focus in the field guide, which I've been writing for over six months now, and here it was standing in front of me! Once Jim finished skinning the "Interloper" it required a final paint job, and while Chet and Jim did the vast majority, everyone got a chance to drizzle paint down the gangly being!
I also had the opportunity to assist with Chet's mask - a process I knew nothing about. It was truly a pleasure to see him work, taking the piece from a roughed out mud sculpt, to a plaster mold, and finally a latex mask. My task was menial (much like painting the frame corners for the DY5TOPIA paintings) and included scraping the clay out of the plaster mold, and then thoroughly scrubbing the mold, but it was fascinating nonetheless.
Working up until the last minute we gathered the paintings, coffin, masks, costumes, and merchandise and headed out to Copro Gallery to meet up with Lee Shamel and the Figment Foundry crew, owned and operated by James and Tayler Brown. You have never seen people work so hard towards a singular vision, in this case DY5TOPIA. The parking lot was alive with activity as everyone, many Zarmy members included, helped to piece together the elaborate set. Inside was no different with Erica Miller and Gary Pressman facilitating the final, minute details. Nothing could prepare me for the darkness that would set in, despite my intimate involvement in the show...
As Cris Velasco's score rose and "Black Magick" (played by Rick Galiher and costumed by Junker Designs) emerged from the DY5TOPIA street scene staircase, an ominous sensation gripped the attendees. An uneasiness permeated the atmosphere, and it seemed those who came to look were almost afraid to see! The "Interloper" (played by Alexander Ward) snapped its arms as Zarmy members began snapping pictures, and the entire experience took on a very surreal quality. It seemed the fine line between our world and DY5TOPIA began to blur. Oddities turned up in every direction you turned - trench coats, gas masks, beaks, rotten grimaces, everyone moving as if in slow motion. Water continuous sloshed from a rusty pipe, and nearby a skulking zombie peered into a storefront, where enormous centipedes writhed upon a countertop. Adjacent to the street scene were towering smokestacks glowing an ominous red, from which thick smog belched.
Up the ramp and through an elaborate Mausoleum complete with a coffin, flickering candles and flying-gas-mask facades, and into the "Interloper" monitoring station, where flashing imagery and bizarre landscapes could be seen upon the screens, along with a live feed of those in attendance. Damien Echols held down Gallery 2, where DY5TOPIAN leaves swirled about gallery goers' feet as they enjoyed his many "Collaboration" pieces. Gallery 1 boasted Chet's fourteen paintings, framed atop rusty, drippy walls, with "Black Magick" periodically moving through the crowd. Five framed excerpts from the field guide hung near Chet's painting "DY5TOPIA", elaborating upon the many facets of "Creeple", "Black Magick", "Interloper", "Landscape", and "nOmen". Words truly cannot capture the essence of what transpired, and so I will leave you will pictures instead!
Look forward to some exciting private video links that I will be posting in an upcoming update...