Shit Art Club: the Community Created by Artists for Artists

Shit Art Club founders Zach, Shaun, and Tate have built a community to highlight great art that might not fall into what some would deem “fine art” territory. Part supportive L.A. gallery, part digital platform, part inspirational gathering space.

In addition to giving wayward artists a home, Shit Art Club also supports the Los Angeles community. They frequently host food drives, charitable auctions, and host concerts all in their own backyard that benefit the homeless with a 5 block radius of their gallery.

Amidst quarantine, Shit Art Club hosted three digital galleries as fundraisers to support local homeless people, before opening back up for in-person visits the last week of September. There is bespoke installation running at the 1700 Naud Art Gallery in Downtown LA until October 15.

I spoke with the group about the concept behind Shit Art Club, how they as individual artists came together to create it, and of course…community.

Tell me about Shit Art Club!

Shit Art Club is a community platform grown and built by artists for artists. The three of us who started SAC (Loser Angeles, The MAC and Plastic Ferrari) are artists who have different practices and work in different mediums – but shared similar creative philosophies and similar struggles when it came to sharing our artwork. It is so amazing that there are so many creatives and artists working in the world today.

We are fortunate, however, we began to notice that a lot of the people getting attention had work that was neatly rounded to fit in the art world’s round little holes. We are a bunch of squares making square pegs – because we want to make square pegs. We have never been interested in trying to make our work fit into another world – but we spent and still spend so much time and energy on what we create (that’s why they call art “work” right?) we recognized that it needed a place. So we built our own world.

In the beginning it was an experiment – so we didn’t quite know where it was going. We were patient so a good analogy for Shit Art Club is that it is a sort of a treehouse type thing. It is blissfully naive, a hideaway in plain sight, all are welcome, and the structure and environment is a perfect union of both construction and natural growth. If you think about it, a treehouse is like the perfect thing. Over time, the tree keeps growing and changing, so the structure will have to be reconstructed as the tree does. That is what we do as artists. We keep building differently and bigger as we grow. Shit Art Club is a platform built and grown for everyone.

How did you all connect? 

The three of us actually all met at Catholic High School in Southern California. We were all friends, two artists and a musician. Senior year the three of us actually all got placed on probation and “asked to leave” the school. We didn’t. We snuck out, all went to college, then reconnected back in LA after we all graduated and things just went from there. All of our artist friends kinda threw in the towel and we just kept going so we stuck together – for better or for worse. But here we are now.

You’re all artists right, how would you describe your own art styles?

Yes we are. Our styles are all super different. 

Loser Angeles paints. His style is influenced heavily by the Chicago Imagists/Hairy Who?, the Jung Wilde movement in Germany and his life working and living in LA.

The MAC is also a painter. He self-describes his style as something in the realm of blissfully naive. He is honest and direct. One of his all-time favorite artists is Dr. Seuss. He paints with a whimsical childlike spirit that is evident in his work. Each piece is reminiscent of childhood and has a wildly imaginative spirit. Everyone has been a kid. So everyone can relate and enjoy it.

Pablo Picasso famously said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” The MAC takes this to heart, and has found the formula to make this work. His style is based heavily on himself and his unique way of looking at the world.

Plastic Ferrari just basically writes a bunch of shit. He’s got a style unique to him. In all of his different projects he just tries to piece together his world view using a balance of hyper direct statements, euphemisms, and metaphors – but typically has a heavy use of idioms in all of his work. This mostly comes from the fact that he lives a super compartmentalized lifestyle and is really the only apparent connection between all the weird things he does or has had happen to him.

Tell me about your interests in helping out locally.

We are big on community. We sell art for fundraising causes and really try to help out our homeless neighbors by offering them work or help when we can. We have worked and donated to

various community-based organizations – but typically like to help out directly when we can. The pandemic has made it kinda difficult with the health restrictions, because we feel like the best thing we do locally is have our doors open to all.

On any given night before this went down, we’d have a wild mix of artists, neighbors, people from the streets and friends just hanging in the studio for a bit, pop by for some water or a drink and just hang. Today, people like to label everything and everyone.

We all do it – and there is a good reason for it – but sometimes the labels build walls. The best thing we can do, and what we are most interested in, is treating people like they are people no matter who they are. That sounds simple, but on skid row in Downtown LA, it isn’t as common as we’d like. So that is what we do for local stuff.

Besides the fact that we are completely dedicating most of our time to providing emerging artists with opportunities to show work. It is so difficult for people. We have provided multiple people with their first gallery exhibitions, helped them sell work, and taught them how to keep their creative drive up and showcase and share their work.

How do you find and choose the artists you showcase? 

People hit us up non stop. It is actually overwhelming. Sometimes through submissions, people who drop by, friends of friends, and a lot of us just cold calling and reaching out to artists we are fans of.

What can we expect from the current installation?

A wild illustration of wild imagination.

Any stories you’re still telling about good times you’ve had? 

It is just cool to see artists, gallerists and bands and people that we respect come by and hang with us. People like Coulter Jacobs, Vinny Early from Vaguess (the band), our neighbors at The King Eddy Bar, Jody and Stephen from These Days Gallery coming by and showing their support and teaching us stuff.

Plus, all of our wonderful friends and patrons. The cops came in once when we were having a rager with Dancing Tongues playing for a noise complaint. Walked all the way in the back to the bar, but they were the same guys who responded to a call when we saw someone breaking into a hotel and we reminded them so they just wound up hangin’ out and being stoked on us. It was weird. But funny as hell. Some good photos from that haha. Shit Art Show 1 was incredible. Beyond words and the start of it all.

We just love each other’s support, friendship and artwork. It is pretty wild to see how something we have built is actually getting traction and has become bigger than just the three of us drinking beer and throwing paint around. Shit Art Club is a growing community that is important and dear to us and a lot of people.

Related: TASCHEN Re-Releases ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ by Peter Beard

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