Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All This Talk About Atomic Lime Has Got Me Thinking....

It’s been two and a half years since Eric and I jumped in my 1999 Chevy Malibu on voyage to Charlotte, NC to see an Andy Warhol exhibit.  A few months prior, he and I sold out in a holiday exhibition at ECU.  That week made me think a lot about what happens after art school.  So that December I sat at my computer every night reading as much as I could to figure out how artists survive post-academia.  I compiled all of my notes into a neatly organized binder labeled “Justin’s Plan For World Domination.”  In this notebook there were a hundred pages of ideas on how to market yourself as and artist, but one thing I had read was to surround yourself with other like-minded artists.  With Eric being one of my closest friends in art school, naturally I brought this idea up to him on our trip to Charlotte.  The birth of Atomic Lime Project started with this simple sentence, “So... This might be the dumbest idea ever, but I think it’s pretty good, but also kind of stupid.”

Before it was called Atomic Lime Project, our group and it’s structure was just Eric and myself taking more road trips to Charlotte and Raleigh throwing ideas of world domination at each other.  At one point in time, this collective was going to be a political party that would overthrow the government of a small country and somehow from there we’d own the world.  The final, and probably the best foundation we came up with was a small, tightly knit, group of artists.  From there we would try to recreate the things about art school that are beneficial to the evolution of an artist - critiques, collaborations, and comradery.  Together we’d have exhibitions, a website that would allow viewers to see our work and what we’re up to, updates on other art events in North Carolina, and community awareness for issues we care about.

It was on our way back to Greenville from Raleigh, blasting Beck’s “Girl” when Eric and I almost missed an exit because we were so stoked we had the layout of our new project.  And that’s exactly what it was, a new project for us to work on.  We told each other that we needed to start thinking of other artists we could approach for recruitment... GOOD artists.  We each had one person in mind, but neither one of us mentioned him in our long list of shot-down friends.  Despite his lack of being mentioned it was almost fate that our good friend Justin Campbell was at the studio late-night when we returned to Greenville to unload art supplies.  After carrying a shanty-town’s worth of wood into my studio, Eric and I called Campbell over, gave him the pitch that made him our first recruit.

For months we had lunch, dinner, and drinks at Christy’s Euro Pub, Sup Dogs, or at someone’s abode.  We needed to figure out a name for the group and a plan for the future of the group.  We had plenty of random-ass names that we couldn’t get a unanimous vote on.  I went home one day getting very frustrated with it and just started writing down any word that came to mind.  When I had finished the list I decided to make a gin and tonic before putting words together, “But shit, I forgot we don’t have any limes for a gin and tonic - oh, I should right down lime.”  After I made the drink I looked down at a stack of CDs and saw U2’s “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.” (Yes, I listen to U2)  And given the impact that the word “atomic” had I figured I’d write that down.  The next day I called Justin Campbell and gave him a list of five name ideas, he agreed on Atomic Lime Project and it only took a few minutes to convince Mr. White.
After the bad-ass name, we needed to put our thoughts into action.  We got this website, Eric and I had “Form & Dysfunction” in Greenville and Wilmington.  Campbell continued showing in Wilmington and Greenville.  And more recently, we’ve got our newest member, Melina Reed.  But finally, we've put together our first exhibition as a group, “Atomic Lime Project” at Bottega from July 22nd to September 16th in Wilmington, NC.  More information can be found at our facebook event page.  Hope to see you lovely looking kids there.
Justin B.

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