Inspiration is Holiness | Interview: Shrine

Citizen LA | Citizen LA

Shrine is beautifully organized chaos. From acting as a circus barker/clown for world-renown Lucent Dossier, to painting murals and artworks around the country, to building massive ornate structures and stages for Burning Man, Coachella and more, he embodies a life of creativity and is excited to share it to the masses. A longtime friend, his home sticks out like a sore thumb in Pasadena. An amusement park for the eyes, his front yard is filled with color and texture. Exotic plants tie into sculptures made of recycled trash, wood and glass. His creations cry out in revolt, marching up against the sidewalk as if they’re going to take over the streets and party naked. Adventure is encapsulated in Shrine’s life, there is nothing ‘white picket fence’ about this man, and I’m here to go along for the ride.

Nathan Cartwright: How did you get the name Shrine. It seems quite suitable saying that you are a master of building these types of structures.

Shrine: I was working on a project at Burning Man with a total of three Brents on the crew and it was a bit confusing. It seemed natural to be called Shrine, because I’d been making these things for many years.

Nathan: Are you a religious person? What are your thoughts on the matter and does religion and art mix these days?

Shrine: I’m not religious, I’m spiritual. Life is a mystical experience. Religion and art have always been together. The best artists created the cathedrals and temples of the world in order to connect people with God. Now we have consumerism, the biggest belief system, which is also created by the best and worst artists. My shrines are non-denominational, I try to capture that feeling of Holiness. Inspiration is Holiness. I’d like to inspire people to find the mystical experience that exists all around them.

Nathan: The work you’ve done in the middle room at The Hive Gallery is quite ornate- Where is your inspiration coming from?

Shrine: The crystal drawings came at a time when I was under a lot of pressure to create something amazing, The Temple at Burning Man 2008. In the middle of that chaos I had just finished 58 intricate paintings on windows, to remember I then had to make more art for a fundraiser and I just said, “Fuck it I’m going to do what i want,” and I picked up a sharpie and started drawing crystals just to please myself. With nothing to prove, no worries about sales, drawing in a very primitive way, it all felt so good. I’ve been drawing crystals ever since. They represent total freedom to me and now the whole series is taking on a life of its own. I don’t know where they’re taking me and I like that.

Nathan: How did you get involved with Chris Paine, the director of “Who Killed The Electric Car?”

Shrine: I met Chris Paine two years ago when he bought a painting of mine. He had me over to a space he was creating called the Marrakesh House. The house is dedicated to permaculture, renewable resources, green topics and activism in general. The space will be used for events, fundraisers and wild parties. One thing led to another and now I’m building a large shrine in the back called, “Chris Paine’s Lemon Tree Tea House”, made out of 90% re-used materials.

Nathan: What are your plans for his Shrine and future Installations?

Shrine: My plan is to finish asap then move on to a permanent installation I’m doing at LA Memorial Library, then set up La Familia Divina at the LACMA art walk, then two stages at the big Bounce festival, then a large stage at The Rothbury Festival, then perform in Ireland and Portugal, then a large stage at Symbiosis and then take a nap.