|THE PROOF is a weekly roundup showcasing local creatives. A column for creatives to share their story and work, in a unique, concise format: each creative shows 8 pictures and answers 8 questions. Past participants include Bob Kronbauer, Omer Arbel, Hannah Georgas, Carson Ting, Jane Cox, Lizzy Karp, Andy Dixon, Douglas Haddow - all living in Vancouver.
It's hard not to speak in hyperbole when it comes to Graeme Berglund. When pressed to describe him, most everyone does, or at least resorts to a flustered facsimile of his CV, as he is the sort of man whose accomplishments precede him. The absurdity of his situation sometimes seems too surreal to be trustworthy; "Is he for real?" is a question that hangs casually in his vicinity. The answer is almost always yes.
When I think of Graeme, I think of a life generously lived. I think of a business card that I saw once, printed with only a name and then a title: Instigator. (It wasn't his.) I think of Black & Yellow: the name of his nomadic, experimental gallery, but also the colour-way of The Cheaper Show, arguably his greatest tour de force. You can still see the posters up here and there. Buy Art, Not Cocaine. Blood, Sweat, and Ten Years. I don't think I can recall an instance in which he's said no to a viable endeavour. This is his greatest strength.
1. A ass pocket of notes/bad sketches. Check.
2. The Ghats. I chill solo in few places. This is my joint.
3. Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Shawn Hunt. I see these guys more than anyone in my life. Both pretty intolerable. Didn’t hear it from me.
4. Laughter is vital. Danny Vermette is my vitality.
5. Tools of the tirade.
6. You only get about 1000 legendary nights in a lifetime, always walk with good people who are down for the same cause.
7. My juice cleanse mainly involves grapes.
8. You can't pick your family, but you'd want to stand in line all day to get a chance with this one.
1. What neighborhood do you live in?
In a concrete box with some windows on the shady side of Pleasant Mountain.
2. What do you do and where?
Artist/Musician/Arts Organizer working out of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Studios, Main and 7th.
3. What are you working on?
I’m in the studio seven days a week. Doing some large formal commissions, starting to make some decomposing sculptures and just generally figuring out my language as an artist again. I’m also putting the final touches on a fairly monstrous record at The Warehouse in Gastown. Also been working on my health in general, my summer body should be ready by fall. Witness the fitness.
4. Where can we find your work?
My work is displayed in private collections in Vancouver and abroad. I have a wooden dog sculpture standing guard at Brassneck on Main at 6th. I will be showing my work later this year in a solo exhibition.
5. Who are your role models?
6. What keeps you going in this industry?
My friends and peers. This town is replete with talent. Artists don’t generally sell a lot of work here and it sort of levels the playing field in the sense that commerce isn’t directly tied to art generation. People just turn out work and show it at an almost spastic rate. There isn’t a gallery infrastructure here that is reflective of the amount of artists present, but artists/curators/promoters make due by showing in a various alternative spaces such as homes, studios and the odd baseball diamond.
I would further state that a constant inspiration to me is people working outside of the traditional “creative market”. I’m down for anyone really taking a risk to find something that is truly proprietary to them. I’ve got a lot of friends in tech, restaurants, branding, marketing, law, etc and it is really something else to see someone hit their stride with a proprietary swagger. Risk will always be a serrated knife and Safety will always be a McDonald’s spoon. Shed something worth sharing; the ice cream doesn’t contain milk solids anyways.
7. If you had a chance to start your career all over again, how would you do it differently?
Flux Capacitor or not, can’t say I’d change a thing. An MFA doesn’t guarantee a gold ticket or a hallway pass. The trick to nailing a career in the arts is to work harder than everyone around you, make more mistakes than everyone else, connect with as many walks of life as possible and maintain the will to be exploratory. My biggest asset has been the ability to traverse this town in a pretty unique fashion and connect with some of the greatest minds here. I have been taught countless lessons from some truly humbling people. Hustlers never fale.
8. What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were young?
Allow your character to define you, rather than your achievements. Confidence is a ramp, whereas ego is a wedge. The trajectory looks and feels quite similar, but time proves that the wedge has a severe drop-off.
The best advice I did receive was from my father. “You know what luck is? It’s when preparation and opportunity meet.”