The Clarion Content first sat down to interview Goetz, about his then newly founded clothing company, almost exactly two years ago. Read that story, written by Cady Childs, the Clarion Content’s style and cultural go-to, here.
That was a balmy night outside The Federal, Goetz was soft spoken, as Cady eased him into conversation about his fashion-line. To those in the know Durham (errrr… DURM) was already blowing up. The national culture had just noticed our food trucks then, at that point the roster was fairly small: Only Burger, Pie Pushers, Chirba Chirba, the Grilled Cheese bus and the red taco bus on Hillsborough Road.
Goetz was and is on the cutting edge of the Durham cultural movement. He confided that he wanted to take his work and message directly to the people. Creating his clothing company facilitated that connection.
He is closely aligned with the Durham Hip-Hop scene, rapidly rising on the national radar. In fact, when we sat down to have coffee at Cocoa Cinnamon last week, one of the most prominent hip-hop stars in our local galaxy, the Real Laww, popped by to finish closing a deal with Goetz.
We at the Clarion Content have used Goetz’s work for graphic design, we have sponsored events he participated in like Durham’s “reFASHIONED” show, and we have bopped alongside as we danced to LiLa’s Classicle.
As usual, we make no pretense of being unbiased.
Since we last spoke on-record, Goetz profile has skyrocketed. Not all for the good, some people, our editor included, didn’t like the t-shirt that came out of Runaway’s latest clothing release, deprecating Durham’s violence at the expense of Cary’s plastic heart.
But extensive conversation has revealed Goetz is nothing if not thoughtful and self-aware about his message. He is well-traveled. When we spoke with him two years ago, he had just returned from a stint in Sydney, Australia and come away stimulated by the street art.
Since that conversation and Runaway’s subsequent growth and maturation, he took an epic road trip to Central America with two people “he didn’t real know at all.” That self-reliance, confidence without swagger or bravado underlies both his work and his way.
My interest in this exhibit, as your editor, and a fervent Durhamanian, is the juxtaposition of directionality. When we encontered Goetz in 2011, he told us making t-shirts and hats enabled a broader audience to own and participate in his work. And they have, that DURM hat is errrywhere.
Now he is coming full circle. That is the juxtaposition, at the Carrack this again is his high art. He earned his BFA at Syracuse and shortly after graduation was showing his fine art in New York City (2008)…but the prohibitive, exclusive nature of the scene begat the urge to make the move to pop culture products.
Stickers are $2-$3 dollars, yo.
He has been in the cave working. At Cocoa Cinnamon he told me, “My social life is shit. I just paint all the time. I kinda love it and I kinda hate it. It can be lonely being in the studio all day.”
But he said, “Everything else can be a distraction,” and the output of this drive is evident.
The Carrack and Laura Richie are always down for whatever mayhem you want, heck she once let Kal Fadem put the joke on us, this time she literally let Goetz paint on one of the gallery’s walls.
Goetz says the contents of this show are more personal than his past work. The preview says, “The artwork delves into the concepts of identity, greed, death, love and the fragile relationship between animal and human.”
The work itself has come some distance since I first viewed it through an Alchemy connection eons ago. There is a tiger that has been coming and coming and is now here. There are new prints. There is the showpiece pictured above referencing the Dutch Master’s logo and the poignancy of tobacco’s contribution to our mortality.
Goetz seeks to remind us that humans have animalistic instincts and roots. Much as Dan Ariely reminds us that classical economic man is a fallacy built around a construct that does not exist in the individual, Goetz work shrieks that a similar fallacy abounds in our facetious separation from the animal world. We are in it and of it.
His roots in travel and experience run deeper than I knew. His father was in international development, and at age ten, Goetz lived in the Ukraine for a year. A formative time he told me, spent sledding and building fires, supervised and not-so-supervised.
Within two years he was making his art.
The fire still burns.
See this show at The Carrack now through September 20th.
The Opening Reception, ghoulishly, Friday the 13th, from 6.30pm to 9.30pm features the beautiful music of pianist Eric Hirsh…
The show is also up for Durham’s 3rd Friday Art Walk, September 20th.
Prints of some of the fantastic Runaway Clothes art work will be available for sale.
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Header photo by of Gabe Eng Goetz by Jessica Arden Photography.