As artists ourselves at Venison Magazine, we love speaking with our peers, discovering new works and learning about their methodologies. What do we love just as much? Connecting with artists in other parts of the world, who also love speaking with, and voicing artists' creative paths. We connected with SOUP Experimental last year via social media, and have been following them ever since. We reached out and learned so much about who makes up this team and what they do.
SOUP Experimental, just one year in operation has been spreading their talents in showcasing emerging artists in and beyond Florida. Ashton Bird, director, Chelsea Raflo, artist, and Victoria DeBlasio, Opinion Writer, tell us about how SOUP got its name and their very first exhibition.
warehouses and of course, the pop-up house shows. Even the ‘art-park’ in our city prides itself in its inventive solutions to showcase artworks by offering gallery spaces in what was once a lumberyard. Sections of unpermitted artist constructed lofts from previous tenants intermingle with new, now safe, additions only adding to the artist imprint on the city.
The combination of what was left by the artists prior and diverse experimentation happening in Tallahassee made us romanticize about stories heard describing SoHo, Manhattan in the 1970s; moreover, the explorations that expanded the definition of contemporary art. One artist we’re particularly fond of
is Gordon-Matta Clark –his art, dinner parties, cooking and philanthropic mindset.
Our name and our collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach were inspired by an important chapter in contemporary art history: FOOD, an artist-runspace co-founded in 1971 by Caroline Gooden and Gordon Matta-Clark with Tina Girouard. Located in SoHo on Prince and Wooster Streets, FOOD gave a platform to any creator, from cooks, poets, and performers to visuals and architects. The restaurant provided low-price meals to support those in need and invited members of the community and artists a-like to be
-Ashton Bird, Chelsea Raflo, Victoria DeBlasio
SOUP's Anywhere But Brooklyn
SOUP experimental’s 1st exhibition Anywhere But Brooklyn featured – Brittany M. Watkins, who showed a magnificent installation titled Lucia;Not-Self in our Middle gallery. The second artist, Matthew Lawrence had four large, 60”x 60” paintings in our Main Gallery. It was wild. We renovated the warehouse in three weeks, so the work was literally being installed as the gallery was being built. Ha! I would never work those shifts again, but I had tons of help and support! What do I mean by support? One night in particular, Gisela Fernandez and I were up until 8:00 am sanding joint-compound; the next day, Matthew Lawrence, Austin Yorke, Kathleen Saunders and Matt Adams were painting primer and moving walls while I was out cold from the 24 hour shift prior. The little moments too, friends would stop by with coffee, beer or pizza and check up on things or say hi. The excitement really caught on.
After the next few months, we quickly realized we needed reliable assistants, coordinators and volunteers. We started off with five people and now we are at 18. SOUP experimental, including myself is a volunteer ran space that is exuberantly growing through people passionately believing in the idea of resourcefulness and experimental creativity. We’re scrappy. SOUP has grown to have gallery exhibitions, performance and music nights, open-mic, facility rental, a touring exhibition, an off-site exhibition, written artwork opinion and artist interviews.
We are all artists, which I believe makes communication much more understanding. I definitely wouldn’t say we all think the same though, which is even better –all of us have a flavor the other doesn’t, and each very much so complements one another. It’s been amazing being able to see what and how much we’ve been able to do.
-Ashton Bird, Director