RESIDENT OF THE MONTH: Derek Gores

Derek Gores is the ‘it dude’ in the art community, creating art since the 70’s as he drew his own Star Wars characters. Out of art school, Gores designed t-shirts for the Grateful Dead and other musicians just before making the leap to pursue his own thing at the age of 37. Derek makes house calls for pop up art parties and events. Check out the photos in I Love Beachside (page 12) to see his collaboration with Club Esteem Rock the Casbah. 

We know you don’t currently have a public gallery or studio in EGAD. So, what have you been up to, and where are you working? Where can people find you and your art? 

For the last year I’ve taken on some cool projects out of town. I’ve had commissions for Rinascente in Italy, exhibits in London, NYC, Martha’s Vineyard and Toronto. I’ve been doing more live art as well, as part of fashion shows and even trade shows. Future fun: I have an artist residency coming up in Beverly Hills at the Bel Air Hotel during Oscar Week. Travel is an incredible education, and I always pick up fresh ideas to try back in EGAD. This is home. Right now I have a secret messy studio on the fringe of West EGAD aka WEGAD. Soon I’ll have my own spot again in the district. For now though, I’ve been doing art home visits, art parties, and popup events like at the Dr. Clevens Sparkle Party in EGAD. 

What’s your favorite medium?

Collage has been the deepest for me. It lets me combine images with abstraction, and collaborating with the universe so the art can change even in the last minute. Second favorite is wet drawing, where I draw with charcoal and water. Those are usually figure studies and happen in a minute or two, a liberating opposite to the dense collage pieces.

What’s the funkiest piece you’ve ever done?

Funkiest… Lots of my stream-of-consciousness doodles get weird, and have lent themselves to becoming album covers for Oranga Tanga. Funky collages… 

I do have a request out there to do a Sasquatch collage. That would qualify as funky if I do it right.

You clearly like inviting people to get involved in art themselves. 

Definitely. Art is for anyone and everyone. Everyone is an artist at age 10. It can get squeezed out by society and inner doubt, but I do love it when people come back to art. Dance, paint, improv, anything. I have two workshops coming up in December, one on collage and one on wet drawing, where people can jump in. More on those on my website.

You also clearly strategically combine multiple art forms. Can you talk about that?

I try to know the leaders in all the niches of creativity. The experts and daring newbies in music, fashion, tech, theatre, film, food, anything. Art sparks art, and we all need inspiration. For any show or opportunity I have myself, it feels good to the senses to loop in some sort of complement to that, whether it might be poetry or hula hooping or coding.

Tell me about the EGAD grassroots buzz. What are your favorite local art hubs? 

People are really immersing themselves in the creative lifestyle of EGAD. Not only the art galleries, but the spaces for inspiring interactions when you’re surrounded by craft beer, cool coffee, handmade goods, live entertainment, and we finally have a number of interesting food and drink options. Add in the murals and community sparks like Verdi Eco School and Fleagad, and there’s an interesting buzz just about all the time these days. Every little touch makes a difference. It is all due to the continued hustle of EGAD Mainstreet and the creative community at large making the district the place we all want it to be.

How do you feel about the community and what you do to grow it.

I do my part. It’s a collective force, one of those exponential things. Art is energy. Creativity wants to thrive in the world. Our role in EGAD is to let it out, stir it up. I think Art (meaning creativity in every form) has two important roles in the Space Coast community, with EGAD as the creative epicenter: First, Art for the individual is expression, and healing, and finding your own unique voice. 

Secondly, Art for the community is essential in expressing – and fueling – the soul and purpose and innovative spirit of an entire town. By the way, for those whose main metric is dollars, Art and Culture are the key to attracting

and retaining the talent… the innovators and engineers needed by all the cool companies who set up shop on the Space Coast. It’s true. Companies out there can call me and we can talk much more about it.

@derekgores

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