In SLUG Magazine’s neverending search of the subversive, I felt it was necessary to investigate the history of underground art studio Poor Yorick.
Poor Yorick is located at 530 W. and 700 South. This studio space is a product of necessity, drive and vision. Founded by creative thinker and artist heavyweight Brad Slaugh, this man is so humble that he would prefer I feature the lesser-know artists that share this space; but for anyone that has spent much time in these studios, it’s obvious that Slaugh is the man behind the curtain.
SLUG: Why the name “Poor Yorick”?
Brad Slaugh: It’s in reference to Hamlet. There was a court jester named Yorick who was an old friend of Hamlet’s. There is this graveyard scene where they dig up “poor Yorick.” It’s wickedly funny with tragedy versus comedy; its really dark humor; like the final joke’s on us. I was also reading this monstrous book titled the Infinite Jest.
SLUG: Is this the first studio space like this you’ve shared with other artists?
BS: No, I shared a space known as the Marmalade Artist Studios. It was a warehouse space on 400 North and 300 West. When ownership changed, I started looking for a new studio.
SLUG: How does Poor Yorick work as a studio for so many artists?
BS: We first acquired the main area of 9600 square feet, and then as time went on, we expanded into the adjacent area with another 3000 sq. ft. My brother Kirk Slaugh and I started building what we call “boxes” to separate space out for different artists. I try to focus on the basics; natural light, heat if possible, and making everything affordable.
SLUG: Why an Equinox Show and how long has this been taking place?
BS: This is our 7th equinox show. I believe the first one was in the spring of 2002. The equinox is a great time of year when it’s not too hot and not too cold. We try to use this time to collaborate on a project that would improve the space for everyone, whether we paint the walls or improve the lighting.
SLUG: What artists will be showing in this, the Spring 2005 Equinox Show?
BS: The participants for the Spring Show on March 18, 2005 will be, but not limited to, Nikol Alderman, Joey Behrens, Lynn Oaks, Trent Call, John Dejong, Mark England, Elizabeth Grand, Ben Higbee, Blaine Hofeling, Bruce Johnson, Brian Kubarycz, Scott Ligon, Tessa Lindsay, Trevor Muhler, Tom Mulder, M’lisa Paulsen, Sarah Pendleton, Matt Potter, Peder Singleton, Brad Slaugh, Tracy Strauss, Tent Thursby Alvey and Ben Webster.
SLUG: So what’s next for Brad Slaugh?
BS: My life has been really crazy lately. My next project is a trip for artists to Provence in the South of France that I’m coordinating with artist Patty Kimball. The artists will spend three weeks painting the scenery.
SLUG: Finally, where do you come up with the subject matter for your “salt of the earth” family portraits?
BS: Those subjects are actually my family, the real deal! Real people have a gritty beauty.
Visit the Poor Yorik communal artist center in March for Gallery Stroll, the third Friday of the month, March 18, 2005.