Individually, Morrison Pierce and Chance Isbell have crafted two of the more unique brands in this region’s art scene, spanning a range of media in various parts of the country—Pierce as an a painter, musician and maker of short-films, and Isbell as an illustrator and one of the area’s most in-demand tattoo artists. Collectively, they are working together on a new project centered in and around the One Spark event running April 17-21 in downtown Jacksonville. I spoke with them at the CORK Arts District building in Riverside, a place where both men are fixtures and facilitators of the facility’s functions. Each man maintains their own studio spaces in the building.
CORK plays host to their “March Dies” show, which opens on Friday night, March 29. Both men will be displaying some of their newest work for sale, while also offering a variety of items for a silent auction. Live music during and after the show will be provided by Creep City, Burnt Hair (aka Matthew Moyer) and Pierce’s own group, Scared Rabbits. A $10 donation is requested, but not required. All proceeds raised will go to fund the installation project Pierce and Isbell are planning for the epic One Spark crowdfunding event in April. “Pandora’s Box” (# 598) will consist of a large wooden frame with plexiglass panels, creating a large box for attendees to walk through. The artists will use paints to give the box the feel of a stained-glass window, but rendered in their own inimitable style.
I sat down with Pierce in his studio on the 27th; video of the session can be found on YouTube. He explained that a lot of his motivation/inspiration for doing the piece relates to challenging the sociopolitical status quo, the quiet complacency that has led Americans to embrace extremism while handing over their own civil liberties, all for the sake of fighting an enemy that is spectral at best, and illusory at worse. Having witnessed, first-hand, the chance in people’s attitudes over just the past decade since our disastrous drive into war, Pierce feels obliged to help spur activism through his art.