Howdy, FunkZone Podcast listeners! I'm really excited about this third episode because I got to have a sit down with the wild man of Santa Barbara art, Wallace Piatt. (Pronounced like Hyatt Hotels with a P).
As you'll hear, Wallace came in to art at a weird angle, having owned a cool used clothing store "True Grit" with his partner Jill Johnson for years on State Street. That led to screenprinting and that led to art and his current pop art style that borrows liberally from Lichtenstein and Warhol, but with his own complex spin. He incorporates cultural icons, Native American history, and advertising ephemera into his colorful work. In his heyday, he probably could have drank Peter O'Toole under the table, but despite a heart attack, he's still with us and focused on creating art these days, non-stop.
He does not suffer fools gladly and speaks his mind. Yes, there's a lot of swearing in this episode. Buckle up!!
• Life in the Container Village
• Growing up Catholic in Santa Maria
• His dad's life as a school building, his mom's as a real estate agent
• Mathematics and poetry before art
• His trip to Europe, the rave scene and seeing Warhol for the first time
• The evolution of the FunkZone
• Waiting tables in Santa Barbara, especially Palminteri's
• The Japanese man who helped Wallace and Jill kick off True Grit
• How State Street changed over the years
• The legacy of True Grit, and Santa Barbara's lack of fashion
• The art of trashing T-shirt
• How a broken heart and bitterness started his painting career
• Getting in drugs and drink later in life
• Gay clubbing in Santa Barbara back in the day
• Marijuana as the worst drug ever
• Sobering up and making art
• How to sell (or not) art in Santa Barbara
• The problems of gallery representation
• The lessons of retail
• The benefits of Instagram, the death of Facebook
You can find Wallace at his website: