Peripheral Media Projects
[RS Gallery] • Peripheral Media Projects (PMP) is a collective of creators, designers, printers, musicians, street artists and activists committed to promoting awareness and social transformation through diverse modes of creativity and collaboration. Via the production of art, design, installations, performances, events, and clothing both within and outside the gallery and fashion systems, PMP manifests a unique blend of consciousness, creativity, social responsibility, and action.
MR: What does the role of artist mean to you?
GB: The role of artist is to inspire and spark, to pull at the innermost parts of what it is to be human -- spirit and consciousness. I think about the artists that inspire me the most, and they are people that leave me speechless, jaw-dropped, staring, listening in awe to the beauty of creation. The word "artist" transcends disciplines. People are artists of their craft if they are taking their craft to the next level, questioning boundaries, engaging in the unknown.
RC: An artist is a creator, someone who is making work that conveys a unique vision and attempts to engage a larger community. An artist is someone who thinks in a way that challenges the dominant paradigm.
What is the driving force behind your creativity?
GB: That's a nice question. The driving force is my curiosity in this human experience, ultimately. I know that I feel most gratified when creating and using that part of myself (yet, ironically, I also yearn for more, as there are always more visions to manifest). I see creativity as one of the key ways to learn more and understand the beautiful gift and mystery of being born a human being. Humans seem to be quite happy when they feel creative.
Love is another key part of what drives me. Love is universal –- it resonates within all things. Not in any sort of cheesy way, but in the most profound and sincere way. I used to wonder a lot about where the fuel for the fire comes from, and those are the answers I've found, the fountainheads in my life.
RC: I create something when I need to see an idea exist in a tangible way. What actually moves and evolves the process is feeling out the materials and graphic elements that I will work with. Once things start to fit together, the work continues to evolve until it is done. It is like collage, really -- making something out of a lot of random scraps.
The end result as an object is always very different from the initial thought. I need to touch the real thing, to work with the real thing. I could not see myself being happy slapping stuff together in Photoshop and just hitting "Print" at the end.
Why should your work matter to other people?
GB: Because it is substantial and authentic. We impregnate our work with the things that matter and create truly democratic societies; consciousness, respect, community, collaboration, love, compassion, vision. There are no fillers, no crap, no artificial ingredients, no rBGH, no MSG, no high-fructose corn syrup, no WTO, no IMF, nor GM ingredients in our pieces.
RC: It is made today, so it is automatically connected with the collective consciousness and our history in some way. Beyond that, we try to deal with timely issues that effect us all politically and socially. Essentially, it is populist; it reinterprets many elements from popular culture and design history in a way that, hopefully, feels fresh and activating.
What is the difference between craftsman, artist, and visionary?
RC: Good one. I feel we are a bit of all three. A visionary works from a place of seeing the unseen -- what lies behind the mundane -- often looking toward the future. A craftsman is proud of his ability to create something that functions well and will hold up. He knows the nuts and bolts of the mechanics of putting a physical thing together. An artist is on the poetic side -- feeling the zeitgeist, taking notes and pushing it forward through consistent studio practice.
The best art comes from people who are rooted strongly in all three, like John Cage, David Lynch, or Durer. We are printmakers primarily, so "craft is key," as they say. At the same time, we are not bounded to make only "good" prints. We use print as a tool to reach whatever result we want.
GB: Yeah, good question for sure. I agree with Ray that a creator comprising all three is the most dynamic of all. Many people can be one or two. To be all three takes looking into the innermost crevasses and out to the outermost depths of our understanding, then stepping beyond that.
To what extent do you try to accurately portray yourself in your work?
RC: I feel that we let our working process come through in the final piece. Working collectively, everyone throws in a little or a lot. It is surprising and a learning process for us all. I still tend to make the same kinds of choices, but working with others shakes that up a bit.
GB: We intentionally and very consciously make work that accurately reflects our concerns, our dreams, our visions, and our desire to co-create an egalitarian existence for perpetuity. Operating this way is intentional by its nature, so I would say to a ginormous, super-sized extent.
What was your religious or spiritual upbringing like?
RC: I was raised Catholic, on a farm, which does a lot to explain my work ethic, I guess. I spent a lot of time by myself in the woods. Later I started learning about Buddhism, especially Tibetan. I love Chogyam Trungpa's writings on art, but I am at this point in my life a very slack meditator. I am working on that.
GB: I was raised Episcopal, by default. My parents weren't that religious in a traditional sense. We went to church because my mom liked to sing in the choir. But my mother was an enormously spiritual person. She was a true Christian. She never talked about it, which is the key. She led by example and had the most giving, compassionate soul I've ever seen. At the core, all the major religions teach compassion: treat others as you would like to be treated, and love thy neighbor. If a person operates from those core teachings, it doesn’t matter what label the religion carries.
We are all god -- we all reflect everything and each other and ourselves. It is sad thing people don't see god in themselves. Many think that god is some external, controlling, other-than-self entity. This is a control mechanism invented by man. God is everything, including us. To love god is to truly love one's self.
How does your work affect consciousness, and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
RC: I am a believer in collective consciousness. If you have a killer design idea, you had better get on it or else you will see it anyway out on the streets in a few months. Why? Because we are all in the same place and time, thinking about pretty much the same things together, so why not? Conditions are always changing. The overall vibe at the studio is we generally feel that we are either headed for an apocalyptic dark ages scenario or we will bump up to the next level of shared experience, or Mayan Time, or something. Technology has brought us incredible global connectivity, but we don't understand the ramifications yet.
