Category Archives: PROFILES

Frank Pollard, future art legend

Aug 8, 2013

Frank Pollard, the artist

Frank Pollard’s art occupies a world of unreality with uncanny similarities to our own.  Creatures and ideas freely traverse from one universe to the other, using Frank and his dreams as a conduit.

Frank Pollard studio visit

Frank Pollard studio visit.

The images created by Frank, messenger, agent, documenter and victim, are variously tools, creatures, locations, and weapons.  His methods of construction range from paint to installation to miniatures to video.  All are blended aesthetically, but even deeper lie themes of aggression, possession, and mystery.

texts with Frank Pollard

None of this work goes over-the-top Frazetta fantasy.  A sense of humor and serendipity pervades Frank’s creations.  The same applies to Frank Pollard the person, a guy who showed up to a Chicago bar recently with a newly purchased Jurassic Park VHS, excited to watch during his most excellent Safari punk fashion phase.  When I pointed out the tape was in Spanish, this delighted Frank even more.

Frank Pollard in the studio

Frank Pollard, left; Andy Slater, right

A few friends and I at a Chicago brunch (including Velcro Lewis/ Andy Slater, above) recently lamented: “Why isn’t Frank famous?”  despite the prolific series of shows spanning fifteen years (and Lamb of God tribute song).   In a twisted art-world reality, artists who spend more time creating work as opposed to promoting themselves have less opportunity to succeed.

Frank Pollard, safari punk
safari punk

This kills me about the gallery scene and the art world in general.  Artists play an unfair game. Not only must they operate in an outdated business model completely in favor of gallery owners.  Popularity, trendiness, and favoritism drive success more often than not.  I love that Frank’s technically trained, yet most academics, after a glance, would call his work “outsider.”  I like the idea of working outside anything you’re supposed to do, especially in the realms of creativity.

Frank Pollard glorious mess

I asked Frank a few questions on his latest projects:

We watched “Other People’s Cats” together recently.  You pointed out the moment where the girl holding her cat Lucky “turns into her cat.”  I saw it too!  Did you start that series with that intent, or did it become apparent after filming?

That whole project started as a weird knee jerk reaction I had to the boom of cats on the Internet. All the love and affection was stripped from these cat strangers making it as valueless as pornography. Taking video of the cats interacting with their owners in a private way was what I was after…whatever the outcome.

Frank Pollard2_5

When I, as a viewer in general, walk out of a Frank Pollard show, do you want me to be experiencing an explicit emotion or feeling or thought?  

I really just want get across how large this world like ours is massive. And just as complicated, if not more dangerous to navigate. It could be overwhelming. I know it is for me. Most of the work comes from me being lucid when I dream, and forced to exist in this art source dream world without rules.

The work has been called bleak. But I always thought it was the opposite. It’s hopeful and proactive and the tools can be built to survive and exist in this dream state, awake. If these tools or concepts help people, that would be great. I have been treating myself like I’m an explorer.  And the works are the notes from an unknown world. The videos exist in this same world but because of the nature of video and the act of watching they are presented in the way of private acts under surveillance, or documentation of these strange events.

Frank Pollard2_2

I think your work does function as a tool.  When I bought those four paintings from you, I picked the tools and not the monsters.  I knew I needed them in my house, because after years of dreamless sleep, my dreams are actually starting to come back and speak to me.  This is huge.  I put great priority on translating my dreams as a teenager, and at some point in my 20’s I lost that ability.  Other people have had dreams about me lately, and being in Chicago recently, where I ran away to from Las Vegas as a teen, I feel has brought me nearer to this psychic space I discovered years ago.

I’m under the impression I’m documenting these events and thoughts for anyone willing to travel this road. I actually feel as though I’m exploring a strange new world, and enjoy sharing my discoveries.

Frank Pollard2_3

Your work is often set in highly inaccessible places:  movie spoilers that don’t spoil anything, distant bedrooms, dream realms.  Are you conscious of this theme?

