After the jump we've got an interview with WR's Bryan Deese, but you should definitely roll out to the artists' reception at C for the A on Saturday and talk to the guys for yourself. They're great dudes and really, really badass artists. I'd also suggest checking out Bryan's blog, which is chock-full of sweet images and classic stories from Nashville's street art underground.
Country Life: Who is a part of WorkForce Rebellion?
Bryan Deese: Audie Adams (AudRoc), Bryan Deese (Rex2), Ryan Shrader (Pako), John Judkins (Ragoe), Michael Wyatt. Then DJ Kidsmeal and Wick-It are affiliated members.
CL: When did you guys start painting together?
BD: WorkForce grew out of graffiti. Me, Audie and Ryan are in the same graffiti crew, TM, and we've been painting together since the mid-'90s. We've known and been friends with John since late '90s, and have painted with him occasionally also. Ragoe is in the AM7 graffiti crew. WorkForce was Audie's idea, and he and I first started it in June 2007.
CL: I've seen your art at The End and at Bonnaroo 2011, but where are some of the other places you've shown your work?
BD: The Art Crawl, Rocketown, Dr Sketchy's, Tomato Fest, demos at MTSU, Jerry's Artarama, Watkins College of Art ... a lot of places really.
CL: How did you end up with a show at The Center for the Arts? That seems a little hipper than what they usually program.
BD: They have a guy, Thomas Green, who helps curate the space. He hit me up on FaceBook in late 2011 and asked if we'd like to show there. He studied fine arts at MTSU.
CL: How have you seen the graffiti scene in this area change over the years? Are people more accepting or encouraging these days?
BD: There's maybe a few less writers here than there were in the '90s, but it's a pretty steady scene. It's a small scene. The biggest change from outsiders is now most everyone knows the name Bansky, so we hear that a lot. Especially with the stencils. When we do traditional, letter-based murals we still hit up TM or AM7 more than WorkForce. WorkForce is more the stencils and showing in public or galleries.
CL: So WorkForce is your "fine art" side and TM or AM7 is more street art? Is there really much of a difference between the two in your mind?
BD: There is a difference. TM and AM7 have their own histories and other members not connected at all with WFR. WFR started as an idea, something new to push, and grew into a group that shows together and does creative projects together. But all of us do separate work with our graffiti crews, the big name-based stuff. Sometimes they intermingle, but they are definitely different. Also, Audie Adams does a lot of work with the Predators, including a major mural inside the Bridgestone Arena. That's new for this season.
CL: How do you guys decide what to exhibit for a show like this, or something like, say, the walls at Bonnaroo last year? What's your collaboration process like?
BD: It's different each time. We all get approached with different opportunities, and it's up to that person to decide who the budget or space can afford. With Bonnaroo we submitted a couple of proposals, one for the fountain, and one for the walls. They went with someone else for the fountain, but liked our wall proposal. Before I sent the wall proposal, I asked Audie and Ryan about it — how much money it would take to get them on board. Once Bonnaroo liked the idea (and infused their own ideas) it was just negotiating the right price to make it worth all the time and energy. That project was an insane amount of work, even with 16 assistants.
CL: I know you're one of the busiest dudes in Nashville. What other projects do you have in the works?
BD: We plan to submit the same fountain proposal to Bonnaroo. We also plan on redoing the Johnny Cash mural this summer. We're doing another WFR show at The Front. I'm always working on CONCRETE (Nashville, Memphis and Alabama editions). I'm finishing the Wrapper's Delight Food Truck this spring, and I'm sure some other stuff will come up. Audie is going to be painting Nashville architecture stencil prints live on the street in The District this year in conjunction with Blend Art Studio in the Arcade. The art stuff is my hobby. Audie is really about making it his career. For me, it's just for fun — but I'll take the money too!