Chris Heidman and Gregory J. Rose, the two painters featured in Rogue Buddha's latest show, "Between the Lines," have been creating together since they were enrolled at the University of Minnesota's MFA program in art. There, they began their collaboration, making a music recording that five years later ended up in a beef jerky commercial. "Our whole friendship is based on creating stuff together," Heidman says. Whether looking at each other's paintings or recording music, they are always "sort of playing off of and lifting ideas from each other."
Though Heidman was "very popular for a minute" back in the '90s with his band Suk Patch, in recent years he has focused more on art. "Now that I'm getting older, I figure it's more graceful to be an artist than a musician," he says (though both he and Rose still make music, and Heidman's record label boasts such bands as Total Babe and Nice Purse).
The two friends have always been "on the outside of the art scene," Heidman says. "We've been hiding out forever. We aren't hip whatsoever with the community."
Both men work in abstraction, creating paintings that are "full of anxiety," though Heidman describes Rose's work as a little more traditionally abstract, while his own paintings are more like tight candy wrappers. "The shapes are similar," he says, "but my work looks more like it's manufactured rather than by hand."
Heidman is influenced by 1950s pop art, but he says he's occasionally been accused of having a thing for the 1990s. "The aesthetic of the '90s, in that there was always a chorus in a Nirvana song with a big explosion--not that I was a huge Nirvana fan. I sort of embraced that and rejected that all at once."
Though they consider themselves outsiders, they have shown their art around town from time to time. Heidman also does quite solid business through his website, where his young clientele enjoy his work's retro feel.
Heidman credits Rose for landing their show at Rogue Buddha, located at the heart of Northeast Minneapolis's arts district. "Greg pulled that off," he says. "I've never been hip. We're two of the strongest abstract painters in town, but no one really does it anymore."
"Between the Lines: A New Art Exhibit Featuring Gregory J. Rose and Chris Heidman" will have its opening reception this Friday, January 7 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Rogue Buddha Gallery. The party will feature music by Nice Purse and DJ Danny Sigelman. The exhibit runs through February 5, 2011.