Heavy Metal Vomit Party

Posted on Thursday 1 November 2007

A conversation with Hooray for Humans founders Robert Garza, Bryan Schnelle, and Michael Wysong.

Hooray for Humans

by Sander Roscoe Wolff

Hooray for Humans is a Long Beach based art collective, created by Robert Garza, Bryan Schnelle, and Michael Wysong. What started as a simple plan to document informal conversations that first evolved into podcast interviews with local artists, has culminated into an audacious and ambitious plan to bring some of the world’s hottest artists to Long Beach. Heavy Metal Vomit Party, taking place from 7-11 PM on Saturday, November 10th at Koo’s Art Center, will include works by 15 local and established artists. The stars, however, are Shepard Fairey, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, and skullphone.

LBC: Tell me about this next event… Heavy Metal Vomit Party? Who chose that name?

Michael: Bryan called me one afternoon really excited. He said he’d discovered the title of our group show. He told me he had been watching the Breakfast Club the night before and woke up with the perfect title. One of the characters in the film says something like, “why don’t you take Allison to one of your heavy metal vomit parties?” He thought it was perfect! We had to sit with it for a couple of days but eventually Robert and I were just as excited as he was. It seemed to capture what the show was about, which is an exhibition of art and design that celebrates the cultural influence of youth cultures: subcultures like skateboarding, graffiti, indie music.

Bryan: I think we just wanted the title to be really loud and obnoxious. We didn’t want it to sound like a typical art show. We wanted it to sound fun and almost a little stupid (in a good way).

Michael: And, although the show has a very sincere voice, at the same time I don’t think it takes itself too seriously.

LBC: How are these youth cultures being represented in the show?

Obey by Shepard Fairey

Michael: Through artists like Shepard Fairey, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, and skullphone. These are some of the artists who have directly or indirectly influenced the aesthetic development of these subcultures, and have also been influenced by them as well. I think Shepard Fairey is best known as a Los Angeles street artist through his now infamous OBEY art. This is his first show in Long Beach as far as I know, and we’re lucky to have him. He was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design and, while there, he created the “Giant has a Posse” sticker.

Bryan: He started the OBEY sticker campaign as an experiment in phenomenology.

LBC: It sounds like he’s been influenced by Noam Chomsky.

Bryan: Yeah, I think he even did a poster of Chomsky.

by Shepard Fairey

LBC: It seems like he’s using political iconography to convey positive messages.

Michael: Yeah, definitely. He was also inspired by the film “They Live,” the John Carpenter film, with none other than Roddy Piper. He’s taken a number of his slogans from that film, including the “OBEY” slogan.


LBC: Tell me about skullphone. This is someone that people may be aware of without even knowing it.

Michael: I’m sure people have spotted his work while in their cars driving down the freeway.

Bryan: Living in Long Beach or L.A., chances are you’ve seen the image before. Maybe out of the corner of your eye, wheat-pasted to the side of a building or something.

Michael: His works are the black-and-white posters of a skull holding a cell phone.

Bryan: It’s not just a clever name.

Michael: They’re definitely mysterious and have kind of become part of our contemporary subconscious I think. He’s doing a large wall installation for the show.

LBC: How would you describe Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s work?

Andrew Jeffrey Wright

Bryan: Andrew Jeffrey Wright is this super-rad artist from Philadelphia. I’m not even really sure how to put his art into words. I think I may have to stick with “super rad” for the time being.

Michael: There’s a lot of humor in his work.

Bryan: The work he’ll be contributing to the show will be screen prints, about 25 or so.

Michael: His works include painting, animation, drawing, collage, photography, sculpture, video, and screen printing. One of his pieces involves E.T. wearing a mustache… actually I think it may be E.T. as Mr. T.

Mr. E.T. with Soda by Andrew Jeffrey Wright

Bryan: …with a Mr. T Mohawk.

Michael: I think he’s wearing gold chains in it too.

Bryan: That piece is titled “Mr. E.T. with Soda”.

Michael: Childhood memories have a way of blending together sometimes.

Bryan: We’re very excited to have him.

LBC: When and where will the reception be, will work be for sale, and how long will it be available for viewing?

Michael: Saturday, November 10th is the reception.

Bryan: From, 7-11 PM.

Michael: Most of the work will be for sale and will be on view throughout most of November.

Bryan: Until the 27th, I believe.

Michael: Ghostship, I.E. and Laco$te will also perform that night. It’s going to be a party!

