ARTrepreneur of the Month–July 2014

| July 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Artist Jimmy Descant with “Sioux Chief” made from steam iron bases, store shelf racks, snow shovel, hubcap, and drive-in movie speaker.

Artist Jimmy Descant with “Sioux Chief” made from steam iron bases, store shelf racks, snow shovel, hubcap, and drive-in movie speaker.

Jimmy Descant, better known as Salida’s Rocketman, is a Severe ReConstructivist, live assemblage art perform, community and arts activist, and is our July 2014 ARTrepreneur of the Month.

1) How did you get into art? Why Salida?
I worked as a road dog for 15 years for bands across the world ‘til I found a vintage canister vacuum cleaner at a New Orleans flea market. I immediately quit the road and became a full time assemblage sculptor specializing in rocketships, calling myself a Severe ReConstructivist. I am self-taught and have been a full time artist for 18 years. I grew up in New Orleans, and after traveling with bands and experiencing the American West, I wanted to move out here. I moved to Salida in 2006, after searching all around the 4 Corners states. It really was the beautiful small, intelligent, artistic, and progressive place I was looking for in the West.

2) Why are you known as the Rocketman?
Because of my first professional aspirations with vintage canister vacuum cleaners from the 40-50’s, which were designed to be that futurism that Americans dreamed of. Everything was designed that way, from cars to toothbrushes. But you can’t bolt chrome plated arms from vintage beauty shop chairs to a toothbrush! And it’s Rocketman, one word… as my site is one word rocketships, due to the implication of ‘ship’ denoting the carrying of someone or something, as in my message.

3) What is a Severe ReConstructivist?
You won’t find that term in the art dictionary. I am all about individuality and inspiration in my work as well as my titles and description of myself and my work. I severely deconstruct the parts of the whole of the Golden Age of American manufacturing, and then reconstruct in my style (with no welding) into beautiful vintage looking art of positivity. I find my parts throughout the country at garage sales, thrift stores, junkyards, and in the trash. I get tons of donations on my porch and yard all year from people who see my work, then can’t look at a pile the same way ever again, and know where to keep these manufactured goods alive.

“Reverse Prometheus”, a 15’ tall BIG rocketship, is installed at Evergreen’s Art for the Mountain Community on loan program through June 2015.

“Reverse Prometheus”, a 15’ tall BIG rocketship, is installed at Evergreen’s Art for the Mountain Community on loan program through June 2015.

4) Tell me more about being a live assemblage art performance artist.
I started with simple 15 minute $50 performances, in an alley in Salida for Artwalk, about the economy where I would put a dollar bill in the sculpture, so if you had to spend your last dollar you could pull it out. From there I did full productions onstage with a DJ and/or band working on one piece for an hour in a violent creation of art for major showmanship. Many folks have seen action painters, but never like this with drills, blood, and fire! http://youtu.be/qBFs4BcZ1-8
5) Share your community and arts activism.
I live and create in the first designated creative district in Colorado, and work hard to carry that Salida brand with me in all my local and traveling exhibitions. This is a cool place with cool artists, and I believe we’re all trying to balance the potential growth with our artistic success and ability to still live in a small community and deal with administrative aspects, so I speak up a lot for my colleagues and the future. I also create world shaking severe political commentary to make people squirm and cry, such as my crutches series about war and politics and vets, “13 after 9/11, and Still…Crutches and Coffins”; and my controversial graffiti art “Brains Over Guns.”

6) What are some challenges in today’s art business or art scene?
I would say it is the tendency for art organizations and administrations to lose sight that the ART is the beginning and end of all these efforts to promote and publicize artists, programs, grants, procedures, funding. Many times the art becomes the tiny pinnacle of the inverted art pyramid, when it should be the majority of focus and results and discussion.

7) What advice do you have for new and upcoming artists?
Be unique. Be what comes out of you instead of what is fed into you by process, training, advice, or school. We can all always learn and discern, but being a copy is not acceptable to me. I have a sign in my front yard that I change to give the viewer something to think about, and right now it says, “BE A KIND.”

Four flashlight rocketships commissioned by the Colorado Creative Industries and presented for The Governor’s Leadership in Arts Awards at 3rd annual Creative Summit.

Four flashlight rocketships commissioned by the Colorado Creative Industries and presented for The Governor’s Leadership in Arts Awards at 3rd annual Creative Summit.

8) Any upcoming events this summer?
I run at Guinness Book of World Records speed (instead of Farmer’s Almanac) all the time in my exhibits, life, and art. I have my exhibit “Western Futurism” at Telluride Arts through the end of June 2014; “ALT/WALK” during Salida’s regular Artwalk, and more live art performances in Colorado and New Orleans. On July 12, 2014, I will be doing an all-day version of live art for a benefit for the Stronghold Society and Walt Pourier, who builds skate parks on reservations to prevent Native American teenage suicide. It’ll be at Downtown Denver Skate Park at 20th and LittleRaven. Visit http://strongholdsociety.org/?page_id=670 for more information.

9) Anything else you’d like to share?
I only have about 50 more years on this planet, so I have to get back to work in the shop and in the streets like right now! When it’s all over my tombstone will say, “I’M NOT FINISHED!”

Visit Jimmy Descant at deluxerocketships.com.

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Category: ARTrepreneurship

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