Interview: Jack Halloway of The Garage Sale Project
The Hydrodynamica Project show at The Garage Sale Project
There’s this amazing thing that happens sometimes, especially in small cities, especially in a city as magically weird as San Francisco can be, where you stumble upon something or meet someone by chance and everything just opens up, wide open, right there. You realize how interconnected things can be, how your chance meeting in that place with that person has a greater significance, that you’ve known the same people, that you’ve drawn upon the same influences and shared the same subcultural secrets, that you and they are part of the same forever tangled web. It was exactly this type of chance meeting that led me to Jack Halloway, Creator and Director of The Garage Sale Project. Here he tells us all about The Garage Sale Project and his San Francisco experience.
How long have you lived in San Francisco?
This is my fourteenth year living in San Francisco.
What drew you here?
Budget rocknroll and burritos.
What keeps you here?
How does San Francisco inspire you?
I’m going to put on this new record by SF band The Mallard, and think for a spell.
The record by the way, is entitled “Yes On Blood”. It’s been very inspiring.
What is your favorite thing to do in SF?
I like eating at diners and coffee shops where old people sit and read the paper over watery black coffee.
It’s getting nearly impossible to find those in this town anymore… Diners and old people. It’s pretty sad.
The Garage Sale Project in Juxtapoz Magazine
For uninformed readers, please tell us about The Garage Sale Project. How and when did it start? What was your inspiration?
In 2008 I found myself sitting on piles of photographs along with a heap of cool objects I’d gathered over the years but none of it was inspiring anymore. I wanted to get rid of it all and move on. My dilemma: I needed to show my work to achieve true catharsis, but where could I do this? White walled galleries were too serious and espresso bars were not serious enough. I wasn’t trying to be an artist but I keep a strict style book…. I needed a space that would show the work well. I made solving this problem into something fun…an “installation” piece. A fake gallery and sale showcase…all behind my crumby little garage door. I’d call it The Garage Sale Project, have a photo show, invite a few friends over and serve them cheap drinks like other joints did. I’d sell off my junk, make a little dough and move on. That was the plan.. “ONE NIGHT ONLY.” I told friends and promoted a little… People didn’t get it. “A what? In your where? Huh??” My “show” opened to about twenty friends on a cold and rainy December night in 2009. I pulled out my portable record player and blasted scratchy records by The Zeros and The Kingsmen. I sold nearly all my junk and gave away the rest. As for my photos, I never even thought to price them. They just hung there and I was satisfied. I accomplished my goal and other people enjoyed the experience apparently. Word got around and a few other friends asked about doing shows… I said, “Why not?” And so two and a half years later I’m still here doing… “ONE NIGHT ONLY.”
It’s like a Medicine Show for art that rolls into town now and again….. ha…
Flyers from past Garage Sale Project exhibitions
How does the Garage Sale Project operate?
On a broken shoe string, strong will and childlike wonder.
I have no operating budget and the only overhead is what we create per event. Shows come together organically, when I have time and funds available.
I was encouraged by some friends to apply for a grant once early on and was disappointed I didn’t get it. In the time it took me to complete the grant package I could have worked a week and made enough money to pay for several shows.
I decided then, I’d go my way. On my dime, my rules. I’m not interested in jumping through hoops for a few bucks. When I need to get things done now I just do it. Creativity and drive make up any short comings in funding. Where there is a will there is a way.
Is it an effort to showcase local or lesser known artists?
It’s an effort to boost anyone on the fence over to the other side if that is where they want to be. The other side being the white walled side of things. This isn’t a gallery. Galleries represent artists. I only present them. If I were to say I collect anything… it would be people, or… personalities really. I’m a personality collector. That’s what I’m most interested in and The Garage Sale Project is just an outlet for whatever those personalities dream up.
What have been your favorite shows to date?
I can’t go picking favorites!
Hey, look over there…..
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Work Hard Dream None; a video installation by Nicholas Torres
Any upcoming shows you’d like to tell readers about?
I’m working with SF artist and designer Jeff Canham to organize a giant garage sale of the past decades worth of his work… He is rad. It will be off the hook when it happens..…There is the first installment in my “Budget Adventure Series” called Moped to South America (yes, they did it. Six months… two mopeds… from SF to Tierra Del Fuego!) and coming up next…. I’m working with these crazy photographers who design photo booths…. and they are going to create a series of photo booth art experiences here in The Garage. Maybe the entire garage will be a photo booth and we will create the show over the course of the evening…. Yeah… I think that’s what will happen. Sounds fun, right?
There is a strong aural/musical element that compliments the Garage Sale Project. How has this come to be incorporated into the G$P? How do you go about curating it?
Every experience has sound associated with it…. even if it’s silence. I love sounds that get in your bones and rattle around inside you. What hits my nerves the most are the rough and airy sounding recordings of old blues and Gospel records, the raucous, fuzzy, trebly and reverb soaked sounds of early garage bands, and loud, fast and raw sounds of 70’s punk. Every one of these genres was born from what is commonly known as “Early Blues "… basically the sound of a person stomping their foot and singing their heart out. The music was simple because they were only working with what was inside themselves…. the power comes from the delivery. That is how I feel about The Garage Sale Project….. I’m only working with what I’ve got inside and I’m doing my best to bang out simple songs from the heart. Once I’ve expressed what I wanted to get across, I’ll stop.
Flyer for Jack Halloway’s premier exhibition at G$P
Aside from running the Garage Sale Project, you are a photographer. What projects (personal and professional) have you been working on?
I like shooting people just living and doing everyday things. I try to capture an intangible essence of a situation and show the beauty or humor in the everyday. It doesn’t always happen. Ha. Recently, I shot a series of portraits for this book on California art communities to be published this fall in Japan….should be cool… Currently I’m going through hundreds of images from three weeks on the road…. Milan, New York and Las Vegas. People are fascinating. Ok. I’m done… I need to flip the record and get some coffee.
Jack Halloway’s premier photozine
(All photographs here within provided by Jack Halloway/The Garage Sale Project- all images copyright ©2012 Jack Halloway / All Rights Reserved)