3004 Forest Drive by Gary Matson


Gary Matson is Columbia’s Modernist man. Along with his wife, Liisa, six-year-old son Ethan, five-year-old daughter Emma, and bulldog Woobie, Gary lives in one of Columbia’s most noticeable homes – and that’s not just because of the robots that preside on their upstairs balcony. An interior decorator, photographer, furniture maker, painter, musician, and owner of Metro Design with his brother and Liisa, Gary is an expert on all things Modernist. As a product of his passion, he purchased iconic 3004 Forest Drive ten years ago. In the decade since, he and his wife have completely renovated this 3800-square foot International Style/Modern home to museum quality. Lived-in museum quality, that is. “My mother used to shop at Richland Mall, so we used to drive by this [...]

Dre Lopez


Anyone who saw one of the newest graphic designs by Sahir “Dré” Lopez knows his work can cause viewers to stop and stare. On his recent two-page spread, neon-colored, bomb-shaped blocks displaying alarming images such as cocaine, ecstasy, firearms, and Osama bin Laden float above a decrepit old man marching forward with a vulgarly-gesturing staff. It’s hard not to sit and wonder what the design could possibly mean.  Thirty-year-old Dré, a Columbia-based illustrator, graphic artist, painter and sculptor, says his fearless, outside the box approach to design is what’s gotten him noticed.” “I don’t mind pushing the envelope,” Dré says. “I like getting attention. I like to make you laugh, and if you get offended – it’s nothing personal.” As for an explanation of the [...]

Thomas Crouch


Thomas Crouch is the proverbial onion.  Overwhelming to say the least, his persona is tough to crack.  So tough, the potent fumes of his philosophies and his paint almost brought tears to my eyes.  At first:  Outwardly simple, goes with everything, from the ground – and grounded.  Hindsight:  Like the flavor base of a 45-ingredient mole sauce – layer upon layer of pure bedlam.  Was there a method to the madness, or was madness the method?  Never has a writer wanted for a tape recorder like I did at this meeting. Artist, cook, guitarist, singer, source of social commentary, ex-teacher, T-shirt designer, photographer, and philosopher – I wondered when Crouch last slept. Day job:  Hunter-Gatherer.  Cook.    I sampled the fresh-brewed fare at Crouch’s restaurant, what [...]

Jay Hubbell


Step out the back door of Jay Hubbell’s modest, one-story house into his yard – all of a sudden you’re in Wonderland, expecting Alice to appear at any moment.  To the right sits a colossal brick and stone structure, shaped like a coin standing on edge.  Judging by size, it could be pocket change for King Kong. Glance to the left, and you’ll find a giant triangle made of stone and steel planks, and a stack of old, industrial chimney-flues that appear to float in air.  Finally, set your eyes on a short brick wall displaying eight faces side-by-side, each representing a phase in the cycle of life.  According to Jay, this cycle consists of:  the fetus, the cherubic infant, the mischievous toddler, the teenager, [...]

Jemes Davis


If the lights are on in the workshop behind Jemes Davis’ house, chances are he is performing a resurrection of sorts.  Not in the celestial manner, but a resurrection nonetheless.  Davis is an arborist.  He’s paid not only to prune trees, but also to remove them.  Though one might think extracting a tree brings an end to its life, with Davis this is not the case.  For him, the removal provides the opportunity for rebirth. Six years as an arborist has provided him the opportunity to hone his artistic talents with wood.  For Davis, it begins with sculpting living, growing trees. “Trees are beautiful and fascinating,” he says.  “If you follow the rules of pruning, it’s a real art form.  If done correctly, pruning is [...]

Joe Byrne


There is a fortunate collector of modernist and contemporary art that has been privileged to purchase some monumental works of art.  On the walls of his private collection, he boasts abstract paintings by the likes of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Joe Byrne. You may or may not have heard of the artist Joe Byrne, but you have probably heard of the other two artists I mentioned.  Following this line of reasoning – if Joe Byrne’s art can happily hang beside paintings created by two of America’s arguably greatest painters that stemmed from the Modernist Art Movement, then Byrne’s work must be pretty great as well…right? For those that are unfamiliar with Joe Byrne, I will attempt to make some introductions: –A local master of [...]

Delirium Tribal and Alternacirque


Americans have been reinventing the wheel for centuries, forever assimilating foreign cultures into new traditions to call our own.  Our Western ways have created a country of fusion; nearly every art form we cherish, from food to art to entertainment is, in fact, a mélange of inspiration from around the world.  As the art of belly dancing rises in America, and especially on the East Coast, a new language emerges with it.  Spoken by few and difficult to learn or even understand, this language is bursting with visual dialects and remains a mystery to the untrained eye.  A true native speaker, Natalie Brown is fluent in the body language of belly dance.  The artistic director of Alternacirque and director of Delirium Tribal, Brown’s fervor for [...]

Heather LaHaise


Heather LaHaise was truly born to love  dogs which would become the focus of all her artwork. The contemporary artist grew up in a dog-loving home, but was it wasn’t until the third grade that she truly became infatuated with everything canine, devoting herself to Charlie Brown’s exceptional dog Snoopy. “I was obsessed with Snoopy!  I had a Snoopy purse, Snoopy lamp, all of the Snoopy dolls, and I would draw pictures of Snoopy everywhere and on everything!” LaHaise chirped, reminiscing about her childhood, and exhibited a framed letter, hand-signed by Charles Schultz himself,  circa 1976. The cartoonist responsible for giving the world “Peanuts” responded to a letter that LaHaise’s father sent to him expressing his young daughter’s profound love for Snoopy and his comics. [...]

Gisli Gardarsson


“No one blazes a trail of theatrical excitement and thrilling invention quite like the Icelandic actor/director Gísli Gardarsson.”   Reese Moore: What’s been your favorite experience during Spoleto so far? Gisli Gardarsson: Definitely Folly Beach! I haven’t had a chance to see very much because we’ve been working so hard. When we have time off, I spend it on the beach where we’re staying. It’s very nice when you come from Iceland! RM: You have a very dynamic, athletic style of performing, which relates to your background in gymnastics. Was acting always the end goal? GG: No, I never intended to become an actor. I remember thinking that I spent so much time at gymnastics that it would be a shame to throw it all [...]

Josh Drews


Josh Drews caught our attention with a pair of morose, menacing and intensely crimson colored monotypes – Isum and Erra from the Zombies, Cowboys & Zombie Cowboy series he entered into the Contemporaries of the Columbia Museum of Art’s Artist of the Year competition last year.  Despite his absence on the night the winners were announced, (Drews was convinced he hadn’t a chance), the despondent zombie-cowboy depictions sent in his place consequently won him the new title. “You know what they say: those who can are artists and those who can’t teach art,” Drews argues with characteristic self-mocking in the Spring Valley classroom where he teaches. “I don’t really feel like an artist, but sometimes I do kind of feel like I’m playing an artist [...]