POSTED ON MARCH 14, 2012:
Circus of Creativity
Baring all, Nude 8 unveils a few new tricks
As I sit across from Daniel Gulick in his living room, notepad in my lap and pen in my hand, my phone starts to vibrate in my purse. "Is that my phone? Something is vibrating," I muse as I dig through my handbag. "It could be all the vibrators I have in the closet," Gulick says unflinchingly. He isn't kidding.
The vibrators are actually the reason for my visit. No, Gulick is not some fetishist and I'm not looking to purchase sex toys on the black market. His abundant secret stash is to serve as the door prizes for his upcoming art event Nude 8-Red Hot.
Gulick first became inspired when he submitted pieces to an erotic art show put on by a well-established gallery in Oklahoma City and was declined entry.
"At first my work was not erotic enough and then it was too erotic. It pissed me off so I decided to put together my own show and attempt to do it bigger and better. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, I can do this. I can probably do this. I'm good at this. I called Christie's Toy Box and got them involved, got a bunch of free food, found some artists who wanted to be a part of it, got other people excited and involved and we had the first Nude at Mike's Bar in Stillwater," Gulick said.
Gulick's project has continued to grow and develop ever since. Its eighth year in the making, Nude is a multi-genre celebration of self expression that offers the attendee multi-medium explorations of eroticism. There isn't really nudity involved but as Gulick explained, "A show like this isn't accepted everywhere but it isn't raunchy. Nobody is actually naked. That would be illegal. I chose the title Nude because it gets the idea of eroticism across. If I called it 'carrot' nobody would really be all that interested."
With close to 30 artists participating, you can expect to see an array of paintings, body paint, photography, sculpture, video installations and performance, all with the underlying concept of eroticism and what it means for that particular artist. "I didn't want a gallery show, I wanted an event. Why not celebrate the entire genre?" Gulick said.
And an event it has become. Not just an event, a scene even. In fact, for the past three years, the juried show has sold out. "The community has been very supportive. I think newcomers might feel a little nervous walking through the door but then they see that it's a very elegant show," said Gulick. "Lots of well-known local people come to the show who you might not expect. It's a cool event to see and be seen."
Diehard devotee Carabeth London has been coming to Nude since its inception and despite now living in the Northeast, has not missed a single show in eight years. As to why she feels compelled to keep coming back, "Every year all of these great and talented artists make submissions that you may not be able to see anywhere else. There's a lot of talent in Tulsa and this is an amazing showcase for it," London explained.
With so many diverse artists participating, there is certainly plenty to showcase.
A particular highlight and new addition to the evening will be the fashion show featuring the latest designs of Valentin Esparza. "The fashion is inspired by a Kanye West and Jay-Z verse from the Watch The Throne album. It's the story of an urban girl finding beauty in her surroundings mixed in with the rawness of uninhibited art. This show is appealing to me because of the vibe in the air. It's an opportunity to do sexy without it coming off as vulgar and risque -- without it being trashy," Esparza said.
DJ Demko will be returning this year on the decks to set the tone. As to why he has chosen to be involved, he explained "Well mostly for the great deli trays. I enjoy providing a soundtrack to the art. Keeping the proper mood is what I do. Last year (at Nude) I was lucky enough to be able to remix Gravity Kills "Guilty" and perform my mix live with Jeff Sheel. This year I'll be working the entire show running the music for the performers and keeping the show moving."
Also performing onstage will be Danelle Phillips (formerly the front woman of Congress of a Crow) who will be coming in from Nashville to perform with her latest project, Baby Daggers, and is excited to try something different. "This year's show is a new adventure for me. It's the first time I'll be performing with a dance team. Rachel Masterson of Tulsa Talons put together a group of pro dancers for the show. We've been designing costumes and props and exchanging ideas and dance videos that will take the show to the next level. I'll be singing songs from my latest record and debuting a new song called 'Black Hole Heart.' You can expect to see a lot of neon this year... A neon explosion! There will definitely be props a plenty, bustiers and day glow body paint."
Local radio personality Chuck Stikl of 104.5 The Edge will be hosting in between.
If it sounds like a circus of artistic activity, it might just be by design. It's safe to say that Gulick and everyone who continues to be involved embraces the chaos. It's kind of the creative way.
As Gulick said of his motivation to wrangle such an undertaking year after year, "I've thought about quitting. It's hard for one person to put this on. It takes about six months of planning. This show for me is like a big art project. It's a big painting that takes six months to complete. It's a challenge, it's fun and it kills me. It takes about a week to recover. We go through life trying to find that epic thing that we can do. For me, this show is that epic thing. In the five minutes that I'm on stage and looking out at the crowd from that perspective, I get to see all of the work of the past months come together and it makes it all worth it."
Nude 8 is March 31, doors open at 8pm at IDL ballroom, 230 E. First St. Visit nudeartshow.com for tickets. Nude is 21 and up. Artists can sign up through the website.
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