DEAD DADS CLUB — BURIED IN THE WOODS

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DEAD DADS CLUB CORPORATION HAS BECOME KNOWN FOR THEIR EXQUISITELY DARK CRAYOLA CRAYON PAINTINGS OF CORPSES, OR THOSE ABOUT TO BE, WRAPPED IN PLASTIC, SUFFOCATING, OR TOSSED IN THE FOREST LIKE DRIFTWOOD.
SCOTT SHANNON (PRESIDENT) AND RORY CARRACINO (VICE PRESIDENT), FIRST MET IN COLLEGE IN PHILADELPHIA. SCOTT STARTED THE CORPORATION in 2005, CONCEPTUALIZING HIS IDEAS PRIOR TO BEGINNING THE LABORIOUS, INTENSIVE BODY OF WORK.
DIRTY STOPPED BY THE D.D.C.C. STUDIO AFTER DARK TO HAVE SOME BEERS WITH SCOTT AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE FORCE BEHIND THE CORPORATION. WE LEARNED ABOUT A WILD-CHILD YOUTH, RECURRING NIGHTMARES, AND THERE WAS EVEN A PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS:
“THE GOAL IS TO TAKE OVER GENRE, FORM, PRINCIPLE AND BE THE MOST ELITE PROVIDER OF XXXL CRAYOLA CRAYON IMAGES AROUND. IF WE CAN’T DO THAT, IT’S ONTO THE NEXT GENRE, FORM, PRINCIPLE AND FUCK YOU ALL. ANYTHING ELSE?”
TEXT Paul Bruno & Anthony Spinello / PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Bruno

 


DIRTY: HOW OLD ARE YOU?

SCOTT SHANNON: 36. Life becomes more fulfilling after 30. All of your hormonal emotions come down a notch. Even when you’re really upset, it’s just nowhere near as paralyzing as when you’re a teenager or even your early 20s.

 

D: HOW WAS YOUR LIFE AS A TEENAGER?

SS: I was a lot more high strung than I am now, and as I understand it, I’m high strung now!

My teenage years were sort of mixed for me, it started out all “sex and drugs” until about 17, when I quit all of that and abstained for a couple of years. Actually at 16 I started abstaining from sex. At 17 I stopped doing blow and crack. At 18 I stopped smoking weed and then started having sex again. I stayed off of drugs for about 5 years. Now I love them! But not crack.

 

D: WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN ART?

SS: Yeah, I was always an artist. By 3rd grade there’s a certain differentiation of who can draw and who can’t and I was the kid drawing unicorns for the girls.

 

D: WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

SS: In a town called Warwick, NY. It’s right along the Jersey border.

 

D: WHERE DID YOU GO TO HIGH SCHOOL?

SS: I went to 3 different high schools, one in NY, then one in Jersey, until finally I ended up at a school in Delaware. I kept on getting kicked out because of behavioral or drug abuse issues. I finally dropped out.

 

D: WHEN DID YOUR TECHNIQUE BECOME SO MASTERFUL? HOW DID IT EVOLVE? WHERE DID IT START?

SS: Well you know, the whole time I was drinking and drugging and sexing in my youth and beyond, I was I always doing this. But once I dropped out of school and stopped doing drugs, that’s when I really became focused on learning about art. And I didn’t really know much about art. Most of the shit I liked was very classical. I started reading about classical technique and making my own materials, I was always experimenting with different media. I was trying to learn about a lot of the traditional, particularly Renaissance type of ideals, like composition, light, etc. One of my favorite books is The Art of Color and Design, which is really like a graphic design textbook, but it taught me about the elements of design and how they interact. What results you get from different combinations of color, line, form and texture.
When I dropped out of school I made a shit load of work! I was working at a grocery store and just trying to learn how to make art. And then I decided that I was going to be a bartender and go back to school. I went and got my GED.

 


 

D: DID YOU APPLY TO ART SCHOOL?

SS: Yeah – the only thing I could do is art, so I sent out my portfolio to a bunch of schools.

 

D: WHAT DID YOUR PORTFOLIO LOOK LIKE AT THAT TIME?

