Meet Demi Anter.  Demi is from La Quinta.  She first heard about The CVAS five years ago when she was a senior at La Quinta High School and interviewed us for her High School newspaper (which she was co-editor of).  A couple months ago she graduated from college at University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelors of Art degree in Studio Art.  As soon as she was out of school Demi walked right into The Coachella Valley Art Scene.  In tow with her were fresh art works from her senior show, in hopes that the CVAS could  feature some in the gallery.  And we did.

Stories like Demi’s are what The CVAS aspires to.  We want to meet the aspiring artists in the desert at a young age and help them develop…with an end goal of helping them sell their work to support their dreams.

Demi Anter’s soft sculptures / art merchandise are currently for sale at The Coachella Valley Art Scene Gallery and online in our Etsy shop.  They are fun, fresh and hand-made by a local artist.  And this artist, is an interesting one.  Read her interview with The Coachella Valley Art Scene to learn more about her and her vision.

.

demi anter

.

INTERVIEW : DEMI ANTER

conducted by Jake Williams of The Coachella Valley Art Scene

..

.

Where are you from and how you did you get into art?

I was born on an island in Washington State (Whidbey) and my parents moved down the coast because my mom found the small town and weather to be too depressing.  Eventually we ended up in a house in the La Quinta Cove, so I’ve lived most of my life in the desert.

In addition to getting us out of Washington, my mom was also responsible for me getting into art.  She’s also very artistic, but didn’t get a lot of opportunities to do creative things as a kid, so she made sure that we went to plays, musicals, museums, book stores — all that stuff — when I was younger.  We did a lot of crafts together, everything from painting rocks to look like animals to creating our own story books.

Eventually I started getting more into writing and I took some poetry workshops in 7th grade with local poet Dessa Byrd Reed.  When I got into high school, Dessa connected me with a woman who was my mentor up until she passed away a little over a year ago.  Her name was Patricia D’Alessandro and she was a wonderful poet and friend.

I still did art as a student at LQHS but I became way more serious about writing largely because of Patricia.  So I enrolled at UCSB in the College of Creative Studies as a Literature major.  Then I became a double major in Art.  Then I dropped literature altogether.  I still love to write, but art was pulling at me more strongly.  Plus, art totally encompasses creative writing as well.

.

.

.demi anter

demi anter

.

.

Do you have any artistic muses? Who (or what) feeds your creative inspiration?

Actually, a lot of the people on the pillows are muses of mine.  David Bowie was the earliest.  When I started listening to his music in middle school, I decided I had to be truly extraordinary if I was ever going to meet him.  I was obsessed with him.  It made me want to do something great with my life.

I also love Bowie because he encompasses this idea of weird being cool.  I always think of glam rock as being about letting your freak flag fly, not letting conventions weigh you down, not answering to others’ expectations.  You have to be pretty sure of yourself and okay with disappointment if you’re going to be an artist.  Also, whatever is unique and weird about you — if you can channel that — that’s what will make your art interesting, alongside the level of craft, of course.  So I love him, for embracing the weird.

I also love costuming and all the theatrics, too.  And gold.  I am a sucker for gold.

And of course there are countless other artists who I admire!  But I could never list them all, plus I feel like I’m already said way too much.  At the moment, a few of the important ones are: the poet Charles Bukowski, Cher, spoken word artists like Beau Sia and Kanye West, fine artists like Andrea Zittel and Richard Serra, comedian and interviewer Marc Maron (“WTF”), RuPaul and Lena Dunham.

.

.

demi anter

demi anter

.

.

As an art student at UC Santa Barbara, you were required to complete a senior thesis exhibition. Typically, most students would choose to mix older works with newer works to embody the overall theme to showcase artistic evolution; however, you did things a little different. Can you explain to us the creation of “Demopolis: Space//Magic//Art” and the concept for the show?

It’s been a vitally important aspect of my art education at UCSB to challenge myself.  I have had some magnificent teachers who believed that I could do great work and who were not satisfied with anything less.  My senior show wasn’t any different.  I wanted to show the faculty, my peers and – most importantly – myself that I could put together “the best senior show ever” and to me, that meant everything had to be new, over the top, plus visually as well as conceptually engaging.  That’s a tall order, and though the show wasn’t perfect by any means, I was really happy with the result.  I’ve never worked so hard on anything, or been so exhausted for so long, as when I was installing that show.  I am proud of that.

.

.

demi anter

-ok58hcRO9SDSXYcy85MGInM4Fyiw5-xn7ECahueeCM

.

.

As far as where it originated: I knew I wanted it to be something interactive — I wanted to totally change the gallery space.  An initial idea was to make a playground for adults — I love games and have made a couple of art games.

Then, last December, I had to teach myself to sew in order to make this surprise for my best friend, Elizabeth.  Long story short, we took this picture at Smoke Tree Stables together when we were 7 and we had always wanted to recreate it, so I had to remake her outfit.

.

.

demi anter

demi anter

.

.

