On Saturday, September 8, Post Typography’s OSAYCANYOUSEE: Prints and Objects inspired by the War of 1812 will be on view at The Windup Space. OSAYCANYOUSEE is a solo exhibition by Nolen Strals and Bruce Willen. The reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. and music by Ed Schraders Music Beat, Mickey Free and Pure Junk (ex Double Dagger) will start at 9:30 p.m. Art in the Age will be serving their cocktails.
According to the artists, the artwork “touches on themes of baseball, capitalism, and violence with visual wit, dark humor, and a potent graphic aesthetic, deftly drawing from iconic imagery of pop culture, patriotism, and American history.”
Here is my interview with Post Typography’s Bruce Willen.
1) If you were giving a little history lesson on the war of 1812, what would you find important to mention?
Willen: The War of 1812 was really the first American war, and the first war that we declared as a nation. It really established a lot of themes of expansionism and manifest destiny that would shape the country. One of the most interesting-yet-little-known facts is that at the end of the war, there was a proposal to establish a separate nation for Native American tribes in what is today the Ohio/Indiana/Michigan area. The U.S. rejected this proposal in favor of annexing these lands for ourselves. The Native Americans were the biggest losers of the war.
“Bombs Bursting in Air”
2) As a collaboration, how easy did the work come together?
Willen: We typically work very collaboratively. Having two people contribute ideas helps strengthen the work.
3) You’ve mentioned that the work in OSAYCANYOUSEE has themes of baseball, capitalism, and violence. How much do you think Baltimore audiences can relate to these themes?
Willen: They are definitely very American themes that anyone brought up in this country can relate to. There are definitely some specific nods to Baltimore, especially the title piece “Osaycanyousee” which features a specific reference to the national anthem as sung at Baltimore Orioles games.
4) How were the performers picked for the opening?
Willen: We wanted to have some fun, smart, high-energy music with some variety. We’re big fans of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Mickey Free, and know that they will bring it! Pure Junk is Nolen’s brand new band (composed of all-stars from the Baltimore art/design/ illustration community), and this is one of their first shows.
“Through The Perilous Fight”
5) Each piece is named after a lyric in The Star Spangled Banner, what’s your relationship with that song as an American?
Willen: As an American (especially if you ever watch a baseball/football game), you hear the national banner so frequently that you don’t really dwell on it’s lyrics. But it’s actually a very militaristic song—it was written during an intense war after all. It’s interesting to think of the lyrics as they are interpreted or sung in contemporary life compared to the original intentions of the song.
5b) Do you really think this was the worst performance OF ALL TIME? j.k don’t answer that.
Willen: Actually we watched this while we were working on pieces for the show!
6) Why should people come out for the opening?
Willen: Art In The Age (where the show will be traveling to in Philadelphia this December) will be serving special cocktails with their small batch liquors. And because it will be awesome.
OSAYCANYOUSEE will be on display at The Windup Space through October 27.