SS: Let me think! There were actually a lot of really bad large scale oil paintings on wood, that hopefully no one will get to see. But I was a kid, I didn’t really know. I was searching for something, I didn’t know where I was going with my art at the time. I was trying to make it personal, but it was more like someone who didn’t know what he wanted to do, just doing. Because I wanted to be good at it. I majored in fine art / sculpture, but I dropped out after 2 years. And then I moved to Miami and started bartending again, and wasting my life paying my girlfriend’s rent at the time.

 

D: WHEN DID YOU MEET RORY?

SS: I met Rory in college. Spring of ’99.

 

D: WHERE YOU GUYS WORKING TOGETHER SINCE THEN?

SS: Not in the beginning. We went through our foundation year together, but we didn’t really know each other then, it was still kind of a competition then. In my mind, I was competing with everyone. I went into college at 24 years old, and my classmates were all pissed off at me because they had no skill set, they were just starting out. And in every class I was killing it! I knew color theory. I knew painting, and drawing and design —

 

D: THEN WHY WERE YOU GOING?

SS: Why was I going? Because, I don’t know, I had some insecurity about the fact that I hadn’t finished high school. I felt that I needed school. In the end, I’m happy with the outcome. I’m glad I went, I’m glad I left when I did. I’m glad that everything transpired the way that it has. Now I feel like I have the opportunity to succeed, and that has been my objective all along.

 

D: IT SEEMS THAT YOU WERE AWARE OF ART AND CULTURE AT A REALLY YOUNG AGE. WAS YOUR FAMILY INTO ART?

SS: Not really. I mean, my father can draw, but he never really did anything with it.

Once I dropped out of high school I did develop some ambition pretty quickly. I quit my vices and then I really had nothing to do or focus on except for art.

 


 

D: THE FIRST PIECES WE’VE SEEN OF YOURS DATE BACK TO 2005, MAYBE 2004. WHAT WAS GOING ON AROUND THAT TIME?

SS: Man there was a lot of personal shit going on around that time… I was living with my ex wife in Brooklyn. I had been making a couple smaller scale Crayola drawings that I kinda liked. But I didn’t think my content was quite strong enough. I never really had a desire to turn professional until I got to the point when I felt I was producing professional work, work that entertained me. It shouldn’t just be that I could do it well, I also had to have an entertaining vision behind it. By the time I moved down here, I started to think that I should have been in group shows all along. When I decided that I shouldn’t be waiting, that I should be showing, so that I have a reason to be working, that’s when I was ready. At the time, I really didn’t have any reason to be working other than to decorate my walls, you know? And sometimes that gets hurtful. It sucks not to get the recognition that you think you deserve. I wanted more recognition.

I came here specifically because I thought I could make an impact in Miami, whereas it would be much harder to do that in New York. So I brought my work down here. I knew you guys had an art scene. I didn’t realize it was as good as it is. There is a local fervor about it that is really genuine. I remember living in Philadelphia and they were trying to do the same thing and it was not appreciated. There are a lot of people making work, there’s a huge graffiti scene. I didn’t realize it was going to be as good as it is.

 

D: WHEN WAS YOUR FIRST SOLO SHOW?

SS: In March of 2010 I had my first solo exhibition, ‘Final Performance’, in Miami at Spinello Gallery and then I was also in a group show in New York at Mike Weiss in Chelsea.

 

D: WHAT IS YOUR ATTRACTION TO GRAVE SITES?

SS: Most of my life, since very young, I’ve been tormented by nightmares. Many of them are geographic, you know, the kinds of nightmares that I have are fixed to certain places. When I was about 8 or 10, I started having this recurring dream where I had the memory of having chopped someone up and buried them in the woods. Just the memory, and my conscience would be dealing with it. So you know, I think the drawings are somewhat informed by an aesthetic that I can relate to.

 

D: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF 5 YEARS FROM NOW?

SS: I want an organic farm in New York, and I want my daughter to stay with me on a regular basis. I want to have work in all the right places that will guarantee her a trust fund of some kind. Maybe have a happy relationship with someone else.

 


DEAD DADS CLUB CORPORATION

 

 

 

 






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