It was a great experience — surprisingly, given my lack of sewing skills — and I wanted to do more sewing.  So Demopolis became heavily textile-based.  I came up with the idea of housing everything in big, fabric tents to tie together the smaller individual pieces (like my pillows!).  That evolved into one BIG tent that encompassed a bunch of smaller works.  Most of them were projects I had always wanted to make but never had the time, money and/or confidence to pursue.  So the show was a lot about creating without fear of failure.  It was also about embracing the things that make you tick, however weird they are — coming back to the David Bowie thing.

If you watched my Cher-infused “pitch” video, I’m sure you’ll know what I mean. 🙂

..

.

Now that Demopolis is done and you’re a college graduate, what project(s) are you currently working on?

After Demopolis and graduation, I took a lot of time to recover and reenergize.  I am still getting Kickstarter rewards fulfilled, which means a bunch of mugs, some bandanas and a few, very special Kanye West-themed onesies to sew and ship out.  I have also finally had time to get my Etsy store properly started.  “Proxy Shop” began because friends of mine liked the pillows I had made for the show so much that they wanted to buy them.  Doing a Kickstarter to help fund the show was also a really valuable experience that taught me the reward of creating small, functional items, like coffee mugs and clothing.

Also, we just got a cat.  Her name is Gus, and the newfound responsibilities of parenthood weigh heavily on me.  🙂

.

.

demi anter

demi anter

demi anter

.

.

Your art merchandise is flying off of the shelves, both at The Coachella Valley Art Scene gallery and on Etsy through your store ProxyShop. Why do you make these wonderful coffee mugs, pillows, and temporary tattoos instead of trying to sell paintings, photographs, etc.?

That’s really nice of you to say!  It has been going pretty well.  In fact, when I started the online shop, I did not expect to sell this many items right away.  It’s definitely not enough to live off of, but I know it’s a gradual process.  I am just happy that people enjoy the things I make enough to want them in their homes!  It’s a really cool feeling sending work out to people, even complete strangers, in a variety of places all over the country.

There are a few different answers to that question.  I’m not a painter or a photographer.  But even if I were more of a 2D artist, functional household items and accessories tend to be much easier to sell.  I look at my Etsy items and the items at CVAS as a business pursuit.  I enjoy making them — they are part of my artistic process and tie into other bigger ideas I’m interested in — but they aren’t emotionally rich in the way my other artwork is, in the way I think truly good art ought to be.  Unfortunately, my other work has largely been large installation pieces, interactive pieces and performances, and until an artist is fairly well-known and highly regarded, it’s difficult to make money from any of those things.  That’s why I had to come up with a Kickstarter and separate items to fund my senior show.  I couldn’t count on selling the work in it, unfortunately.

.

.

demi anter

demi anter .

.

We’re quite happy for you here at the gallery; in fact, you’ve been acquainted with us for a while. In high school, you interviewed the CVAS founder Sarah Scheideman about the Coachella Valley Art Scene when it was in its early stages. What are your thoughts on this full circle moment of your growth as an artist now being featured by our organization?

I think it was actually one my writers who interviewed Sarah and introduced me to the CVAS blog.  I remember he had an older brother who went to the shows and turned him on to it.  He came back after the interview and raved about her.  I finally got to meet her and have of course attended a bunch of CVAS events over the last 6 years.  I’ve followed the progress of the blog — and now the gallery — closely, since I thought Sarah’s goal was worthwhile and admirable, and I liked her a lot as a person when we did have the chance to speak.  It’s so cool to see CVAS come so far.

On a personal note, having the opportunity to finally show here is spectacular.  I think my 17-year-old self would be proud, and my 22-year-old self is thrilled as well.  It’s a homecoming for me.  It’s also a way to honor the artist I was 6 years ago and recognize what I’ve learned since then.  “Growth” hits the nail on the head.

..,.

.

demi anter.

..

We wanted to thank you for “Chering” the love. As we close the interview, I must ask: What is in the future for Demi Anter?

If only I knew the answer to that question!…

Well, here are some things I’d really like to do: Make Proxy Shop into a viable business, get work into some more gallery spaces in other cities, focus in on some big, new projects, make another book, teach my cat to walk on a leash, take classes at the UCB in L.A., make some short films, and maybe write a T.V. show.

After another year in Santa Barbara, I hope to move to Berlin for a year or so.  I’ll probably take art classes there, or do some kind of internship or fellowship that is arts-related, and work on my German (my mom and her family are Austrian).

For now, I have to wrap up the Kickstarter, edit some Demopolis photos, fulfill a couple pillow orders, clean our apartment, and find a real-person job.  Ugh.  Not so glamorous but actually, it’s been nice to be out of school and do something different.  I now have time to reflect on what’s important to me and where I want to go.

I have a lot of interests that span many different forms of art.  Maybe I can make them all work together, maybe I’ll find one thing to be happy focusing on for a long time, or maybe I’ll do something completely different.  There’s a lot yet to be seen…

.

demi anter

demi anter

Comments

comments