Bryan: A Heavy Metal Vomit Party! And, it’s taking place at Koo’s Art Center in the East Village Arts District. We’re expecting this to be a pretty big event for Long Beach. We’re all really excited about it.

LBC: Tell me about Hooray for Humans.

Robert: Hooray for Humans is about applying and cultivating creativity in our community. Michael, Bryan, and I all bring something different to the table. Likewise, the artists we work with also bring their unique voices, which is really exciting. The project started when Michael and I decided to interview a few local artists in our hometown of Long Beach. Things kind of snowballed from there. We’ve been going strong for a little over a year now.

Bryan: We’re trying to bring more good art to Long Beach. Right now that’s one of our main missions. I mean this is where we live! This is where we’re from, and there’s a lot of really fresh, energetic contemporary art that comes to (and from) L.A., but how often does that same art make it down to Long Beach?

Michael: The origins of our current activities spawned from a project Robert and I were interested in, which was to play around with informal discussions, between the two of us, kind of like the film, Coffee and Cigarettes. Our plan was to record these conversations and examine them latter as unique, unpremeditated events, or moments rather. This lead to an interest in other peoples’ conversations as well, which lead to the idea of interviews, which lead us to podcasts showcasing artists. The podcasts allowed us to meet and network with other artists, writers and musicians. Eventually our project moved from an independent personal project to one that’s much more open and interested in community.

LBC: Tell me a bit about your background.

Michael: Bryan is a painter and illustrator. Robert is a writer. I’m a graphic designer, illustrator, and musician.

Bryan: I grew up in Lakewood, was super-shy as a kid, and spent most of my time skateboarding. I’ve always drawn, but in high school I started to take art more seriously and started painting and experimenting a little more. Art was the only class that I always got an A in. Since I started working seriously I haven’t stopped. …about 10 years now.

Michael: I grew up in North Long Beach drawing and playing music as a kid. And, maybe like most artists, being somewhat shy growing up, I felt like an outsider. So, my artwork tends to be introspective, a little absurd, and maybe a little sentimental at times. Throughout high school and college I continued to paint and draw and was in a number of bands. I’m currently going to school for graphic design.

Robert: Like Michael and Bryan, I grew up in the Long Beach area. Michael and I went to high school together and played together in a couple of bands. Come to think of it, we actually met each other in art class. At the time, I was really stoked on a Terminator 2 Arnold portrait I’d recently completed. That was the first “art piece” I shared with Michael. Looking back, I think we both were the same kind of kid, the art nerd dying to open their backpack and say “hey, look at this, my new piece,” while at the same time, being too nervous to do so.

LBC: Tell me about some of the past events you’ve created.

Michael: We’ve done a couple of literary events, that we’ve titled “Voice Map.” Our first event was a solo exhibit for artist Artun Mercan that included readings, and music as well. The writers featured were Alan Rifikin, Ayn Imperato, Chad Tsuyuki, Shanna Storey, Rob Garza, and Mike The Poet. Musicians included: Jessica Dobson, Moedog Darling and The Blank Tapes. It was a good mix of established and emerging artists.

Bryan: Next we did “Dramatical”, my solo show at Koo’s, the opening of which featured music by Potar, Ghostship, 11hrz Robot and The Year Zero. Then came “You Are Probably my Favorite Person in the Whole World”, a small group exhibit at The Academy. That show featured over two dozen local and international artists, as well as music by Ghostship and I.E. Following that, we did a show at {open} with David Wong, Voice on Tape, and Phoenix and the Turtle.

Our second “Voice Map” literary event at Koo’s came after that, which featured readings by Ben Ehrenreich, Brad Listi, Chad Tsuyuki, Ellen Griley, Mark Pompeo, Rich Ferguson, Robert Guffey and Will Swaim, with music by the New Fangled Beats and Winston and the Telescreen. And, most recently we did a circuit bending workshop with Potar at {open}.

Michael: Basically, what we’ve started there and have tried to continue to do is showcase and spotlight local artists as well as bring to Long Beach established artists we think are doing interesting things. So far we’ve been fortunate to work with Koo’s Art Center, {open}, and The Academy with these events. They’ve been really well attended, and the response to what we’ve been doing has been positive.

We do have our own unique vision of what the arts in Long Beach could be. Personally I think we’re providing energy, optimism, and perspective, and we feel like there’s a lot more left to do.

1 Comment for 'Heavy Metal Vomit Party'

    August 29, 2008 | 9:43 pm

    just wondering if it’s too late to submit anything for heavy metal vomit, i’ve got tons of fucked up art and this sounds right up my alley…

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