We’ve always admired the work Christopher Lusher has posted on his Hillbilly Magazine tumblr page. Friday night Lusher and a handful of other artists will gather in Huntington for the “Destructive Criticism” photography and art show. We caught up with Lusher to find out more about the show, the artists involved, and the art of photography.
WVRockscene: How and when did the idea to have a show like this get hatched? Who put this together?
Christopher Lusher: The genesis for the show has always been something that existed, I think, for everyone involved but it was just a matter of actually making it happen. It can be difficult to actually see anything to fruition in this town seeing how often alcohol and unfulfilled delusions can often get in the way. I put it together just by saying it existed but it’s everyone involved in the show who actually made it happen. As well if my girlfriend weren’t around this would have been a title and an idea and nothing else and I would’ve continued musing about “what a great idea that was.”
|"I'm Not Here" by Christopher Lusher|
rockscene: How close knit or supportive of an atmosphere exists between the artists showing their works Friday night?
Lusher: I’ll make assumptions and say that we all love each other like a deranged version of the Waltons. We just don’t say goodnight to each other when it’s all said and done we are more than likely carrying each other home or arm wrestling over the last beer. I think this show is all about a mutual admiration society and that we all appreciate each other we just think we’re too cool to tell each other that.
rockscene: Calling it Destructive Criticism, do you expect one of the artists to have his or her work panned? Or is everyone pretty much already a fan of the others? Was it tough to kind of draw the line at 10 artists?
Lusher: The title is just a play on constructive criticism. I’d be surprised if it didn’t get some venom strewn a bit over it. People don’t often like to be exposed to things that they perhaps have never seen or don’t understand. This show is like molotov cocktails exploding in the middle of Disneyland and Slayer provides the soundtrack. No it was easy to pick them. I just pretended I was on ‘Lost’ and had to pick who I wanted to be on the island with.
|"Introduce a Little Anarchy" by Yasmine Ganley|
rockscene: Like bands transitioning from a garage out to a live venue or bar, sometimes there can be butterflies either dealing with a crowd, taking constructive criticism, or just talking with your art in person with people in public. Some of you have done these kinds of shows, right? Nervous about it?
Lusher: I’ve done some shows before or been in them. I think nearly all of us have. The difference with this show is no one is getting ripped off or having to be exposed to rubber gloves and wine glasses.
rockscene: A few of you are not exclusively either into making art or photography. What are your thoughts on the respective mediums and forms the works take? Is it just as hard to get a good live picture of a band, a person, or put something together like a mural or painting?
Lusher: Art history and theory is for teachers and the students who romanticize the idea of being an artist. I’ll leave that to them. I just know what I like. I like a hobo with his pants at his ankles covered in urine and passed out more than I’d ever like something that say Terrence Koh would ever do. It’s all hard and getting something good is akin to being one number off on Powerball. Exciting yet defeating and often thankless except in your own mind.
|"Trusty" by Kelli Bellomy|
rockscene: Talking about where you find your influences, how much of being a photographer is just finding beauty or something meaningful in seemingly everyday things or people? Anyone can go out and buy an expensive camera but you have to have a real eye and spirit to be a photographer don’t you think? Wouldn’t you say there’s a reciprocal relationship between the subject and the photographer, what makes something/someone “photogenic” or something?
Lusher: With any kind of art it all lies in the eye of the individual and their perceptions. There is to me no one specific subject matter and a pile of garbage or dirty diapers is just as relevant as a photo of the worlds most beautiful person or a painting like the Mona Lisa. Kinds of cameras or how “good” a specific camera is has never meant shit to me. All I have ever really worked with has been cheap pawn shop cameras. Though that’s probably painfully obvious when you look at my work.
|"Air Burst" by Jason Lucas|
rockscene: More on your own influences, who is Max Snow and how big of an influence is he on you? Any other photographers make you wanna do what you do?
Lusher: Max Snow is the younger brother of the artist Dash Snow who died a few years back. Dash is a huge influence on me and Max is filling the shoes that Dash had vacated quite nicely. His work is all its own but reminds me of a hybrid of Ryan McGinley and Dash. Other photographers would be William Eggleston, Juergen Teller, Ryan McGinley, Hanna Liden, Jack Siegel, Harmony Korine, Leigh Ledare, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Tim Barber. The list doesn'’ go on and on I’m just hungover and can’t really remember.
rockscene: I’m familiar with the works of half of the 10 artists who will have their work featured; can anyone fill me in on these other artists and what they’ll be showing?
Lusher: Depends on what half you’re talking about. I think we all know we are here to promote regression and to get back to a more caveman mentality where we don’t have to tweet at each other but rather bash each other with our mental baseball bats in person.
|"Jimbo Over Shoulder" by Christopher Lusher|
rockscene: You’ve got some photos from [Kelli] Bellomy, [Jason] Lucas and [Yasmine] Ganley featured at Hillbilly Magazine. It looks like Ganley took that pic of you with the sad clown face; how much of an influence are these other photographers on you not only as artists, but these friends of yours, as subjects in your own photos/portraits?
Lusher: Well they influence me and I’d like to selfishly think I influence them in some way. I think we unintentionally push each other forward and make each other want to do better and better work. We’re like the Weather Underground but without the afros and indictments.
rockscene: Will anyone’s works be for sale?
Lusher: Yes. Everything must go! One day only! Going out of business baby.
rockscene: Is this free? Any refreshments or other special goings on you’d wanna mention?
Lusher: Totally free but it’s a possibly dangerous social experiment. Payment will be made through the eventual mental derangement of the viewer. As for refreshments it’ll be like that Daniel Day Lewis movie ‘There Will Be Beer.’
rockscene: As of Wednesday night 75 people have RSVP’d to the show on the Facebook page for it. You have got to be excited about that right?
Lusher: I kinda take that with a grain of salt. I mean people actually reside in Facebook. It has become it’s own fucking country. This event may be viewed by certain people as something like Farmville and that when 6 pm hits on Friday they will be taken into a Sims like virtual playground where they can purchase artworks with gold coins and by selling pigs or bails of hay.
rockscene: Do any of you have a particular favorite artist in the lineup or a piece you’re looking forward to seeing?
Lusher: I actually just look forward to seeing all of these animals together in the same room. Someone else might be better suited to answer this.
rockscene: You’ve got links to or posts on exhibits in other cities bigger than Huntington. Do you have any plans or dream of showing your work in any big cities?
Lusher: Well anything that I’d link or post would be on Hillbilly and probably have absolutely nothing to do with me. As far as showing in other cities I’ve done that in a weird way by having photos published on Purple Diary which is the website of a leading art/fashion magazine. As for plans and dreams I think I’m at a pretty good spot to say that they are both simultaneously working themselves out.
|"Destructo" by Christopher Lusher|
--- video via eyeBOX