Tasha (any pronouns) Founder, Co-Director, Decadent Cosmos Press and
Vuori Scorpion (they/it) Co-Director, Events
For this introduction, Tasha and Vuori chose to interview each other about the inspiration behind Decadent Cosmos as well as their hope for the organization.
Vuori: Okay, major question - why Decadent Cosmos? Why this organization?
Tasha: I wanted a space in the sense of the cosmos, an opening where things can collide. My goal all along has been to create that opening to invite creativity in. We have consistently seen incredible collaborations between artists as well as unique experiences through Decadent Cosmos that I don’t believe you’d find elsewhere, because what we’re doing is so specific to those we attract and our work.
From my own background, I’ve always been interested in art history, especially in the importance of experimental, transgressive, community-based art movements. In particular, I’m fascinated by art movements that have questioned the status quo of the art world. Something I am trying to do is to continue questioning the art world. This is something we have to keep doing to keep people’s creativity alive. Fresh questions without institutional control.
Eventually I realized that I had to create this space within our own time and thus, Decadent Cosmos was born. I figured that this convergence of ideas would attract the right people—that is why community is so central to Decadent Cosmos.
T: What drew you to DC in the first place and what got you interested in the events?
V: Stars aligned when we crossed paths! You caught my energy, my ideas, anything and everything I was able to throw at you, then and now. We had like minds when it came to where we wanted to see the art world going. Organizing events is something that comes naturally to me. The internet does art dirty, we know this. Art is meant to be experienced in person, in the physical. In the flesh.
T: What makes DC events unique? What draws other people to share their work through our events and zines?
V: We aim to reject elitism, and work to cultivate a welcoming space, for all levels and all types of artists. Our events/zines become catalysts. If you’ve never painted or drawn, or have always wanted to try a certain type of performance/medium, this is a space for you to do so. Perfection is not something we strive for in our events/work. What matters is that the art is created. Art is for the people!
V: Let’s talk about Decadent Cosmos Press. What is it about art in written form that inspires you?
T: I have always loved books with pictures. When text and image are paired together, they tell stories that neither could tell alone. I love the privacy of reading a book: there’s something about being between the covers that puts you in a world of your own. On the flip side, a publication is literally a very public phenomenon. Of course, I especially love with zines, since they’re publications that can be shared so widely, cheaply and quickly. A publication like that holds so much potential for artists to share their work with the world. I want to be able to help promote the opportunities that these sorts of publications offer for artists to share their work. Visual artists recognize that sharing art on social media is a way to get it out there, but social media does not allow one to truly encounter the work. That is the goal of Decedent Cosmos Press at this point. There are infinite possibilities for what content can be, and I want to tap into the creativity of the community. We can make sharing your work possible when we share skills and knowledge, and I’m excited about the potential of a small art press like this.
V: What’s the next project coming for D.C. Press?
T: Besides boring, internal organization, what I want to see is more people coming to D.C. with proposals for art books/zines/chapbooks because I want to help creatives manifest their ideas. We’re going to be publishing two separate publications this fall. An Empty Zine and Tongue are two continuous projects.
I’m excited to see what happens with Tongue, it’s on track to be different from what we’ve done in the past and has potential to reveal a different side of Decadent Cosmos. I also love being able to publish something that’s a jab at academia.
T: Talk about the inspiration for the show SACRIFICE! A lot of DC events are a play on visceral/physical and spiritual/transcendent ideas, and SACRIFICE definitely follows suit.
V: Being an artist makes me feel like I’m solely a host to a parasite, a force I have little control over but rather just have to follow and do what it tells me.
I take a lot of inspiration from horror and gore-art. I view horror-art makers as masochists, killing themselves over their work only for the intended reaction to be disgust, to hope that you look away. Inside of making something beautiful, making something twisted.
But beyond that, this show is a love letter to Minneapolis artists, my labor of love dedicated to the Minneapolis brand of freak. It’s going to be a night filled with people and artists I adore, and that’s it. Art for art's sake. Art because what else is there.
I feel like to be an artist is to sacrifice. Sacrifice our time, money, energy, love lives, relationships, health, sanity on and on to create. A piece of mine from a while ago, “Lizard Brain Lonestar” came from this idea of spending hours and hours in a dark, isolated room making this abstract painting about anxiety and all that we give up to make art. It took me nine months in total to complete that painting, and still to this day I wrestle with all of the nights spent alone creating just crossing my heart that the piece works out. Makes me lovingly lose my mind.
T: Was it worth it?
V: Do any of us know?
T: I have loved watching your work develop and I feel like you have a very unique vision that is inspiring your creations. Can you talk a bit about where your work is coming from (and maybe where it’s going)?
V: I can’t say where it’s coming from other than (back to the parasite) some out of body force that moves through me. I aim for it to be boundaryless. I aim for it to not be any one thing. For it to be free and open. I don’t dare limit myself.
T: I love the dichotomy I’m hearing here where your creative drive is both a parasite and the thing that makes you free.
V: Yeah, and it’s painful.
V: Okay, same question to you Tasha. We’ve had conversations in the past about how our current work inspires us to keep going, to keep going because we want to see what’s coming next. Tell me about the potential of your art.
T: I’ve had a hard time making art that feels new. In a way, sometimes I’m afraid of what I'm going to make next. I know that when I make art, it’s me making it. My art feels recognizable to an outside audience. However, when I’m looking at my art, I’m usually surprised at what I end up making.
V: Yes, I feel the same way
T: I wouldn’t call it a parasite, for me it's more of an angel. There’s something present for me when I’m creating that I wouldn't expect. I have a lot of repetition in my work, there’s always bodies (in a sense) present—something moving, touching, living, dying, and at least for the foreseeable future I will continue to make art that wrestles with that concept. But currently I’m not wrestling and that might be the problem. But honestly I might go paint after this I’m feeling pretty inspired.
For more on An Empty Zine, Tongue and DC Press: https://www.decadentcosmos.com/projects-3
SACRIFICE: A Night of Art, Music, Performance takes place in Minneapolis, MN on August 6th from 6-9pm at The Artery 2718 E. 27th St. Admission is a suggested donation of $5-$20 but no one turned away for lack of funds. 🔪