Where would we be without our dreams, both in our waking hours and at night beneath the covers? Those intermittent stories, symbols, feelings, and uncertainties that sometimes ignite so confusingly through our minds that they stretch just beyond reach in our memory, or the emotional visualizations that stay to haunt us for days to come… all seemingly play a significant role in our lives. Whether or not these fleeting moments have been proven to hold merit in divine knowledge or meaning, the fact is we all have them. And I suppose in many ways it’s true, there are veins of innocence when we dream.
As a firm believer in the emotional benefit of dreams, interpretation and the mysteries of lucid dreaming, I was excited to learn more when I saw that The Dark Art Emporium had a dream themed exhibition. So I asked Jeremy Cross to share his thoughts on curating “Innocent When You Dream”, opening November 10th at The Dark Art Emporium.
Jeremy, we’re thrilled you’ve started writing for the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine blog! Since you also curate exhibitions on occasion, let me reach inside your creative brain for a moment. Will you share with us how you go about curating for a show? What do you look for? And what do love most about the process?
My process for curating a show always starts with a concept. I try to come up with a theme or idea that inspires me. Something that I haven’t seen time and again or at least enough of a twist that it feels refreshed in some way. Once the idea has rooted, I begin to tool it and tweak it into something that artists can somehow find their way into, while keeping it open enough for vast interpretation. Then I begin making a list of artists. Some whose work either fits perfectly with that theme already or artists who might not immediately seem like a strong fit but I get excited about seeing how they would tackle it in their own way. I always try and mix things up with the rosters. This also means bringing in some artists that don’t have the same level of exposure as the higher caliber artists, but whose work I believe can hold its own amongst the group. (Loneschach Wollf is a great example from this show).
I have a pretty long list of artists who I’ve shown over the years between Night Gallery Fine Art and now with The Dark Art Emporium, but the exciting bit is when I end up going down IG rabbit holes, following theme related hashtags and suggested artists finding new people. It’s super exciting, I love finding new artists! Jeremy Schott (Owner of the Dark Art Emporium) and I are constantly looking for new artists and sending each other links and profiles as well. But the payoff is when I get to see the show all set and hung, how all the pieces play off each other and how each artist has interpreted the theme. It’s like alchemy. You start with nothing, just an idea, and then 6 months or a year later, it transforms an entire physical space into gold.
Describe “Innocent When You Dream” in five words.
Dream Inside Tom Waits Head
What inspired this particular theme?
Being a lifelong fan, I’ve always wanted to do a Tom Waits themed show. But it’s been done, a lot. And the last thing I wanted was to end up with a show full of 30 portraits of The Man. So I went with digging into just one song; “Innocent When You Dream” was perfect, not only is it one of my favorites, but the theme in that song is highly interpretive. Longing, Loss, Innocence, Nostalgia, Dreams. All themes that are universal and relatable on a very personal level. It’s not a concise story; it meanders like a thread of thought, pulled in and out of those feelings, stringing them together more with sentiment than narrative.
I’m very intrigued by dream interpretation…what’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?
Oh man, this could go off the rails real fast, I’m a big dreamer, and I have elaborate dreams almost every night. Many of them terrifying on some level. I also like to tell people what’s going on while I’m still asleep (my wife keeps a journal, it’s nuts). Just last night, I dreamt that I was getting hired on as a surgeon at the world’s most advanced hospital. And though I had no medical training, they thought that somehow my experience in art would lead to new advances in surgery. (I know… nuts) but I had to go through a board of directors and was questioned by 6 in a huge hall where we were like ants by scale. They were tearing into me and telling me how stupid the idea of me being a surgeon was and I was completely agreeing with them but unable to tell them I just wouldn’t do it, there was a heavy sense of obligation to it that I couldn’t shake, like it was important that I do it though I couldn’t quite place why. They tired of berating me and in exasperation just said “Fine, we’ll see what happens” and I left the room. I think I just started doing surgeries right then. Like as soon as I left the room, I was elbow deep in a body trying to extract a giant tumor and I kept thinking to myself “I’m totally gonna kill this poor person, what have I done?”. I don’t really remember what happen after that. Probably something terrible, haha.
“Innocent When You Dream”
Curated by Jeremy Cross
November 10, 2018 | 7-10pm
The Dark Art Emporium
256 Elm Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802