Team artifact is throwing a holiday sale/party of art and eatable goods at their Duncan Avenue studio space. When Anderson Bailey—or Tyson, as he sometimes calls himself —announced this fact to me, it was a far cry from your run-of-the-mill press release. He wrote: “We gotta tightly wrapped pineapple straight from Duncan’s house gonna happen on December 7th itsa bone convention itsa all out really weird gemmed beacon sale gonna be a big tig. Me I’m gonna get all my berries and put em in one basket while Jimmi n Rita bring dey oak baskets n sellem to all de very short treasure hunters when dey come getta piece of de action fo de mimi n pappy.”
OK, this needs a little history. A few months ago, deeply impressed by something Tyson had written on Artifact’s blog in this Bizarro-surrealist creole, I shot off an email to him requesting an interview for this space in the same quasi-language he used in that post, or at least my best attempt at it.
I studied surrealism in college but hadn’t had much chance to speak it in recent years. I knew I was taking a big risk. My effort could have been perceived as disrespectful, like I was mocking a speech impediment. Thankfully, it was taken in the friendly spirit in which it was intended. We kept up a correspondence, but never could connect for the interview. Finally, the stars aligned and I was able to interview Anderson/Tyson about Team Artifact’s origin and mission.
The original five members of Team Artifact banded together to create an entrepreneurial shared studio space in December 2011. Two of the original five—sculptor Shane Darwent and filmmaker and photographer Luke Padgett—left the group and have been replaced with two new members. Tyson described each of the current members.
Regarding Eric Smith, an artisan blacksmith who just received a MakeWork grant, he said, “He getta hammer’s blow away from you then u think he smashing u but he turn around twice—one for each moment the sun blinks an eye—then after the biggest and second turn he brings down a hairy blow of cantankerous blast to reveal an unearthed virtual gem of unbridled beauty.”
One of the new members, Conrad Tengler, is also an artisan blacksmith. “He can getta whiff of size brightness function reason and need—he make a tight inscription from his hand inside a bowl of jelly—he gets his melter, his slammer, his touncher, and his punty—he take his big breath of silent creativity —oops! he turned a gesture of reason into a sitting and standing artform that lies in space in front of your own face right now,” Tyson said.
When the second new member, furniture maker Andrew Nigh, is not “busy circumventing society’s boundaries on the human spirit,” Tyson said he can be found “with his nose to de stone inside an investigation station whittling down the mountain to its visceral core.”
Jessie and Anderson Bailey collaborate on ceramics and also received a MakeWork grant. Regarding his wife, Anderson (aka Tyson) said, “She getta glass blow, she rub on dark clay, she is and i saw her sewing six hats with one hand, and then she made Lisa’s jewelry with an eye for infinity, all while screen printed in a jester’s pool (which he wore while grocery shopping at my dad’s house).”
Speaking about himself, Anderson Bailey said, “As he formed the urn he whistled softly the tune of three songbirds at once, which gave him the idea of put a modern twist on the next vessel then the next and then so forth it happened.”