IRONBBRATZ interview with Dick Mernelia Randolph

IRONBBRATZ is an artist-run initiative which facilitates exhibitions and opportunities for emerging artists based in Scotland. They do this by creating an itinerant series of exhibitions that utilises non-traditional spaces.

IRONBBRATZ hosted Pot Luck: ‘cause rrrbody’s bringin’ wat dey got on October 23rd at the Vic. Pot Luck was an event to project raise money for upcoming events including Glasgow International this spring.

IRONBBRATZ’s next project is a 1st Birthday celebration to thank their supporters.  The event will be on January 20th at the Flying Duck.

Recently Amanda and Jessie from IRONBBRATZ sat down with a known critic of the Glasgow art scene.  They weren’t quite sure what to make of her, nor she them.  For the purposes of this article, and to protect her reputation, we’ll refer to the critic as Dick Mernelia Randolph.

DMR:  There are already more ‘artist-run initiatives’ than this god forsaken city can support, why are you any different?

JI:  We’re not really that different.  Except maybe that we’re not in it to be cool.  We just wanna help folk.

AD:  We try hard to maintain an honest, friendly and helpful approach to the project.  We aim to be as inclusive as possible and to allow people to make their own opportunities and to learn as much as possible from these experiences.  We’re always open to proposals.

JI:  Something kind of cheesy we wrote when we were laying down the mission of IRONBBRATZ is ‘We don’t aim to curate but to collate.’  What we mean by this is that we are looking for a way to showcase as much new work as possible and rather than create an idea for a show and then find artists, we find artists and then create shows.

AD:  Also, we always have cakes.  And we’re both not from here.

JI:  Yeah, there is that.  We really respect the Glasgow art scene but it’s become fairly predictable and focussed on the same work show after show. We started to notice that we weren’t getting shows, a lot of our friends weren’t getting shows either. So in that respect I’d disagree with your statement that there are more initiatives than can be supported Dick.  There is blatantly a high demand for the opportunity to show work in a low risk way.

AD:  The same goes for studio space, we all know that there are significantly more artists and designers on waiting lists than in spaces. What there are a lot of are publicly funded projects that tend to focus on the work of the same group of people.

DMR:  What’s wrong with that?

AD:  Absolutely nothing, that’s how people get famous, by constant exposure.  I’m not intending to be judgmental here.  Just pointing out that there is a gap in support between what being a student or recent grad and being an active artist.  A lot of really talented, motivated people get left behind.  But it means that there’s a nice IRONBBRATZ shaped niche for us.  We hope that we can become a kind of training ground or first aid for artists in Glasgow.

DMR:  Why should I believe you?

AD:  Well, we’re nice.  Usually we don’t lie to people, at least not on purpose.

DMR:  What have you done so far?

JI:  We’ve put on six events since we started in February. Our most recent being Pot Luck a couple weeks ago at the Vic.  It was a unique event for us in that it was about music as well as art.  It was epic

DMR:  You don’t have any Art Council funding then.

AD:  Um, no.  So far we’ve been basically running everything on our own money and contributions from the artists involved.  We have managed to make enough money selling refreshments at the shows to fund the next one.

DMR:  What are your plans for the future?

JI:  At the moment we’re gearing up to make a proposal to GI, but we’re not really sure what for that will take.  Really long term we’d like IRONBBRATZ to have a permanent space and be able to be self-sustaining.  You know, like a proper organization.

DMR:  Alright well… where did you go to art school?

AD:  I didn’t really go to art school.  I did my undergrad at a regular uni back home in the States.  But me and Jessie met on the MRes in Creative Practice at the GSA almost two years ago.  I was at the Art School for about four years though.  I did a year on the MFA and then was SRC President for two years before the MRes.

JI:  I’m from Toronto originally and went to a normal uni for a while before I decided to go to OCAD [The Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto] for painting.  I also got my teaching license before I came to Glasgow.

DMR: Oh.  Well I’m from New York.

JI:  Yeah, we know.

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About adobbratz

Maker & schemer in MPLS
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