Vote for Providence Artist!

Jennifer Young, Gallery Assistant, Yellow Peril Gallery

If you are a Providence local, you have probably seen a “WEST FOR ARTIST” sticker or poster somewhere around town. Tom West is inundating our city with propaganda to be elected as Providence’s next Artist. He is calling on other artists to join in on the fun and run against him. Do you get it?

Spearheading the Providence Artist 2012 Campaigns, Tom West, along with up to 20 other local artists, will compete, debate, and smear campaign against one another to be elected Artist by the people of Providence.

“Their approach will mimic that of the average campaigning politician, but focusing on creativity, ingenuity and a dose of subversion,” declares Tom, who has created a satirical game of shameless self-promotion — and a clever way to stimulate the Creative Capitol by bringing its artists out of hiding.

In each subsequent issue of COLLECT, we will update you on the whereabouts of debate events as well as feature one of the Artists-in-running.

This month we are pleased to present the ideals and values of the first candidate for Artist: Tom West.

What is your campaign slogan and why should we care?

“DO STUFF” because it is the opposite of being lazy.

We live in a world where you LIKE something by pushing a button instead of getting out there and doing stuff. A world where people spend their days of unemployment playing video games while passing up a real opportunity to chase the American dream (DOING something they like and turning it into a career based on passion).

DO STUFF is the answer to depression, health, boredom, getting into trouble (in my case).

Get up and DO STUFF and the rest will take care of itself.

Throw away your television and limit yourself on the internet.

Find a passion. Help a neighbor. DO STUFF. ‘nuff said.

What bothers you about the Providence Art scene, and why did you choose to live and make art here?

Right now it is the Recession. I’m finding it really hard to find people with expendable income to purchase my IN YOUR FACE art. I feel the folks with that income either don’t gravitate towards my stuff, or no gallery in Providence (with the exception of the newly established Yellow Peril Gallery) has had the balls to tell them that they should. That and the contemporary art scene is saturated with mediocre landscapes and boat dock paintings.

Another thing that bothers me is that the first question I get asked at art shows is “Did you go to RISD?” As if that is what really matters to buyers.

The moral to the story, again, is to DO STUFF.

“I live in the city of HOPE. Obama can’t take that from us. Hope is the anchor of the soul. Providence is a wonderful training ground for artist. I really want to be part of that and help shape the mechanism to keep the talent HERE. So the nation comes to us for style.”

I chose to live and make art here in Providence because this is my home. I am a Rhode Island native, born and raised. We call ourselves Swamp Yankees (families that have long historical ties to RI). I really enjoy living here. I am invested in
making the future brighter for everyone through the arts. I want to see Providence and Rhode Island become the next Artistic hub of the United States and the world.

What inspires you to make art?

The fact that I can make a living of it. Not because I am ego driven. On the
contrary, I am spirit driven. The notion of being able to feed and house myself by pursuing a passion and inspiring positive forward thinking around me is the
American Dream. The vibe in this town is magical. I love working with creative people. Being creative is like fuel to me. It makes me feel alive. It gets my Art Machine running at full speed.

If you were rich and powerful like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, what single thing would change about The Creative Capitol?
I would collect art here. I have seen more pound-for-pound raw talent here than anywhere in the world. Yes, I have been around the world. And I have lived all over the US.

I would then form the highest end gallery / museum showcasing underground heavy-hitting art in hopes it would launch artists (who really deserve and need it) into the cosmos. Basically I would hold to my mantra…..DO STUFF.”

Any artist with the “guts” to stand out and make some noise, feel free to contact

[Editor’s Note: This article is was originally printed in COLLECT #3 and reprinted in COLLECT #4.]