Survey Select San Diego KPBS Interview

Henry Gunderson (detail)

MH : How did Survey Select come about? How long was it in the making?

On January 5th of this year, I published a manifesto outlining a personal commitment to the arts as a collector, educator, writer, curator and promoter. “Survey Select” was created to further this mission while paying homage to art salons of the past created by Peggy Guggenheim and Frederick Kiesler (Art of This Century, 1942), Dorothy C. Miller (The New American Painting, 1959) and Walter Hopps (New Painting of Common Objects, 1962).

“Survey Select,” eclectic in nature and selective by choice, celebrates new traditions in narrative painting featuring 55 artists from all over the world. For over 20 years curator, Mark Murphy (that’s me) has been an avid promoter of visual storytellers through book and catalog design, critical writing, filmmaking and theme-based exhibitions.

Erik Mark Sandberg

MH : How would you describe the selection process of the artists featured? What exactly did it entail? Were artists allowed to submit themselves, or did you scout them?

The artists for “Survey Select” were hand selected based on their unique artistic voice that evades intellectual labeling. 100 artists were personally invited and 55 agreed to participate and create an original painting for this exhibition. Artists were invited in late January, six months later, over seventy original works will be on display in a transformed warehouse space created by Bells & Whistles and Mark Murphy.

Albert Reyes
MH : The hardest part of the selection process?

The most challenging portion of selection is coordinating a obtainable schedule amongst the challenges of personal life, gallery, museum and product development obligations. When you work with great talent and inspired leadership, “You must roll with existing commitments and try to make it work. Stay flexible.”

David Choong Lee : David Jien

MH : Is there an underlying theme that each artist and their work will have in common?

Narrative Art or visual storytelling is the unifying theme throughout the “Survey Select” exhibition. Visitors will be treated to a conceptual space that reveals storytelling through fragrance (Roxanna Villa), interior (Bells and Whistles), writing (Gilad Segal, John Purlia, Manuel Bello, Patrick Coyne), art documentary films (Art House Films), designer cuisine (Just Taste It Catering), hand-made crafts (Marqué Arts), social media and online presenation (Ninthlink, Inc.), printed accounts (Murphy Design Inc.) and thousands of volunteer hours by regional art patrons.

Each artist has provided narrative statements that will accompany each original artwork. This will allow each visitor the opportunity to examine (survey) each work closely.

Hugo Crosthwaite : Justin Wood

MH : Any artists we may already be familiar with in the show? Any local artists?

There are many great artists in the exhibition. Local artists include Kelsey Brookes and Hugo Crosthwaite who will both be in attendance. Regional artists include Jeff Soto, the Clayton Brothers, Shawn Barber, James Jean, Mel Kadel, Erik Mark Sandberg, Brendan Monroe, Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson, Souther Salazar and Kent Williams. NY is well represented with Barbara Nessim, Marshall Arisman, Martin Wittfooth, Kevin Paulsen and Anthony Pontius. International artists feature Stephané Blanquet (France), T Freak (Brazil), Anthony Lister (Australia), Hiro Kurata (Japan), Dan Kennedy (Canada), Marco Wagner (Germany) and Miss Van (France). And there are young emerging artists, Henry Gunderson, Bonnie M Smith, Sean McGaughey, Albert Reyes and David Jien. Diverse styles are represented: Irene Hardwicke Olivieri (folkloric), Mars-1 (urban surrealistic), James Marshall (aka Dalek, former Murakami assistant “super flat”) and on. . .

SSI : Manuok : Thesis Sahib

MH : What can you tell me about the musical acts performing? How were they selected?

The musical acts feature San Diego brother duo SSI who perform synthetic digi-scapes and DJ an eclectic mix of beats that will add a great dimension of atmosphere during the private preview opening on July 15 and the public opening on July 16. Thesis Sahib (aka James Kirkpatrick) will be traveling in from Canada on July 22, in kind thanks to Grimm Image Records, and in support of this year’s “Survey Select” Comic Con party. Thesis Sahib is an underground hip hop artist who performs a fast paced style of delivering his urban prose over dub beats. MANUOK kicks off his world tour in support of his latest CD “The Old Horse” on August 5 produced by 500 Records and Macaco Records. MANUOK is the artistic vision of Scott Macaco who scored the “Scribble.08” art documentary soundtrack in 2009.

All musical acts were chosen for their embodiment of musical narrative— highly original, infectious and great symbols of the indie music making spirit.

Barbara Nessim

MH : This is a big show for San Diego. Why here, and why now?

Having lived in San Diego for 10 years, I have self-financed thematic art exhibitions at the Abbey Church (Heaven and Hell, Dialogue, SuperHero Western Show), and various warehouse art exhibitions during Comic Con over the past several years. Unfortunately, all of these exhibits were over the course of one or two nights.

This year “Survey Select” will be operating much like a pop-up museum over 8 weeks, Tuesday through Sunday, 10 AM – 5 PM daily, free of charge for admission and a full schedule of events held after museum hours including double feature art films, hands-on workshops, and artist lectures. 1000s of volunteer hours an in kind donations have made the impossible, possible.

And with great attendance, this will be a wonderful testament to everyone’s hard work and fortitude in making this exhibition and all of its related events possible. (Super kind thank you shout outs to the Survey Select volunteers and committee members).

I felt it important to offer the city of San Diego and regional fans of art and culture to have the unique opportunity to take in the exhibition on many levels and over the course of multiple visits. To me, this is a wonderful opportunity for local San Diegans to participate and support the arts.

Anthony Lister : Brendan Danielsson : Frohawk Two Feathers

MH : What are your thoughts on the San Diego art scene?

The art scene in San Diego has a solid backbone of schools and institutions and I believe local artists are beginning to exercise a distinct and original voice. From graffiti to contemporary, there are many gifted artists spread throughout the county. The main ingredients needed to bring artists together is a desire to elevate the local art community by innovative example and the formation of a new generation of local art collectors willing to participate in a localized artistic renaissance. My belief is that those who are hungry for new experience need to endow the arts on all levels to keep the local community thriving and flourishing as a leading arts district.

Education and outreach by design

MH : What is your goal with Survey Select?

The major goal is for everyone to know that they are invited to check out a world-class exhibition featuring some of today’s best visual storytellers. This is a premier event featured within the community of San Diego and Southern California. “Survey Select” will evoke a positive, thought-provoking experience for visitors and guests.

Mars-1 : Mario Martinez

MH : Will it happen again soon?

With the support of the community, local volunteers and art patrons “Survey Select” can become a annual event that evolves into a new museum, the Museum of Narrative Arts celebrating story telling in fine art, literature and film.

Specialty books and zines
Esther Pearl Watson : Mark Todd : Mel Kadel

MH : What will the "unique bookstore" consist of?

The bookstore will consist of unique hand-made objects featuring Marqué Arts, hand-signed silk screen posters, mini zines, Murphy Design Art Books, drawings, limited edition books, prints and Art House Films DVDs.

Martin Wittfooth : Micah Ganske : Marco Wagner
MH : What should visitors to the show understand before going in?

“Survey Select” is a 8 week exhibition with many events that would love your participation.

MH : Anything else to add?

For a full schedule of events and times please visit Please visit for more information. “Suvey Select” is located at 1400 Imperial Avenue (14th & Imperial adjacent to Petco Park) and open to the public July 16. Thank you for supporting the San Diego art scene.

Related Posts by Categories

Total Pageviews