The FunkZone Podcast with Ted Mills







December 2014
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Howdy everyfunkabody!

Today we sit down with a fixture of Santa Barbara's art scene, whether you've seen his brutal but cartoony canvases, gone to his annual Reindeer Art Show, know him for his early '80s band The Tan, or just met him around town.


As of September 2014, he became the head of the Santa Barbara Arts Fund, which helps place teens with mentors from printmaking to sculptors. Brad is a guy who thinks out of the box naturally, being raised by two artists, abstract expressionist Ken Nack and "naive" artist Joan Main. You'll see how he turns the entire interview into a statement of his art in the's clever!


Topics include:
His journey to the Arts Fund and the rewards of curating
The Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
The Arts Fund's mission and an example from one of its interns
Growing up with artistic parents and Chicago vs New York in the 1940s/1950s art scene
A traumatic story of childhood spaghetti
The beginnings of The Tan and the Santa Barbara music scene, circa early '80s
Recording with Robbie Krieger of the Doors
How being in a band is like having war buddies
How painting is like telling a story
How an office job might be the best thing
The dramatic end of the banana tarantula story


Brad Nack has a website here
For more info on the Santa Barbara Arts Fund check here
And because nothing dies on the Internet, The Tan has a webpage with audio! Relive the hair days/dyes!


Object of Knowledge, a work by Ken Nack, Brad's father

Direct download: Episode_011_Brad_Nack.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 6:23pm PDT

Hello Folks and Funky Peeps!

On today's podcast I sit down with philosopher Tam Hunt to talk about Panpsychism, a school of thought that tries to collect science and spirituality together and find a common ground. When Tam's book "Eco, Ero, Eros" came past my desk I was intrigued for two reasons: he was taking the macro/micro ideas found in Buddhism and linking it to science in fascinating ways, and he had a few things to say about creativity...on a molecular level. I gave him a call and despite neither of us knowing each other, we set up an interview quickly. I hope you enjoy our chat and check out his book.

Topics discussed in this podcast:
The mind-body “problem” and panpsychism
Does everything “think” or have subjectivity? Where does “mind” emerge?
Alfred North Whitehead and the birth of panpsychism
How Tam went from being a Materialist to his current philosophy
How philosophy still affects us every day…even if you are a physicist
How science, spirituality and philosophy can all work together
Modern science’s current ideas about our place in the universe
Tam’s biography, Cornwall, UK, and time in the army and San Diego
What is post-modern environmentalism
“How New-Agey am I?”
The next book: How to craft a rational spirituality?
How religion evolves…but does not accept that it does
Tam’s spiritual journey out of atheism
His experiences with acid and marijuana
Burning Man and crowd-based consciousness experiment
The Institute of Noetic Sciences
Einstein’s assumption about the speed of light and the “block universe idea”
Free will…do we have it?
The philosophical concept of creativity, or the EROS

I also asked Tam to recommend his top ten favorite books:
1) Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are
2) Douglas R. Hofstadter and Dan Dennett, The Mind's I
3) Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach
4) David Ray Griffin, Unsnarling the World-Knot
5) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Human Phenomenon
6) Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World
7) Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality
8) David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind
9) Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul
10) Tam Hunt, Eco, Ego, Eros
(I see what you did there, Tam!)

EEE one page cover Kirkus

Mr. Hunt lives in Santa Barbara and runs Community Renewable Solutions LLC. Let me just cut and paste from his site: "Hunt is an attorney with substantial experience in California regulatory law and policy, specializing in renewable energy and energy efficiency policy. His regulatory work takes him to the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and occasionally to Sacramento to watch sausage-making in action. He is also a Lecturer in climate change law and policy and renewable energy law and policy at UC Santa Barbara."

So, yeah, he's doing good work.

By the way, subscribers to the podcast now receive my weekly newsletter "Friday Document Dump" (guess when it comes out!). Blatantly borrowing an idea from another podcaster, I provide 10 links to things I found interesting this week, from essays to artist portfolios, videos and more. Look for it!!

Direct download: 10_Episode_010_Tam_Hunt.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 8:07pm PDT

Good day to you all, Funkee Homosapiens!

Dug Uyesaka has been making art in Santa Barbara since the '70s and trained under an impressive roster of instructors during his time at UCSB. A really swell guy to talk to, I've seen Dug out and about in SB since I started hanging around the wine-and-cheese peeps that congregate at art openings, and he's always got time to talk. So that made her perfect podcast invitation material. But because information about him is scant, I used this interview to really unearth his background, and by gum we did!

Guided by Voices

In this chat we go into a lot of Californian and American history, then wind up talking about art and teaching.