Exciting times to be alive? Sure. But things are moving fast. Multinational corporations are becoming more powerful than traditional governments and the richest one percent of people control thirty percent of economic wealth as the middle class vanishes. Global warming, no fish in the oceans in fifty years. It all starts to seem pretty dire. This could all change overnight. Look at the French Revolution or the Situationist Riots of 1968. People always want for a peaceful, fair and happy life. Western science has taken us so far, now we need to work on things holistically and collectively. Ignoring problems will not cause them to go away.
Our art tries to address these issues while creating a space for others to plug into an authentic, creative experience. Ten percent of our clothing profits go to support humanitarian, environmental and independent media causes. We started in the beginning making informative posters to paste in the streets. When someone supports our work they support the continuation of these goals.
GB: Yeah, what he said. Plus, our work affects and reflects consciousness. We are all part of a much larger consciousness. Each of us is really a part of a much larger, meta-self -- just as our souls are part of a larger, universal soul. Good energy perpetuates good energy, bad energy perpetuates bad energy. Thoughts are things. We have the ability at every moment to intentionally choose what we want to create and bring forth for the world.
As for the evolution, that's up for debate. I believe, as Ray alluded, that we are riding the line, the narrow path along the edge of the precipice. The road is uphill and the journey will continue either with our ascension to higher planes, or a descent beyond the abysmal lows that we have already seen humanity hit in the past and present. I believe both are possible and the determinant will be what people ultimately choose. We essentially must create it together; it is way beyond the ability of one individual. It is the unified vision of and desire for a higher existence that will take us there.
The current systems of greed, manipulation, and suppression will definitely not take us to an elevated existence. In order to get up every day and do what we do, I have to believe in the beauty of the spirit and look for reaffirming examples of hope and promise. Otherwise life can look downright gut wrenching.
Do you ever get inspiration for your work from dreams you’ve had?
RC: Lately, I just seem to have dreams about working at PMP and Ad Hoc Art, which is really scary. The visionary side is definitely important. Perhaps all the spontaneous stuff that happens in the studio is actually dream logic at work.
GB: My dreams definitely inspire me. The imagery and vividness of my dreams serve as a vehicle, a machine to build and explore other realities, worlds, and universes. They cover the gamut too. Sometimes they are the most exhilarating, lovely things -- surreal experiences, colors, play lands abounding. Other times they are darker and more horrifying than any thing I have seen or experienced in this physical life. They all add to the visual data bank, the archives in my mind from which I can pull infinitely.
How long does it take you on average to complete a piece of work? Do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
RC: In printing, it is mostly set-up, and a second or two to pull the
squeegee and print that layer. We just work on things until they are finished, which is sometimes ten minutes and sometimes two or three years. We use our images in a lot of different formats and often make several different types of work at the same time. I personally like this method -- to work on it when it is time, put it away for a while, then work on it again. It is a nice pace; there is no desperation.
GB: Yeah, we've pulled mega-huge projects off in a few days, blowing our preconceived ideas on what we can bust out. I'd say on average it takes a few weeks or months, depending on scale and complexity. The beauty of running our own production is that I can take an idea in my head, translate it to a screen, and be printing as many images as I'd like in an hour if I really wanted to do so. The ones that evolve over time are a joy. They reflect the evolution of who we are, what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do in the future. We work on something until it tells us it is finished. We co-create with the materials.
What were you like as a child?
RC: Quiet, shy and introverted – so, pretty much like now.
GB: I was quiet and inquisitive. I would spend all my time outdoors, playing in the dirt, trees, fields, woods, and rivers until I absolutely had to come home. Most summers I spent in the mountains with no TV or radio. No distractions -- just nature, friends, family, and self to experience. Those were stunning times. I have an incredibly close tie with nature. One of the reasons existence can be so painful for me is witnessing the commodification and abusive neglect we show towards that which gives us life. I see the potential of what we could create and what people have chosen in the past. It is sad.
Where would you like to go that you've never been?
RC: I went to Mongolia with a friend and it was amazing, a country with no fences. He wants to go to Turkmenistan, so that may be fun. Also I’d like to see New Zealand, Tibet, Bali, Spain -- there are many places. If anyone abroad has a visiting artist program please let us know.
GB: I'd like to go deep into the ocean, where the vents and smokers exist and check out the creatures there. I'd like to spend more time underwater, period. I've always wanted to stay in an underwater hotel or home where we scuba down to a room and chill. That would be a great place to meditate. We are made up of water and salt. It's a return to the true homeland.
Who are some of your heroes?
RC: My hero is the aforementioned Chogyam Trungpa. He left long-term solitary meditation in Tibet to study at Oxford. Then he started the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado and generally brought a secular version of Buddhism, along with his publishing company, Shambhala, to the Western world. He believed that the details of design were profoundly important. His books Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior and Dharma Art are amazing for artists and designers who want to have lateral strategies to think about their work.
GB: My heroes are: R. Buckminster Fuller, Robert Smith, John Lennon, MLK, Ken Wilber, Osho, Alex Paterson, Bill Hicks, Buddha, Malcolm Little, Dennis Kucinich, Thich Nhat Hanh and my mother.
What are your personal mantras?
RC: Lately it has been: "Stop believing in authority, and start believing in each other."
GB: "No words can replace practice, only practice can make the words."