Tim Kapustka of Studio & talks FUN

by Patty Templeton

“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Basically, life is a load of B&S, but it’s also damn beautiful. Tim Kapustka wants to help you sort through the shit to find the sequins. Through retro-modern vector illustrations, Kapustka captures slick nostalgia and concise-lined whimsy. His first solo show, “You Should be Having Fun,” opens at Studio & this Friday, May 12.

What is fun? Who is fun? What does art have to do with fun, anyways? DGO talked about all of it with Kapustka – after he gave us a joy buzzer handshake.

Do you have a whoopee cushion hidden somewhere, too? Is a whoopee cushion fun?

I dunno. What is fun? I created an online survey and sent it to a bunch of people. Tough questions and yes or no questions. “When was the last time you had fun?” “What was the most fun that you’ve had in the last year?” It amounted to, “What is fun?” I’m still not prepared to answer that question.

You created a show around fun and then half-tortured friends with a fun survey and aren’t sure how to define fun? It’s so personal. I would probably take some of their answers, like being totally present, like losing track of time. I would agree with that.

I’m kind of addicted to my phone and that sucks. I’m tethered like our society is. Did people like my post? What time is it? Did someone answer my texts? To me, that gets you more and more out of being present. The most fun is when you are, like, “Holy shit, it’s midnight! Where did the time go?”

What was something surprising you learned from the survey?One of the questions was, “Do you consider yourself fun?” The first, about, 20 people said, “Yes, I’m fun.” I thought about it and was like, “Of course. Everyone thinks they’re fun.” Right? But then towards the end, a couple people said no. I was like, “Oh, that’s sad,” but I know a couple of these people well and I disagree with them. I think they’re fun. It was interesting that they’d say no. Because they value fun and have fun in their lives, so it is interesting to see that interpretation.

Why make art about fun? It has been a really introspective year for me. Self-growth, a lot of dealing with things internally, looking at myself, addressing issues, and working on them. One of the things that came up is that – I don’t want to say that I’m too responsible, but I feel like I had to ask myself, “When was the last time you just let go and had fun?”

I realized that even when I had the option for fun, like someone inviting me to go to a movie or do something I love, I said, “I can’t.”

Tell us about your title, “You Should be Having Fun.”I’m not a big fan of the word “should.” I think it’s an inflammatory word … I’m not pretending to have a prescription or tell you how to have fun. I am mainly talking to myself. That word, “should,” would ignite me a bit or stick out, if I went to an art show … Realistically, it is not me trying to tell Durango, or anyone else who wants to come, how to have fun. This is a fun town. Most people in this town are having plenty of fun. It’s me talking to me, that’s where it started.

What do you do for fun that most people would think, “Dude, that’s not fun.” Oh man. It’s kind of embarrassing. I’m a graphic designer. That’s the kind of robot I am. I like things to be arranged. [Pushes salt and pepper shaker together on table.] In order. Spatial arrangement. Stuff like that. Cleaning. That sounds so OCD.

That’s fun to you?In a way. It feels better.

Like making sure that my records are in an order that I’ve created that I couldn’t even explain to you. I like being able to boom, boom, boom grab the records or items I want when I want them.

Does the theme of fun connect back to your artwork in general, or just this show? I think, by and large, the vector illustrations that I do and did previous to this could be lumped under “fun.” Other work that I have done rotates around this theme but not intentionally, like an exercise bike from the ’70s or a pogo stick. It’s nostalgic and a lot of my work revolves around that.

How does nostalgia work for you?I pull stuff out of my past and take a mundane, bit player in a memory and push that forward to become the poster child for that memory. So if you have memory of a day that you broke your arm and maybe the obvious star is your broken arm from falling out of a tree, but earlier that day you were eating snow cones with your best friend. So the poster child is the snow cone. It is tertiary to the narrative of that day and that memory. That alleviates the pressure. It glorifies the mundane.

I really like that. Memories are not fact. They are filtered through you. You get to decide the picture for that memory.

Do you have a “fun” philosophy now?“Are you having fun? You should be having more fun.” I think we could all adopt that a little bit. I’m not saying don’t go to work for a week or do the no-show-no-call, but have fun at work. Have fun when you have to clean out the barn. Fun is legal. It doesn’t make you less of a responsible person.

What’s going down at the opening party for “You Should be Having Fun”?There will be hijinks. It is going to be a celebration of fun. I invite people to come in costume or add to the evening in their tangent of fun. If fun to you is wearing a wacky hat, bring it. If fun is wearing your Richard Nixon mask, bring it. If fun is making a personal performance piece, do it. Maybe it’s not always the arena to do that at an art opening because you may eclipse the artist, but I’m fine with that. My art will be on the walls, but I want this to be about fun. Just don’t burn the place down or hurt anybody.

There will be a ton of sugar – the drug of fun. Stephen Sellers (Bad Goat), is going to play music … Merv the Shoemaker, he’s going to make me clown shoes … There’s going to be big fun and big surprises, like the kind of surprises that you have to rent from places … You don’t have to come in costume. Just come. But if you’re the type of person who likes to wear tutus at every mention of a party, do it! Have fun.

Bonus fun round

Most fun movie you’ve seen:The Jerk

Most fun album you’ve listened to: Velvet Underground’s “Loaded”

Most fun concert you’ve been to: Phish

Most fun Instagram you follow: PulpBrother (Javier Mayoral)

Most fun artist off the top of your head: Wu Wallace

Most fun toy you had as a kid: Hoppity Hop

Most fun toy you have now: Pogo stick

Most fun era you’d time travel back to: 1920s Paris during the Lost Generation, being three steps behind Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. I just want to be there and live on the same block as them. I don’t pretend I would be cool enough to be invited to the house, but it would be awesome.

Patty TempletonDGO Staff Writer


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