What is Scout’s Artillery? It’s my little art studio near Civic Center SF where two nights a week you can borrow a low-powered toy slingshot and use it to fling marbles at plastic soldiers, whimsical kinetic targets and beer bottles, and then sit back and watch as the spent marbles roll through a continually-expanding marble run.
What do I hope it will be? I’d like if this place became a comforting go-to for queers to decompress about their fears after a hard week of bad news, or neighborhood techies to take out their frustrations after a long day navigating the patriarchy. As a practicing artist over the last decade-and-a-half I have made political cartoons, queer-pride comics, social-activist street games, psychogeographic puppet shows, magical environmental installations, as well as endless catty trinkets and poignant portraits and heartfelt accordion songs, but in this dystopian future we have found ourselves in in 2017, what I think we need most from art is just simple straightforward catharsis: cheap, meaningless pillow-hitting catharsis; bottle-breaking & politician-pinata-smashing catharsis; the comfort of childhood toys, a temporary hide-away secret club, and a little bit of whimsical magical wonder that only glass marbles can provide. Or something like that, anyway — I’ll get a real artist statement up someday maybe.
The Artillery is a tinkering project that is giving me a consistent way to find peace as the world continues to march into chaos: every week I extend the marble run a few more feet around the room, build a few new cutesy kinetic targets, put out a new piñata or butcher-paper drawing or whatnot to be joyously and incrementally reduced to shreds, and adjust the decor to make it a little more adorable, a little more comforting, a little more magical. It’s been a lot of work just to get it up and running, but it’s been fun work, not tedious or monotonous or pointless — making something that’s simple, direct and functional is so satisfying for me. It was intimidating to dive into a project that would take me months of work before I could prove that it would even function, much less be fun to play with, but I am so glad I took that plunge last fall because it’s so worth it to have the Artillery as part of my life now. I’ve posted a bunch of photographs of the build process, the soft opening, and the new additions since then; if you love this stuff, my instagram @xo.villainette.ox is where photos & videos tend to get uploaded first.
So yeah, I invite you and you friends to come by during visiting hours and play in it too — that’s what it’s here for. Current visiting hours are Sundays 5-8pm and Wednesdays 6-9pm. Come over, pick out a slingshot, borrow some eye protection, and put a marble through a Bunderberg.