Q&A: Artist Cyrus Fire

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From the June 28, 2012 edition

For as long as he can remember, Cyrus Fire has been painting and making art. Fire feels his best work comes out of a connection to his personal memories and emotions. The support of the other artists in the Cowtown Lowbrow collective, whom Fire calls his artist family, pushes him to new artistic levels.

I was sick a lot as a kid, so my mom would bring home paper and things like that from her job to keep me company. It took off from there; you’re in the house and there’s not a lot you could do that was constructive.

I’m part of the art collective Cowtown Lowbrow. We’re having show at Memento Gallery called “Bloodlines.” Since we’re showing at a tattoo shop, a bloodline is something that a tattoo artist will use to put water into the tattoo machine so when they run a line on the skin they can see it, but there’s no actual pigment in it. To tie that into these artists personally, [the theme] would be immediate or extended family, or even things that relate to your childhood.

My approach to the Bloodlines” show is I didn’t have the best upbringing, so I try to paint what happened. I’m trying to make the pieces fun and interesting, but at the same time be truthful. For example, I have this “Vowl” piece, the vampire owl. It represents a member of my family who betrayed me. This person was really close to me, and the owl represents a very clever, intelligent and charismatic person. They were very captivating as an individual, but they’re vampiric.

Good art is like radiation. You may or may not like it, but once you’ve been exposed to it you’re affected by it. I try to make my pieces as radioactive as possible. Hopefully if you take one home, it will hold its value because you can keep drawing inspiration from it, the same way we get it from each other [in Cowtown Lowbrow].

I started noticing that the people who were buying certain pieces have certain traits that I knew were in the pieces, but didn’t know they were in those people until they bought them.

Music and dancing inspire me. I dance in front of paintings like it’s a voodoo kind of thing. It’s not like I’m casting a spell or anything; I just put good music on. It’s more of a spiritual energy thing. Anything that allows you to feel anything deeply [inspires me]. Music brings that type of feeling to the surface.

Photo by Tim Johnson