The New Guard

Four Up-and-Coming Artists Driven by Boredom, Madness, Hair, and Pop


Super happy The New Guard is getting the attention it deserves - though i must say it is strange that the 3 other core partners (who are all geniuses) don't get proper mention: Joey Veltkamp curates the art, Sarah Jurado takes the gorgeous photos, and hometown hero Damien Jurado books the bands. I know Whit would want them all front and center. The New Guard is a beautiful example of the power of collaboration - and the power of the common table - keep it up!
We were so very ecstatic to highlight the work of Troy, Gala, Amanda, and Jason in our last four dinners. The artists are selected and curated by The Happiest Man on Earth, Joey Veltkamp, who is the Art Brain of The New Guard.

And yes, Michael's absolutely right: I just want to emphasize that this little bubbling baby isn't the brainchild of one mind, but of four: Joey Veltkamp, Sarah & Damien Jurado, and me.
I love the New Guard. Sarah, Damien, Joey and Whit do an amazing job.
I love the New Guard. Sarah, Damien, Joey and Whit do an amazing job.
I'm honored to be mentioned among such amazing company, and thank you Whitney Ricketts and Joey Veltkamp for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful experience. Here's to New Guard!
hey is there a photo credit?
Congrats Troy, Gala, Amanda, and Jason. New Guard is honored to have worked with all of you; thank you Joey Veltkamp for bringing everyone together.

@7 Thanks Sarah - so great to have met you and Damien and hope to see more of you soon!
keep the flag aloft new guard!

The photo of homeboy with the beard on the right sidebar where all the other artists are pictured is Robert HARDGRAVE, not Hardgrove.

also, SHARON arnold, yo. ain't no SHANNON about it. yo.
(also, SHARON Arnold is wrong. word.)
guh... timed out comment fail.
Thanks for putting words to the *whole* tornado, Jen. It's pretty amazing what these folks orchestrate, with great generosity and enthusiasm.

Sweat ink? I love it love it love it.
Great Press for alternatives to art showcasing in so many forms. Bravo!
*haha* Thanks ShauniQUA!

What a great feature about New Guard, Jen. I'm so appreciative of the group's efforts to unite three communities that go together so seamlessly!
Congratulations, you wonderful people, you! xo
The picture of 'Shannon' Arnold is actually of SHARON Arnold.
Someone's getting SharOWN3D.
That's great that these artists are showcased in the paper, but personally, I'd rather see their art than their portraits! Where's the art, man?
A Grave Error

Jen Graves’ “art writings” have been saying so little for so long, that any lack of critical depth has come to be expected. However, her article entitled , “The New Guard”, published in volume 19, number 22 of The Stranger, was such an inane piece of shit, that it must be called out for what it is: at best, lazy uncritical writing, and at worst, nothing more than a regurgitation of what four mediocre artists think of themselves and their art.

First and foremost, let’s look at the title of the article: “The New Guard”.
What does that mean?
Who was “The Old Guard”?
What makes “The New Guard” new?
And most importantly, what are they guarding?

Or maybe, “The New Guard” is just a cool looking title at the top of a page…and important sounding to boot!

Regardless, calling these four artists Seattle’s “New Guard” is a pretty serious declaration. A declaration that demands some pretty serious critical attention. Critical attention that leads to some pretty serious justification. However, Jen Graves’ article contains none of this…so why don’t I go ahead and critically review this “New Guard” to see just how far ahead of the rest of Seattle’s up and coming art community they really are.

New Guard #1

Jason “Self-Indulgent” Hirata

According to Jen’s article, Jason Hirata wanted to remove himself from his art because he found art about himself boring. He decided to create “random” personal objectives that he somehow believed removed him from his process. How these objectives removed him is unexplained.
However, even this bored him, so he blamed it on picking objectives based on what he knew he could already do.
Once again, no explanation.
Why didn’t he simply pick objectives based on what he knew he couldn’t already do?
Or better yet, why pick objectives in the first place?
Utilizing these inflexible objectives led to predictability. This actually surprised him…and once again bored him.
So what did he do?
He continued writing objectives, but now had other people execute them. EUREKA! Finally he wasn’t bored. Having other people do the boring work was the trick.
Why this change in his process doesn’t fall into the same “truistic trap” that previously killed his curiosity isn’t mentioned. Perhaps Jason isn’t really interested in making anything. Perhaps Jason shouldn’t make anything.
One thing is for certain, he is completely absorbed by his own interest in his own art. The viewer is superfluous. If Jason only “makes art he wants to look at over time”, why does he show it to anyone else?
As far as “repurposing” old boring photos…nothing but a lazy cop-out. Boring shit by any other name, hung in any other way, is still boring shit.
But wait…what’s this I read? In his upcoming show he plans to employ bodily excretions (sweat) to make drawings with? WOW! You’re supposed to draw with ink, silly . SWEAT? That’s so weird, so “New Guard”.
Perhaps we’d all be better off if Jason removed himself from any art making process even further…like entirely. Please, for the sake of the viewer, have mercy. We’re all as bored with you as you are.

New Guard #2

Amanda “Cheap Shock” Manitach

As I read Jen Graves trumpet the virtues of Amanda’s syphilitic vagina drawings I couldn’t help but think back to her article on the Calder exhibit at the SAM , and her dismissal of his overall impact.

Let’s see here…
Invention of the Mobile
Syphilitic Vagina Drawings

Now, which overall has had more impact on the art world?

Syphilitic vaginas?! OOOH, now I get it! They’re gross and shocking! WOW! Who’s ever heard of employing such devices in a fine art context? Completely original. I’ll bet no one’s even thought of doing that before. BRAVO! The Seattle art community will never be the same again!
To quote Amanda herself, “I would love to be Alfred Jarry”… that statement sums it all up. Even Amanda Manitach isn’t interested in Amanda Manitach. Why should anyone else be?

New Guard #3

Gala “One Trick Pony” Bent

I’m not even going to comment on the ridiculousness of a formulaic device like cool lookin’ hair being “New Guard”.
You’ve gotta fuckin’ be kidding me.

New Guard #4

Troy “Pop Art Is Played Out” Gua

Employing a movement that is nearly fifty years old is “New Guard”? Lampooning pop culture is so obvious that it’s redundant. Honestly, is there anyone left on the planet that views politics and consumerism juxtaposed with popular culture as fresh?
It’s as archaic and obvious as arguing that the world is round.


Now, my critical examination of these four artists may seem a bit abrasive, but the moniker “New Guard” implies a pioneering vision and the breaking of new ground. This description applied to any of these artists is patently absurd.
What’s more, it is irresponsible to cast such unsubstantiated claims in any light of relevance, let alone publish the shit. The article might as well be a press release of four individual artist’s statements. There is no critique whatsoever.
No one that I’ve spoken to in the Seattle art community believes that these artists represent a “New Guard”. Apparently Jen Graves does, but she either doesn’t really know why, or is too lazy and unconcerned with critical thinking to bother expressing it.
Either way, I guess Seattle is just expected to take her word for it.


Finally, as a publication, if The Stranger takes its art column seriously, please consider printing some thoughtful criticism for a change.