There’s something pretty raw about these mashed-up collages of Pop culture by Miami-based artist Kendrick Daye – a.k.a. GREATeclectic. But as you really spend time looking at the work, taking in the colors, patterns and subtle messages delivered by the artist, you begin to understand his thought-provoking examinations of modern culture. In a sort of Andy Warhol/Jean-Michel Basquiat fusion of styles – heavily influenced by Pop and Politics – GREATeclectic has taken the art world by storm with his compelling “pastiches” – which he calls them: a whole in-and-of themselves but even more so in context of one another.
He also hails as art director for Art Nouveau Magazine, a voice that helps talented emerging artists get their names out into what can be a cut-throat, harsh market. And to top it off, he’s a DJ, producer and music maker. Man of many hats, right? His next solo show “Run, Riot” opens in Oakland, CA at the Betti Ono Gallery on Sept. 7 on First Friday, which I am super excited to see. I had a sec to chat with the inspiring artist for an interview, and he had a lot to say:
LF: What sparks your creative juices?
KD: Any and everything can spark an idea for me. But specifically, Pop culture, Color, Patterns, Technology, New Ideas and what makes people tick.
LF: You live in Miami, but your show Run, Riot opening Sept 7 is at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, CA. Why Oakland? Do you have any roots there?
KD: My main thing right now is to travel. I’ve put it off for so long being too attached to one space, but now I want to see the world. And what better way to do it than spreading my art at the same time? I came in contact with Anyka Barber, the owner of Betti Ono Gallery through a mutual friend and we connected and planned to do my second solo exhibition Run, Riot! in conjunction with their one year anniversary and unveiling of their new space. From what I can see Oakland has a very vibrant art scene, and I’m excited to show and build there. I have roots there now. I intend to work with Betti Ono in the future, outside of just the Run, Riot! exhibition.
LF: How big will the pieces be in the show? Can we expect large-scale?
KD: The pieces range in style. They’re made up of mostly smaller pieces around 11″ x 14″ in size. Then I have a few medium sizes 18″ X 24,” in addition to a few large scale pieces. I’ll also be creating a large-scale mural within the gallery so you can expect to see my work large-scale within the context of the show. But all in all it’ll be a good range in size of the work.
LF: What is true Pop? Is there a true Politics?
KD: I used to think of Pop in terms of dominance. If you’re on top, and what everyone likes you’re popular, therefore Pop. That’s a very limiting way of looking at it. The more detached I became from mainstream culture, Pop morphed into a more fluid term, Pop, or “True Pop” is what’s currently populating my world of art, music and culture. Pop is subjective and should be treated as such. I treat Politics and the idea of a “true politics” the same way.
LF: You talk about your work as being pastiches – whole in-and-of themselves but even more so in context of one another… why is this important?
KD: It’s important to me, because I never look at the works as one, they’re all made around the same time, which means they’re made during the same mood. I can’t separate pieces for that reason sometimes. They’re interconnected. I like to think of the work as a complete body of that time of my life. They’re so much at play in the context of the pieces separately, but together they take on a whole new poignancy.
LF: You’re music mash-ups kind of mirror your art, as if they are auditory pastiches of your visual work. Was this intentional?
KD: I don’t think it was intentional, more so natural. I’ve been doing this style for a minute now and notice the natural progressions. But it’s at a point where, whether I’m making art, music or running a magazine, it’s going to feel like me.
LF: Can you talk about Planet of the Ape$? Each track is uniquely beat-driven – they really all sound completely different – but as a whole the album feels super cohesive. Insight?
KD: Planet of the Ape$ is what I call my musical bildungsroman. It ironically turned out being an almost musical accompaniment to my previous body of work that culminated in my first solo show Want To See A Sad Boy Smile? Pay Him. When I wasn’t making art, I was recording with artists in my apartment, so the music fed off the art, and vice-versa. When I’m working on a musical project, it’s similar to a body of artwork. I want each piece to stand alone, but I always aim to have them fit together perfectly to tell some type of story.
My next musical project Large Fears is quickly turning into the musical accompaniment of this current body of artwork. It’s the darker, sleeker, wiser, more refined sister. You can hear a preview track “GONERS (Run For Your Life)” featuring Canadian singer/songwriter Roz Bell on the promo video for Run, Riot.
LF: How did you arrive at the name GREATeclectic?
KD: I had just read The Great Gasby in school and really took a liking to the main character. I always wore many hats, so pairing GREAT and eclectic worked. The first time I heard someone else call me that, the name just stuck.
LF: You have quite a way with words, I am kind of in awe of your bio on your website. Were you always a poet?
KD: Thank you. My bio was actually written by Swiper Bootz, the Deputy Editor for Art Nouveau Magazine.
LF: You’re the creative director of Art Nouveau Magazine, the proven voice of the contemporary independent artist. What’s you’re perception of the “contemporary independent artist” in today’s cut-throat art world?
KD: I think it’s our mission to cultivate these artists. A Lot of times it’s who you know or how much is in your bank account that dictates how fast someone can achieve their dreams. Our goal is to help promote artists that have the talent, and the drive but may not be getting their due amount of shine by writing really good, thoughtful insights on their work and blasting it through our network. And like you said, today’s art world is cut-throat. I think it’s like that in any industry. But we’re here to help. If it’s aesthetically ace, we’re going to promote it.
LF: What is happiness to you?
KD: Happiness for me is creating without any limitations. I’m only truly content when I’m working on something.
LF: What gets you off, literally or figuratively?
KD: Traveling. Creating. Making money off creative endeavors. Completing Goals. Seeing my loved ones happy.
LF: How FAST do you live?
KD: A little too FAST. I’ve been trying to slow down a little bit lately. I have a big problem with tunnel vision, and I’m always on the go, marching stead fast into my dreams. But, now I know I’ll get there, it’s about pacing myself.