Preview: Here We Hide opens this Saturday at MINT

One big, hiding family: The four artists of Here We Hide. Photo courtesy the artists and MINT Gallery.

Collaborative art projects are the order of the day in Atlanta. You can’t swing a brush in this town without hearing someone’s emphatic description of the “awesome” new project, art show, or performance they’re cooking up with other local creatives. And, really, why shouldn’t it be like that? Funding is hard to come by, let alone carving out a living as a full-time artist. In many ways, the traditional rules have been thrown out in favor of make-it-up-as-you-go-along collaborative experimentation.

One likely reason can be traced to a seemingly inhospitable environment for lowbrow art. When artists go for long enough feeling estranged from upscale galleries, the glossy art world, and its promise of financial support, they lose no heart and start forging their own communities, complete with their own hangouts, social protocols, and uniquely freeing sense of no rules. Making money, while always a nice occasional side effect of making art, is largely taken out of the equation. Suddenly your contemporaries aren’t your competition; they are your allies and, in many cases, your partners in crime.

Joe Tsambiras, New Grass, 2009, graphite, ink, and color pencil. Photo courtesy MINT Gallery.

And so it goes for our art collaboration du jour: Here We Hide, a group show by the Paper Twins, Joe Tsambiras, and Sam Parker opening this Saturday, February 27, from 8-11PM, at MINT Gallery.

As the foursome spent their Tuesday going crazy on some nails, paint, and stencils, I got a chance to hang out amidst their palpably excited pre-opening vibe. Having only first come together in December (the pairing was the brainchild of MINT’s Mike Germon), the group quickly realized that they “existed in the same universe,” and from there the show began to take form. While they acknowledge that the relatively short time frame was stressful, they assert with easy smiles that the “stress is fun.”

Joe Tsambiras explains, “It’s like, I planted this garden, so why not cultivate it?”

The way they talk about their ideas and process shows a gentle like-mindedness that doesn’t overextend itself; it seems they are all aware of the newness of their relationships as artists, while basking in the energizing warmth of knowing they have a congruent vision for the show. Hanging out with them is like tagging along on someone’s first date and observing that it’s going really, really well.

The foundation of Here We Hide is the idea of creating a completely transformed interior space that combines a multitude of artistic elements (the specifics of which I have been sworn to secrecy about, but I will say that it’s a warmly rich, fantastic reverie). The group repeatedly referenced the idea of moving in with a significant other and the sweet decorative collaborations that go into combining separate visions of an ideal home. And with four artists, all of whom are producing on a number of works independently of the others, the most exciting part will be seeing it all come together (or “making the invisible visible,” as Tsambiras puts it).

MINT Gallery is located in Unit B of the Sampson Street Lofts at 684 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. Please contact Erica Jamison at for more info.

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  • Mike
    March 31, 2010 at

    I wonder what tired thought of the show.

  • tired
    February 25, 2010 at

    i had never heard of eggtooth, so i googled it. i sound like that? i couldn’t even follow what they were saying with my georgia public school education. negativity and shit talking are a part of life though. maybe i should have kept my opinions to myself. but that’s not as fun.

    and i’ll check out the show for sure. maybe i’m just taking out my frustration at a lot of recent shows. i haven’t had my socks knocked off in a very long time. who knows, maybe i will be proved wrong this weekend. i’m open minded. i like your work, sam. i’m less excited about joes. and i don’t get the paper twins at all. granted, i’ve only seen their work for about 2 months in 3 or 4 places around town. i don’t see the same level of expertise and practice in their work as sams. maybe the sum will be better than the parts.

    i understand trends and i understand imitation. i just don’t like either, to be honest. to me, good art transcends trends. and imitation should be left in your sketchbook. of course artists are influenced by others. that should be the starting point though. take enough pride in your work to break new ground and use influences as a seed instead of a crutch.

  • Sam Parker
    February 25, 2010 at

    Trends in art/ street art come and go. Creative people start in different places, some of the time thru imitation or following trends but then find themselves engaged in integral ways with communities of other creative people building an in between ground, and real growth occurs in the that coming together of collaborators. I feel like, where ever we have come from in our art making practices,”Here We Hide” enters into that space of exciting possibilities between creative thinkers. I have enjoyed working with the Paper Twins and Joe Tsambiras on this project and hope that we will continue to collaborate in the future…

    Sam Parker

  • mike
    February 25, 2010 at

    tired – You sound vaguely like Eggtooth, only you are speaking in complete sentences and are being rational. Altanta’s artists do need criticism, they just don’t need negativity and shit talking. I’m all for reasonable debates, which are few and far between on the internet, so let us know what you think after seeing the show on Saturday.

