Where there's bacon, there's a party. Such was the case when artist Gary Grossman had some friends over for heaping mounds of bacon, and a moth. The moth, of course, was not a planned ingredient; it sort of added itself to the pan. One of Grossman's friends attempted to rescue the unwitting visitor, but all attempts at reviving the insect were fruitless. The friend even appealed to the supernatural for its resurrection, taking the lifeless body outside and chanting, "Mothma, mothma ..."
Grossman later retold the story among a group of artist friends during a talk about putting together an art show. The result? The inaugural Mothma's Art Show.
Now in its third year, Mothma is actually a lot more than an exhibition and sale; it's the name of an artist cooperative that currently consists of about 21 people. They share skills and workspace at Grossman's house, as well as ideas — with each other and with anyone who has a desire to learn.
"Knowledge should be free," says Grossman, "so we have workshops for anyone who wants to be a part of this bigger thing we have. They're open to all, and it's free." These informal workshops are usually arranged through word of mouth, but some are scheduled in advance. (See Grossman's website, boogeyman-productions.com, for information.)
If you plan to attend, be prepared for something a little different, he says. "We're a little further out than Grandma's watercolor classes."
Underneath the good times and humor lies an artist serious about art and the business behind it. The 31-year-old father-to-be is a full-time artist with numerous interests including photography, sculpture, painting, textiles and glass. In his free time he loves to cook (he has some wicked recipes on his website) and he's into home-brewing.
Though Grossman tends to be the face of Mothma, the group is run by all the members, a "Mothocracy," if you will. Their guiding principle is a desire for artists to make a better living by making art and getting paid for it. Grossman says galleries keep more in commissions than they really should. By taking the art out of the gallery and putting it elsewhere, Mothma members reap all of the rewards from their labors.
The growing group (which includes familiar names like Phil Lear and Jess Preble) has reached a milestone by showing works at the Zodiac, complete with music by the Crowley Kids and DJ Tall City.
This is a step up from the first show, inside Grossman's house. "We moved everything in the house out into the garage, to allow people to walk about and look," he says. Word of the show spread and they weren't prepared for the number of people who eventually showed up. "It was just insane," Grossman says, but he couldn't complain about the number of sales.
The second year wasn't any different, and he realized that his vision had outgrown his venue.
"From the start, I had no freakin' idea what I was doing, but I figured, how hard could it be?" he says with a laugh. Probably not as hard as reanimating a grease-drowned moth.