Our third Vanguard feature highlights the work of Brooklyn-based fine artist Scott Albrecht, who is fresh off a solo exhibition entitled “New Translations” at Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery. Geometric assemblages, typography and a strong use of color spread across a variety of mediums abound in Scott’s work. When we approached him to work on a Vanguard project with us, we were knee deep in the US presidential election and racial and ideological tensions in our country were running high. Scott’s idea to create wood hands holding up the universal sign for peace was driven by our shared desire for acceptance and understanding during a tenuous time. We will be debuting these pieces via a show entitled “Together” at our LA flagship store this Saturday, March 11th, from 6-8pm. This is the first time we’ve had a Vanguard feature that has resulted in an art show and we hope to put more on in the months ahead. A portion of the sale from each wood piece that’s sold will go to a charity of the purchaser’s choice. For more information, please visit the official landing page for “Together": scottalbrecht.com/together.
As is done with all Vanguard projects, we’ve created something in collaboration with our featured artist to give away free of charge. Starting today, all webstore orders will ship with a “Peace” enamel pin designed by Scott Albrecht while supplies last.
This isn't the first time that hands have been the subject of your work. What intrigues you about them?
I’ve been working on the hand series for awhile now. It’s one of those things that I keep finding ways to expand on so it never really feels finished. Up until now, all of the works in the series represent specific personality traits or characteristics that I find notable or admirable. I’ve been using the hand in the series as a visual metaphor to the idea that people are defined by their actions. With ‘Together’ it’s a little different because it’s not about an individual or specific trait but a population. The series depicts 10 unique hands in varied natural grains all giving the same gesture of peace to illustrate the idea of unity.
Can you expand on that?
I think one of the things that has been troubling to me these days and extends to most issues is a lack of empathy in our conversations. When we talk about issues we frame them as opposing sides or ideas (liberal versus conservative, pro-life versus pro-choice, pro-immigration versus anti-immigration, etc.) which I think is dangerous because it becomes about sides like a sports game rather than focusing on the facts and the people that are involved or who would be impacted by these situations. There is a general lack of humanity in these conversations and that affects how we not only discuss but resolve differences. However, what I think is shared on both sides, albeit rarely achieved, is a want to be heard by one another. ‘Together’ is meant to speak to this with optimism. Starting with a peaceful foundation allows for a better and more informed discussion. Being on one side versus the other is not about right or wrong but should be a call to understand a perspective beyond your own.
You've developed a distinct color pallet for your wood pieces over the years. Is this the first time you've opted to go with a natural stain treatment? What are some challenges you encountered?
It’s not the first time, but color has definitely become a large part of my work and approach over the years. With this series, though, I didn’t want the final treatment to overshadow or take away from the message in any way. The simplicity of the varied grains I think communicates best the idea of difference and inclusion, and I wanted the final treatment to only enhance that versus mask it.
Along with the wood series for sale, we've worked together to create enamel pins that we'll be giving away. How important is it to you that the art you make be accessible? What do you hope someone will think or feel when they see the pin being worn?
It's definitely important. I think part of the fun of making work is that it lets you connect with others to share and allow for a conversation. I try not to have expectations about what people might see or get from my work, because everyone has their own perceptions and references which I enjoy because it allows for the work to take on new interpretations beyond my own.
We've decided together to donate a portion of the sales of these pieces to charity. What are some causes that are important to you?
I think that’s been an interesting and unexpected challenge to this project, because it seems like nothing is really safe these days, so everything feels important. Between 3sixteen and myself we put together a list of organizations and causes we both support. From Stand with Standing Rock, to the Trevor Project, Planned Parenthood, World Relief as well as a few others but with this, we’re allowing the buyer to choose the organization they want to see their contribution go to which acts as another leg to the idea behind ‘Together’ – allowing for a dialogue of what’s important to someone else beyond our own ideas.
Can you share some upcoming shows or projects that you're working on?
As for upcoming stuff, I have another wood series coming out in April with LineDot Editions in Chicago, and a solo exhibition titled "Lessons In Perspective" with Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia that opens April 28th. After that, I have a two-person exhibition with Kirk Bray in Philadelphia at Pink Slime Gallery in October, and another two-person exhibition with Mary Iverson in Amsterdam at Andenken Gallery in the fall.
"Together" debuts this Saturday, March 11th, at our LA flagship store and will remain on display for two months. Please join us from 6-8pm to view the series and to meet Scott.
941 E. 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012