WASTED: The Great American Pastime curated by Dave MacDowell [Culver City, Ca]

Flyer image: "BLUNT" by Chet Zar

I didn’t grow up in one of those houses where I had a dad that drank high balls or one with a mom that sold weed to my friends.  It is, however, my understanding that, if I was born about a decade earlier, it might have been a slightly more psychedelic and groovy environment for the people that birthed me.  For the most part, I grew up in the suburbs, occasionally receiving worthless awards through the type of anti-substance-abuse programs that thrive on coming to elementary schools and indirectly encouraging pre-teens to rat out their parents to the authorities.  Years later I would indeed purchase bags of weed from other kids’ parents.

When I began discovering acts like The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and my mom’s all-time favorite group (and everyone else’s), The Beatles, she would constantly comment on how crazy and strange it was that I was listening to the same music that she used to listen to in her youth (the Beatles, not the Dead).  “I remember...” or “I used to have…” would regularly unfold into some nostalgic memory.  Granted, there was probably only about 3 different, loosely related anecdotes, but she seemed to get a real kick out of my interest in something like Abbey Road.  To me, the real irony wasn’t that I was into the super old jams–I was getting into all kinds of weird shit–but the fact that the artists that I was discovering were clearly all wacked out on drugs and nobody seemed to want to address that.

It was a huge pink elephant in the room that the same people that had been attempting to constantly drive in the Nancy Reagan agenda of “Just Say No!,” while maliciously labeling the then-present-day artists as no-talent deviants, always seemed to be using the “In my time…“/”When we were young…” rationale, by promoting the work of known drug abusers and, furthermore, the work that they were creating while on those substances.  The BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour film and soundtrack centered around the concept of a bunch of random wingnuts traveling on a bus and shoving psychedelics into their faces.  The idea was taken from author, Ken Kesey who had taken a similar “trip” in a painted up school bus with his team of “dayglo crazies,” the Merry Pranksters, years earlier.  The Pranksters travels led them from California to New York, where Kesey was having a book release for his new novel, Sometimes A Great Notion.  The money to fund such a journey came from the loot that he pulled in from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, a novel that was, at least partially, written under the influence of LSD.  The tales of Kesey and The Pranksters were later chronicled by Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, another highly influential book that’s become quintessential to that era.  “What’s with this RAP business and Metal noise?!  We used to listen to real musicians like Bob Dylan (weed, etc.) and Janis Joplin (booze).”  Personally, my mom was really only into the Beatles, but she loved SNL‘s original Not Ready For Prime Time Players, a group of drugged out comedians that included John Belushi, who eventually overdosed from injecting a speedball of cocaine and heroin.  From my understanding, Keith Richards was locked in a bathroom shooting up smack for much of the StonesExile on Main St. sessions and Bowie has even admitted to drawing complete blanks regarding his Station to Station era, due to ingesting ridiculous amounts of cocaine, which often left him isolated in his home from extreme paranoia.  Even boring-as-fuck Eric Clapton was writing songs about doing cocaine.  It’s ironic that the things that people condemn are often the catalysts to the art that they hold so dear.

This weekend, Culver City, CA’s WWA Gallery is finally paying tribute to the idea of gettin’ fucked up ‘n’ creatin’ thangz.  The group exhibit titled, “WASTED: The Great American Pastime” is being curated by underground contemporary art legend Dave MacDowellDave’s acrylic paintings can be incredibly surreal and he has a style that often incorporates soft, Disney-esque whimsy and pop-culture with catastrophic and/or hellish subject matter, such as demons, atomic bombs, and crack cocaine.  You may even recall his Richard Pryor piece that we posted for the 2011 Is This Thing On? exhibit at Gallery 1988, which featured smoldering flames, excessive police enforcement, a Disney/Coca-Cola/cocaine reference, and was inspired by a brilliant mind infested with addiction. From what we’ve seen, MacDowell doesn’t appear to have a piece of his own being showcased in this exhibit, but it’s hard to deny that he’s the ideal person to curate this event.


Throughout history, from Van Gogh to Kurt Cobain, mind-altering substances have always had a symbiotic and torturous relationship with the Arts. As both muse and disease, they can be the catalyst for creativity while simultaneously destructive to the maker.

Celebrated and glorified yet vilified and abused, the convoluted but immeasurable impact of these substances on American culture and counterculture cannot be ignored. Ever more true in a society fascinated by celebrities, whether it’s gawking at photos of a starlet’s latest drunken escapade or singing about rehab, we revel in dysfunction – it’s time to admit it.