It’s defiantly about finding a brave new frontier where nothing is new. I’m definitely conscious of this. It’s what attracts me to it. Some people climb mountains.  The world used to be so big and unknown, and that was good thing. It’s still big and unknown. To me at least.

Frank Pollard2_

Of your diverse mediums, is there a favorite, or one you’d like to explore in the future?

Not sure. They are all so intertwined at this point, I’m not even sure I can say. After dreaming of a strange object its only natural for me to do some drawing for the painting, then build it on a miniature scale, then shoot it on video. I would like to do more live action reenactments of dream events. That seems to be where all this is heading.

Frank Pollard2_4

What are you looking to explore in the future?  What’s next and exciting?

Right now the unconscious dream narrative has been taking me to some strange territories. In the dream I have been looking for a place called the “Great Wilderness.” I’m not entirely sure why I’m being drawn there, but I’m under the impression that I will find the answer to “why”  when I get there. It’s possible I’m not to supposed to find out why, and this has caused a great hesitance for the first time.

Frank is one of my favorite artists ever.  He works because he must.  He’s not a product of a “scene” or “movement.”  His work evolves from piece to piece, but stays true to his dreams.  Literally.

Find and follow more of Frank Pollard’s work here:

Tumblr:  Agency Observation

Tumblr:  Empty Chatrooms

Vimeo:  Frank Pollard

Artslant:  Frank Pollard

Ryan Griffin, changeRPG

Jan 1, 2011


Ryan Griffin’s studio is located in a loft somewhere along the Los Angeles river.  Random radical parties sometimes erupt, spilling burnt-out performers and art damaged, half-naked celebrations across the gutter and into the street, spasmodic knives of light spreading out the doorway like a hallucination.  Inside the orange-lit metal and brick hums a group of global creators, writing, creating, experimenting with light and music and ideas.


Ryan works with light and digital tools, turning cities into his canvas.  An image that might have been painted or sketched 100 years ago is now translated to 2D via electronic vibery.  Traditional landscapes are forced through broken TVs.  Drawings are captured photographically through filtered sunlight.  Sketches make their way to the fourth dimension, drawn and completed live.

A few questions for my enlightened neighbor Ryan, who uses modern technology to stir abandoned houses, winking and grinning to life.:


Changing light series


What is the meaning of the title/ URL of your website, changerPG?

I always felt it would be fun to be a different person each day I woke up. So I’m changeRPG to change Radical Projected Ghosts, or sling Rhyme Propelled Grenades, or drop Real Polluted Gumption, on better days that I’m not measuring my rebounds, or role-plays, per game.

Acknowledged.  Many people challenge themselves internally—how does changeRPG unconsciously affect your life and work?

It’s difficult to pinpoint unconscious affects. I feel like could waste too much time trying to be serious or silly, changeRPG allows me to be both.



You use emerging technology such as projectors, digital sketchpads, double sided mirrors, and your trusty laptop to create your work.  Any specific reasoning for using these methods?

I see technology simply as another tool. The more direct, the more “the human hand” comes through the use of a specific technology, the more I feel I succeeded.

What influenced your evolution of this method?

Lately I’ve been really excited about the work of artist James Turrell, who’s basically constructing a temple to the celestial movement of light, and the nature of our perception of it, in an extinct volcanic crater outside Flagstaff, Arizona. I haven’t been there in person, but WOW, what I’ve seen so far just on the internet…wow.


James Turrell

James Turrell

Images by James Turrell

People see the image of your haunted house and laugh aloud.  They love it! It draws such a reaction.  Tell me about this piece: how you planned it and what happened the night you projected it.

The haunted house image came about when I was on a bike ride during the day on Halloween and came across this interesting abandoned, unfinished home nestled in a sleepy residential neighborhood amongst the rolling hills of Mt. Washington in Los Angeles. I wanted to do something fun for Halloween, so I came back at night to project/draw on this home. People blocking traffic to take photos, trick-or-treaters whizzing by, it was really great. I was creating it all there, and people got to see the process!

Ryans House

What’s going to influence your next project?