  • tired
    February 25, 2010 at

    big words with a couple of good points. i was being an asshole. i’ll accept that. at least it sparked debate. oh, thanks for pschoanalyzing me. and for assuming i’m a guy because i have a strong opinion.

    i think i’m frustrated with art criticism. at least the amount of it that appears in atlanta about the art scene that i love. i’m not even sure what to call the art scene i like, but that’s another string of comments. i only mention this as a frame of reference. i hit the shows at youngblood. and beep beep. and mint. and eyedrum. and the like. i’m not someone that comes just for the drinks and i’m not someone that does a walk-by of the art and then spends the rest of the night out front smoking. ahh, more people to piss off, but who cares. i’m hiding behind the anonymity of the internets.

    this is strange territory, since art is subjective. you love something, i hate something. everything is the eye of the beholder, even your beloved philosophy. some people can find beauty in sloppy chatter. some people can’t. i like to read criticism once and a while. i won’t agree with all of it and it won’t affect whether i see a show or like or dislike an artist. but it makes you think. it opens your mind to other viewpoints. it also sparks debate. which is more fun, hearing that every show and every artist is doing a good job and then nobody comments on it? or calling people out when you don’t like it and watching people comment on both sides? i like to rock the boat.

    somethimes i think that atlanta is too nice to artists. they’re grown-ups. they get rejected and they deal with it. it’s all part of being an artist. they can take a little criticism. maybe in order for this art scene in this city at this time to grow up, it needs to be criticized some.

  • Jay
    February 25, 2010 at

    I sure wish I could make it to this one. Unfortunately, I’m on the other side of the country and buried beneath a pile of work.

    Even though indifference and silence are more fitting responses, a few words on the earlier comment: “I don’t understand the fascination with art that isn’t orginal (sic).” “just because it’s street art, doesn’t make it great art.” I can’t be the only who finds both statements…well, on the one hand, obvious (frequently alot of noise surrounds the derivative, not all street art is great art), and, on the other hand, completely misdirected. As in Completely. One of the things that makes my own line of work (philosophy) unbearable at times, is the brutal contrast between the careful, thoughtful, and urgent concepts produced by the great philosophers and the gratuitous, sloppy chatter that characterizes their reception. My hunch is it’s worse when it comes to art. Superficial compliments from folks wanting to make the scene. Superficial criticisms from folks wanting some attention. The comment evoked someone, sitting in his chair, scratching his head, baffled that others could take an interest in joe’s art. The image, of course, is rhetorical. Don’t buy it for a minute. The poor fellow is not baffled, he just needs someone to tell him he’s original (far more original than that street art everyone makes such a fuss about),that his life is carefully executed (and we’re not just talking polygons here), and that he is deserving of accolades (so deserving). Sad stuff. Joe’s art is bad ass: careful, thoughtful, urgent and on the move…

  • mike
    February 24, 2010 at

    Thanks for being descriptive and less arrogant, I’m inviting you back to the show. In this exhibit you’ll see that yes, a lot of Joe’s work is similar in subject to that of the Paper Twins. You’ll also see that each of the artists have styles and strengths that set them apart from each other.

  • tired
    February 24, 2010 at

    sam parker’s work is original and well executed. he’s deserving of accolades. every show he’s done in town is expertly crafted. joe’s work was cool a few years ago. he had a great show with sam.

    i don’t understand the fascination with art that isn’t orginal. just because it’s street art, doesn’t make it great art. i can’t be the only person that sees a strong resemblance between his work and the pasteups of the paper twins. girls and outlines of black and white figures with pastel colors thrown in, in geometric shapes.

  • oscar
    February 24, 2010 at

    can’t wait to see this show. yeeyeeeee.

  • conchita
    February 24, 2010 at

    yeah, if you’re just gonna be twats about it definitely don’t come to the show. you’ll just suck away the awesomeness from everyone else.

  • mike
    February 24, 2010 at

    That was a good one. Don’t come to the show.

  • tired
    February 24, 2010 at

    are the paper twins and joe tsambiras the same person? or do they just freely copy each other’s styles? or do they all do whatever the latest thing is on wooster collective?

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