Topics discussed include:
Being born in Fresno and his earliest drawing efforts
Dug’s dad’s job and Fresno’s Chinatown
Being a sansei, a third-generation Japanese-American
The Forestiere Underground Gardens
The San Joaquin Valley and the drought
How Dug’s family went into the internment camps in Jerome, AK and Poston, AZ
The aftermath of internment
Going to UCSB and his teachers: William Dole, Howard Fenton, Bob Thomas, Richard Ross, Guy Williams Ciel Bergman, Michael Dvortcsak
Living in I.V. during the mid-‘70s and Dug’s listening list as an undergrad
Dug’s disastrous post-Tom Petty date
Dug’s interest in ink on paper
Cy Twombly
Mark Tobey
The Slingshot Gallery “Outsider art” and Jeff Koons
Being an artist model for Jack Tworkov and Alfred Leslie
Random people met while working at the BottleShop: Stuart Whitman and Playboy Playmate Kym Herrin
Working for Andrew Davis and Robert Zemeckis
Transition to Laguna Blanca School and the fun of teaching children
Artist and friend Michael Blaha
The Santa Barbara arts community and the Funkzone
Being interdisciplinary and working with history
What he’d like to borrow from his students and how he thinks his students see him
Bringing his pets into his art


Dug really doesn't have much of a web presence...maybe he'll ask one of his students to bash together a site for him. Hey, it's what we call extra credit in the teaching biz. In the meantime, here's his Facebook page.

Direct download: 09_Episode_009_Dug_Uyesaka.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 6:48pm PDT

Welcome back, Funky people!

Derek Harrison is a painter in the John Singer Sargent school of realism, but painting 21st century women. Starting late (in his 20s), he got into art through tattooing and, trying to really polish his craft, got into oil painting and techniques of the old masters.

A month ago, he did a live painting at Santa Barbara Art Foundry, and we got talking and soon I was grabbing my microphones and computer and setting up shop in his State Street studio for this hour-long chat.

Topics talked about include:

The new studio, right next to the old studio
Why 1st Thursdays in Santa Barbara aren’t as good
What Santa Barbara needs to borrow from Pasadena and Los Angeles’ art scene
Michael Husser and the Equator cafe
Sullivan Goss and Waterhouse galleries in Santa Barbara
Growing up in Denver and Steamboat Springs
Getting started painting at 20 and the idea of “God-given talent”
Ghost World and Art School Confidential
The resurgence in art schools for realism
The early Impressionists, especially Monet
How a desk job led to his first canvas work
Does comic book art lead to ideas of how art is made in young people?
How working at a tattoo shop taught him fundamentals of realism
“Biomechanical” tattoos
Jer Clarke’s influence on Harrison
Jeff Gogue’s tattoo work
Shawn Barber’s workshops and how he learned about color
Jeremy Lipking
Sean Cheetham
The learning curve of realist painting, and when he got his style
How hard it is to find models
His methods of working with models
His current challenges in painting
Harrison’s top five artists
One of his favorite models, Samantha
His most successful methods of selling art
Matt Kennedy and La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Harrison’s big break
Harrison’s daily routine

You can check out Derek's site here.

Direct download: Episode_008_Derek_Harrison.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 7:23pm PDT

Welcome back funkmeisters!

Sue Van Horsen wanted to make art all her life, but career and family came first until her 40s when she turned to graphic design after decades in youth counseling. After that second career, a few years ago she went into her third, into assemblage, print making, and homemade guitar making. I first saw VanHorsen's work at Wall Space gallery, a mix of kitschy objects with menacing, punky attachments, along with a playable exhibit of her guitar work.

On my first visit to her house, she had amplified a cactus so one could play the spines though an amp. That's when I realized Van Horsen's mind thinks very differently to most people. I was happy to have her show in SPECIMEN, the 2013 show I curated at the SB Arts Fund.

Her guitars are selling very well, but it's such a small fraction of what she makes. We check in with Sue and talk to her about her life, career, the state of art in Santa Barbara, and if anything can be done for a town that apparently doesn't like "edgy" art. Van Horsen has some opinions, and it's quite a funny chat. It's a big longer than usual, but I think it's worth it.

She has a piece on display this Friday (12/5/14) at Roy Restaurant, 7 W. Carrillo St. as part of Michael Long's curated Prohibition-themed art show. I am one of the co-creators of Repeal Day Santa Barbara, so I hope the evening goes really well and see some of you there.

Topics discussed in this podcast

The history of Sue’s 1920 era house on the Westside
The end of one career and the beginning of Sue’s graphic designer career
And how that turned into an art career
Her classes with Elaine LeVasseur, printmaker
Being a collector since childhood
Growing up in Lakewood, CA, home of Black Flag and Suburban Lawns (kind of)
Connecting back with estranged family members in her 30s
A traumatic but hilarious anecdote about homemade clothing from high school
Reinventing herself in high school
Her stint at Cerritos City College
The influence of Warhol, Jasper Johns.
Why the Avengers was better in black and white
How art is who you are, not what you do
Living among oil derricks in Lakewood and beyond
Finding the Presbyterian church in her 20s and coming to Santa Barbara
The more freewheeling days of Santa Barbara, Fiesta, in the 1990s
How she got into guitar making, starting with cigar boxes
Being diagnosed with Parkinsons at 42
 Being a “crafty mom”
How bad printmaking turned into her first show at Elsie’s
A roundabout explanation of the “Bun-a-Minute” assemblage
“Your art is too edgy”
How we know Santa Barbara is still so conservative, and an anecdote about the Rocky Horror Picture Show
The movie scene in Santa Barbara and the art scene
The future of the Funk Zone
Exposure, overexposure, and “art shock”
The fate of the Funk Zone’s Artist Village
A version of such a thing in San Diego
“Creepy is how this country rolls”

You can see Sue's art here.


Direct download: 007_Sue_Van_Horsen.mp3
Category:creativity -- posted at: 11:41pm PDT