There is this stretch of the LA River, from Fletcher Avenue to the I-5 freeway, which is absolutely beautiful. It has a soft, exposed bottom so huge trees, grasses, palms, bamboo have been able to take root over the years. There are many species of birds and even large fish in the water. It has been a blessing and great place of respite for me. However now they (BJD, subcontractors from the Army Corp of Civil Engineers or glorified landscapers as they call themselves) are ripping out all the bamboo and cutting down all the palms in this area. Not many people know this is happening. I think my next project is going to confront the changes which are rapidly occurring on the Los Angeles River.

BikeriverGriffin biking along the Los Angeles River

In the spirit of changeRPG, do you have any optimism about the changes taking place on the LA river?

Yes, I do! Even though they are cutting down the bamboo and palms, displacing habitat for wildlife, I feel these changes could aid in the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, if the integrity of a diverse, natural, un-prescribed, un-controlled, accessible place of quiet is maintained.


A projection on the LA river bamboo (above) by Ryan Griffin (below).



And so the wildlife rages.

Forrest Martin, Founder of Death

Oct 10, 2010


Meet Forrest Martin, the skilled Portland artist and designer who makes ads by day, creates viral videos and record covers by night, and runs a magazine on the side.  The magazine’s called Death. Remarkably well conceived and executed, Death’s features include writing and illustrations selected, commissioned, and sometimes created by Forrest.

Death cover

Death is unique.  It’s a labor of love.  Contributors submit work without payment.  The magazine is funded entirely without advertising.  The final product is free to all and available HERE How does such a system work.  I asked Forrest a few questions about his idea-baby to find out:

SM:  Why start a magazine at all?  What’s your ultimate goal?  

FM:  First, to learn about magazine publishing and design from the ground up. Second, as a means of reaching out to writers and artists who are meaningful to me, and fabricate a reason to initiate a relationship. Third, to gather perspectives – and perhaps, then, evolve my own – on an issue that has monopolized my life and fears, in one way or another, always.

SM:  Why start a magazine and not a zine, the common option for low-budget self-publishers?

Legitimacy and intention. A zine, to me, says it always wants to stay a zine, and wants to remain fringe culture. I want Death: a magazine for the enthusiast and non-enthusiast alike to have the opportunity to be a regular old glossy magazine. I love magazines, and the ability they have to influence and reflect culture in a temporal way.

Death bear

SM:  Was there more resistance or more support as you worked to create the initial issue?

FM:  I haven’t met particular resistance, per se. It’s not a wildly successful publication in a “numbers distributed” way, so some could say that indicates resistance, but I was never delusional enough to think a magazine that references to death would be a blockbuster. For the most part, friends and colleagues have expressed support, advice, and interest – often in the form of links and personal stories. And I’m constantly surprised by contributors’ willingness, even enthusiasm, to participate in the project when they don’t know me from Adam. I think the topic resonates, and people respond to having a malleable theme to interpret.  Reading Frenzy – the local independent press bookstore in Portland – has been immensely supportive in particular.

SM:  Where did you scrounge your funding?

FM:  It’s been a mixture of personal funds and a Stock Dinner grant awarded back in February; a monthly artist dinner where proposals are displayed and voted on by diners. The winning proposal takes home all of the entry money from that evening, which was approximately $450. I also managed to find the cheapest possible way to produce (digital, on-demand printing) and distribute (the printer takes care of physical orders, and it’s free to view or download online).

SM:  Any fears when you decided to self-publish?  Dish.

FM:  Of course…that the magazine would be badly designed (by me), that the writing would be too shallow and remedial, that the whole thing would just feel gothic and gimmicky, that it would be too serious, that it wouldn’t be serious enough…

Death mag

Any initial doubts have been proven irrational, since Death Magazine’s second issue was recently released, featuring psycho-sublime cover by Mark Warren Jacques, essays by David Rees (Get Your War On) and Lynda Barry (Ernie Pook’s Comeek), artwork by Ian Stevenson and Michael Zavros, and a themed section asking contributors to comment on “superstition” as it relates to death.


Enter the Forrest:

Access your Death:

Spot the Forrest in this amazing ode to a typeface: