Jules Buck Jones
How to Hang with Friends and Make Art
A Tribute to Collaboration
by Jules Buck Jones
How to hang with friends and make noise:
Form a band! — Castle Danger
In college, there was only one thing as important to me as studying, and that was hanging with friends. Best way to do that in my opinion is to start a band! After Safety Hawk fell apart because we invited everybody in the neighborhood to join, and the band could no longer function, my best buds and 3 founding members, B-Dogg, Jonny Z, and myself, broke off to start Castle Danger. Even though the neighborhood was no longer invited to play in the band, we did need their help making these killer videos.
Ever listen some music and wished it ripped a little harder? Maybe was just a little weirder? Ever wonder why no mainstream bands are referencing “T2 Judgement Day?” Well, we did too. Then we formed AWESOME. Scott Eastwood, shredder of the the bass guitar, and I couldn’t find a drummer for so long, till we bumped into Jeremy LeClaire in Kittery, Maine while working on a project, “The Face that Tastes the Place,” at Buoy Gallery.
When your good friend dresses up like David Lee Roth for Halloween one year, then realizes he needs to sing in a band, you have no choice but to start a band. Max Juren and I teamed up with drummer Carolyn Cunningham. We played this Halloween gig to woo a bass player from the crowd. It worked! Chadwick Wood saw the show and took the bait! Hooked em good!
How to Hang with Friends and Make Art: Artist collective Boozefox
With talented friends, big ideas, and nothing to lose, you can do anything. After moving to Austin in 2005 for graduate school, I was making art everyday and hanging with some great new friends at the UT Art Department. But how could I make art and hang with my old friends who I new from VA who weren’t in school? Start a collective! Best Buds: Mike Phalan, Drew Liverman, Scott Eastwood, and myself formed Boozefox! Named after our first monster, The Nefarious Boozefox, for our first show “Stalemate of the Boozefox,” in 2006, the four of us went on to make large scale sculptures and installations, that were fun, bizarre, and never made any money or got us any real attention. What a dream!
(Hot tip: Click on the images below to see the who’s who and what’s what for each gallery!)
How to hang with friends on a 5 day cruise: Build a Boat! Boozefox Part 2
The boat pictured below is Battleberg Ice. In 2011 we got a small grant from the Idea Fund and some extra funds from a Kickstarter campaign and built this hybrid Ice berg / battleship. We got the City of Austin to allow us to cruise up and down the Colorado River for 5 days during ACL weekend. We slept on the boat, and had a few parties. The boat had an escape pod (canoe) we used to get back and forth to the main land to re-up on tacos and beverages. Stevie Wonder performed at ACL that year. We ferried up to the concert, packed the boat full of friends and listened to the performance. It was a real treat.
How to hang with friends and make Art Part 2: Collaborative Collage!
Sometimes making art next to your friends just isn’t enough. You want that full week of hang time from wake up to bed time. My good friend Matt Rebholz and I have crossover interests in Xerox, collage, Sci-fi, and mythology. In grad school we started collaborating on large-scale collages. We’ve made 3 installations over the years, with our crown jewel being Apophis. We created Apophis is 2010 and have shown him in New Orleans, Austin, and San Marcos. Check out some progress pics and stop motion video of the mighty Apophis! We made a real mess of the gallery while creating him, swimming in piles and piles of Xerox walrus skin, lizard scales, and the cosmos.
How to hang with friends and hang art: Collective Run Gallery Space
MASS Gallery was started by a group of grad students at UT Austin in 2006 when we were offered a free space next to the old Blue Theater. Since 2006, MASS has lost and gained numerous members who helped it chug along through the years. Eventually we lost the free space, and after a not-so-brief nomadic period, we landed a new spot in East Austin in 2013 where we operate now. MASS is run by a diverse group of artists, writers, educators, and musicians. We are now officially a 501c3 non profit, putting on 7 shows annually including a summer residency program and a small store selling artist made goods. We operate as a platform for Austin artists to show work, and a venue that brings in out of town artists to share with our community. When we are lucky we get to collaborate in other ways too. In 2015 we traded shows with another artist run space in New Orleans. Check out these pictures of our installation that we did at The Front Gallery called “Club Sandwich.” And check the MASS Gallery link below to see some of the things we do Austin!
How to hang with friends 24/7: Artist Compound
My good friend Morgan Coy started something beautiful called Monofonus. Don’t let the name fool you, there is nothing mono about it. Monofonus is a record label, small book press, studio space, band practice space, all night fire pit space, washers tournament space, and collaboration station when you need it. I had a studio and lived here for 5 years. I lived in a 28’ silver stream trailer smack in the middle of the compound. There were friends in the yard all day every day. There are so many great memories living and working here, haunted houses, hammer choirs, 4th of July, crawfish boils, numerous art installations, small concerts, The Bride of Pinbot, and on and on. Also this was home to and the last place I saw my pet tortoise Anchovy. He ran away one day after I let him out to eat these yellow flowers I knew he loved. I knew the flowers wouldn’t last forever. Nothing does.
How to hang with your friends and make a little scratch: Make it a double – Snow’m Sayin?
It started with wishing a snow cone was a margarita. Or did it start with the matching outfits? Either way, it’s all in the name. “Looking for something that’ll fuck you up AND cool you down? Snow’m Sayin Snow Cones! Snow’m Sayin?” We ran Snow’m Sayin for a couple years. We made alcoholic snow cones and gave them away for free at art openings. We never made any money, but money never really motivated us anyways. Just another excuse to spend time with the ones you love. There’s snow business like snow business.
How to Hang with Friends and Make Art Part 4: Start a Club! Animal Facts Club
Animal Facts Club started like any other club, as a cool excuse to spend time with people you like, and share things. Our thing was animal facts. The first meeting was in 2004 in Richmond, VA, after we realized the internet could get us facts on just about any animal we could think of. We’d each research an animal and share our findings with our friends. When we found something extra amazing, we dubbed it a Power Fact. Example: 9-banded armadillos always give birth to identical quadruplets = Power Fact! Flamingos have to eat with their head upside down = Power Fact! Horned lizards shoot blood out of their eye as a defense mechanism = Power Fact.
Fast forward to Austin TX, new friends, new facts. We met somewhat regularly for years sharing facts and creating collaborative calendars every winter. Then in 2015, my bright and beautiful girlfriend, Audrey Stewart and I decided to kick it up a notch. We wanted to share these cool facts with the public and decided to create a large-scale performance. We dreamed up “AFC Performs The Biodiversity of TX,” a one-hour show that navigates through 6 ecosystems of Texas, highlighting the different animals that call these places home. We highlight endangered species and species of concern, promoting conservation and discussing ways our audience can help. We got the crew together to help build the stage and puppets and got funding from the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division, to fund it. Now we are in our 4th year of funding paying ourselves to make art with our friends and share it with the community! Super fun!
For me, collaboration is integral to my creative process. I make plenty of work by myself, but I thirst for side projects with friends. The people I work with and hang with inspire me everyday. I love the community, comradery, cross-pollination, and alliteration collaboration offers. Being awarded this Kindle Project Makers Muse award is such an honor. I wanted to use this opportunity to give a shout out to all those who I love to work with and hang with. Big shout out to Jonny Z, Gentleman Jay, Josh White, my pops Charlie Jones all those we lost along the way.