Wasted – the Great American Pastimeis a tongue-in-cheek yet candid look at our complex relationship with drugs and alcohol through eye stimulating contributions by over 70 fine artists and creative professionals.  Nothing was deemed off-limits or taboo, we only requested they ‘paint responsibly.

Within the many contributors are artists of various styles and disciplines. Among them are Seattle painters like Crystal Barbre and Chris Sheridan; past Monster Fresh interviewee, Serge Gay Jr; and fantasy/horror artist Chet Zar, also known for video work with the band TOOL.

Here is a full list of artists scheduled to contribute:


Aaron Jasinski, Allison Sommers, Apricot Mantle, Arabella Proffer, Augie Pagan, Aunia Kahn, Big Toe, Bill McEvoy, Brandi Read, Brandon Steen, Buddy Nestor, Casey Weldon, Cate Rangel, Charles Wish, Chase Tafoya, Chet Zar, Chris B. Murray, Chris Hoffman, Chris Marrs Piliero, Chris Sheridan, Christopher Umana, Craig LaRotonda, Crystal Barbre, Dan Barry, Dan Harding, Dark Vomit, David Chung, Edith Lebeau, Erik Alos, Edward Robin Coronel, Gabe Larson, Gregory Rodriguez, Jason Edmiston, Jeff Ramirez, Jessica Ward, Jim Mahfood, John Cebollero, Johnny Crap, JoKa, Joseph Reyna, Josh Geiser, Joshua Clay, Ken Keirns, Kolaboy, KRK Ryden, Larkin, Leslie Ditto, Lou Pimentel, Luke Chueh, Mark Elliott, Matt Dangler, Michael Alvarez, Michael Mararian, Michael White, Nathan Cartwright, Nicole Bruckman, Patrick Deignan, Patrick Fatica, Peter Adamyan, Richard Frost, Rob Faucette, Robert Bowen, Scott G. Brooks, Scott Scheidly, Serge Gay Jr., Shaunna Peterson, Tim Maclean, Trey Xander, Vincent Cacciotti, ZOSO


WWA Gallery
9517 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Phone#: 310.836.4992


Opening Reception: Saturday, June 9 2012 | 7-10pm
On View: June 9 – June 30, 2012

The show will run all month long, but many of the artists will be in attendance on opening night, so we suggest that you eat a box of dramamine, fill that styrofoam cup with purple drank, byo bag (of glue), or however else you choose to get down, and make your way up to the Culver City art district this Saturday to peep it out.


In conjunction with the opening night, WWA Gallery has partnered with Rush Street, City TavernBackstage Bar and Grill, and Rocco’s Tavern to put together a one-of-a-kind pub crawl for patron’s to score deals on original artwork.

Each of the participating establishments have specials available to our collectors from 3-7pm the day of the opening.  All one has to do is visit a few of them and show us your receipts at the opening reception of ‘Wasted’ to be eligible for our show incentives:

  • 3 receipts gets you 10% off of any ‘Wasted’ artwork.
  • 4 receipts gets you 15% off of ‘Wasted’ artwork PLUS 10% off of any artwork in our inventory.

Check out the pub crawl map for details: http://www.wwagallery.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/pubcrawl%20copy.jpg

Check out the following preview samples from the exhibit…

[select images with enlarge when clicked]

Jim Mahfood

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

mixed media
20 x 15 inches (framed 28 x 23 inches)

Crystal Barbre

“Vitamin R”

oil on canvas
36 x 24 inches

Robert Bowen

“Ralph and Herbie”

acrylic on panel
12 x 12 inches (15 x 15 inches)

Lou Pimentel


“All the Girls I Loved Before”

watercolor on paper
20 x 14 inches (framed 27 x 21 inches)

Aunia Kahn

“Character Divertissement”

Limited Edition Print #1 of 10
24 x 16 inches (framed 33 x 27 inches)

Jason Edmiston

“Altered Beast”

acrylic on wood panel
20 x 16 inches (framed 21 x 17 inches)

Michael Mararian

“William S Burroughs”

acrylic on vintage narcotics pamphlet
9 x 3 inches (framed 14.5 x 10 inches)

Jessica Ward

“Gutter Glitter”

graphite on paper
14 x 11 inches (framed 17 x 14 inches)

Jeff Ramirez

“Every Place and Every Moment is Always the Best”

oil on panel
8 x 6 inches

Nathan Cartwright

“Lumen Naturae”

mixed media sculpture
11 x 9 x 9 inches
[This piece has an infinity mirror on the inside that lights up]

[side view]


[Detail: infinity mirror]

Here’s a video showing the infinity mirror in even further detail

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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