Journey To Chaos: An Interview with Klutch

Posted October 8, 2013 in ,
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One of Klutch’s pieces for Salt Lake: Cross Builder 11" x 6.5" by Klutch

Oklahoma-born, Portland-based artist Klutch, will be crafting an installation and exhibition of work over the next week to open at 1572 South State Street for two days only. “This World Doesn’t Feel Like Home Anymore,” presented by Anchor Stage Management, will run from 6-10 p.m. on October 18 and 19. An artist who was immersed in the hardcore punk scene for much of the ’80s and later served time as vice-president of a prominent insurance broker, Klutch (nicknamed after a character from Disney movie, Superdad), plans to wow Salt Lake City with a spontaneous effusion of brightly colored objects, wild line work, scavenged materials and spray paint.

SLUG: Tell me about your work. You do a lot of street art or stencil art-graffiti art, correct?
Klutch: Well, I did for a long time. I’m still pretty active, but I don’t really like to promote that and I don’t really like to tout that, you know? It’s really trendy and I think a lot of it now is done for the wrong reasons, and I’ve done it forever just to make somebody stoked. I don’t really do it to promote me as an artist … That stated, I do stuff in the streets all the time … I want to do it just to make a neighborhood cool or make somebody happy.

SLUG: How would you define your work?
Klutch: I kind of screw myself career-wise because I don’t really peg myself down. One minute I’ll be painting terrorist heads because I like painting those and then the next minute I’ll do super abstract stuff … My favorite stuff to do is just really abstract.

SLUG: What kind of materials do you use?
Klutch: I use a lot of spray paint and ink. Almost everything I do is reused materials. So again, I don’t go around like claiming that. First I did it out of necessity, being poor, and now I just feel like most materials just get in the way of making good art. I don’t want to ever be limited by “I have to have this special kind of paint or I can’t do it.” So I just try to keep things as cheap as possible so I can make as much as possible.

SLUG: Do you have a particular piece of artwork that you think defines what you do that you could describe?
Klutch: I would say the common thread that sort of runs through everything whether it’s an abstract piece, whether it’s a bird—I take old broken skate boards and make flocks of birds out of them—a common thread that runs through everything is … really fine line brushwork.

SLUG: Do you have a creative process you use to develop your work or is it more spur of the moment?
Klutch: Every single thing I do, I do just off the head. I don’t have reference materials. I want it to be pure in that sense once again. I don’t look at other people’s websites … I found that, for me, spontaneity works best. If I have a plan, I’m probably going to be disappointed with the outcome, and if I just jump in there like whatever happens, it usually comes out pretty good for me—both in life and in art. So I try not to be too controlling with things, just let it happen, which is exactly what I’m doing for the show here …

SLUG: Where is that space?
Klutch: It’s an old pawn shop … I got a good buddy here through skating who’s from Salt Lake and knows everyone there and he was just like, “Hey, come to Salt Lake, do this show, I’m renting out this place,” and that’s kind of the way I like to do things. I like risk and I like, “Hey, let’s pull this off ourselves” not “Let’s roll into some existing gallery.” Gallery shows are really boring.

SLUG: Tell me about the artwork you’re going to be showing here and what exactly you’re going to be doing in this space?
Klutch: I do a lot of building boxes out of wood and then paint those. So, I never have just a canvas on the wall. Even if it was a square painting it would still be like a wooden box. So, I’m going to bring a van full of these boxes that I’ve already made and painted. I’ve got about 10 to 15 new ones that I’m bringing plus some existing ones, and then a lot of work on paper… So once I land there… I’m just going to adapt and figure it out along the way. The intent was to have, once you enter the space, just a regular show of framed pieces on the wall evenly spaced and then, once you go farther and farther into it, it just becomes more and more chaotic … I have an idea of how I’m going to do that, but it really depends on materials—like I’m going to go and get glass jars. I’m going to make chandeliers out of booze bottles. It’s going to be stuff like that.

SLUG: I read something about you doing a mural on the outside of the building that’s going to evolve?
Klutch: Yeah, I’m going to show up and then the first day paint a couple of figures peeking around the corner of the building and then each day just add a few more so that over the course of a week, they all start swarming, moving toward the front door… So over the course of seven days there will be like a hundred of these little figures just cruising in to the front door of the place.

SLUG: Anything you wanted to add to get people excited about the show?
Klutch: The reality is, without being a super-confident arrogant jerk, I’ve just made art for a long time. I know how to make people stoked. I’ve never ever had a show ever where people didn’t go “holy shit,” and that’s kind of my intent and I’m going to do that—I guarantee that. You know, I’m not coming there like, “I’m cool out-of-town guy.” I assume that you guys are pretty savvy and have seen some really good stuff … The main thing I’m trying to do is make it something worthwhile for you to come out to, not just another art show with a bunch of paintings on the wall and some guy talking about himself … Here’s my little cheesy tagline: I want to make it as fun for everyone to come to the show as it is for me to come there and do it for a week.

For more information about the show, check out at