On Friday March 4, Public Works’ Roll Up Gallery is hosting the art opening for Moonage Daydream, an art show tribute to the iconic musician and legendary performer, that is David Bowie. The show will feature artwork from over twenty Bay Area artists in a variety of styles and mediums.
Moonage Daydream is curated by Justin DeVine and Megan Lynn Kott , with assistance from Betty Bigas of Roll Up Gallery. Justin and Megan are both talented painters and arts-event organizers based in Oakland, CA. For the past four years, they have created an art community in Oakland through their free weekly drawing event “Oakland Drink & Draw” at the New Parkway Theater. These two are frequently found at tabling events throughout the SF Bay Area and have also curated a number of other group shows, including a Dune-themed exhibit at Bergeron’s Books.
We met with both Megan Kott and Justin Devine to get a little up close and personal, to discuss Bowie favorites, Labyrinth brain-melting points, and of course, the art show!
How did the two of you meet?
Megan: A few years ago we were both working for Whole Foods Market as graphic designers. We opened stores together, so would only see one another periodically. One fine store opening, we were both complaining about wanting to draw more, so we decided to create Oakland Drink & Draw. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like, and has grown from a few friends sitting around and drawing at a bar into a weekly community art event.
Justin: That was back in 2011, and we’re still going strong!
So as a couple, was it Oakland Drink & Draw that brought you together?
Megan: Sort of. I’d been trying to be friends with Justin for years, because we worked together but never in the same location. He’d invite me to an event, but I’d have something going on, or vice-versa. We finally started hanging out for real because of Oakland Drink & Draw. Our friendship only grew from there and eventually became something more. Now ODD has been going strong for 4 years and we’ve been married for two of them. So you could say it was ODD, but really I think it was Justin’s sick dance moves.
Ha! I’ll be sure to ask Justin to show me his dance moves at the art show! I know that when the idea of the David Bowie art show was first proposed, David Bowie was still alive. What inspired the show originally?
Justin: Over the past couple years, we’ve participated in a few themed group art shows, which we’ve always really enjoyed. We knew last year that we wanted to host another one this spring, and when trying to decide what that theme should be, we kept hovering around science fiction and pop-culture-related subjects. Finally, Megan suggested David Bowie, and we realized that he represents that venn diagram perfectly! Plus he has such a large body of work that it seemed like there’d be a lot to draw from (both figuratively and literally).
Anyway, that was in October of last year. While pitching the idea to gallery folks, trying to find a host location for the show, we found ourselves repeatedly making the case for why a David Bowie themed tribute show was relevant in 2016. Then last month we heard the sad news and the argument suddenly became tragically moot.
Artwork by Marc Scheff “I Wish You Could Swim”
What’s is the most iconic image of David Bowie that pops into your mind when first thinking of the artist?
Megan: OMG – it’s for sure Jareth from the Labyrinth. I’ve watched that movie a billion and one times. That was my first introduction to David Bowie. I think my interest & love has only grown from there.
Justin: For me it’s probably the Aladdin Sane cover, although that’s never been my favorite album. It’s just an image that seems so present in the culture.
Can we talk about the Labyrinth for a second? Best part or scene from that movie?
Megan: Oh man. Um, probably the ‘Magic Dance’ sequence. I also really love Ludo. I wish I could hang out with him and give him a hug.
Justin: Probably the helping hands. I LOVE the helping hands.
…ACTUALLY maybe my favorite thing about Labyrinth is ‘Magic Dance’ too, mostly due to the dance sequence I tequila-drunkenly choreographed along to it a few years ago in LA.
Megan: Wait. You never told me about that?! I need to see that…
I might have to agree about the hand scene. That’s the first to jump into my mind, or The Worm with the strange voice. What were some of your favorite David Bowie song, album, music video favorites?
Megan: Someone asked me this right after he died. I think I’m probably leaning towards simply “Moonage Daydream”. The more I listen to the song, the more I want to paint or illustrate every part of it… I’m also really into the version of Under Pressure that he and Annie Lennox sang at Freddie Mercury’s memorial. Serious tears.
Justin: Of course I love all of the classic albums. A few all time favorite songs of mine include “Queen Bitch,” “Lady Stardust,” and “Candidate.” I also have a couple oddball favorites, including the theme from the 1982’s Cat People, and the Laughing Gnome.
Any advice for local artists trying to make a go at in this city?
Justin: It’s hard to go it alone, so it’s really great to find or create a community.
Megan: Oakland Drink & Draw really helped with that.
Justin: There are lots of cool drawing events in the area. Quick Draw at f8 and Sketch Tuesdays at 111 Minna are great too!
What other past projects have you worked on together?
Megan: I’m always trying to find ways to work with Justin. One of our first projects, and probably my favorite, was our collection Chimera. Justin would paint the head of an animal and I would paint onto it the body of a different animal, and vice versa. It ended up being really great, and we’ve done a few iterations of it, including a showing last year at Paxton Gate Kids.
Justin: Of course there’s also everything we’ve done with our Drink & Draw group–we’ve had a few group shows, including one just this last month at Black Spring Coffee Co. in Oakland. Also, there was a Dune-themed show that we put on back in 2014, of which I was nominally the curator, but which Megan was an indispensable part of.
As curating partners, what would you say is the biggest strength each of you bring to the table…
Megan: It’s funny. We started out in completely opposite roles. With Oakland Drink & Draw I said – this should be a thing. And he said – okay, when and where? With every other project, he’s suggested something and I’m really the one who pressures us into making it happen. I handle the logistics and keeping us on track.
Justin: And I like throwing things out like “what about face-painting? What about limited edition prints?” I like throwing a lot of ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Artwork by Lindsay McMinn
+++ The opening for Moonage Daydream is Friday, March 4th, at Roll Up Gallery (161 Erie St, SF) 6-9 pm. The show includes a special live musical performance by Lady Stardust, an “(almost) all-female David Bowie cover band” and a DJ Set by “The Cat Man of West Oakland” Adam Myatt.
The artwork will be on display until March 18th, viewable during Public Works events or by appointment.
Featured artists include Lindsay McMinn, Alexis Amann, Steven Russell Black, Jason Furie, Sean Gillespie, Tom Hall, Gareth Lloyd, Michael Manomivibul, Brynn Metheney, Marc Scheff, Forest Stearns, Jon Stich, Dean Stuart, Mary Syring, Jenna Trost, Woodrow White, Grim Wilkins, Shayna Yasuhara, Eugene Randolph Young, and Chloe Wilson.